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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a shooter that boasts a huge fanbase, massive eSport and competitive scene, and community that is fervent about their game and the strategies they use. The game includes a number of maps, guns, and pieces of equipment that are found all over the world and instantly recognizable by players who have played the game. Each of the items purchasable in-game have a real life counter part, which forces us to beg the question: how much would a round of Counter-Strike cost?

For this experiment, let’s assume that both sides have reached their “rifle round,” in which both teams have a good enough economy to purchase a full set of rifles and an AWP, as well as full grenades and armor. First, let’s look at the actual guns, and what they’re like in real life.

The Guns of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

AK-47 The model that’s used in the game is actually that of the AKM (AK-47 Variant) that was introduced to service by the Soviet Army in 1959, and uses 7.62×39mm M43 ammunition. In Counter-Strike, the gun actually shares ammunition with the G3SG/1 and the Scout for gameplay purposes—that wouldn’t be the case in real life. An Oxford professor determined that the average price for the AK-47 was $534 in 2005, which would make the gun roughly $675 with inflation for 2015.

AK-47 CSGO vs Real Life

Glock-18 Technically classified as a machine gun due to the fully-automatic nature of the pistol, this gun is actually incredibly difficult to obtain outside of law enforcement and armed forces. The price was tough to find/average, but based on some research, the closest I could find was roughly $640.

USP-S – The H&K USP45 Tactical is an enhanced model of the USP made for need of the features found on the HK Mark 23 but in a more compact pistol. The gun typically runs for about $900-$1,100 depending on the retailer, and the silencer that would be used for it runs for about $700 depending on the make of the silencer. Based on this, the real life price for the USP-S will run about $1,700. 

USP-S CSGO vs Real Life

P2000 – The P2000 used in-game uses the same .357 ammo used by the P250, but the real life counterpart that it is modeled after actually uses 9mm amunition. In real life, the gun runs for about $700-$900 depending on the retailer (we’ll average that to $800).

AWP – In real life, this gun is called the Arctic Warfare Police, but in reality the gun in-game would be the Arctic Warfare Magnum, because it uses uses .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition, . The gun is used by a number of worldwide armed forces, although as of September 2012, it has been succeeded and replaced by the AX338 Rifle. The gun is no longer for sale, and incredibly hard to find for purchase, but generally runs between $6,200 and $8,500 based on previous listing. For this scenario, we’ll say it’s a middle of $7350.

AWP CSGO Vs Real Life

Body Armor + Helmet Some research yielded that in order to stop some of the guns that are shot at players, the body armor they would need to be wearing would have to be rated Level III, which stops rounds up to 7.62×51 M80 Ball (.308). A number of online stores sell this type of armor, but the tactical body armor that closest resembles the armor used Counter-Strike runs for roughly $1,200. The basic helmet that accompanies it can be found for about $400.

M4A1-S – Essentially an M4A1 (although the in-game model is identical to the Colt 723) with a silencer, the M4A1-S is one of two variations of rifles used by Counter-Terrorists. Every game is different in terms of how many each team has, depending on player preference. The M4A1 is a military/law enforcement only rifle due to licensing, so it’s hard for civilians to get their hands on them. Price wise, it’s hard to say, but based on past purchases by the U.S. Government, the last two major Colt M4A1 purchases were for $670/ea in 2012 (made from a Colt technical package), and $1,200/ea in 2010 (made by Colt themselves). For this exercise, let’s take the average price of those two purchases and account for inflation from 2012, making them cost roughly $1,000 for the base model. The silencer runs about $900 for the rifle, bringing the cost of the M4A1-S to $1,900.

M4A4 – In real life, this gun technically doesn’t exist. “A4” is a designation for the edition of the rifle, with the M4A1 being the first iteration of the rifle. Really, the gun in Counter-Strike is just a modified M4A1, called a Mark 18 CQBR (Close Quarters Battle Receiver). We’ll use the same price as the base M4A1 for this gun: $1,000.

Grenades – The HE Grenade is modeled after the M67 Hand Grenade used by the military, and runs for $35 each based off 2005 prices and inflation. The Smoke Grenade is modeled after the ABC-M7A3 CS grenade, and runs for $215 each based off 2005 prices and inflation. The flashbang grenade is modeled after M84 stun grenade, and runs for $180 each based off 2006 prices and inflation. The Counter-Terrorist Incendiary Grenade is based off the AN-M14 hand grenade, which was very hard to find a price for, but because it was really a thermite grenade, the next best thing would be the Model 308-1 Napalm Grenade, which sells for $7 each. The molotov is based off of a rag, a bottle, and some gasoline. Based on current gas prices, cost of a glass bottle, and a rag, you’re looking at about probably $3 a molotov.

Grenades CS GO vs Real Life

Ammo – I’ve broken down the ammo as well, based upon the amount needed across the entire team. In some cases, I took the largest bulk size I could find, divided by 10, and then multiplied by the number needed to reach the correct amount of ammo for the price (I.E. Divide cost of 1000 by 10, then multiply by 7 to get the cost of 700.) You can see what gun uses what kind of ammo next to it.

Breaking down the cost of a full “Gun Round”

I’ve broken down the numbers based on what I’ve seen over time—for example, not everyone does a full grenade buy, and the types of pistols used as default for CT’s. Other than that, I made it a very basic gun round—essentially no one buys extra pistols or SMGs. If anyone wants to see a variation, or you think my numbers are off, let me know!

Terrorist Side

Number Gun Name (Ammo) In-Game Cost Real-Life Cost Total In-Game Cost Total Real-Life Cost
5 Glock-18 Pistol (140 – 9mm) (Free, starting pistol) $640 Nothing $3200
4 AK-47 Rifles (120 – 7.62mm) $2,700 $675 $10,800 $2,700
1 AWP (40 – .338 Lapua Magnum) $4,750 $7,350 $4,750 $7,350
5 Level III Body Armor $650 $1,200 $3,250 $6,000
5 Level III Helmet $350 $400 $1,750 $2,000
 4 HE Grenade $300 $35 $1,200 $140
 4 Smoke Grenade $300 $215 $900 $860
 6 Flash Grenade $200 $180 $1,200 $1,080
 2 Molotov Grenade $400 $3 $800 $6
700 9x39mm Ammunition $0 ~$150 $0 $150
480 7.62x39mm Ammunition $0 $130 $0 $130
40 .338 Lapua Magnum $0 $125 $0 $125

Counter-Terrorist Side

Number Gun Name (Ammo) In-Game Cost Real-Life Cost Total In-Game Cost Total Real-Life Cost
4 USP-S Pistol (36 – 9mm) (Free, starting pistol) $1,700 Nothing $6,800
1 P2000 Pistol (65 – 9mm) (Free, starting pistol) $800 Nothing  $800
2 M4A4 (120 – 5.56 mm) $3,100 $1,000 $6200 $2,000
2 M4A1-S (60 – 5.56 mm) $3,100 $1,900 $6,200 $3,800
1 AWP (40 – .338 Lapua Magnum) $4,750 $7,350 $4,750 $7,350
5 Level III Body Armor $650 $1,200 $3,250 $6,000
5 Level III Helmet $350 $400 $1,750 $2,000
4 HE Grenade $300 $35 $1,200 $140
6 Flash Grenade $200 $180 $1,200 $1,080
4 Smoke Grenade $300 $215 $1,200 $860
2 Incendiary Grenade $600 $7 $1,200 $14
209 9x19mm Ammunition $0 $42 $0 $45
360 5.56x45mm Ammunition $0 $125 $0 $125
40 .338 Lapua Magnum $0 $125 $0 $125

Let’s add up the numbers, shall we?

  In-Game Cost Real Life Cost
Total Cost for Terrorist Side $24,650 $23,741
Total Cost for Counter- Terrorist Side $26,950 $28,479
Total Cost for both sides $51,600 $52,220

There you have it: Counter-Strike is cheaper in-game, but only slightly. This is likely due to inflated prices for guns, but that gets balanced out by the fact that starting pistols are free, making the difference between cost in-game versus real life only a few hundred dollars. Definitely an interesting result to have the numbers so close, and if we were able to get bulk military pricing for Counter-Terrorist guns as well, it would likely be a whole different result!

What do you think of these numbers? Sound off in the comments below!

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Rutledge Daugette

Founder & CEO

Founder of TechRaptor with a love of video games (B.S. in Game Programming) and technology. Started TechRaptor to create a place where people could come for quality content.