Insurgency: Sandstorm – Obscure Stuff

Please note: all credit goes to Ed!

Some things in the game that the game either doesn’t outright tell you, people don’t know about or is rather obscure but may be pretty damn useful.

Other Insurgency: Sandstorm Guides:

Controls / UI / Misc Stuff

In the settings menu, under Game (which should be the first menu that appears anyway), in the HUD section there’s an option to always show the compass. This is strongly recommended as it greatly assists with callouts. Personally I reckon this should be an opt-out feature i.e. on by default. Some people feel that it’s too large/obnoxious but I don’t see any problem with it, most of the time I don’t even notice it until I need to. The compass has the added benefit of showing the bearing as a number directly above the compass itself, which can be actually be used to line up shots/grenade throws as the number are always centered vertically. One could also use the objective icon below it, but since that’s closer to the bottom edge of the screen you’ll likely have a harder time doing such a thing.

Using the number keys to switch weapons has an annoying delay before you can switch to a different one, likely to fix a bug where the game wouldn’t equip the correct weapon (i.e. the little selection menu would show you had equipped your pistol, but pulled out your RPG instead or something like that). The mouse wheel however, does not suffer from this delay, so if you need to quickly switch between grenades or weapons to resupply or use them scroll the mouse wheel, but don’t expect it to be flawless.

As with Insurgency 2014, when you start aiming down the sights your bullets are already going to hit the center of the screen. If you can center your targets you can sometimes take them down before you even actually aim down your sight. With enough practice, you can do some l33t quickscopes with the bolt actions that’ll get you into FaZe in no time.

Taking off armour and ammo vests greatly increases movement speed AND ADS (aim down sight) speed. You can scope in really quick with a 7x scope if your weight range (indicated by a bar towards the upper left corner of the loadout menu) is in the 20% area, assisting in them sick quickscopes.

Crouch jumping is still possible in Sandstorm. While it’s still possible to shoot while vaulting over stuff, you can’t aim down the sights and it becomes a matter of spraying and praying, whereas you can instead strafe towards a low wall or object and jump crouch onto/over it to get a better drop on anyone below.

After sprinting for a certain amount of time, you can press CTRL to slide, and in the initial stages of the 2nd beta, you could also hipfire while doing so, but one of the patches has since removed this. You can slide off the edge of something to gain a nice speed boost. One really nice spot to do this is on F point in Crossing as Security, there’s an abrupt ledge beside a path leading down to the road below and sliding off it gets you some nice airtime and speed, you might take some fall damage however if you don’t land on the sloped section. Wonder what it looks like in third person…

PKM sniping with an ACOG is was actually pretty damn fun, at least in coop, although the changes to LMG recoil and the ACOG scope’s view have kind of nerfed that. 2x holosight makes it feel closer to a belt-fed mosin however.

If you reload and then sprint after the magazine has been pulled out, don’t forget to reload again – the game has a staged reloading system where if you perform actions that would normally cancel a reload at certain points in the reloading process (e.g. after pulling out the magazine), it will resume the reload where you left it off. I bring this up because I’ve seen on numerous occasions someone sprinting in the middle of a reload, then encountering a bot only to fire off the chambered round and the gun clicking empty, before dying in a hail of gunfire. If you’re not sure at any point, hold R to check the status of your gun – this also tells you how much ammo you have, and it’s a very good habit to pick up after mowing down some enemies.

Double tapping R performs a speed reload which is rather self explanatory, but you lose the magazine in the process, therefore it is best to do it when the mag is almost or completely empty. Speed reloads only seem to be faster than an ordinary reload when the gun isn’t completely empty (i.e. chamber empty and bolt locked back, requiring a pull of the charging handle or whatever). If you want to take full advantage of speed reloads, at the beginning of a game reload your gun so it’s loaded with magazine + chambered bullet, then get into the habit of counting each pull of the trigger so you know when to reload. Soon enough it’ll become a subconscious thing, even now I have a hard time not counting my shots since it’s become second nature.

Weapons and Explosives

Live frag grenades can be thrown back by going up to them and pressing F. Quite a few times I’ve been in situations where I and everyone else tried to run away from a frag, only for it to blow up just as we think we’re out of the blast zone and we ded, when that time used running away from it could’ve instead been better spent throwing it back, potentially saving everyone. Even if it blows up in your hand as you pick it up, the benefit of this is that the moment you pick it up, if it does explode, the game registers the explosion as coming from *you* and thus will simply give friendly fire damage to your teammates, instead of dealing the full damage of an enemy grenade. I still remember one game where I picked up a frag and it blew up in my hand, I got blown to bits and the explosion caught 3 of my teammates in it, however they still lived due to it being classified as friendly fire damage. Since then I make it a habit to try to throw back frags, because at least my teammates can potentially survive. The game also mentions that lying on top of a grenade can reduce the blast damage for anyone else unfortunate enough to be near it as well.

If you’ve decided that you don’t want to throw the grenade that you just pulled the pin off, roll the mouse wheel **while still holding down the mouse button until you actually pull out a different weapon.** Failing to hold down the mouse button will still throw the grenade, and if you’ve already dropped the spoon, the timer is already ticking down and you have no choice but to throw it away.

The RPG-7’s point of impact seems to not be at the tip of the front sight post, but rather just below it – so if you wanted to send a rocket through a window, you would obscure the window with the sight post and fire away.

The RPG and M3 MAAWS (or M3 CG) both have very long reloads that can be shortened (but not in the traditional sense) by switching guns the moment you see the ammo indicator change. This doesn’t actually decrease the time you need to wait before you can fire another rocket (if you switch back to the RPG and try to aim and fire another rocket, you’ll find that the camera just zooms in a little bit but you can’t actually shoot as reloads are based on time rather than animations), but this allows you to draw your gun out earlier in case there are enemies nearby.

Shotguns can pump much faster if mashing the fire button. A shotgun without a foregrip attached can fire as fast as one with a foregrip, and a shotgun with a foregrip can shoot even faster, 2 shots a second.

Against bots, melee is quite broken. The bots are almost always able to score a headshot with a weapon bash, resulting in instant death, whereas us being human, do not have aimbot and the reflexes of John Wick. More often than not it will feel like you will need to go to USMC sniper school to learn how to consistently poke bots in the face with the muzzle of your gun, since poking them anywhere else won’t guarantee a kill unless they’re already on low health. Knives are especially broken in that one could understandably think that swinging a knife would cut anything that gets touched by the knife, however in this game it only hits whatever is in the center of your screen, and even then it has a ridiculously short range. How short? If you decide to mess around in local play and turn on god mode, go up to a bot, and due to the collision hitbox, there are spots around the bot where you cannot even knife them, despite touching them. It seems that collision hitboxes are of the classic box type, so imagine a cardboard refrigerator box – the range of the knife is so short that you can’t even shank someone from the corners of the box. On the topic of broken melee, I’m not sure if backstabbing is still broken – in the beta I was able to sneak up behind a bot, I must have rolled a 20 because the bot somehow didn’t know I was there, so I decided to backstab him, since in Ins 2014 backstabs were instant kills. Nope, he just groaned in pain and slowly turned around while my knife took its sweet time to prepare for another swing, while he proceeded to fill my face with lead. It seems that only headshot melee attacks are instant kills, not even backstabs will kill them if they’re on full health.


Instead of holding F at a supply crate to do a full resupply, you can open and close the loadout menu (either by hitting the resupply button or save loadout button) to instantly do a full resupply. Tapping the F key (which is the shortcut for a full resupply) while in the loadout menu, standing beside a crate seems to not work, at least in my experience.

If for whatever reason the initial supply truck in co-op has disappeared or blown up, you can still resupply in the spawn zone – look for the icon denoting your spawn area and move towards it – if you can see how many supply points you have (indicated by a number and crate icon in the lower right corner of your screen) you’re in the zone. Open up your loadout menu and tap F to restock, there’s a 50 second cooldown between resupplies however.

Fully resupplying also restores your health, so if you’ve been hit make sure you heal yourself.

After (re)spawning/doing a full resupply at a crate. One of the beta updates made it so that you can only carry two grenade launcher explosives, and a maximum of 3 RPGs. Since you already spawn with 2 40mm grenades (3 if using 40mm smoke), this now only applies to RPGs since you spawn with 2 rockets but can pick up an extra one from the crate if wearing a heavy carrier.

If you have to pick up a gun in the field, any similar guns can have their magazines scavenged for extra ammo. Against Insurgent bots, one could strip off all armour and ammo vests and live off dropped SKSs and AKMs, and vice versa with Security bots’ M4s and Mk18s.

Commanders and Observers

Smoke cockblocks commander fire support – if you try to call fire support at a location and there’s smoke in between the marker will be blocked by the smoke.

Observers capture points twice as fast as the other classes. In co-op, a game is better off with having observer slots filled before rifleman slots since observers are literally riflemen, weapons and all, but with a radio. If you’re in a co-op game where people seem to not want to play any class but rifleman and there’s a commander, you may want to point this out. Better to have any radio than none at all, and especially a radio guy that can capture points twice as fast as everyone else, which may prove crucial if playing on servers that ramp up the number of bots per wave.

Observers don’t need direct line of sight with the Commander to request fire support, they just need to be close enough to the commander to do so, as indicated by the meter at the bottom left corner of the screen. This way, the observer can be in a safe position away from gunfire that could potentially interrupt the request, either through suppression or a lucky headshot.

As was just mentioned, being suppressed interrupts fire support, so as an Observer make sure you’re not getting shot at, at least until the order goes through and is confirmed by HQ. There are unique lines for interrupted fire support requests, one of the notable ones has the female security requesting a gun run by saying “we need the cannon, the one that goes, ‘BRRRRRRT.'”

Let’s say a Commander and Observer are in a sticky situation where they could possibly die in the next second or two, in this scenario, the Observer only needs to be around the commander for when fire support is initially ordered – once you hear the commander start ordering whatever fire support needed, or see a message in the chatbox from the player who is commander that says something like Order Fire Support the Observer can then immediately run off to safety and hide until the order is confirmed by HQ. Observers should ideally stay near the Commander at all possible times, but occasionally fights get intense enough that sticking together is too risky e.g. grenades or a machine gun nest or something.

Co-op / Bots

Be wary of smoke grenades against bots – while they can’t see through smoke and often times are blind to the point of you being able to poke them with your gun or knife without them seeing you for a second or two before they let loose on you, smoke also seems to be time based – the moment the smoke wears off (30 seconds), they will see right through any lingering smoke that obscures human vision.

Use the intimidation voice command and nearby bots will respond, allowing you to hear where they are. It’s worth noting however that if there’s only one bot alive, it will remain completely silent so keep alert.

Bots can’t see through certain fences/grating, most notably the ones around stairs and grating covering rectangular windows near close to ceilings. The latter case however only really proves useful in niche circumstances, such as on the first objective in Summit and Farmhouse for Security, last objectives for Insurgents. Even though it’s a relatively niche case, it is pretty damn great when you do get to use them, especially against those damn john wick toyotas.

For whatever reason, bots are omniscient as long as you have an unsuppressed gun, even if you have never fired a shot. You can be sneaking around in socks on carpet and as long as you don’t have a suppressor, bots will magically know where you are. You can see this in action when your teammate is one floor below or above and you walk into a room with a bunch of bots staring at the floor or ceiling. Sticking a suppressor kind of turns them into lobotomites.

Bots also sometimes have an infuriating habit of shooting their gun at you through solid walls until their magazine runs dry, or seemingly if you get far enough – this can be most easily seen with machinegunners – they see and start shooting at you, then when you’re behind cover they’ll continue tap firing at the wall, knowing your exact location at all times, even through several solid walls and objects. This is made worse with Insurgent machinegunners, since their PKMs have very good penetration power, and their 7.62x54mmR bullets can often kill in one shot.

While bots may be omniscient to frustrating levels, they still have some flaws – most notably, they will tend to clump on the other side of a wall you’re camping on. This can be exploited to great effect when defending a point as last man standing – camp in a corner of a room or something, wait there then use the intimidation command as improvised echolocation, then when it sounds like there’s a lot of them behind you, wallbang the lot of them. *Especially* if you have a PKM. 7.62x54mmR is a mean bullet.

Bots also have an insatiable desire to hop on the gun of a toyota – this can be exploited as well, turning them into honeypots – drive into an area where bots may be lurking, then hop out. If nobody comes out, try hopping on the gun, optionally firing a shot or two, then jumping out. The bots should then come out and try to make a beeline for it. I like to stay at the tailgate, moving around a bit to see if there’s any bots coming and if so, quickly hopping on and putting them down, rinse, lather and repeat. Note: while recent patches have made it so that bots no longer make a beeline for the DShk the moment their fellow bots get shot out (i.e. there is now a delay between bots getting on the gun, whereas before there would be a conga line of bots jumping on the gun the exact moment the last bot got sniped off it), they still seem to have a lust for the gun if you decide to drive into a new neighbourhood and hop out.

In the unfortunate event that a bot sneaks by you and gets on the toyota gun, if it’s close enough to you, run up to it and stay crouched while hugging the vehicle. If you still can’t get a shot at the gunner’s face, crouch walk all the way to the tailgate, then shoot the gunner in the feet. With the 4 seater toyota, the gun is in a position close enough that you can actually tickle the shins of the bot with your gun while they can’t do a single thing about it.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of people, when they see a bot and go to shoot but their gun clicks empty or runs out of bullets because they forgot to mag check, they run back just a metre or two and hide in a corner to reload, unaware that the bot will chase them down and know their exact position at all times. If you need to reload after a bot sees you, keep moving. You can pull out your pistol if you have a quick draw holster, but the erratic behaviour of bots means that even when consciously going for headshots, you may miss and die a sad death, and the low damage of pistols means that even if you get a shot or two off their more powerful rifles may kill you before you can put them down first.

If bots see you move back into cover, they will bombard your position with laser guided frags and/or molotovs. Generally, if you have to move back into cover, just relocate to an entirely new position, or one far enough that you don’t get bathed in a burning alcohol-petroleum mix from the heavens. Sometimes if you pop back out of cover, you can even catch the bot in the act of preparing a grenade.


Kicking in a door will kill anyone immediately on the other side of the door and around it, so stay away from them or open them from the side, especially in co-op, since the omniscient bots *will* know if you’re close enough to kick the door in your face. Door hinges can also be shot off and make a distinct noise when they’ve been destroyed – for that extra SWAT feel, have a teammate prep a flashbang while you bring it down.

In contrast, if defending a point, going around busting down doors is not a good idea because a) it’s a great form of early warning system since bots/people make noise opening doors and b) it sucks when a frag or molotov comes flying through the open doorway and kills everyone inside and c) if it opens towards you, it’s an easy way to get the Knock Knock achievement as outlined below.

Open doors can be kicked shut – stand beside the hinges, look towards the doorframe, then hit the melee key. This will kick the door shut and kill anyone unfortunate enough to be standing in the swing arc of the door, as well as the doorframe itself. This can be used against bots to get the Knock Knock achievement easily. Move away from the door as soon as you kick it shut, because if anyone on the other side kicks it open again, you’re dead meat, although this can be somewhat mitigated by opening the door with the Use key immediately after booting it shut.


If nobody has an RPG, shoot the ♥♥♥ out of the tail rotor of the heli. Haven’t tried the main rotor but the PKM can take out the tail rotor with a few hits. I’ve yet to try it on a gunship lol Note: The aforementioned point is ill-advised as one of the more recent patches seriously buffed the accuracy of the minigun heli, as well as the flight behaviour of helicopters in general. They’ll almost always dodge RPGs if they aren’t shot at from behind, and trying to shoot the rotor is out of the question with the aforementioned accuracy buff and the fact that they fly much higher now.

On the topic of shooting down helis, they apparently do not attempt to avoid 40mm grenades. I guess someone had to try eventually…mind you this was told to me before the changes to their flight behaviour. They seem to fly a lot higher now so actually hitting them with a 40mm is something else entirely.

Hold the crouch key while in any seat of a vehicle to dip your head, reducing the chances that you get sniped out. Doing this on the gunner seat in a rhythmic fashion has a nice teabagging action to it for any witnesses.

About RattusTeam 14970 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices.

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