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"Rust": Recoil Control and Spray Patterns

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A veteran "Rust" degenerate with 4.5k hours, a rock, and a dream.



In Rust, your effectiveness at taking down other players can dramatically increase your progression and start you down a snowball. Winning more fights than you lose will let you gain loot to dominate even harder. However, you have to actually win those fights. While there are many factors to winning a fight, simply aiming and shooting better is certainly at the core. However, in Rust, there are a lot of things the developers have done to make aiming and shooting a little different than your typical first person shooter. Most notably, spray patterns on many guns are fixed. This means if you memorize the spray patterns and build the muscle memory to execute them, you have a huge advantage in a gunfight.

Guns With Fixed Spray Patterns

The automatic weapons in the game all feature fixed spray patterns that you can explicitly learn. Of course they still have accuracy and an associated cone of fire, but you can definitively control where your gun will be pointing if you master the spray pattern. The weapons that have fixed patterns are:

  1. Assault Rifle "AK"
  2. LR-300 Assault Rifle
  3. M249
  4. MP5A4
  5. Thompson
  6. Custom SMG

Each of these can be deadly when mastered, in particular the top three, which are very powerful. Below I will cover the pattern used to counteract the recoil so you can improve your accuracy. However, you may find it useful to find a server that allows you to explicitly practice the patterns. There are many available, but I personally often use Rustoria RTG, and I have used images from their recoil mode below.

Assault Rifle "AK" Spray Pattern

The most iconic gun in the game, mastering the Assault Rifle can make you an incredibly deadly force. However, the gun kicks hard; the first five to six bullets are very challenging. The pattern you must make with your mouse is roughly a small lightning bolt into a backwards S. You'll find the later parts of the pattern much easier to deal with, but it may take more practice for those first five to six bullets.

AK spray pattern & mouse movement.

AK spray pattern & mouse movement.

MP5A4 Spray Pattern

A strange but not overly challenging pattern, the MP5A4 is incredibly deadly and features a relatively low amount of recoil. However, the challenge comes in the pattern having sharp right and left hooks, which can be very unfamiliar for many shooter players. Mastering those turns can make you comparatively threatening to someone wielding an Assault Rifle.

MP5A4 mouse pattern.

MP5A4 mouse pattern.

LR-300 Assault Rifle Spray Pattern

Often considered the easy version of the Assault Rifle, the LR-300 features an easier pattern than the Assault Rifle, but it comes with lower bullet damage. However, given the easier pattern, the LR-300 can be incredibly deadly at range or at stringing together multiple sequential headshots. It's often used with an 8x scope for exactly this purpose.

LR-300 Assault Rifle mouse pattern.

LR-300 Assault Rifle mouse pattern.

M249 Spray Pattern

This gun is very simple, but it has an incredibly hard kicking recoil. The M249 is the rarest weapon in the game and arguably the most deadly due to its incredible damage per second. The main challenge with the M249 is how much desk space you have to pull down on your mouse and how well you can make minor side to side adjustments while making such an exaggerated downward movement.

M249 mouse pattern.

M249 mouse pattern.

Thompson Spray Pattern

The Thompson is fairly easy as its lower fire rate and gradual pattern are straightforward to get used to. Nice and easy movements and knowing when the pattern tilts to the sides can make this the deadliest tier 2 weapon and a wonderful way to dish out high damage without having access to tier 3.

Thompson mouse pattern.

Thompson mouse pattern.

Custom SMG Spray Pattern

Similar to the Thompson, the pattern for the Custom SMG is fairly easy to get used to. While they are similar, this gun has a lower role than the Thompson. This weapon's accuracy and effective range are quite poor, so you may often find the recoil pattern isn't as useful to know as the Thompson. With the Custom SMG, you can take someone down quickly at close range, but you won't have the accuracy to do it at long range even if you control the recoil.

Custom SMG mouse pattern.

Custom SMG mouse pattern.

General Spray Control Tips

While vaguely the best way to get better at spraying is to practice, there are a handful of things to consider outside of just shooting more.

  1. Adjusting your mouse sensitivity to your liking, generally lower improves accuracy but comes with it's own disadvantages. Rust also allows you to adjust your mouse sensitivity while aiming down sights so you can be a bit more fine tuned if you like. If your sensitivity goes low enough you may need to adjust from aiming with your wrist to aiming a bit more with your arm. This can be challenging but it tends to improve accuracy.
  2. Consider changing your hardware. Of course a gaming mouse of your preferred size and weight is ideal, but even a new mousepad, in particular a bigger mouse pad, can benefit your aiming capabilities. Many of the most accurate sprayers in Rust use very low sensitivity and need a very large mouse pad to have enough room for their arm movements. I'll link the mousepad I use below.
  3. Practice the first bullet or first few bullets. They are the most important and in the case of the assault rifle are the trickiest. Some aim servers allow you to cap your bullets so you can repeatedly practice just the first 1, 2, 3, etc. shots.
  4. Practice from a longer range. It will force you to build a tighter pattern and have an added bonus of practicing for bullet drop.

Lastly I would recommend seeking other sources for ideas on practicing. Each person may respond differently to different strategies or may need different strategies for their play pattern and gun preferences.

An Incredibly Large Cloth Mouse Pad

Hipfire Spraying

While hip firing doesn't occur in the majority of PvP, it's always good to be prepared. The recoil patterns don't change for hip firing, nor is the approach fundamentally different. However, you will be less accurate due to the higher aim cone of hip fire. More critically, you will not have a crosshair to monitor your spray pattern and correct deviations from the target. For this reason, it's common to use a crosshair for hip firing and many other uses. Refer to the video below for more details on using a crosshair.

Using a Crosshair for Better Aim

Final Thoughts

Every weapon spray can be incredibly valuable to learn for different reasons. Ultimately, only very skilled players or players with a lot of hours will master every gun. It's common for groups to have players that focus on just one to three of the above weapons, and that's generally what I would recommend. Find a gun that feels fairly natural to you and master the pattern; you'll be able to leverage that to your advantage. However, I also recommend at least trying the pattern and remembering it, even if poorly, so that you aren't completely incompetent should you be forced into using one of them.