The heralded return of the MP5 to the Counter-Strike series brought silencers back into the public focus. Both of the earlier silenced guns in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have removable suppressors, even though historically, most people agree there’s almost no time you’d actually want to remove them. Earlier games included slight statistical upsides to occasionally removing your silencer. For example, Counter-Strike Source and prior games increased the M4A1’s damage falloff when its silencer was equipped. But Counter-Strike: Global Offensive removed these completely, instead adding only statistical downsides to removing your silencer. Is there ever a reason you’d want to remove your silencer?
It turns out, yes. There are a few rare cases where you might want to remove your silencer in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, even if just for a few seconds. Let’s go over them.
The first, and probably most famous reason, is that the suppressor massively increases your gun’s length. There are hiding spots on every map where your silencer will poke out and give your position away to the enemy. When hiding in these spots, temporarily remove your silencer so the enemy doesn’t spot you and ruin your element of surprise.
The next reason came out by accident, at least we’re pretty sure. Back in 2014, Valve nerfed the running accuracy of every rifle, but they forgot to change it for the unsilenced M4A1-S. Just look at the crosshair in the above GIF, or the below screenshot:
If you plan on sprinting into a room and dueling the last guy on the enemy team, you might consider unsilencing your rifle first.
A couple skins give the silencer a different color than the rest of the gun. For example, the ‘Guardian‘ skin from the picture has a black suppressor with white lettering which stands out from the police-blue gun. In certain map locations, a differently-colored silencer could make it easier for the enemy to spot you.
Decoy grenades are supposed to be loud, distracting, and obnoxious. Silencers don’t really fit into that MO. If you remove your silencer before throwing your decoy grenade, it’ll do a much better job of distracting your opponents. It can also help spread confusion in that most players aren’t as familiar with the gunfire sounds of the unsilenced versions. Every second they spend trying to figure out what gun you’re using is a second you have the tactical advantage.
Are you pinned down and know the enemy will be killing you shortly? Remove your silencer and nerf whichever enemy picks your dropped weapon up! It’s rare, but wasting two seconds of their time reapplying the silencer might help your team get the drop on them. This is also an effortless way to nerf the starter USP-S you drop on the ground at the beginning of the match. Plenty of players (myself included) consider it their favorite pistol and I will swap my Glock out for one during the first pistol round.
Are any of these game-changers? Absolutely not. You’ll be lucky if any of these precautions have a meaningful impact on the outcome of a firefight more than a handful of times in your entire life. But CS:GO is reliant on optimizing your situation to increase the odds of winning. When in a situation where your silencer is a hindrance, every consideration is worth keeping in mind.