How can I effectively airshot enemies (i.e., hitting them while they are in midair) as a Pyro, a Soldier, and a Demoman? I find it hard to predict where enemies will travel in midair.

Are there certain weapons which work better than others? Do certain weapons shoot in a specific way?

  • What do you mean by airshot as a Pyro? Do you mean with reflected projectiles? Or do you mean flare gun shots?
    – Schism
    Mar 8, 2013 at 4:48
  • Have you seen airshots with flareguns? Or detonators? If you want a video, I'd be happy to provide a link
    – childe
    Mar 8, 2013 at 5:17
  • 4
    I think airshotting is about practice practice and practice, getting to know the speed of the ammunition, how it flies, range, bulletdrop(if there is any)... and just keep training the same weapon first. It is like sniping a headshot on moving targets. There is no easy way just skill
    – Lyrion
    Mar 8, 2013 at 10:08
  • 1
    @Retrosaur Why are you pointing me to youtube when you just could've told me that "airshot" means "shooting someone while he is in mid-air"? Please be more helpful in the future, we're just trying to help here.
    – Sentry
    Mar 8, 2013 at 16:10
  • 2
    What else is there to specify about "airshot"? What other meaning could airshot have?
    – childe
    Mar 8, 2013 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


Hitting airborne targets is hard. There are three main points you need to take into consideration when shooting airborne targets.

  1. The distance between you and the target.
  2. The velocity and trajectory of the projectile.
  3. The velocity and trajectory of the target.

Becoming an expert at those three points and doing all the calculations in your head is a difficult task for experienced players. However, most experienced players do not calculate all three of these points to make a shot - instead, they try to: minimize the impact of a variable to gain an advantage.

Distance between you and the target

Generally speaking, the closer you are to the target, the easier it is to hit them.

Knowing the distance between you and the target is important. Some distances are just too far to accurately hit an opponent in the air.

Some effective methods you can accurately estimate the distance between you and the target are: the size of the target (the smaller it is the further away it is) and landmarks/popular places (ammo/health kits spawn locations and map objectives).

Knowing the distance between yourself and the target mostly comes from experience; there is no hard or fast rule to know the precise distance between you and your target.

Velocity and Trajectory of the Projectile

In general, the faster and straighter a projectile fires, the easier it is to hit a target.

Using weapons like the Direct Hit with its whopping 80% faster than regular rockets and straight line trajectory is probably one of the easiest weapons in the game to hit people in the air with.

A good way to practice with your weapon is to find an object and guess: how long it will take for the weapon to hit the object. Try to make a mental picture of the trajectory it will take. Do this a few times each day for different areas, on different maps, for different distances until you can accurately predict what will happen.

You should get comfortable with your weapon to the point it is second nature. If you know exactly how your weapon will perform, it is one less thing you need to think about.

The velocity and trajectory of the target

The easiest time to hit a player in the air is when they stop moving vertically. Try to time your shot so it hits the player when they are at the apex of their trajectory.

If you launch a player into the air look at how much damage the player received. The amount and location of damage the player took will directly translate to their velocity and trajectory. You can easily practice this against stationary bots.

  • Other things to take into acocunt - The skill of the player, and whether or not they are aware of you. Skilled players will airstrafe when popped up, especially if they know someone is going to try to airshot them. But if they have no idea, because you've caught them by surprise, they won't have time to strafe out of the way.
    – Zibbobz
    Jun 27, 2014 at 14:20

Different weapons shoot differently, so I would choose one and stick with it. The stock rocket launcher, the stock grenade launcher and the flare gun are the ones you'll probably get the most use out of.

To practice, there are a few good maps out there: tr_airshot_v0, tr_rocket_shooting2, and tr_walkway. (I haven't kept up with the versions of these, so there might be newer ones)

If you have trouble hitting bots while they're on the ground, it might be worth practicing that first to get a feel for the projectile. Also it might be worth standing at a right angle to their jump direction to start with so you can see what the jump arc looks like.

Once you can hit the bots from any direction, make sure to get onto some MGE servers to play against actual people. If your target knows how to airstrafe, it makes a big difference.

It will probably take a lot of practice before you can make airshots reliably, but the reward will be worth it. Imagine a Hightower with no trolldiers.


A good rule of thumb for shooting at an airborn target, or a target that is about to go airborn, is to shoot them either at the peak of their ascent, or as they land.

At the peak of their jump, you know exactly where they are going to be for a split-second (unless they can double jump, AKA they are a scout) and thus it is easiest to aim for where they are going to be. This is the best way to 'juggle' a foe, though it can be tricky if they are moving very fast.

If, on the other hand, you simply want to hit them and don't care about juggling, you can aim for just above the spot where they are going to land. Just because their feet are a few inches off the ground doesn't mean they aren't airborn.

It is at these two positions that airshots are easiest to make, regardless of how your opponent got into the air in the first place, or what weapon you are using.

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