The weapons in the Counter-Strike series form the basic framework for gameplay. Each weapon is split up into different categories based on their individual attributes.
The only melee weapon featured in the Counter-Strike games is the basic knife. The knife only works in very close range, but it is incredibly lethal and makes little noise.
The Machete, once planned to be a usable weapon, is seen by A.I Terrorists throughout the campaign of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes. This usable version was also cut from the original Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there is a Gold Knife exclusive to the Arms Race gamemode. However, its attributes remain exactly the same and is only used to signify the user's match position. In addition, several updates introduced knife variants:
- Butterfly Knife
- Falchion Knife
- Flip Knife
- Gut Knife
- Huntsman Knife
- M9 Bayonet
- Shadow Daggers
- Bowie Knife
Like the Gold Knife, they have the same attributes as the basic knife.
Pistols (also known as handguns or sidearms) are the secondary weapons in the Counter-Strike series, as well as the first weapons that can be used at the beginning of a match or upon respawning after death. Generally, pistols are weak when compared to primary weapons, with low recoil and low magazine capacity (however, the Night Hawk .50c/Desert Eagle is considered to be one of the most powerful weapons in the game). Despite these limitations, they are accurate and it is considered better to pull them out rather than reload any primary weapon due to their fast draw animation. Players will run at default speed using any pistol, Global Offensive excluded. Most of the handguns have comparably fast reload times.
- 228 Compact (P228) - (replaced with the P250 in Global Offensive)
- Desert Eagle (Night Hawk .50c)
- Dual Berettas (.40 Dual Elites) - Terrorist exclusive (available to both teams in Global Offensive)
- Five-SeveN (ES Five-seven) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- Glock-18 (9x19mm Sidearm) - Terrorist default pistol (Terrorist exclusive in Global Offensive)
- K&M .45 Tactical (USP) - Counter-Terrorist default pistol (replaced with the P2000 in Global Offensive)
- CZ75-Auto - A new automatic pistol *
- P250 (replaces the P228 from previous games) *
- P2000 - Counter-Terrorist default (replaces the USP from previous games) *
- Tec-9 - Terrorist exclusive *
- USP-S - Counter-Terrorist exclusive (Global Offensive iteration of the USP featured in previous games) *
- R8 Revolver - A slow but extremely powerful handgun. *
Shotguns are a type of primary weapon featured in the Counter-Strike series. They are fairly cheap, costing less than most rifles and the M249. There are only two shotguns in Counter-Strike prior to Global Offensive: the Leone 12 Gauge Super, utilizing a pump action firing mode, and the Leone YG1265 Auto Shotgun, utilizing a semi-automatic firing mode. Both shotguns suffer from heavy speed and range reduction, as well as being useless at long range, but excel at close-quarters combat and can deal extreme damage up close. In Global Offensive, the Leone 12 Gauge Super was replaced by the Nova, and 2 other shotguns were introduced. Most shotguns cannot fire underwater.
- Leone 12 Gauge Super (Benelli M3)
- XM1014 (Leone YG1265 Auto Shotgun)
- MAG-7 - Counter-Terrorist exclusive *
- Nova (replaces the Leone 12 Gauge Super from previous games) *
- Sawed-Off - Terrorist exclusive *
Submachine guns (also known as personal defense weapons) are a type of primary weapon featured in the Counter-Strike series. They are extremely cheap, costing below $2500. Most submachine guns have a fast rate of fire, slight speed reduction, and low-moderate recoil, making them very good for short-distance combat. Unfortunately, submachine guns are outclassed by rifles at long range because the latter inflict more damage, have better armour penetration and are more accurate.
- K&M Sub-Machine Gun (MP5)
- MAC-10 (Ingram Mac-10) - Terrorist exclusive
- P90 (ES C90)
- Schmidt Machine Pistol (TMP) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- UMP-45 (K&M UMP45)
- MP7 - (replaces the MP5 from previous games) *
- MP9 - Counter Terrorist exclusive (replaces the TMP from previous games) *
- PP-Bizon *
Assault rifles are a type of primary weapon featured in the Counter-Strike series. The assault rifles featured in the Counter-Strike series are fairly expensive weapons with very high damage and recoil, but have relative speed reduction. Most assault rifles are equipped to fight enemy combatants at medium to long range. Some of the assault rifles have unique features such as the FAMAS's burst-fire option and the M4A1's removeable silencer.
- AK-47 (CV-47) - Terrorist exclusive
- AUG (Bullpup) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- FAMAS (Clarion 5.56) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- IDF Defender (Galil) - Terrorist exclusive
- Krieg 552 (SG 552) - Terrorist exclusive
- Maverick M4A1 Carbine (M4) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- Galil AR- Terrorist exclusive (replaces the IMI Galil from previous games) *
- M4A1-S - Counter-Terrorist exclusive (Global Offensive iteration of the Maverick M4A1 Carbine) *
- M4A4 - Counter-Terrorist exclusive (replaces the M4A1 from previous games) *
- SG 553 - Terrorist exclusive (replaces the SG 552 from previous games) *
Sniper rifles, as their name suggests, are made for extreme-range combat situations. In the Counter-Strike series, there are two types of sniper rifles: bolt-action sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles (nicknamed auto-snipers). The former inflict heavy damage at the cost of punishing inaccurate users, but the latter have a faster firing rate at the expense of lower damage. The Schmidt Scout, SSG 08, and the AWP are bolt-action rifles while the Krieg 550 Commando, SCAR-20, and the G3SG/1 are semi-automatic rifles.
- Schmidt Scout (Scout)
- AWP (Magnum Sniper Rifle)
- G3SG1 (D3/AU-1) - Terrorist exclusive
- Krieg 550 Commando (SG 550) - Counter-Terrorist exclusive
- SCAR-20 - Counter-Terrorist exclusive (replaces the SG 550 from previous games) *
- SSG 08 (replaces the Schmidt Scout from previous games) *
Machine guns are a type of primary weapon featured in the Counter-Strike series. As with sniper rifles, they are made for long-range heavy duty and defensive or suppression combat. Before Global Offensive, the M249 was the only machine gun in the multiplayer Counter-Strike games and was the most expensive weapon at $5750. The M249 is extremely heavy, although it has a fast firing rate and large magazine size. The M60 was expected to appear in the original Counter-Strike but was cut for unknown reasons. It later reappeared in the single-player campaign of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes. Furthermore, a mounted machine gun M2 Browning is available during the same campaign.
Eventually, the introduction of the Negev in Global Offensive brought the total number of available machine guns to two. This machine gun is considerably more deadly, due to its larger magazine capacity and higher rate of fire than the M249, but is slightly more expensive and less accurate.
† Exclusive to Deleted Scenes
* Exclusive to Global Offensive
Introduced alongside the Arms Deal in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, inspecting was added to give the player the ability to view a weapon from the inventory or while in-game. Only weapons can be inspected; the gold knife and all equipment cannot be inspected.
From the inventory screen a player's weapons can be inspected by right clicking on the weapon and selecting the inspect option. Doing so will play an animation of the stationary weapon within a display case, while the camera pans 180 degrees back and forth.
In-game, using the default key, [F] will play an animation of the player "inspecting" the weapon by looking at all sides before returning to the normal ready state. This animation is only visible to the player, and will not be seen by other players or spectators. Additionally, the player can fire the weapon at any point during the animation, causing it to immediately stop and switch to the firing animation.
Unlike other weapons, inspecting most shotguns while reloading will interrupt the animation. After the player is done inspecting (without firing), the reload animation will continue.
Inspecting a scoped rifle will not prevent a user from using the scope. Noteworthy, the player cannot inspect such weapons when scoped in.
Flipped weapon viewmodels
Counter-Strike is one of the earliest and most infamous examples of having weapon view models that appears to be weapons intended for left-hand use when used in the right hand mode, (and vice versa) despite having correct, right-handed world models.
In reality, most of the weapons featured in Counter-Strike do not have left-hand variants due to the majority of the users being right-handed. Even if they do exist, using a left-hand weapon with the right hand will cause many inconveniences, such as having the user being showered by the ejected cartridges due to the ejector port being on the left side. This can cause severe burns in real life as the ejected cartridges may fly towards the person who is using the weapon (in which this serious issue is reflected with left-handed infantry who had to wield weapons meant for right-handed individuals).
The cause of this is most likely due to the developer's preference to originally create left-handed view models instead of right-handed view models. The weapon models had always been modeled correctly for right-hand use, but left-handed view models were created before right-handed view models with these correct models. Due to the majority of the players being right-handed, players were confused by the left-handed view models. So the option of flipping the view model was added. In order to save time and resources, the right-handed view model is a mirror of the left-handed view model, thus causing the aforementioned problems.
The problem repeats in Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Source (though some weapons, such as the MAC-10, are correctly portrayed), and even in Left 4 Dead 2's International Weapons port of Source weapons. In Global Offensive, the problem is fixed - weapons are correctly shown in the right-handed mode, although the left-handed mode is still just a simple mirror of the right-handed mode.
- Weapons in retail versions of Counter-Strike would disappear if dropped on the ground and the round restarted. In older games, they would remain on the ground regardless thus players could retrieve a firearm from a killed player at the next round.
- If you hit secondary fire while a shotgun is reloading, the animation will pause.
- In older betas, discarding a weapon causes it to be lost permanently.
- Sometimes in Counter-Strike and Condition Zero, there is a bug where the player can carry more than one secondary or primary weapon. (However, some maps can also grant players this ability). If this bug occurs, the fast switch for that category will be disabled and require the player to select a weapon in that list, much like in Half-Life.
- If this bug occurs, the player cannot purchase ammo for the first weapon in that category; the player can only purchase ammo for the second weapon that he can get in the respective category. The only way to get ammo for the first weapon is by picking up a weapon from either primary or secondary. (If you have two secondary weapons, you will have to pick up a primary and vice versa (provided that the killed player doesn't have a primary weapon)).
- In Deleted Scenes only, the player can carry more than one primary and secondary weapon. However, unlike in Half-Life, if the player already has that weapon and the player attempts to pick up the same weapon, it won't give the player ammo unless the first same weapon has ran out of ammo. In that case, it will give the player the same new weapon with a single magazine.
- In Source and Global Offensive, it is possible to see the inactive weapons another player is equipped with on their models:
- The player's primary weapon is on the model's back.
- In Global Offensive, submachine guns are not placed on the model's back as a Counter-Terrorist. Instead, they are hung in front of the model's chest.
- The player's knife is hung on the model's belt in Global Offensive.
- In Source, players' secondary weapon is carried in a pistol holster.
- If the player has the Dual Berettas, that player will receive an extra pistol holster on the left leg. It will disappear when the player is killed or has dropped the weapons.
- In Global Offensive, as a Counter-Terrorist, the player's secondary weapon is in a pistol holster on the model's right leg. As a Terrorist, it is stuffed in the model's trousers from behind.
- The player's primary weapon is on the model's back.
- Most of the firearms in Counter-Strike were renamed possibly due to legal/licensing issues (e.g. the Desert Eagle becoming the Nighthawk .50C). The case continues in Source.
- In Global Offensive, most names of the firearms are now accurate, and the company names are simply omitted. However, all inscriptions bearing the company name present on weapon models are intentionally altered.
- Regardless of the player's choice of left-handed or right-handed viewmodels, all players wield the weapons right-handed in third-person view.
- In several beta maps like Forest, Desert, etc, there are mounted machine guns available. Due to serious balance issues with such guns, maps featuring them are removed.
- The inspect weapon animation is only visible to the player, Spectators and GOTV viewers in first person, but not in third person perspective.
- Additionally, the inspect weapon animation is only visible to the player in the first person view, and is not visible to the player when using a third person perspective.
- An outdated in-game tip incorrectly instructs the player to hold the inspect key to view the animation.
- In Global Offensive, all pump-action shotguns reuse the pump sound of the Pump Shotgun and the Chrome Shotgun from the Left 4 Dead series. Also, all weapons reuse the draw sounds from Left 4 Dead series' weapons as well.
- Most pistols' reloading animation involve the magazine dropping free instead of being taken out manually.
- In Global Offensive, the bullet icons representing the current number of bullets in the magazine are rifle bullets, regardless of the weapon used.
- Prior to Source, it was possible to fire most weapons even if their respective draw and reload animations had not completed. This was fixed in Source and Global Offensive.
- In Global Offensive, one can "fast-draw" right before the reload animation is complete. This is done by switching to another weapon and back when the ammunition counter has changed. It doesn't speed up the reload rate for all weapons but does help to get out of scope mode without having to cycle through the zoom (this only applies to bolt-action sniper rifles).
- In Global Offensive, bots do not purchase weapons that were added in updates. They can however use it after they were controlled by human players and the next rounds starts.
- Furthermore, in all games, bots do not use burst fire mode for the Glock-18 and the FAMAS. However, they do use it if these weapons were set to burst mode before bots retrieved them. In CS:GO, this can be done by controlling a bot and setting the weapon to burst mode. As a note, bots with the FAMAS rifle on burst mode will have a notable advantage at long ranges due to increased accuracy.
- Due to the way the weapons are animated and programmed in the Counter-Strike series, there are several notable discrepancies between how the weapons function in Counter-Strike and real life:
- Closed bolt weapons do not track an extra round in the chamber.
- Reloads always end with a cycle, even when such an act is unnecessary.
- Weapons do not lock back when all the rounds in the magazine were fired.
- In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, most weapons are cycled once when drawn (e.g. the slide on a pistol is pulled once, the pump on a pump-action shotgun is pumped once), but they do not eject a round when doing so.