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Burst, or burst-fire, is when a player fires only a few rounds at a time (usually two or three rounds with hand held weapons.)

Types of Burst-firing

Bursts as a Firing Tactic

Firing a fully-automatic weapon continuously will decrease accuracy significantly and waste ammunition, especially at medium or long ranges. By tapping the "Fire" button, it is possible to place a few shots of relatively accurate fire. Firing a short burst of just a few shots allows the recoil and accuracy to reset, improving overall accuracy at long ranges. This tactic is particularly important for weapons with particularly harsh recoil such as the AK-47.

Some bots will fire their primary weapon in bursts (except the M249) when encountering enemies at medium range. However, in easy mode, they will always spray bullets at their enemies, except in CS:S and CS:GO where bots will fire in short bursts at long ranges.

Bursts as a Firing Option

The FAMAS and the Glock have the option to be fired in Burst Fire mode. The "Alternate Fire" button switches between Automatic and Burst Fire modes. When in Burst Fire mode, these weapons fire 3 rounds with each click of the primary fire button. These rounds have little to no recoil between them and have a very high first shot accuracy, making them quite accurate and a good way of scoring multiple headshots. For the Glock, this can allow users to quickly kill an enemy target who has a more powerful weapon at short range. For the FAMAS, this can allow a player to score headshots at very long ranges.

Unlike in previous installments, simply holding down the primary attack key when firing in burst mode was removed in Source. Only one burst is fired per trigger pull.

In Global Offensive, a distinctive sound is heard when switching from automatic to burst and vice versa.

Unlike full-auto firing, burst-firing does not use a preset table of recoil values. Instead, the recoil of every single shot is randomized within a certain low and predictable region, making it impossible to truly compensate them but still easy to control.

Bots never use burst mode and instead, they fire their weapons slowly at long range. However, bots will use burst fire mode if they pick up a weapon up that was used by a human player if the firing mode was set in burst mode. If they do fire in burst mode, they will appear notably overpowered due to their fairly excellent accuracy.



  • Increased accuracy (depending on the weapon)
  • Conserves ammunition
  • Reduced recoil


  • Lower rate of fire
  • Increases the possibility of an enemy being able to dodge the bullets more easily, especially when they strafe to dodge bullets
  • Not useful against groups of opponents
  • Not effective when using at close range combat


  • If you are using assault rifles or machine guns to engage an enemy target at long range, always burst-fire in order to gain an instant kill. Alternatively, fire one shot at a time while aiming at the head to retain full accuracy, especially in Source where it is more effective.
  • When burst-firing, crouching will increase accuracy and lower recoil.
  • If an enemy player is attempting to strafe and dodge incoming fire, try to change the firing pattern and the amount of times in firing a weapon.

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