When Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released in 2013, its arsenal of weapons was very similar to those of the games that came before it. Unlike those other games, though, CS:GO allowed players to choose some weapons over others. From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem that this provides players with more choice on how they want to approach the game tactically, but after a close examination, many of these weapons aren’t different enough statistically to warrant using one over the other.
Note: All data is from the Counter-Strike Wiki.
The P2000 is a loud alternative to the suppressed USP-S; however, they’re nearly identical in stats. Ironically, the P2000 has lower recoil (19/26 vs 18/26) and a higher accurate range (22m vs 21m) than the USP-S, meaning that even though the suppressed nature of the USP-S might make it seem more accurate for long-range headshots on pistol round, it is actually slightly worse than the P2000.
Looking at the M4A1-S vs M4A4, the situation is very much the same. Released as part of the Arms Deal update in 2013, the M4A1-S can be picked to replace the M4A4. The M4A1-S has very slightly lower recoil compared to the M4A4 (19/26 vs 20/26) a better range modifier (0.99 vs 0.97), as well as a lower rate of fire and the lowest amount of ammo out of all the rifles in the game (25/75 vs 30/90). The suppressor does give the M4A1-S a slightly stealthier approach and eliminates bullet tracers, though.
After the P2000, the CZ75-Auto was made to replace the Five-SeveN for Counter-Terrorists and the Tec-9 for Terrorists. The devs then released the traumatic R8 Revolver to replace the Desert Eagle in 2015, and most recently, the MP5-SD was presented as an alternative to the MP7 in 2018. The CZ has been so nerfed throughout its lifetime that it is no longer a viable alternative to the Five-SeveN or the Tec-9. The CZ has an atrocious 2.73/2.83 second reload time, lower accurate range than both pistols, lower armor penetration and lower damage. The only place where it really shines in comparison is its rate of fire (600 vs 400 & 500), but with 12 rounds per magazine and 12 rounds in reserve, that’s hardly useful.
If these weapons were significantly different, it could provide for interesting play style changes. Imagine if the M4A1-S/MP5 had higher accuracy and recoil control but lower damage than the M4A4/MP7. This would allow for players who prefer stealth to have their own kind of advantage while not putting players who like to rush in loud at a disadvantage. The same treatment could be applied to the P2000 and USP-S to create the same kind of situations. As it stands, the suppressor on these guns has a strange effect where their relative silence makes it seem as though they’re more accurate, when in reality they have the same level of accuracy as their loud counterparts. If the CZ had its reload time slashed, another magazine added to its reserve, and its accurate range ever so slightly raised, it could provide a usable alternative to the Five-SeveN and Tec-9 for players who want to rush into sites and get one or two kills (like the Tec-9 used to do).
While there are examples of alternative guns that are different enough to warrant their use, the majority seem like they need more than just simple stat tweaks and number changes to be considered viable. A wider range of guns creates room for unique play styles and strategies, which would ultimately make playing CS:GO a richer and more rewarding experience.