A hand holding a gaming mouse.

To aim better in a PC first-person shooter, avoid changing your mouse sensitivity and in-game crosshair often. Stick to one set of settings and master them. Focus aiming at weak points such as the head, and pay attention to your movement.

Mastering Your Aim Settings

In-game crosshair

When it comes to aiming in first-person shooters, there are two settings to worry about–your mouse sensitivity and in-game crosshair.

Mastering one sensitivity dramatically improves your aim because it affects your mouse precision. The more you practice aiming at a specific sensitivity, the better your accuracy gets. Moving your mouse to certain distances becomes second nature.

A crosshair is simply a mark on your screen that points to where the middle of your screen is–the spot you’re aiming. Changing it often won’t have as much effect as changing your sensitivity. However, it’s still better to commit to one for an extended period. The more practice you get using one crosshair, the better your aim will be. Any crosshair will work as long as it doesn’t block your vision when aiming at opponents.

You could realistically play without a crosshair (at a disadvantage, of course). If you get familiar enough with where the center of your screen is, you could still aim well. This is why you should master your aim settings rather than find the “perfect” settings. In reality, there are no perfect settings. It’s all about your preference.

When you master a set of settings, you’ll find that it doesn’t matter whether you’re warming up, playing a competitive game, or using a friend’s account–your aim will be consistent.

Stop Changing Your Aim Settings Often

Mastering your aim settings means you need to stop changing them often. This is a common mistake many players of all ranks make. They tend to change these aim settings because they assume they’re “not optimal.” However, it’s likely that you haven’t used them long enough to make that judgment properly.

There aren’t optimal settings for aiming because everybody has their own preferences. What’s optimal for one player might not be optimal for another. That’s why you’ll almost never find two professional gamers with the same aim settings.

So what should you do? Commit to one sensitivity and crosshair for at least a week or two, or somewhere between 15-25 games before changing it. There is no exact number of matches or duration to commit to those settings. Just give yourself enough in-game experience playing with those settings before deciding to change them.

If your settings feel like they’re negatively affecting the way you aim, then feel free to change them after using them for a while. Be sure to commit to your new settings before changing them again.

Aiming at Weak Points

Aiming at weak points

In most first-person shooters, your enemies will usually have weak points. Shooting the head usually deals the most damage, followed by the upper body and back, and then the rest of the body.

As you’re playing, focus your crosshair placement on the weakest point. Let’s say the head is the weakest point in the game you’re playing. During your warmups, aim drills, and practices, try keeping your mouse aimed at the enemy head at all times. This is called “tracking” or having “good crosshair placement” in the gaming world.

The more you can track and shoot at weak points, the faster you’ll eliminate your opponents. This is because you’re dealing more damage than someone who isn’t aiming at weak points. Keep in mind that tracking can be difficult, especially when it comes to moving targets.

After a while, aiming at weak points also becomes like second nature. As soon as you see your enemy, you’ll instinctively try to aim at their weak points, making you a better player.

Stay Calm and Focus

Learning to stay calm and focus primarily applies to new players and those who stress under pressure. When you see an opponent, you might freak out in fear that they’ll shoot you down first. This causes your aim to be slightly—if not completely—out of control.

As you’re gaming, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re here to have fun. Winning is nice, but in the end, it’s about enjoying the game and improving. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t manage to aim correctly. Do your best to stay calm, focus, and continue practicing. Your aim will get better over time, especially if you practice frequently!

Pay Attention to Your Movement

Your movement directly affects how you aim. If you’re standing still, all you have to focus on is your crosshair placement. However, if you’re moving, you’ll have to pay attention to your crosshair placement and movement simultaneously.

Doing so isn’t easy as it’s harder to track your opponents while you’re moving. It’s even harder if they’re moving as well. Depending on the situation you’re in, you’ll need to decide if it’s better to move as little as possible so that you can aim accurately or move and shoot.

Some first-person shooters even punish players for moving and shooting, making the recoil nearly impossible to control. If this applies to your game, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t moving before firing any shots. Conversely, if it’s better to move and shoot in your game, you’ll want to practice doing so.

Of course, you’ll also need a decent mouse. Take a look at our favorite gaming mice if you’re in the market for a new one!

The Best Gaming Mice of 2023

Logitech G Pro X Superlight
Best Gaming Mouse Overall
Logitech G Pro X Superlight
Logitech G203
Best Budget Gaming Mouse
Logitech G203
Razer Viper V2 Pro
Best Wireless Gaming Mouse
Razer Viper V2 Pro
Cooler Master MM720
Best Ultralight Gaming Mouse
Cooler Master MM720
Logitech G600
Best MMO Mouse
Logitech G600
Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro
Best FPS Mouse
Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro
Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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