Hopping into CS:GO’s competitive mode can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re unsure which weapons to buy and when.
This guide should make your life a little bit easier, as it outlines the most effective weapons to choose from depending on the round and circumstances you're in.
Managing a team’s economy can be tough and sometimes it can be problematic deciding whether to save your money (an eco round) or spend the money that you have (force-buy).
Whether you’re struggling to afford assault rifles or rolling in extra cash, this guide will see you through, right from the early rounds to the late game.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 140
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 70
Equipped with a silencer, the USP-S has higher damage than the T-side Glock-18 and can prove to be incredibly accurate when trying to hit those pistol-round headshots.
The USP-S is a good pick for players who are looking for clean, precise shots and is consequently less likely to be recommended for beginners, who may appreciate the extra ammo of the P2000.
This pistol will save a Counter-Terrorist [CT] having to buy in the first round and provides a lethal 140 damage to an unarmoured Terrorist [T]. Note, however, that this damage halves once a helmet is equipped, rendering it less effective in subsequent rounds.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 118
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 55
A weaker starter pistol than its CT counterpart, the Glock-18 has surprisingly high recoil control as well as a decent rate of fire.
Thanks to its large magazine and surplus of reserve ammo, players are encouraged to send out multiple shots in quick succession when hoping to hit a target.
This is further supported by the pistol’s burst-fire mode that can be activated/deactivated on the fly by tapping right-click once.
The Glock-18’s short reload times and respectable running accuracy make it a cheap and cheerful pistol for rushing bombsites.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 151
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 96
Arguably the best upgrade on offer for pistol rounds, the P250 has superior damage and armour penetration over the starter pistols, making it a strong tool in opening rounds as well as eco rounds, later on.
Best utilised by players proficient in tapping rather than spamming, its small magazine and reserve ammo are slightly larger than that of the USP-S, rendering it a smart choice over a Glock-18 on T-side.
Providing openings for players to land longer-range headshots, the P250 can be purchased by both teams and can deal considerable damage on armoured opponents at certain ranges.
Despite its late-2017 nerf that removed its fatal one-tap headshot abilities, at just $300 the P250 can still provide solid results over the course of a match.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 123
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 95
Clocking in at $500, the CZ75-Auto is the only fully automatic pistol in CS:GO.
Purchasable by both teams, replacing the Five-SeveN on CT-side and the Tec-9 on T-side, this pistol has even higher armour penetration than every SMG in the game, making it incredibly powerful in capable hands.
However, with only twelve rounds in its magazine and the same in reserve, this weapon only proves to be lethal for the most disciplined players, with the best results occuring at close ranges.
Strong recoil and and a high rate of full-auto fire make this one difficult to control, yet as demonstrated by countless pro players, once mastered a few accurate shots with the CZ can end a round in no time.
Don’t let the low kill award deter you from picking this weapon. Use the CZ to kill enemies and take their dropped weapons.
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- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 249
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 232
At $700, the Desert Eagle (commonly referred to as the Deagle) is reserved only for those who are extremely confident in their aiming ability.
No other pistol in the game has similar damage output compared to the Deagle when fired at a distance. This pistol has a high learning curve though, as a single missed shot can prove to be costly thanks to the weapon’s high recoil and low rate of fire.
Of all the pistols listed in this guide, the Deagle is the only one we would not recommend using during the early rounds of a match.
The extremely high price of the Deagle places it firmly as a mid-late game option for those hoping to snatch a round against armoured opponents.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 104
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 61
The perfect follow-up after a successful pistol round, the MP9 serves as the cheapest SMG on the CT-side.
Often praised for its high rate of fire alongside its notable movement and jump accuracy, the MP9 can land one-hit headshots on unarmoured opponents, cementing it as a reliable early-game weapon.
Quickly peaking, sending out a short burst of fire and then resuming your initial position can prove infuriating for approaching Ts, and with that tasty 200% kill award weighing in at $600 per elimination, players will want to maximise their ‘spray and pray’ action with this weapon.
Fast reload times and a sufficient reserve of ammo also make the MP9 a viable option for ‘rush’ rounds.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 120
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 92
A welcome addition for those times when you can’t quite afford an AK-47, the Galil AR can prove to be sufficient for those awkward rounds when the entire team is a bit strapped for cash. With a high rate of fire and respectable armour penetration power, the Galil is well worth its $2,000 price tag.
Falling slightly short of fatal headshots on armoured opponents, close range interactions are usually won via spraying, whereas long-range engagements require sensible taps with this weapon.
While the Galil will never be a player’s first choice, it is perfectly capable of winning force-buy rounds, enabling players to upgrade to an AK shortly afterwards.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 120
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 84
Early on in the game when both teams are unable to purchase their preferred assault rifles, the FAMAS is usually the go-to choice for CTs.
The FAMAS is the only assault rifle in the game to feature the three round burst ability. Activating the burst fire mode makes the FAMAS more accurate and reduces recoil, though you need to be sure your shot is going to hit because there is a much bigger delay when firing compared to the full-automatic mode.
The FAMAS may not stack up compared to the main assault rifles, but it will certainly put in work against opponents wielding pistols and SMGs.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 143
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 111
The AK-47 has two major things going for it compared to the CT’s counterpart assault rifle: it can instantly kill an enemy regardless of whether they are equipped with armour or not, and it costs $400 less.
The AK’s damage output is so high that you should be able to take down an enemy with four bullets - one bullet less than the CT’s M4A4.
Utilising the AK’s high first shot accuracy, players can safely use this weapon at a variety of distances without having to worry about their shots missing the target. Missing your target forces the player to adjust to the AK’s heavy upwards recoil.
Fortunately, this can be corrected by moving your mouse in the direction of the spray pattern. The ability to instantly kill armoured players is the reason why you’ll find CTs dropping their M4s for AKs - it is seriously that powerful!
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 131
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 92
The M4A4 may lack the ability to instantly kill an armoured enemy with a headshot, but it makes up for this in a number of ways.
Unlike most of the assault rifles in CS:GO, the M4A4 is incredibly accurate when fired at a distance. This high accuracy, coupled with average recoil allows the M4A4 to shine when burst fired at a distance.
While a headshot may not be enough to kill enemies with armour, firing off a burst of three bullets should be accurate enough to compensate for the lack of damage. CTs looking for a stealthier option can opt for the M4A1-S.
What the M4A1-S lacks in magazine capacity, it more than makes up for it with the built-in silencer which reduces recoil and increases accuracy.
Be careful when trying to shoot through certain walls and boxes with the M4A1-S though, as the lack of ammunition forces you to consider every shot you make.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 459
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 448
Widely regarded as the most iconic and deadly sniper rifle in the game, AWPers are either greatly respected, or mercilessly criticised for their skills with this weapon.
While dealing four-fold lethal headshots on both armoured and unarmoured opponents sounds very appealing, hitting a shot anywhere except for a players legs will eliminate them, making body shots the preferred target for most players.
Equipped with a scope that allows you to zoom twice by tapping right-click, this weapon is intended for stationary shots, taken at range.
AWPers will often lurk in areas with lots of cover, as each shot is followed by a bolt-cycle animation, leaving players open to reactionary fire.
The AWP’s hefty price tag makes it a choice for only the most confident players. They'll often have to actively save up in the rounds leading up to the purchase, making it detrimental to a team’s economy, if lost.