I often hear people talking about "quickscoping" in the context of First Persion Shooter games. My understanding is that it means looking down the barrel of a sniper rifle quickly in order to get a damage bonus for "scoping", then immediately going back out of the scope mode.

I also heard this does not work in Team Fortress 2 - and while I know you can't get the full damage off of such a maneuver, I know you can still get a headshot without scoping.

What exactly is quickscoping? Why is it such a common term? Why does it not work in TF2?


6 Answers 6


Quick scope is the act of zooming in or "aiming down the sights" with a sniper rifle and firing almost immediately after.

The term became really famous/infamous with the Call of Duty series, but the action itself goes way back to early FPS like CounterStrike. Sniper rifles do full damage, but were terribly inaccurate unless scoped. As soon as you hit the "aim" button the accuracy immediately became perfect, so staying in scope (known as "hardscoping") wasn't needed.

games like TF2 attempt to nerf quick scoping by making sniper rifles weaker unless scoped (which doesn't really work as it can still one-hit many classes on headshots when it's not "charged"). others make it so there is a "ready time" where the gun is still pretty inaccurate while first scoped.

  • 14
    Isn't that started with Counter-Strike?
    – Arkl1te
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:33
  • It is entirely likely that the first game with Sniper ADS was the first game with Quickscope. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:36
  • @Philipp yeah that's why I mentioned it becoming famous/infamous with CoD. It was a common tactic way before CoD was a thing, it just wasn't known as quickscoping as far as I know.
    – Rapitor
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:17
  • @Philipp Edited it a bit, hows that.
    – Rapitor
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:40
  • sorry, this term was famous long before CoD. Playing CALeague back in the day, this was a well known term in CS1.6 Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 17:17

Quickscoping is older than the Call of Duty series, but it's a bigger problem in that game than elsewhere.

The literal definition of quickscoping is exactly what you'd think - aiming down the sights of a sniper rifle for a short period before firing. This is in contrast to "hard scoping" where you spend most of your time aimed down the sights and lining up a shot before firing.

Sniper rifles generally trade situational awareness for accuracy over long range (ie, I'm staring down this scope and lose my peripheral vision, but I can take a headshot from across the map). Quickscoping is a method of maintaining both, by only looking down the sights and quickly aiming when a target is available. In that way, it could be viewed as a mark of skill, a risky endeavor, or a potentially cheap strategy.

However, in CoD parlance, especially on consoles, there is a more insidious use for this technique. The game features an aim assist that will tend to pull your crosshairs towards an enemy as you start to aim. This is intended to offset the inaccuracy of using thumbsticks for aiming.

However, when using a sniper rifle, it means if you roughly line up a shot, then aim down the scope and quickly fire, there is an increased chance that you will get a hit/headshot without having to really "aim" for one. Once you get the timing right, it's incredibly easy to pull off, and thus is viewed as more of an exploit than a legitimate strategy.

Especially in CoD: Modern Warfare 2, it wasn't unusual to find folks running around the map at top speed in a ghillie suit while carrying a massive sniper rifle, and killing you in close quarters despite the fact that the balance of the game should favor other weapons in this kind of engagement.

This isn't nearly as big a problem in TF2 because there isn't aim assist (or at least, not nearly as strong as console CoD titles) and also because all of the sniper weapons require a charge time before firing at full damage. It's still possible to "quick scope" with the meaning of "spending little time aiming before firing" but the tactical advantages of doing so are far less.

  • Altrough that's only a issue on games with auto-aim/aim assist. The originary games, from the CS era, did have quickscope, but required a much greater precision.
    – Kroltan
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 2:16
  • 1
    @Kroltan, yeah, it's gotten better in the years since MW2 as well. That game was just riddled with unbalanced weapons and downright obvious exploits.
    – agent86
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 21:19

Quickscoping is exactly what you just said. Being ready to take a shot, zooming in, then immediately firing. However, your bit about TF2 is wrong.

A sniper rifle (stock) can do between 50-150 damage without hitting someone's head, usually. It does such a wide range of damage because it charges while you are scoped in, if you look to the right side of the screen while scoped you'll see an indicator. When this indicator is full you will get maximum shot damage, be it headshot or body shot. The damage for a headshot is also similarily spread out between 150-450, based on charge percentage. You can kill a fully overhealed heavy with one headshot if you have a fully charged sniper rifle, for example. You can also kill a scout with a fully charged bodyshot. A good sniper in TF2 can take full advantage of quickscoping and put out a larger spread of damage than a single fully-charged shot will.

Imagine a medic, an engie, and a pyro all coming at you from far enough away. If you are able to zoom in and click their heads, effectively killing all of them but the pyro in one shot each, you've done better than you would have if you waited the couple of seconds it takes to fully charge then waste a huge damage headshot on someone who doesn't even have that much health. Using a fully charged body shot is similarily ineffective if you can actually hit their heads anyway. There is absolutely a reason to quickscope in TF2.


You're quite correct in your definition. While I am not sure of the origin of the therm, it is used to describe the action of quickly "looking trough" the scope. In itself it is nothing but a "gimmick" to show ones skills off, it (as far as I know) grant you no extra score to quick-scope. Of course, using the scope will let you zoom in on the enemy to get better chance to hit (larger target, larger chance of hit). But once you learn how a gun behaves both scoped and un-scoped, a player can usually get kill-shots regardless.

For TF2 it doesn't work, you need to be either fully scoped or un-scoped to fire the gun.

In short, it's a gimmick for "entertainment" purposes.

  • It's not just a gimmick - the shorter the sniper waits before firing, the higher their chance to frag the enemy before they frag them. In a game where a sniper rifle is in some way better while zoomed and that advantage kicks in in the game-tick where the player presses the zoom-button, a sniper which always zooms before firing, even when just for a splitsecond, has a huge advantage over those which fire without zooming.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:07

For Call of Duty at least:

  • Quickscoping - when one zooms in with a sniper for about 3 seconds
  • Blackscoping - when one zooms in and shoots immediately after when the scope is black
  • No-Scoping is when one shoots from a sniper rifle without zooming in.

The origin of Quick Scoping...

Quick Scoping was created back in Socom 2 days when they rolled out their first Online campaign. the intention of quick scoping was to manipulation the time needed to fire at an opponent. It was learned that if you fire your rifle before the load time of the scope was complete the bullet would fire exactly where the aim would have been placed if the scope fully zoomed in. This lead to people Pre Aiming the center dot towards their target prior to scoping and then immediately firing the sec the scope would raise. the understanding was that it was the beginning of auto-aim manipulation. Which was far from the point. The actual fact was the Hitbox seemed larger than the final zoom and took less time to fire. Soon after quick scoping became popularized, Shotgunning snipers, by removing the scope and Jump sniping which also used no scope became the next big thing in sniping. SO it is nice you are awarding these to Call of Duty, but in fact, it is a SOCOM Created exploit. I know because I was actually playing it when Quick Sniping, Quick Scoping, Shot Gunning and Jump Sniping all came into form.

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