Everything you need to know about crosshair placement in CSGO

Nick J. June 8, 2020

If there's one thing that advanced players could tell themselves when they first started playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it might be to focus on better crosshair placement.

That's all fine and good to say to a player when they're first starting out, but it's a vague statement to make in a game where there is so much more to learn. Some beginners don't even know what good crosshair placement means, let alone how to practice it.

Crosshair placement does take practice, but before a player can practice a good habit, they have to understand if their existing habits are bad. Here are a few examples of poor crosshair placement and the reasons behind why they're bad. 

Best crosshair placement for CSGO players and beginners

Every player has had that moment when they've been taken out as soon as they entered a bombsite or instantly deleted when they turn a corner. The problem is even more frustrating when the player sees the enemy first, but still loses the duel. There are two main reasons why this happens.

The first reason is because the player was prefired. CSGO players throw this term around often, but many don't know what it means. Without going too deep into it, it simply means firing at an angle where the player thinks the enemy will be, even before they actually see the enemy. These cues typically come from sound, but the instant kill comes from good crosshair placement

The second factor is generally that the enemy had excellent crosshair placement. If players really want to improve, this is among the first things they'll need to work on.

Consider this situation:

It's a late-round two versus two on Mirage. There isn't much time left, so the two remaining attacking players decide to move towards the A bombsite. The defenders have also gambled on protecting A, placing themselve within the bombsite defenisvely. One CT player has pushed up in an aggressive stance on ramp and is waiting in the corner in this position.

As shown by the highlighted green area, when and if the CT player has to adjust his aim, it's in an up or down direction. These shots, especially considering the small chokepoint in T ramp, mean that the defender has an automatic advantage if the T player doesn't hard clear them with utility.

CSGO attackers have to clear sites, so they must have good crosshair placement

When the Ts come around the corner, they have many more areas to worry about. They have to think about the ramp corner, but also stairs, close CT corner, and even on top of the flowerpot. This means that when they come around the corner, their crosshair might not be anywhere near where the defender actually is.

The only way the T survives in this situation is through a crazy flick or a major adjustment to their crosshair placement. The attacker in the image above isn't looking at anything in particular as they make their entrance, putting them at an immediate disadvantage.

Their crosshair is in the middle of the screen, where no enemy will be found. And when they turn the corner, they'll have to contend with a CT player than already know's they're coming. Good crosshair placement by the attacking T player could nulify the defender's position.

How to improve your CSGO crosshair placement

If the attacker hugs the wall and swings their aim around the corner, aiming ahead of time at where that sneaky CT player is most likely to be, they've almost won their team the round already.

The map itself can help players to align better align their aim. The line on the wall on the right-hand side of the screen is just one of many ways that CSGO maps give hints to players on where to aim. The line on the wall isn't there to make Mirage pretty. It's there as a cue to aid players in aiming their shots before their take a peek.

This is just one example. Luckily, crosshair placement is an easy concept to work on. The hard part is always remembering to do it. Many times, newer players instinctively move their crosshair to the ground because it allows tohm to see more of the screen when their weapon is angled downward. But there are some helpful console commands in CSGO that can circumvent this problem.

Our coverage of CSGO's viewmodel commands can help with moving the game's weapons out of the way, allowing players to be able to see more of the battlefield than ever before. After that, it's just a matter of making sure a player continuously pays attention to where their crosshair is at all times. If it's not pointing towards where an enemy could be, they've still got some work to do.

There are custom maps available just for this purpose. Steam user YPRAC has releaded several maps on the Steam CSGO workshop that allow players to walk through a map and prefire common angles, teaching them exactly where their crosshair should be at all times.  Maps such as these are invaluable for both beginners and veterans, but they can really help new CSGO players to get over some of their worst habits at the beginning of their time in CSGO. The full collection of YPRAC's practice maps can be found here.