Everything you need to know about sniper rifles in CS:GO.
Our CS:GO Sniper Rifles page contains a list of all the sniper rifles in the game and details price, damage and provides some tips, tricks and strategy advice too.
Sniper rifles may not be every player’s go-to weapon in CS:GO, but they have a significant impact in every match. Determining when to purchase a sniper rifle and which variant to opt for can be a difficult decision, particularly if you’re strapped for cash. With nearly every sniper rifle in the game being a viable option, we’ve broken down the defining features of each sniper rifle, the best possible time to purchase them, as well as some pointers on how to use them.
This article contains additional reporting by Christian Vaz
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 352
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 299
- PRICE: $1700
As the cheapest sniper rifle in the game, the SSG 08 is a great pick for early rounds before you upgrade to an AWP, providing that you can score headshots consistently. It also fares well in force-buy rounds (a round where the team is forced to buy weapons in hopes of winning a round and boosting their economy) and can be a sufficient AWP substitute at points where you don’t have enough cash. This bolt-action sniper has a low rate of fire, but is still slightly better compared to the AWP. Weighing in at just $1700, you’ll nearly always be able to afford the SSG 08, and with its $300 kill reward, it’s definitely worth investing in some training with this weapon.
Dealing lethal damage to both armoured and unarmoured targets via headshots, the SSG 08 has surprisingly high penetration power for a weapon that costs so little. In rounds where you’re certain the opponents won’t have purchased armour, a shot to the stomach will also be lethal, resulting in a one-hit elimination. You won’t be able to score one-hit body shots on armoured targets though, as those are reserved for the AWP and its hefty price tag.
When used with the scope, this sniper rifle proves to be very accurate, however – we cannot stress how important it is to remain stationary when trying to take out enemies. The SSG 08’s accuracy greatly depletes with movement so you’ll want to find a safe spot in which to snipe other players. That said, with this weapon being so light, your movement speed will not be hindered while carrying it, meaning that you shouldn’t feel obligated to switch to your knife or pistol when traversing the map. With regards to no-scopes, this is certainly not the best weapon to try these with, unless you’re sure that the enemy has already been damaged or has not purchased armour. In scenarios where you find yourself in close quarters with the enemy, consider switching to your pistol instead.
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 459
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 448
- PRICE: $4750
The AWP (Arctic Warfare Police) is the sniper rifle that everyone wants to use, but throwing down a whopping $4750 on a weapon is incredibly steep and can have a detrimental impact when lost. The main factor that makes the AWP so desirable is its ability to deal high rates of damage in a single shot. Landing lethal shots on both unarmoured and armoured targets on every part of the body, excluding the legs, encountering an AWPer in a CS:GO match usually means that you’re out for that round. For this reason, AWPers are able to focus on the largest part of the enemy’s bodies (the torso), rather than their heads to maximise their chances of confirming a kill.
Featuring a scope that enables players to zoom twice, the AWP is best used at long-ranges, giving the AWPer plenty of time to duck behind cover and avoid getting sprayed down by enemy assault rifles. Experienced players looking to show off their skills may also enjoy performing impressive no-scopes with this weapon, providing that their reactions are on point. While these moments are exciting and incredibly satisfying, it’s worth knowing how risky these types of maneuvers are. Due to the AWP’s size and weight, it significantly slows players down if they try to move while carrying it. As you’d expected, moving with the AWP is also a bad idea as it’s accuracy is greatly reduced when the handler is on the move. For optimal performance, use this sniper rifle while stationary and close to cover to give yourself time to dodge reactionary fire while you wait for the bolt-action reload animation.
While the AWP encapsulates a number of factors that make it so desirable, having the ability to take out enemies instantly comes at a price, and that isn’t just in relation to the weapon’s price tag. The kill award for the AWP is a measly $100, meaning that as an AWPer, you’ll need to retain the weapon for a number of rounds in order to make it a worthwhile purchase. In many cases, taking the AWP out of your enemy’s hands is preferable and will save your team’s economy, while crippling the opposing side’s. It’s often necessary for players to save for a few rounds in order to build up their economy so that they can purchase an AWP, which proves exactly how much of a commitment being an AWPer is.
The Role of the Auto Sniper
There’s an unwritten rule in competitive CS:GO where specific weapons feel like they are prohibited. No matter what rank you are, buying either of the two auto snipers will draw some attention from both your opponents and your teammates. We discussed this in previous guides in regards to the AUG and SG 553, but the same principle applies to the auto snipers. Compared to the AWP, it’s difficult to justify spending the extra money on a sniper rifle with added functionality that doesn’t impact the game.
A large portion of the CS:GO community will never consider purchasing the auto snipers due to the backlash they may receive from other players, however, there are instances where the constant pressure from these weapons can be helpful. In addition to this, at lower ranks (Nova and below), the auto snipers can be maddening to players who are unable to counter it. If you are looking for a way to frustrate your opponents as you make your way through the ranks, these weapons will certainly accomplish that job with ease:
- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 319
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 263
- PRICE: $5000
Coming in at $5000, the SCAR-20 is the only automatic sniper rifle available to CTs. Sporting the ability to fire bullets continuously, the SCAR-20 remains a favourite amongst new players. The SCAR-20’s high rate of fire ensures considerable damage when hit almost anywhere, and featuring a reasonable amount of recoil, it’s easy to see why new players love this weapon so much. As with every sniper rifle in the game, using the SCAR-20 without scoping in will result in the accuracy dropping significantly. When used correctly, this weapon is excellent at pinning down enemies from a distance.
In theory, this weapon should be better than the AWP thanks to it being automatic, however, it’s biggest flaw is that it is unable to one-hit kill with a body shot to an enemy. This flaw is something that the AWP does not have, making the SCAR-20 less favourable when it comes to choosing a sniper rifle. An advantage the SCAR-20 does have over the AWP is the ability to takedown enemies at a close range. Though we don’t recommend using this weapon without scoping, if you stand still you can use the SCAR-20 similarly to a regular assault rifle. Bear in mind, it won’t be as good, but as a last resort option things could be a whole lot worse.
While it may seem rare that the enemy team rushes a bombsite without any planning, it does happen from time to time, and for this reason you need to be prepared. The best use for the SCAR-20 has to be countering these bombsite rushes as a CT. This tactic is used even at the highest level of CS:GO play, however, it is an option used sparingly due to the SCAR-20’s huge price tag.
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- HEADSHOT DMG (UNARMOURED): 319
- HEADSHOT DMG (ARMOURED): 263
- PRICE: $5000
There’s a time and a place for almost every weapon in CS:GO… except for this weapon. Yet we’ve still noticed an alarming number of players purchase this weapon in Competitive matches.
The G3SG1 on T-side is identical to the CT’s SCAR-20 with the exception that you can buy different skins for either weapon. Honestly, there is very little reason to purchase this weapon as it actively goes against everything you want to do as a T. You should be looking to take over bombsites and cover them, and though this may be handy for defending a bombsite after planting the bomb, you actually need to plant the bomb first. Buying a $5000 automatic sniper rifle isn’t the most helpful thing you could do to help your team.
We could make the argument that you may actively be sabotaging your team by purchasing this weapon. On the off-chance that you die while holding this weapon, you’ve inadvertently given the CT’s a huge gift that will benefit their team more than it will your own. The G3SG1 suits the CT’s purposes more than it does the T’s as you aren’t looking to defend areas as a T.
All in all, the G3SG1 is actually a good weapon, just not for particularly suited to the T-side. While entry fraggers may be able to secure a few early picks with this sniper rifle, it’s an incredibly luxurious purchase that is usually only employed if you’re crushing the other team. New players may feel like they need the added benefit of being able to fire off several bullets within a short amount of time, but it may be worth spending the extra time learning how to use the AWP instead. Better yet, why not pick up the SG 553 now that it has reduced in price? It might not be a sniper rifle but it accomplishes roughly the same goals without costing almost a third of your maximum economy.