How to aim better in CS:GO

Being good at aiming is pretty much half of what makes you a better CS:GO Player. The other half is game sense, map knowledge and team play. Even though we have already talked a bit about aiming in the How to train CS:GO article, we want to dive much deeper into this topic now. Aiming is a deep and complex subject, so even this will only be an overview containing the most important elements and best practices. We break down aiming into the following areas:

  1. Crosshair Placement
  2. Movement & Shooting
  3. Recoil / Spray Pattern Control

Crosshair PlacementCSGO Crosshair placement improves aiming

  • The player who learns to focus on headshots will almost certainly be the better in the long run.
  • Placing your crosshair at the most likely spot where the head of an opponent will appear is one of the best way to improve your aiming. This is usually at the corner of a wall or obstacle. Practice to “glue” your crosshair to the corner of the wall you want to pass at head level.
  • This minimizes the distance you need to move your mouse to hit your target and makes you appear a lot faster. This is crucial when you are peeking around corners, defending a specific angle or even while rushing. Just make it a standard practice to always aim at head level and adjusting for different distances.
  • Learn the most common spots where enemies like to attack to defend from for the currently popular maps. Use this knowledge to practice Pre-Aiming at this spots when walking around the map. As soon, as you bend around a corner, track through those most likely place. This will give you the ability to do Pre-Shooting, when your are fairly sure, that an opponent is their. Pre-Aiming and Pre-Shooting might even make your opponents wonder whether or not you are cheating.

CSGO Sidestep Movement improves aimMovement and Shooting

  • Learn to move smart while in combat e.g. with Sidestep / Strafe Shooting. The challenge is to synchronise your movement and shooting so that your aim is still precise. While strafing (usually A + D) you aim is imprecise and when you stop strafing you slide for a very short time. To gain instant precision, just tap once in the opposite direct. You can practice that easily with a dynamic crosshair. Once you get the hang of this, practice to step left and right continuously while shooting at the same spot each time you switch directions. NiP Friberg does that even when practicing on a pure aiming map.
  • Don’t go too fast in the beginning or you will train bad aiming habits. Start as slow as you need to in order to hit the same spot over and over again, then try to do it faster. Remember that the stress of a competitive engagement might get you out of sync. This will improve with practice and more combat routine.
    • Start with a point a wall
    • Then practice with bots and on aiming maps
    • Progress to using it in competitive games

 AK-47 Recoil Spray PatternRecoil / Spray Pattern Control

  • Depending on the weapon, only the first 1-2 shots land perfectly where you aim. The next shots follow a spray pattern that is fixed for each weapon, plus from added randomness.
  • The easiest way to learn about the spray pattern of your favorite weapon is to empty a whole magazine into a wall. All weapons go up (first 6-8 shots) and then left or right and back.
  • You can compensate this recoil effect by moving your mouse in the opposite direction of the spray pattern. This takes a lot of practice to get the timing and movement at several distances right.
  • In the beginning you should focus on controlling the first 6-8 shots that only go up.
  • Exercise:
    • Open an empty server
      • e.g. map de_dust2_se
    • Configure the server for training in the console
      • sv_cheats 1 (Cheat Mode on)
      • impulse se 101 (16000 money)
      • sv_showimpacts 1 (show impacts)
      • sv_infiniteammo 2 (infinite ammo)
    • Buy the weapon you want to improve your aiming skill with
      • if you are uncertain, a good start would be the AK47
    • Practice:
      • shoot against a wall and control your spray pattern
      • start with trying to do only single shots
      • then 2 which also usually land on the exact same spot, depending on the weapon
      • then 3, now practice to pull down at the right moment to land all bullets on the same spot
      • then 4 and so on
      • progress to more shots only when you have mastered one level
  • One of the most amazing fan art for CS:GO are the animated spray patterns by twowordbird:
    • The first image shows the recoil spray pattern of the AK-47. This should be very similar to what you see on the wall once you empty an entire magazine.
    • The second image shows you the movement pattern you need to practice with you mouse to compensate the spray pattern.
    • Check out all weapon patterns at the Steam Community thread on CS:GO Recoil Mechanics

AK-47 Recoil Spray Pattern animated gifAK-47 Spray Compensation Pattern animated



  • Go for headshots
  • Keep your crosshair at head level
  • Pre-aim on the most likely spots
  • Learn to sidestep / strafe shoot
  • Practice spray pattern control


  • Don’t aim at the ground or the air
  • Don’t shoot while running

We will soon go deeper into to topic of aiming better in Counter-Strike Global Offensive and link to more advanced topics such as:

  • Mouse & Sensitivity
  • Aim Training Maps
  • Crosshair Configuration
  • Useful Console Commands

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