To aim well. To hit the enemy’s character with great accuracy. These are two of the most important skills you can possess in Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer.
And in theory, it’s oh so simple – place the aim on the target, and pull the trigger.
In practice, it takes just a little bit more to become a Call of Duty topshot. You’ll walk away from this guide with a range of tips to help you on the path to improved aim and accuracy.
We’ll have to start with the technology. Changing just a couple of the game’s settings can affect the quality of your aim.
Turn off Vibrations
Playing with a controller? Does it vibrate when you shoot? Turn off the vibrations.
The little jolts you feel when you fire a weapon might contribute to your aim going slightly off target.
On to the great debate on sensitivity.
Let me explain what it is first, before we start raising our voices. ‘Cause not everyone knows what I’m talking about.
The sensitivity settings control the look mechanics, which are often placed in the right thumbstick. These settings determine how quickly you change your character’s directional sight – up, down, and to the sides.
- The higher the sensitivity, the quicker the movements.
- And the other way around – lower sensitivity makes the movements slower.
So what’s this got to do with aiming, right?
That’s why sensitivity matters.
When you play at a low sensitivity, it’s easier to place the reticle directly on target immediately.
Higher sensitivity increases the risk of overshooting when attempting to place the aim the first time. Then you’ll need to correct your aim, which costs you time and (in many cases) your character’s life.
- With high sensitivity, your character will be more flexible. But accurate placement of the aim point becomes harder.
- With low sensitivity, aiming becomes easier. But you’ll feel your character loses some of its flexibility.
Therefore, my advice is as follows:
- Start at a fairly low sensitivity. Play a couple of matches with this setting.
- Then, adjust sensitivity up a notch – notice how your performance is affected.
Continue like this until you’ve found a setting that you think balances accuracy and flexibility well.
Planning on running around as a sniper? It might be a good idea to start on a sensitivity situated a couple notches higher than otherwise.
You can change sensitivity under “Options”.
OK. So we’re done with the mechanics. Now we’re onto what you can do in the game.
Let’s start off with Anatomy 101.
Headshots are a Killer
Where on a character’s body your bullets hit is not irrelevant. A headshot does more damage than hits to the rest of the body.
How much more damage varies. Choice of weapon and distance to target are decisive factors.
The important thing to take away here, is that you usually need fewer bullets to kill off a character when you’re hitting its head.
Our conclusion is, thus, as follows:
Aim for the Head
Try aiming for your opponents’ heads as often as possible.
Yes, it’s definitely a harder target to hit. And to start off, you’ll miss a lot more than you hit.
If, however, you play a couple of matches where you’re consciously aiming for enemy heads, something happens.
The muscle memory will slowly but surely start to take control. It’ll help you place the aim at the right height, without you having to think about what you have to do.
Consequently, you can focus more on placing the aim point with higher accuracy.
There is a catch - and that catch is recoil. I’ll tell you more about that later in this guide.
Right now, all you need to know is that recoil ensures your weapons move upwards when being fired.
This could mean that you’ll hit the head with the first and second bullet, but that the next ones fly on by, above the hostile’s head.
You can counteract this:
- You can control the recoil (more on that later).
- You can place the aim point on the enemy’s chest. In this case the recoil will make sure the bullets gradually reach the head as you shoot, thanks to the upward movement.
If you struggle to hit the head, no matter what measures you take, you can choose the next best thing: the upper body.
Yes, you’ll have to use more bullets to take out the character. But it’s an easier target to hit.
Keep Your Chin Up
A lot of players make life harder than it needs to be. They place their character’s line of sight poorly. They end up basically examining the grass below them.
- What? Does it matter?
Well, it matters. At least if you want your bullets to hit the hostiles’ heads or upper bodies.
‘Cause when your gaze, and thus weapon, is turned to the ground, it’ll take longer to raise it, and place the reticle where it should be.
So what should you do?
Simple! Keep your chin up.
Let your weapon point to where you think the hostile’s head (or upper body) is going to be – all the time.
The advantage is that you can fire your weapon almost instantaneously (since you won’t need to adjust your aim all that much) when the enemy shows up.
See those four small lines on your screen? They don’t meet – so you’ll need to imagine where the center is.
There, in this invisible center, that’s where your first bullets will hit. What these four lines really are, is a crosshair.
Use it to place your weapon at the right height – so where you assume the enemy’s head or upper body will be. And keep it there, as best as you can.
Remember, you’ll also need to compensate for elevation changes on the different maps.
- Moving up a hill? Then you might need to raise the reticle even more.
- Are you headed down some stairs? Then you’ll normally need to lower the reticle.
My point is this: I want you to always be ready to fire against your preferred body part without too much aim adjustment.
When this is drilled into you, you’re better prepared for gun fights than 90% of your opponents, who’ll usually place their bullets in their enemies’ feet.
You can choose from a range of different sights in Ghosts online. Some of them magnify your target, others do not.
There is a small catch to most of the magnifying sights: they occupy more of your HUD than other sights. They might make it difficult for you to pick up on everything that’s going on onscreen.
I’ll be careful when giving absolute advice on which sights you should choose.
But I dare say that most players will make a good start with red dot sights. The red dot makes it easier to place the aim point correctly. At the same time, you’ll keep your overview of your surroundings.
Looking through sights is pretty much all perks. But there is the odd downside, too.
When aiming, without any special attachments, your look movements become slower. It takes more time to move your gaze from one side to the other when looking through a sight.
Remember this when you discover an enemy on one of the sides of the screen. Don’t aim first and then move the weapon towards the hostile.
Instead, move the weapon (and thus your gaze) first. Let it point to the target. Now you can take aim.
Aiming with Iron Sights
Aiming with optic sights is, like with red dot sights and holographic sights, fairly easy. All you need to do is place the red dot, or whatever you’re using as your aiming device, on the target and fire away.
With iron sights, it’s a little different.
Most iron sights in Ghosts have a front and back part. In the real world, these need to be lined up correctly.
In the game, this is taken care of. Lucky us. As such, the little pin at the front, often referred to as the post, is the only thing we’ll need to focus on.
The question is: how should we deal with this pin when aiming at a target?
Well, the top of the pin is our aiming point.
Picture the pin as a sewing pin without its head. Where the head should have been, that’s where the bullet will hit.
It’s as easy as that.
Have you ever emptied a clip into a character, only to realize he or she simply skips along, seemingly without a scratch?
Recoil is probably to blame.
The weapons in Ghosts multiplayer all have recoil to a varying degree. The more there is of it, the more your aim and accuracy will be affected.
Time for some physics!
Now calm that anxiety attack down! I’m not going to bore you with a lengthy lecture.
But there are some things that should be said in order to understand recoil.
Recoil arises because of powers described in Newton’s third law. It goes as follows:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.
In other words: the power pushing the bullet forward and out of the barrel, also pushes the weapon backwards. In the real world, this is experienced as a backwards kick from the weapon.
One More Thing
Automatic weapons are exposed to an extra effect: muzzle climb.
The recoil that arises when you fire bullets quickly after each other, makes the weapon rise.
That’s why on some weapons – and in Ghosts, too – the weapon will move up and away from the target when you’re shooting at full auto.
You might get two or thee bullets in. But you’ll miss with the next ones unless you compensate for the recoil.
So what can you use to stop the movement?
- Burst fire.
- Controller compensation.
Instead of emptying the mag uninterrupted, you can shoot groups of fewer bullets at a time – aka Burst fire.
This technique makes it easier to place the sights back on target between each burst.
- Shoot a small group of bullets – 4 to 7 of them.
- Release the trigger and adjust the aim.
- Fire another, small burst.
- Release and adjust.
Repeat, till you’re happy with the result.
Just keep in mind that each burst should follow as closely as possible to the one before. Ideally, the pause between each burst should be barely noticeable.
So, we’ve established that muzzle climb makes automatic weapons rise themselves. And that effect is still there, even if you’re firing off your rounds in bursts.
You can compensate for the effect with the help of your controller.
On consoles, you can pull the right thumbstick downwards while shooting – so in the opposite direction to the weapon’s movement. On a PC, you move the mouse downwards.
How much you need to pull for the weapon to stay in position varies from one weapon to the next.
Burst Fire AND Controller Compensation
The best results come from mastery of combining burst fire and controller compensation.
It’s not easy. If it was, everyone would do it.
But the technique’s not impossible to master. You’ll just have to take the time to learn it.
My suggestion is to practice burst fire first. Then you can drill control of the muzzle rise.
Finally, when you master both techniques individually, you can try combining them.
When to Use?
Not every situation benefits from you trying to control recoil and muzzle climb. The closer you are to your target, the less applicable these effects are.
On the other hand…
If your target’s really far away, you may be better off reducing the number of bullets in each burst from 5-7 bullets all the way down to 2 or 3.
I don’t have a rulebook for when to do what. You’ll just have to try as you go.
But I can say one thing for sure: If the enemy’s right in front of you, forget about burst firing. Hell, you can even forget about aiming down the sight, too.
Which brings us on to my next couple of points:
Aiming Down Sight vs. Hip Fire
Roughly put, there are two aiming methods in Ghosts multiplayer:
- Aim Down Sight (ADS)
- Hip Fire
Here’s how they work:
- Hip Fire – You shoot without raising your weapon. The reticle (the crosshair) on the screen is your aim point.
- Aim Down Sight – You raise your weapon, take aim, and place the sight’s aim point on the target.
Pros and Cons
ADS – The advantage is that you hit the target with more bullets. The bullet spread is smaller. The downside is that it takes longer before you can shoot if you’re waiting for the weapon to be raised first.
Hip Fire – The pro is that you get to the shooting business quicker. The con is that accuracy is horrible over longer distances. The bullet spread is considerably wider than with ADS.
What Works When?
There are no set rules for when to use ADS or when hip firing’s the way to go.
But to leave you with something, I’ll say this:
If your target’s at any decent distance, use ADS, preferably with burst fire.
If the hostile’s near you, forget about ADS. It takes too long to raise the weapon for the shot. Use hip fire instead.
You can choose a combination when the enemy’s at close range:
- Start off with hip fire.
- Keep firing while you enter ADS.
If you do this, you’ll have time to hurt your opponent quickly with hip fire first, in order to then place more accurate – and thus more lethal – rounds with ADS.
There are perks that allow you to raise your weapon quicker to ADS. But my experience is that hip fire works best regardless when you can smell your opponent’s bad breath (figuratively speaking, of course).
Far too often, you’ll stumble over not just one, but two, three, or maybe four hostiles – all in close range of each other.
So what do you do then? Cause you’ve still only got one sight and one weapon.
Well, in a lot of cases, the smartest thing to do is to turn around, and run away, hoping that no-one saw you.
That doesn’t work for you? You want to try taking out all of them?
All right. You won’t get any life guarantees from me. You’re proceeding at your own risk.
Having that said, here are some of the things you can try:
Aim – Release – Aim
If there’s a decent distance to your targets, you should use ADS. Pick the character that seems to be the biggest threat first. Raise your weapon, take aim, and fire.
They’re dead? Good!
Release the aim if there’s a sizeable distance between the dead character and the next one you want to take out.
- Well, it’ll take a little less time to move the weapon so that it’s pointing to your next target. (You may remember me saying a little something about how moving your gaze and weapon takes longer while aiming?)
- Then, when you take aim again, you’ll get some help from the game’s aim assist in placing the aim point more accurately on your next victim.
Keep going like this ‘til all the characters are dead.
Speed is key.
All of this needs to happen quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to release the aim when there’s a decent amount of space between each target. If there’s not, you can try moving the aim point while aiming.
Use as Few Bullets as Possible
An important factor in success with Multiple Enemies Takedowns (MET), is using as few bullets as possible on each hostile. ‘Cause death is a pretty realistic option if you need to reload while one or more enemies are still alive.
Each bullet has to count. And preferably, as many as possible should reach the hostiles’ heads.
A perfectly performed MET is a well balanced mix of ADS, accuracy, burst firing, and muzzle climb control.
Easy? Nope! Impressive? You bet!
Multiple Unfriendlies Close to You
Situations like these are even more challenging, because your targets are closer to you. Yes, it’s easier for you to hit them. But it’s equally easy for them to hit your character, too.
But it is possible to leave these situations victorious:
- The crucial thing first: keep cool!
- You’ll need to evaluate which character’s the most dangerous. And you’ll need to do it fast. Take them out first.
- You may succeed with aim down sight. But more often than not, hip fire’s the better option.
- The rule about hitting the head, or somewhere high on the upper body, still goes. Each bullet should count so that you don’t run out too fast.
Side strafing entails moving your character from side to side in front of a hostile, while shooting at them. If you do this, it’ll be harder for your opponents to hit you.
You can also use careful strafing to adjust your aim finely.
Normally, you use the right thumbstick to place the aim point.
Let’s assume you’ve found the perfect height for your shots, in approximate hostile head height.
The problem is that your shots just pass the character’s side. You just need a teensie tiny horizontal adjustment, and you’re there.
What a lot of people will try to do, is adjust the aim with the right thumbstick. This doesn’t always go down with particularly great success.
Even if you’re playing at a low intensity, minor movements with the stick can cause major movements onscreen. You could, for example, lose the sight’s vertical position.
There is an alternative, and it’s called the left thumbstick. It works perfectly when you’re almost getting bullseyes and simply need a tiny horizontal adjustment.
Use the left stick to pull the sight into place when the vertical’s just right. That way you won’t have to mess it all up with the right one.
How to Improve – The Painful Way
Aiming well, with a high level of accuracy, is a skill that can be learnt.
The not-so-good news is that you won’t become a first class marksman over night. But, with patience and focus, you will get better.
There is a shortcut.
But warnings are in order.
Your character will most likely have to go through a whole lot of dying – at least to start off with.
This training method entails using either pistols, revolvers, or marksman rifles, which only fire off one bullet at a time.
These weapons are so powerful that one or two shots to the head is enough for a kill. But the firing rate is so low that you rarely have time to fire much more than – you got it – one to two rounds. At least to start off with.
Because of the low firing rate, you have to aim well. You can’t run around, shooting bullets just like that.
So: go a few matches with one-shot weapons. Make sure the reticle onscreen is always situated at what you reckon’s the enemy’s head height. Focus on aiming every time you end up in a gun fight.
After a while, placement of the aim will become a piece of cake. And you’ll take this experience with you when you move to other weapons.
Over to You
These were some of my tips on how you can improve your aim and accuracy. What are your tips? Feel free to use the field below to share your wisdom with the rest of us.