Weapons in PlanetSide 2 have two independent mechanics that make them inaccurate: Cone of Fire and Recoil.
When you fire, the bullets are randomly distributed within a cone, called Cone of Fire, and the longer you fire – the larger it gets.
When you stop firing, it will become small again.
When hip firing, size of the crosshair roughly indicates the size of your cone of fire, but there is no way to see cone of fire when aiming down sights. Hip fire cone of fire is reduced by laser sight attachment, and increased by compensator.
Recoil kicks your crosshair with each shot, and it has two components: vertical and horizontal recoil:
Vertical recoil is always constant for each shot, and it can be reduced by Compensator attachment.
Horizontal recoil is random shaking to the left and right, and it can be reduced by Forward Grip attachment.
So in order to actually hit anything you have to remember two things:
Suppress your recoil by pulling your mouse in the opposite direction.
Maintain small Cone of Fire by firing in bursts of 5-10 rounds, depending on range to the target.
You should be able to gun someone down if they’re not looking directly at you, but only if you actually hit their body with bullets. Practice by shooting at dummy targets in VR Training.
Don’t just stand while firing, try running, jumping, crouching, walking, strafing in one direction, strafing back and forth. If you can, record yourself and watch your play. See if you can spot anything obvious, like bullets consistently missing left or right.
In ideal conditions, it takes 5-10 bullet hits to kill an infantry player, depending on weapon and distance.
But a particularly weak weapon might require much more hits against a hard target, like Heavy Assault with active shield ability and Nanoweave, or if the enemy is too far.
Generally, time to kill in PlanetSide 2 is longer than in other online shooters like Battlefield, Call of Duty and Titanfall. But, there are certain weapons that might kill instantly or almost instantly:
Pump action shotgun
Bolt action sniper rifle on a headshot
Pretty much any vehicle
1-4 shots with a weapon and a knife swing kill a player almost instantly
Explosives: mines, C4 and rocket launchers
What can your gun kill besides infantry?
Small arms fire candamage: MAXes, Flash, ESF, Harasser, engineer’s turrets, mines, C4 and other deployables like squad beacons and motion spotters, base terminals.
Concentrated small arms fire is one of the easier ways of taking down Harassers or hovering ESFs. At the very least, it can be used to persuade them to leave.
If you deal enough damage, and that ESF or Harasser will go down soon afterwards, you may even score an assist, and if you’re lucky – a kill. That’s a lot of EXP, and you will help your allies, too.
Liberators, Lightnings, MBTs, generators and Phalanx turrets are immuneto small arms fire.