CS:GO’s Assault Rifle Dilemma: AK47 vs. SG 553 - Upcomer
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After the significant reduction in the price of the SG 553 and the AUG, the two scoped weapons have become real contenders to be the new rifle meta. The reign of the M4A4/-1S and AK-47 may indeed have come to an end. But has it really? Despite the price tag of the two scoped weapons being merely $50 more, we have not seen a crucial change in all pro players opting to go for the SG or the AUG, except for some individual cases. This two-part guide will help you decide whether you should spend the extra $50 on the scoped gun or if it’s better to stick to what has been the meta since the dawn of Counter-Strike. In the end, the choice is up to you, the player.

The AK-47 or the SG 553? Everyone’s favorite vs. the forgotten armor piercer

The AK-47, a powerful rifle with 1-shot headshot kill potential straight out of the Soviet Union, has generally become everyone’s favorite gun. It is an ordinary sight in-game to see the counter-terrorists pick up the AK-47 over their own M4s after they have successfully stopped their onslaught onto a bombsite. However, the SG553, a Swiss military invention, is here to dethrone the Russian machine. With a just-as-powerful 1-shot headshot potential and a scope, is it actually good enough to contend down the stretch? Let’s find out.

From the information given in-game, we are able to note some initial basic differences. First, the damage. The AK-47 sports a 36 damage rating compared to that of 30 for the SG 553. Seems like a pretty big difference, but let us take one more factor into consideration — armor penetration. The SG is the most powerful armor-penetrating weapon in the game with 200 (100%) armor penetration. So what does that mean in practice? Put in basic terms, that suggests that the SG ignores the enemies’ armor. That may sound overwhelmingly powerful; however, in practice, both the AK and the SG take four bullets to kill an enemy at their accurate ranges. The Russian machine does dethrone the SG when it comes to unarmored opponents though. Because of its high damage, it only takes three bullets to eliminate an unarmored counter-terrorist, whereas it takes four bullets to do the same for the SG. Against anti-eco rounds, try to opt for the classic AK-47.

On the other hand, because of its scope, the SG does have a significantly longer accurate range (39m), while its counterpart only has 24 meters. On maps where traversing across long stretches of land is the norm, it is advised to use the SG 553, especially if the economy has not allowed for the purchase of an AWP. Such maps include Dust2 Overpass and Cobblestone.

Now, let us discuss some things that are not presented on the charts above. Similarly to the AUG, the SG 553 is a heavier and more sluggish weapon compared to its counterpart. Both movement speed and reload time are impaired. The AK-47 has a movement speed of 221 units while the SG has an underwhelming 210, making it the heaviest rifle out of the total four. For holding angles, that does not matter much, but as a terrorist, you are going to be moving a lot on the map. To add to this, the reload time of the AK is only 2.5 seconds, while it takes 2.8 seconds to reload the SG (fortunately, a subtle difference there). Ultimately, for more dynamic t-side players, the AK-47 will most likely still be the go-to rifle because of these two factors. Crouch peaking and side strafing may be easier with the AK-47 due to its higher movement speed.

Lastly, there is one more difference that is quite crucial, and that is firing speed. The SG 553 sports a 666 RPM (rounds per minute) while the AK-47 has a slightly less hellish 600 RPM. At close range, this can be a deal breaker. If all of your bullets hit your target, then you will kill your opponent faster with the SG than the AK (unless you hit the head right away). For accurate sprayers, this is yet again something to keep in mind.

The spray patterns

Let’s move on to the spray pattern comparison. Here are the patterns of the two guns at two ranges, short and medium. All of the spray patterns have been tested at two exact same ranges so that the sprays stay comparable.

Spray patterns of the AK-47. Short range (left) and medium range (right).
Spray patterns of the SG 553. Short range (left) and medium range (right).

The first thing that strikes the most is the direction of the spray. The AK-47 starts off by simply going straight up for the first couple of shots. Unfortunately, the SG goes up but also a bit to the right. This definitely requires some getting used to like all of the aforementioned rifles, except the SG start off with a simple up pattern. Not only does that require readjustment, but also it is harder to hit the head while spraying due to not simply aiming down but also slightly to the side.

Additionally, the AK-47 has a more condensed spray after the initial six-to-eight bullets. The SG 553 requires more maneuvering as the pattern gets quite wide at the later stage of spraying, which, yet again, makes it harder to control than the AK. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that inexperienced SG players are better off by firing in bursts rather than attempting a full spray at an enemy, especially at longer range.

One final thing to take into account is the scoped spray of the SG 553:

While not as condensed as we would like it to be, the scoped spray pattern is much more controllable. Combined with the 1-shot headshot kill potential, the SG can be devastating when facing an opponent watching a certain angle while scoped in. Something perhaps that would be more viable for a counter-terrorist?

Should you switch?

Well, the answer is simple. It depends. Are you willing to spend some time adjusting to the rather strange spray? Do you feel like you’d rather be a bit slower but have an accurate scope for longer ranges? Below are the pros of each weapon, summarized from the information above.

AK-47 pros:

  • Only 3 bullets to kill an unarmored opponent
  • Higher movement speed
  • Faster reload time
  • Easier spray pattern

SG 553 pros:

  • Scope allows for easier longer-range engagements
  • A higher accurate range of 39 meters
  • Faster firing speed of 666 RPM
  • Easy scoped spray pattern

So there you have it. The choice is ultimately yours. Personally, I’m sticking to the AK-47 for now as the spray pattern is just so much easier. For holding angles, the terrorists still have an AWP. However, on ct-side, I’d switch to the SG 553 instead of the M4 if I do find one for easy headshots at certain long-range angles while looking down the scope. If you’d like a more visual representation, here is a video by the famous Counter-Strike YouTuber WarOwl that explains the differences very well with visual representations.

Continue on to part 2, “CS:GO’s Assault Rifle Dilemma: M4 vs. AUG, ft. Xyp9x, gob b, and smooya“!