5 Key Characteristics to Look for in an FPS Gaming Mouse

If you play FPS (first-person shooters), you need a great gaming mouse. After all, your mouse translates your real-world movements into your in-game actions.

With that in mind, here are the most important things to consider when buying a mouse to play FPS games.

1. A Low Weight

Weight is probably the most important factor when it comes to gaming mice. Shape is still important, but if it’s 20 grams heavier, your aim wouldn’t get better. A lighter mouse means less energy is needed to get it moving, and less energy to stop it from moving.

If you’ve used a mouse heavier than 80 grams, you’ve probably experienced a slight wobble or overshoot when stopping. That doesn’t happen as much on a lighter mouse. You are able to stop more precisely if there is less inertia trying to make your mouse keep going in the direction you flick it to.

Weight is so significant that some extreme FPS mice like the Zaunkoenig M2K come wired to avoid the need for a weighty battery. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to wired mice after switching to the Logitech G Pro X Superlight (60 grams). Given that some people find wires a deal-breaker, the wired vs. wireless mouse debate is ongoing.

2. A Flawless Sensor

Modern gaming mouse sensors don’t usually have any problems when it comes to quality and tracking. However, if the mouse you’re thinking of buying doesn’t have an optical sensor or isn’t on the Mouse Specs list of flawless mouse sensors, you should probably reconsider.

Flawless mouse sensors are the bare minimum, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less. A mouse that tracks your movement without any unnecessary acceleration or unpredictable movement is a must for FPS gaming. Your mouse is a direct translation of your real-world movements into the game, so it is very important for that translation to be perfect.

Windows’ acceleration may interfere with your mouse movements in some rare cases. To prevent Windows from messing with your mouse cursor artificially and blaming it on your mouse sensor, see our article explaining how to turn off mouse acceleration on Windows.

3. The Size and Shape

There is no all-encompassing solution when it comes to size and shape; it mostly boils down to preference. Although, size does play some part in the weight. Some mice that come in different sizes for the same model, like the Pulsar X2 and X2 mini, don’t weigh the same. The X2 weighs 56g while the X2 mini weighs 52g, and 4g in mice terms is significant.

There are symmetrical mice like the Superlight and the Pulsar X2, but there are also asymmetrical mice that might prove to be more comfortable. One such example is the Razer Deathadder. We think it’s safest to go with symmetrical shapes, as asymmetrical mice are based on a model’s hand that might not be anywhere close to your own hand.

However, if you have experience with certain popular asymmetrical shapes like the Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical (WMO), you may find those shapes copied or inspiring other companies. The Gamesense MVP Wireless is a 75g mouse whose shape is based on the WMO, and it has gained a lot of popularity for this reason.

Grip style also plays a big role. Palm grip users may find bigger mice to be more comfortable, while fingertip and claw users may want smaller mice to have more space for fine finger movements.

Using my own experience with the Superlight as an example. This mouse is meant for larger hands, and my hands are quite small. Even if the hump was lower and its length was shorter, the main buttons are still a little too high.

The Logitech G102 or G305 would fit my hands much better, but the weight difference would make me perform worse in the end. I used a 100g G305 before switching to the Superlight, and it didn’t take long to beat my scores on aim trainers.

The reason why the Superlight is still successful despite its mediocre shape is that the shape isn’t the best for anyone, but is good enough for everyone. Match that with super low latency wireless technology and incredibly low weight while making it accessible for everyone to buy, and you have a mouse that sells.

Rocket Jump Ninja suggests 60% of your hand size on length and width are ideal. This is generic advice, but it’s a good place to start. You can check out Rocket Jump Ninja’s mouse search feature and input your hand measurements. The site will use the 60% rule, and you are able to set how strictly you want your measurements to be followed.

Buttons that aren’t engineered properly will get very hard to press down toward the back of the mouse. The Superlight has decently tensioned buttons that are still usable even if they’re pressed near the back. Smaller hands would find the Superlight impossible to use if the buttons took too much force to press down the further back on the button you press.

Additionally, the main buttons shouldn’t feel mushy. Side buttons tend to have some travel to avoid accidentally clicking when handling the mouse, so those will feel mushy most of the time. What matters are the main buttons; you want them to be responsive on the click.

As for the scroll wheel, this will depend on whether you want the scroll steps to be defined or smooth. It might be best to read reviews from long-term users as my G305 scroll wheel became incredibly difficult to scroll after a year of use.

5. The Lift-Off Distance

Lift-off distance (LOD) is another characteristic that is slightly preferential. Ideally, a mouse should stop working once you lift it off the table. However, due to how mouse sensors work, your mouse may still track movements even if it’s lifted a very tiny amount.

You must now think that the LOD should be as low as possible. However, a LOD too shallow could cause issues. It could suddenly stop tracking if you put tension on one side, slightly lifting the other side of the mouse.

LOD is usually measured in CDs (as in Compact Discs) which have a thickness of about 1.2mm. This is adjustable in some mice, but the most common LOD heights are about 1-2CDs (1.2-2.4mm). In most cases, you shouldn’t need to worry about this. However, if your mouse is still tracking after lifting it to reset your mouse position, you may want one with a lower LOD height.

Finding the Perfect Mouse for You

Truthfully, it will be hard to find the perfect mouse for you, but it’s worth trying and trying until you find one. The first step should be looking at the weight. Below 80g should be your target. Then look at the other key characteristics, aiming for a mouse that suits your grip style and has a flawless sensor. As usual with hardware, reading and watching reviews of specific mice could prove useful.

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