csgo crosshair

What is “Good” Crosshair Placement? A CS:GO Guide

In this guide, we talk about the basics of proper crosshair placement in CSGO, along with examples from professional players showcasing its effectiveness in gunfights.

It’s a 1v1 situation, you plant the bomb, and immediately make way to your favorite post-plant position, waiting for your moment to strike. In many ways, this is a fifty-fifty situation. Someone is going to win, and no matter what you do, you might lose. The bomb gets tapped, you swing for the peek, but your opponent isn’t anywhere close to your crosshair and you don’t have the time to flick for the instant headshot. The round’s over, and you lose your fifty-fifty duel.

It’s a situation we have all been in, a clutch lost, an easy aim duel blown because your opponent is set up better. It can feel unfair, but in a lot of situations your chances can be completely ruined because of one simple yet important flaw: your crosshair placement. In a lot of instances, even the microsecond it takes to readjust your crosshair can either mean a win or loss in the round. So let's talk about it.

“Good” Crosshair Placement Defined

If you’ve read a single guide about aim in CS:GO I am more than sure you’ve heard the phrase “crosshair placement” a million times. And while this may get repetitive, it truly is one of the most vital individual mechanics one must learn to improve their game. But if you aren’t privy to the importance of crosshair placement, or just need a refresher, we’ll define it here. Crosshair placement is the art of visualizing where your opponent will be when you peek or will get peeked, allowing you place your crosshair in the most effective position possible, allowing you to make getting your kill as easy as possible without just flicking your mouse all around a bombsite. It is often that you see that good “crosshair placement” will be misinterpreted as having good “aim” or vice-versa. It is important to understand their difference in order to properly practice both things well.

Set Yourself Up for Success (or Failure)

The largest positive of good crosshair placement is the ease it puts on your gunfight. CS:GO is purposefully a very complicated game, meaning you have a lot to focus on and master including your gun mechanics. Good crosshair placement lets you focus on sprays and proper nade usage, allowing for a nice base to build the rest of your mechanics off of. Knowing that you don’t have to worry about your crosshair can make the mental exercise of CS:GO a little more manageable. Essentially, there are only so many ways I can say that it makes your life easier.

Peeking vs. Being Peeked

Generally when we think of crosshair placement, we think of it when we are either peeking around a corner to take a fight, or setting up on an angle to take a fight. When peeking at an angle, good crosshair placement allows you to visualize where you expect your opponent to be holding, allowing you to be prepared for the fight before they are. You can see an example of this from Astralis player “Xyp9x” below:

You’ll notice that with each jiggle peek, he is pre-aiming his crosshair to be placed exactly where he expects the enemy to be when he peeks the angle. And while he doesn’t take a gunfight in this scenario, you can see how this crosshair placement is essentially engraved into his mechanics.

Now the opposite example comes from when you’re the one holding an angle and the enemy comes to you, instead of you having to clear them. The same thought process applies here, although reversed. Instead of constantly pre-aiming the areas where you expect your opponent to be holding, you place your crosshair and visualize the way that the enemy will peek into, therefore eliminating the need to flick or readjust.

You can see an example of this from ex-BIG IGL “gob b” here:

While some slight crosshair adjustment and overall movement is still required, this is a perfect example of how effective this particular skill can be. With each kill, his crosshair stays planted exactly in the area he expects the next enemy to run out in, even giving himself a lot of space between the corner as he expects the player to swing out wide. Because of this, these kills look incredibly easy, and make for a very clean round and near perfect couple of kills.

Reality of Perfect Placement

But unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and while I can talk days about the necessity of great and effective crosshair placement, sometimes life just isn’t fair and no matter how well you are set-up, sometimes you just need to have a better aim. Especially when you take into account several factors that are out of your control, whether that be ping difference, resolution difference or an unfortunate timing. While crosshair placement is an important skill, it doesn’t always excuse just having bad aim or a bad spray. Even the smartest CS:GO players can be the victim of a quick headshot, so don’t let that be a catalyst to stop implementing good crosshair placement. You should use the placement of your crosshair as a good base, not as an excuse to win or lose gunfights.

The Effect of Utility

Now while good crosshair placement makes your life a whole lot easier, you can increase your chances of winning that gunfight with great utility as well. We have talked here before about what “good” utility looks like, and that same mindset can be applied here. You can use your utility to lower the amount of angles you need to prepare for, and essentially just turns CS:GO into a series of decision making, all leading up to the moment when you need to frag. For example, CT side players will see the effect of this thought process the most, as being able to set up in a position knowing that all of the other entrances are covered leads to a position of comfort that allows you to get kills as easily as possible. That is the biggest thing you can take away from this guide, make the kill as easy as possible for yourself before it arrives so all you have to do is click mouse one.

Don’t Overthink It

A critical thing to understand when practicing and implementing good crosshair placement is to not overthink it, as it defeats the purpose of the concept in the first place. Crosshair placement is a skill that expressly takes pressure off of your gunfights to make them easier, so a key point of practice should be to grow comfortable with where to sit your crosshair to where it becomes second nature. You want good crosshair placement to be something that is a part of your CS:GO tool set, rather than a trick that gets you a few kills. Like I’ve said already in this article, use good crosshair placement to make your life easier, not harder. Simply put, don’t overthink it.


There are several great ways and resources to practice crosshair placement, many of these resources are also recommended for practicing aim, and several players most likely already have many of these resources already. Aim maps like Aim Botz, CSGOHUB or something more specific like aim_beat are all great choices that include their own specific options for practicing crosshair placement. I personally train this during my own warmups by focusing on it during regular Deathmatch sessions. I connect to my DM server of choice, and warmup on one or two maps where I completely focus on where I am placing my crosshair at all times, so when I play my first match of the day, a lot of it becomes second nature.

Implementing Practice

Just like aim, crosshair placement is a muscle that needs to be trained slowly over time until you see results. So it should be understood that good crosshair placement won’t exactly produce forty kill games right off the bat, but keeping in mind where your crosshair rests at all times makes for a healthy habit that can elevate and further develop your own unique playstyle. It is also very important that you at least get one actual game in right after you practice your crosshair placement, as the practice arena doesn’t always make for the most accurate recreation of a real-game scenario.


Now talking about crosshair placement here only scratches the surface of proper game mechanics, and in no way is this meant to be the definitive answer to the crosshair placement debate. Each player is different, some might hold wide angles to make up for slower reaction times, or some might hold really tight because they know they can get the kill quick. Some don’t even rely on the placement of their crosshair and just focus on having flicky aim. But what I would argue, is that any player who has great aim at least demonstrates some form of proper crosshair placement.

Having great crosshair placement can make for an excellent foundation to build upon, and can be an important first step for you to master CS:GO.

Related articles