Our guide to the best pistols in CS:GO covers the advantages and drawbacks of every weapon in this category.
With the recent changes to both the CZ75-Auto and the Tec-9, the title for best pistol in CS:GO is once again up for grabs.
There’s a risk versus reward when deciding which pistol to purchase, especially during the early rounds of the game. Picking a pistol is nowhere near as straightforward as buying an assault rifle, even amongst professional players.
Each pistol has its own set of strengths and weaknesses which we aim to cover in this guide. By reading it, you should have a better understanding of when you should be looking to purchase each pistol over the course of a game.
This article contains additional reporting by Christian Vaz
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 123
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 95
- PRICE: $500
After the Tec-9 nerfs back in August 2017, the CZ75-Auto has been widely regarded as the best pistol in CS:GO. New players may not be aware though that in order to use the CZ75-Auto, you’ll need to replace the Tec-9 on Terrorst [T] side and the Five-SeveN on Counter Terrorist [CT] side.
As the only fully-automatic pistol in the game, the CZ75-Auto is perfect at taking down enemies who have a great economy. When you are fighting against a team fully equipped with assault rifles, it can be difficult to survive when using standard pistols. With the CZ75-Auto though, you wield a pistol with a similar damage output to that of an assault rifle for only $500.
It’s difficult to talk about the CZ75-Auto’s weaknesses because it only really has a few downsides, and they are very minor in the grand scheme of things.
The main issue with the CZ75-Auto is the disappointing amount of ammo it holds. With only twenty-four bullets in total (twelve in each clip), you really don’t have much room for error when using this weapon.
The rate of fire on this gun is incredibly fast, so if you plan on shooting then you have to be willing to bet your life on it. This isn’t an exaggeration - the reload speed of the CZ75-Auto is slower than every pistol in the game. If you get caught reloading this weapon in the middle of a firefight, don’t expect to live much longer.
In 1v1 scenarios, the CZ75-Auto can hold its own, giving you the opportunity to steal your enemy’s primary weapon. Running into several enemies can cause problems though, as your twelve bullets may not be enough to keep you alive.
Your gameplan with the CZ75-Auto is simple: kill a fully equipped enemy and steal their weapons. There’s a reason why the kill award for this gun is a paltry $100, the value from this weapon comes from picking up freebies from enemies.
At a high level, the CZ75-Auto’s lack of bullets can be compensated for incredibly accurate shots.
Taking into consideration how strong the recoil is on this weapon, it goes to show how powerful the CZ75-Auto can be in the right hands. New players will want to steer clear of the CZ75-Auto at first though, as it takes a while to get to grips with this unique pistol.
The most recent patch altered the CZ75-Auto, giving it a much needed nerf to the gun’s effectiveness at a distance. Despite this, it is still arguably the most powerful pistol in the game.
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- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 140
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 70
- PRICE: $200
You may be inclined to swap out a starter pistol for something that does more damage, but there are plenty of times where it makes sense to hang on to your default weapon.
In the case of the USP-S, you won’t find a more accurate pistol that packs a critical punch when headshotting unarmoured enemies.
The equipped silencer not only helps to keep your shots off the enemy team’s radar, it also lowers the recoil of the pistol and increases the accuracy. While you do have the option to take the silencer off of the USP-S, this is not something you should ever do as you lose all of the benefits without gaining anything in return. If you desperately want to remove the silencer from the USP-S, consider switching to the P2000 in your loadout.
When it comes to the first round, in almost every scenario it's worth hanging on to your USP-S instead of purchasing a different pistol. In the first round every player starts with only $800, meaning you are unable to purchase the Kevlar Vest and Helmet. As a result, if you land a headshot with the USP-S in this round, your shot will always result in a one hit kill.
By the second round, every player should have enough money to purchase armour which makes the USP-S much less effective.
The obvious downsides to the USP-S has to be in its low ammo capacity. Just like the CT exclusive M4A1-S, you need to make every bullet count as it could soon be your last. Featuring only thirty-six bullets (twelve in each clip), the USP-S lacks the freedom of other pistols like the Five-SeveN or the Glock-18 where you are able to shoot without fearing your gun may run out of ammo.
Don’t let the negatives dissuade you from keeping the USP-S if you appreciate the high accuracy of this weapon, as it is unrivaled when compared to the other weapons in this price range. It may require more shots to the head in order to score a kill, but the high accuracy will help to land those additional hits.
The following video by YouTuber TheWarOwl contains a huge amount of information about using Pistols in CS:GO and it's highly recommended that you watch the whole thing.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 118
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 55
- PRICE: $200
One of the most terrifying sights you have to deal with as a CT is watching five Ts rush a bombsite equipped with nothing but Glock-18s and grenades. Though the Glock-18 is weaker than the CT’s counterpart pistol, the sheer amount of bullets available (one hundred and twenty in total, with twenty bullets in a single clip) is enough to overwhelm most unprepared teams.
The Glock-18’s biggest strength comes from the low amount of recoil, coupled with the surprisingly high rate of fire. It may take four or five shots to take down an enemy, but landing consecutive body shots with this weapon shouldn’t be an issue even for inexperienced players.
Using the Glock-18, you have the option of enabling the pistol’s burst-fire mode by pressing the right click button. In burst-fire mode, the Glock-18 shoots out three bullets with a single click. New players might think burst-fire mode is the only way to go with this weapon, however, we would recommend using this option sparingly as the shots have a large delay between bursts.
Similarly to the USP-S, the effectiveness of the Glock-18 dramatically decreases as the rounds go on. Against armoured opponents, the number of bullets it takes to kill an enemy almost doubles.
Ts have the advantage of having cheaper weapons than CTs, so use this to your advantage by spending your money carefully. Invest in a better pistol after spending the majority of your money on a strong primary weapon like the AK-47.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 151
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 96
- PRICE: $300
At $300, the P250 offers a nice damage upgrade from both the USP-S and the Glock-18. This semi-automatic pistol is best used by players who find it difficult to land kills with the Glock-18 on T-side, as it is superior in almost every way - aside from the ammo reserve. Sporting thirteen bullets in each clip for a total of thirty-nine bullets, the P250 forces players to think carefully about every shot they make.
The P250 works best when tapping in bursts as opposed to mindlessly spamming left click, as the weapon’s accuracy drops considerably when shots are fired out in quick succession. From a distance, the P250’s ability to headshot unarmoured opponents shows its value against CT’s, especially on pistol rounds.
Consider purchasing the P250 when you are forced into eco rounds, particularly when you find yourself having to play at close angles. The increased damage of the P250 at short distances helps when you find yourself having to level the playing field against your opponents.
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- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 130
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 118
- PRICE: $500
Having recently undergone a number of adjustments, the Tec-9 may now be a more attractive option for players on T-side. Now sporting reduced fire inaccuracy, an improved accuracy recovery rate and performing better at medium ranges, this pistol is once again a viable, reasonably-priced T-side option.
Known for its success as a ‘rush’ weapon, the semi-automatic Tec-9 has a high rate of fire, which often leads to players blasting through their first clip as they storm onto a bombsite.
Continuous fire previously resulted in considerable inaccuracy thanks to the pistol’s high recoil. Consequently, many players abandoned this weapon in favour of the P250 which is $200 cheaper. That said, the Tec-9 is surprisingly accurate when tap-fired and reaps far better results when the player is stationary.
Proving to be incredibly effective up-close and now noticeably better at medium ranges, the Tec-9 can deal lethal damage to both armoured and unarmoured targets. For many, its recoil may be too severe however, with a decent sized magazine and large ammo reserve (one hundred and eight bullets in total with eighteen per clip), there’s no risk of running out of ammo mid-round.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 249
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 232
- PRICE: $700
Picked by many and mastered only by a few, the Desert Eagle (commonly referred to as the Deagle) is a popular choice, despite being a risky pick.
At $700, this is the most expensive pistol in CS:GO, capable of eliminating an armoured opponent in a single headshot. Praised for its high damaging abilities at range, the Deagle has alarmingly high stationary accuracy, making it the perfect weapon for standing still and taking one destructive shot.
Balanced by its low rate of fire and high recoil, this pistol is not the best option for newcomers though. If you’re picking the Deagle you should be well-versed in taking calculated, sensible shots that rely on trained accuracy.
Spamming left-click will not save you with this pistol, and will most likely result in your death. Harbouring forty-two bullets in total and just seven per clip, you won’t want to waste a single one of these.
However, if your reactions and crosshair placement are on point, the Deagle gives you the ability to clean up a round quickly.