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What are the telltale characteristics that you have been pinged in the head? Or indeed, are there any?

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Typically... you die. :) –  TZHX Apr 14 '12 at 10:29
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

If you are killed via a headshot, or you kill someone via a headshot, a little green target will appear next to the name of the person who was killed (your enemy if you killed someone, or you if you were killed).

Demonstration

Keep in mind this only shows up upon someone's death, if you headshot someone, or are headshot, and no-one dies, you won't know for sure if it was a headshot or not.

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Huh. One of those things i've never noticed before –  Albort Apr 15 '12 at 1:49
    
@Albort Ditto. Good to know. –  AHungerArtist Apr 16 '12 at 18:21
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