Pistol rounds are among the most important rounds in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Winning your pistol rounds gives you an economic advantage that makes it much easier to take the following two rounds as well. In a game where the first team to get to 16 rounds wins, winning four rounds cheaply gives you a huge advantage. It’s also important to learn to use pistols so that you can take advantage of an ‘eco round’. Your opponent have just won a round and now you’re out of money. You can’t afford a complete loadout but you don’t want to throw a round away. This is the time to buy a pistol, some armor and be the John Wayne you know you can be!
Counter Terrorist pistol choices
When you get shot without armor, your screen will flick up slightly, making it hard for you to hit your target.
Choosing the correct pistol is just as important as knowing how to use it, so let’s get started with the buy phase. In the first round of either half you start off with $800. Currently, most professional players choose to use that money to buy kevlar with their default pistol. While I don’t think all professional strategies work in matchmaking, this way of starting the CT side is hard to argue with. The accuracy of the USPS-S makes up for the shortage of bullets and having kevlar removes the aimpunch,making it a great pistol setup. If you’re using the p2000 instead of the USP-s you’ll have enough bullets to keep your enemies at a distance, allowing your team to rotate to your bombsite. Make sure someone in the team buys a defuse kit!
Terrorist pistol choices
The terrorist side isn’t much different than the counter terrorist side when it comes to pistols. Most players will want to simply buy armor and stick with their Glock-18. The Glock is a great weapon to ‘run and gun’ with which is what you’ll be doing a lot of the time as a terrorist. A popular strategy among both professional players and matchmakers is the ‘raid boss’ setup. One person buys armor while another player provides him or her with a Tec-9. They themselves buy a flash and a smoke, giving the team some utility. This way you end up with 4 armored players, one of which has a very strong pistol.
Eco round buys are often decided ‘on the fly’ but there are some guidelines for you to follow as you decide what to go for. Because communication in matchmaking is often not much better than Twitch chat, your buys can be decided entirely by what the rest of your team is doing. If nobody buys, you’re best off following the group and saving for the next round. However, if all the planets do align and you get to buy a pistol, it’s up to you not to buy the wrong one. Buying a p250 is a cheap way to get a gun out of your opponent’s hands: it’s a great pistol for getting quick, close range kills. You can spam it quite rapidly or take your time and go for the single headshot.
The Five-Seven is a second option on the CT side that offers you nearly the same pistol with a few more bullets per clip and higher armor penetration. The CZ75-Auto is a good gun for standing around a corner, waiting for someone to walk by and emptying a clip into the back of their head. The pistol is expensive, however, and it lacks bullets.Unless you have the perfect position for it, I would always buy the Five-Seven over the CZ.
On the terrorist side, buying the Tec-9 feels like the obvious choice. Being able to empty a 24-bullet clip into your opponent as quickly as the Tec-9 allows can turn a round in your favour. Buying Dual Elites is almost always a mistake, which leaves us with the fan-favorite Desert Eagle. There is no better feeling in CS:GO than shooting someone in the head with a Desert Eagle using only your first shot. Taking out a player who has just invested $6000 in their loadout with a $700 pistol feels like killing an mammoth with a Super Soaker. Using the Desert Eagle is hard so for most players, however, that it’s not a worthy investment—but if you’re feeling lucky it won’t hurt to try it once in a while.
The counter terrorist’s USP-s is freakishly accurate and will get you one-shot kills if you hit your helmet-less target in the head. The small clip size forces you to use your bullets carefullyso aim for the head and don’t spam too much unless you’re in a close range battle. The Glock-18 requires the opposite playstyle. This gun is perfect for running at your target, shouting obscenities and spamming your left mouse button. Only put the gun on burst mode (right click) if you’re going to attempt jump shooting and keep your crosshair on your opponent’s head at all times, only correcting for recoil.
What's a 'CHOKE'?
A choke is a hallway, tunnel, set of doors or otherwise narrow location that makes it hard for multiple people to walk through at the same time.
The p250 and the Five-Seven are played nearly identically. Because both these pistols can get one-shot headshot kills on close range—even against opponents with kevlar and a helmet -it’s a good idea to try to put yourself in 1v1 positions. You do this by standing around the corner from a choke location and aiming at head height.
What's a 'Recoil Pattern'?
Every gun has its own recoil pattern. After firing your first bullet, your next bullet won’t land on the exact same spot. The pattern of where your bullets land on a full spray is what we call a recoil pattern.
The terrorists’s Tec-9 is a strong pistol for ‘running and gunning’. This gun’s recoil pattern is about as random as a best of one group stage so the best way to use the Tec-9 is by spamming it whenever you get close enough for your bullets to actually hit your target. When you do get close enough you have a very good chance of killing your opponent, regardless of which weapon they’re using.
The Desert Eagle is less like a pistol and more like a tiny AWP. Wildly inaccurate when you’re moving, the Deagle requires you to come to a complete stop before firing off bullets that will instantly kill a helmeted player with a headshot, even from a long distance. For short range kills you can spam your deagle but the more time you give the pistol to reset to its default position, the more accurate your shots will be.
You don’t get to play too many pistol rounds during a competitive CS:GO game so jumping into a pistol-only deathmatch server is a great way to improve your pistol play. Try only using the USP-s and aiming for the head and you’ll feel yourself get better every time you play.
A good pistol player can hand their team two of the most important rounds of the game. A great pistol player can turn an entire game around and create some of the most beautiful moments we’ve seen in Counter-Strike history:
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