Feb 4th, 2024

Mastering Pistol Rounds in CS2: 8 Essential Tips for Victory

Discover how to dominate the opening of every match with our expert pistol round strategies for Counter-Strike 2.

Each Counter-Strike 2 match kicks off with a crucial pistol round, setting the stage for the game’s momentum. It’s the launchpad that starts every game, casual or competitive. With a win, you’re well poised to take control of the rest of the half. With a loss, you’re put onto the back foot immediately. Setting yourself up well for success in the pistol is key for the rest of your game.

There’s much more than meets the eye with pistol rounds. It’s not quite the same as a normal round of Counter-Strike and is often treated as its own unique event, with its own tactics and gameplay. At the same time, the T-side still has to plant a bomb, and the CT-side are trying to stop them all the same.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring 8 practical tips to improve your pistol rounds that you can implement in your game immediately.

Tip #1: Strength in Numbers

When playing a pistol round, using the buddy system is key to raising your win-rate. When a horde of Glock wielding enemies come busting down the door of your bomb site, having teammates there to assist you sounds like a no brainer. It goes a little deeper than that however.

Pros rarely ever engage alone in a pistol round, as seen in this game between NAVI and G2.

On the CT side, strength in numbers isn’t just about firepower; it’s about creating tactical advantages through coordinated plays. Having teammates there not only means additional firepower for you, but it means you have someone to play off of. Allowing your teammate to take first contact in an engagement before you jump into the fray allows for much easier frags. Some CT setups don’t allow for this, so you’re better off letting the T-sode take control and wait for reinforcements to arrive.

On the T side, this is much more cut and dry. Sticking with teammates allows for some immense firepower especially off the back of a quick utility set. With the one-shot ability of the CT pistol, you want to make it as hard as possible for them to get a clean shot on you, and giving them multiple targets to shoot at will greatly increases your chances of overrunning them.

Tip #2: Jump into choke points

Jumping around the corner of a key choke point or as you run through a smoke is key to winning more T side pistol rounds.

It’s a bit counterintuitive at first. We’re always told that the last thing you want to be caught doing when facing enemy contact is jumping, but this is one that’s truly key to opening up a bomb site or wrestling map control from CT-side. Whoever is the person up front is the person who should do this.

Essentially, what happens when you jump into a choke point instead of strafing in normally is you create a heaping amount of space for your teammates behind you, provided they’re spaced appropriately. From the CT perspective, their crosshair will be pulled off the angle they’re holding because of the jumping player, rendering them vulnerable for the follow-up from your teammates.

You could also employ this tactic on retakes on the CT side, as the script of offense and defense is flipped. However, the main reason why this works so well for the T-side is because of the inherent running accuracy of the Glock. Generally, keeping your feet moving and avoiding a stand-still duel with a USP-S or P2000 is how you have a more successful pistol round.

Tip #3: Dualies are better than you think

Player's view of the dual berettas in counter-strike 2.

Underutilized in casual play, Dual Berettas offer unexpected advantages, proving invaluable in the right hands.

They’re best used on the CT side, in tight chokepoints and with a teammate to bait. They’re obviously limited in accuracy, so keeping them close is how they’re going to be most effective. With that said, if faced with a retake scenario, keeping your feet moving is going to be the best strategy with these things. Don’t get into a crouch duel or a stand-still fight. They have decent running accuracy, so flying across your enemies screen is the go-to move if your initial setup doesn’t work out.

Employing the “raid boss” strategy is another great way to use the Dualies. Drop them for a teammate who purchases armor for themselves and you could be cooking with gas.

Tip #4: Cooperation is key

Strategize with your team before advancing; a planned approach on both sides enhances your win rates during pistol rounds.

If you’re solo, it’s sometimes hard to get other players to cooperate on quick notice. The best thing you can do on the CT side is find out who your bomb site partner is and give them one protocol to follow. For example, if you’re playing B, you could say to your site-mate “If they rush B, can you do ___?” It could be to let the T-side come out and take control, it could be to throw some utility they bought. But just that one protocol will help immensely.

Screengrab of a Faze vs Team Liquid Counter-Strike 2 game on Nuke.
Players on the T-side rarely ever engage alone during pistol rounds.

Taking this a step further, if you’re playing with friends it’s much easier to coordinate stuff like this. Having a plan for when your bomb site gets hit will surprise the enemy in PUGs and matchmaking, as most are not expecting a coordinated defensive effort.

On the T side, simply calling anything is better than nothing at all. We’ve all left spawn without having someone call a strategy, and that never ends well.

Tip #5: Buy utility with a purpose

If you’re going to buy a smoke and a kit, you better have a plan for how you’re going to use that smoke. Same applies for the T side.

On the T side, it’s fairly obvious why you buy utility. Smokes and flashes reign supreme, and while HEs and Molotovs can be effective in pistol round strategy, those are much more specialized and require a deeper tactic. Smokes on T-side pistol rounds are used to provide safe passage to a bomb-site and provide cover for the planter. Flashes are used to help close the distance and give the Glocks a more advantageous fight at closer ranges.

Screengrab of the Team Liquid vs Spirit match on Anubis
Smokes provided Team Liquid vital cover and forced Spirit to either push through it, or fall back.

On the CT side, defuse kits are not super common but it’s what I think of as a “luxury buy.” It’s one of those things that’s nice to have and if you want to opt for one instead of two flashes, it could be a good buy option. As far as other utility goes, unless you’re buying an incendiary for a specific choke point or flashes for an early/mid round flash play, I would opt for armor against Glocks, which have a propensity to chew through unarmored opponents quickly.

Without some kind of thought behind your utility, you’ll end up throwing it ineffectively or die without using it.

Tip #6: Play more pistol DM

Pistol DM is sometimes overlooked by players as an optional, supplemental activity to their other warm up. Playing more pistol DM will only improve your performance with them, especially if you find yourself going through a slump with pistols.

It’s not the most 1:1 activity for warming up pistols however, as players tend to get into strafe battles, tapping A and D over and over which doesn’t really happen too often in real game scenarios. It’s still useful practice, even if the duels are not terribly realistic.

Tip #7: Have a plan for your own position

Besides formulating a plan with others, you need to have a good idea of how you’re going to play your own position.

The positions you play with a rifle aren’t always appropriate to play on pistol rounds. You have a weapon that shoots one round at a time and isn’t accurate when firing shots in rapid succession. So this leaves us with two different kinds of favorable angles, especially on CT side. Those are angles that have good fallback positions, and angles that have cover.

Refrag's demo viewer showing a top down replay of the Ancient map in counterstrike2.
Everyone’s position is important in a match and your role should reflect that. As seen in our demo viewer.

On T side, being out in the open is unavoidable and as we touched on earlier, that’s why moving as a pack is important. But once the bomb is down and you’re in an after-plant, picking a spot that has some cover to peek out from behind is going to give you a greater chance of survival than a position that gives a CT a clear shot at you. Use cover to your advantage and also have a plan on where to go as the CT-side start retaking the bomb site.

The CT side is similar, playing a position with no fallback angles on pistol is a lot like doing the same thing with an AWP. You’ll get run down pretty quick if you don’t think about where to go after you get contact with the enemy. Giving yourself space to fall off may give the T-side more control, but you’re much stronger in numbers on pistol, and staying alive allows you to work with your teammates to pick off T-side after the dust settles on the initial fight for the bomb site.

Tip #8: Play Crossfire with pistols

You know about our Crossfire mode for being the best way to warmup and improve your aim with rifles, but did you know you can set it up for pistol practice as well? With a couple commands, you can start practicing your pistol aim with the same, industry-leading practice mod that’s used by pros to hone their rifle aim.

To do this, simply load up a Refrag server with the Crossfire mod on a map of your choice. To enable pistol only, type .pistol in the in-game chat. You can toggle bot armor on and off using .armor as well. You can begin warming up your pistols with the same realistic peeks and angles you’ve come to know with Crossfire.

Want to know how to start using crossfire effectively? Check out our article on how to get started with your Refrag subscription, it dives into Crossfire and NADR, our two most popular training modes.


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