Finding the FAMAS' Niche
The score is 14-14. You’re on the CT side on the only map you play, Mirage (don’t lie to me). You have $3650. What’s your buy?
I know I’m not alone in the idea of never buying the FAMAS. In a crucial round like that, I definitely wouldn’t trust the gun that always lets you down, but in general, it’s incredibly unsatisfying to buy - now I just have to convince you.
Let’s start with the plus points. The FAMAS is incredibly versatile - it can lose straight fights at any range. On a more serious note, the main reason to use it over an SMG is its usefulness at mid range, it’s fully automatic unlike the Desert Eagle and it’s handy at close range unlike the SSG. It is true that it’s versatile and can be somewhat useful in every situation, but it isn’t great at any of them. It has underwhelming damage at close range, requiring five chest shots or four body shots - 30 base damage with 70% armor penetration is 21 damage per bullet - for a kill, or a head shot plus a body or chest shot. Not unreasonable, but with a time to kill that's practically the same as the UMP45, not spectacular either.
“But, aizyesque”, I hear you cry, “the UMP45 is useless at range!” - and you would be correct. But the FAMAS is no sniper either. It takes five to six bullets to kill at mid to long range, or a dink and two body shots. There shouldn’t be a way the FAMAS can duel the AK47 or SG553 at that range anyway, so it’s not particularly useful for the one thing it’s supposedly better at than the SMGs. Yes, it is better than the SMGs and Shotguns at mid range, but it’s not better than any gun you would be challenging at range. Even the Desert Eagle is more useful at that distance - the one bullet head-shot at pretty much any range makes it able to take 50-50/40-60 duels just as well as the FAMAS for the most part - that’s not even to mention the Deagle’s ridiculous close range power. Whilst you do have to aim at the head to use the Deagle effectively (a tip that many of us DMGs refuse to listen to), you also have to aim at the head to not lose fair fights with the FAMAS anyway.
It’s also worth pointing out that whilst on the CT side, for the most part you get to choose the distance you’re fighting at, and one can simply play a closer range position, or if you’re designated to a longer angle, often a SSG can be absolutely devastating if played correctly and allows for you to hold the longer angles, and grab yourself a Five Seven or P250 for the closer positions with the money you’ve saved.
The FAMAS is also the least accurate rifle, making it weaker than the others at distance to people who can consistently pick out the head on their screen. For people like me (and probably you reading this) that isn’t a massive issue, but as you get better it starts to become a larger weakness.
This niche the FAMAS has is one that needs to be filled - a weaker, cheaper rifle that is a reliable buy if you’re slightly poorer or a second round rifle buy. I'm often finding myself thinking that I would buy the FAMAS here, but I just can’t bring myself to do it; $2250 is just a little bit too much compared to how powerful the pistols and the SSG can be for so much cheaper.
Kevlar plus a FAMAS sets you back $2900, or $3250 for those of you paranoid about a Vega Squadron-esque MAC-10 rush. For the same price, you could pick yourself up full armor, a UMP or MP9, and a belt of utility. On the CT side where money can be tighter and utility is essential, this price difference is massive, and the usefulness of the gun does not scale with the price all too well. While diminishing returns are to be expected (you can’t expect a $3000 gun to be six times as effective as a $500 gun), the FAMAS feels a little bit too weak for the pretty hefty cost.
Whilst the Galil on the T side isn’t amazing, it has slightly better damage than the FAMAS (it does basically the same damage to armored opponents as the M4A4), extra bullets and costs slightly less. It also feels unsatisfying to use, but statistically it isn’t quite as poor as the CT side equivalent. The Galil has a uniqueness in its price and magazine size, whereas the FAMAS’ uniqueness comes from its ability to switch to burst fire - which might be nice if it wasn’t utterly useless.
That, however, is where I would propose the change. Rather than drop the price, give us a reason to buy a FAMAS over a cheaper alternative. The burst fire was iconic in CS 1.6 but in Global Offensive it has been neglected. A tighter burst spray would feel nice to play and allow for lots of skill expression, whilst giving the FAMAS a true niche as a precise mid range weapon that requires serious skill to utilize but actually feeling rewarding and importantly making it more useful for good players. A lot of players have yearned for the return of the burst fire, and this would be a welcome buff to a gun that is in a bad spot as well as good fan service. Reducing the price would certainly help the gun, as the main issues stem from it not being worth $1000 more than the SMGs most of the time, but it would still feel just like a worse M4A4. Any buff would be nice, but I personally feel allowing for the burst fire to be useful would help the skill ceiling of the gun.
Many players think the FAMAS is fine the way it is, and whilst I disagree I think a buff like this is agreeable to most players as it will only be of benefit to top class players and would just make the gun nicer to use rather than just cheaper. If you disagree, feel free to tell me why, but I don’t think many people will be against carving a niche for a pretty iconic if weak weapon.