A headshot is a direct shot to the head dealing approximately 400% of the weapon's base damage, usually resulting in an instant kill or massive damage to the target. Due to the small size of the player's head hitbox, landing a headshot is highly difficult, making headshots a challenge of the player's skill.
Most firearms (all firearms in Global Offensive) are capable of killing enemies without helmets instantly with a headshot. When a helmet is equipped however, the number of weapons capable of delivering a one-hit headshot kill is significantly reduced, but they are still capable of dealing high amounts of damage.
In addition, headshots produce a more distinct "dink" noise (with helmet) or splash sound (without helmet) compared to normal body shots. In Global Offensive, the headshot "dink" sound can only be heard by the player who scored the headshot..
Headshot kills have their own unique icon next to the weapon used in the kill feed. Before Counter-Strike 1.6, only the headshot icon appears if a player is killed by a headshot while the weapon does not appear next to it, after which the weapon icon appears alongside the headshot icon.
| Battle Sight Zero|
Kill 250 enemy players with headshots.
| Safety First|
Survive a shot to the head because you had the good sense to wear a helmet.
| Head Shred Redemption|
Kill 5 enemy players with headshots in a single round.
- Servers running custom sounds may signify a headshot kill with the "HEADSHOT" Unreal Tournament sound, or the famous "BOOM! HEADSHOT!" quote from "FPSDoug."
- In GoldSrc Counter-Strike games, even if a player isn't killed by weapons, there is a small chance that the console says it's a headshot. Example methods: committing suicide by jumping from higher ground or with HE grenade or environmental obstacles like an elevator, drowning in water, inputting bot_kill command in the console (if playing with bots), etc.
- In GoldSrc Counter-Strike games, if a player is killed with a headshot without a helmet at higher places (such as the security room in Assault), heavy blood sprites will appear.
- In the Counter-Strike, the headshot icon displayed appears to be a ski-masked head (or the head of a Phoenix Connexion member) with a bullet piercing through the head.
- The icon in Counter-Strike: Source appears to be a Phoenix Connexion head with a bullet penetrating into the side of the head.
- Even if the "Friendly Fire" option is disabled in GoldSrc games, the sparks will still appear when a player fires a bullet at a teammate who is wearing a helmet. In Source games, if a player shoots at a teammate who is not wearing a helmet, the impact will still disorientate the victim.
- Despite being unable to deal headshots, a grenade will still create the "plink" headshot sound if blast damage is done to the head.
- In GoldSrc games, if the player is shot in the head but survives, a blood spitting sound can be occasionally heard.
- In GoldSrc games, when players are killed by a headshot, dying sounds can be heard. This is not present in Source.
- Prior to Global Offensive, the Glock-18, Five-SeveN were the only weapons incapable of killing an unarmored player with a headshot at any range.