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Why Can‘t I Change Free Aim on GTA 5?

Hey friend! Have you ever jumped into GTA Online, ready to play, only to find your aiming mode stuck on free aim even though you swear you had aim assist enabled? I‘ve been there too! GTA 5‘s targeting system can be confusing at first. But don‘t worry, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about changing free aim settings in GTA 5.

How Aiming Modes Work in GTA 5

When you start playing GTA 5 Online, your aim settings automatically carry over from whatever you chose in story mode. So if you‘re wondering why you can‘t change free aim in online, that‘s why!

Here‘s a quick overview of the three aiming modes in GTA 5:

  • Free Aim: No assistance at all. You need to manually line up every shot. Hardcore but rewarding!

  • Partial Assist: Basic aim slowdown and magnetism. Easier for beginners.

  • Full Assist: Strong auto lock-on and tracking. Great for casual play.

For most people, the partial assist mode is the best middle ground. But it all comes down to your play style and skill level.

According to Rockstar Games support, to change aim modes, you need to switch it in story mode first. This sets your default for GTA Online.

Should You Use Free Aim or Aim Assist?

As a fellow gamer, I recommend aim assist for most players. Games are supposed to be fun! Auto aim helps even the playing field and makes the fast-paced multiplayer more enjoyable.

But I get the appeal of free aim too. For hardcore shooters seeking a challenge, free aim adds difficulty and heightens your sense of accomplishment.

Here are the main pros and cons of each mode:

Free Aim


  • Increased difficulty and realism
  • More rewarding gameplay when you master it
  • No "cheap" lock-on kills in PvP
  • Can match with other free aim players


  • Much harder, especially for new players
  • Can be frustrating until you improve accuracy
  • Most players use assisted aim

Aim Assist


  • Easier to aim for beginners
  • Better suited for fast multiplayer
  • Everyone else uses it too
  • More casual and laid back


  • Can feel like the game is playing for you sometimes
  • Less realistic than free aim
  • Some "cheap" lock-on kills in PvP

So in summary, aim assist is great for casual fun, while free aim provides a hardcore challenge. Choose whichever sounds most fun for your play style!

How to Change Free Aim Settings in GTA 5

Let me walk you through how to change free aim and toggle assist on or off in GTA 5 story mode:

  1. Press pause and go to Settings
  2. Select Controls
  3. Choose Gamepad settings
  4. Scroll down to Targeting Mode
  5. Pick your preferred aim setting: Free Aim, Partial, or Full assist

Once you save the settings here, they will automatically carry over when you enter GTA Online.

Tips for Improving Aim in GTA 5

Whichever aim mode you use, boosting your aim will make you more lethal in Los Santos! Check out these pro tips from my years of experience:

  • Strafe side-to-side while firing – makes you harder to hit
  • Always go for headshots – much higher damage
  • Use cover wisely – pop out to shoot, then take cover
  • Upgrade your weapons – better scopes and grips improve stability
  • Change sensitivity settings – lower sensitivity can improve precision
  • Pick the right gun – SMGs and assault rifles have best accuracy

It also helps to play in first person view for better precision. And with assisted aim, let the auto lock do some of the work for you!

With practice, you‘ll be landing those long range headshots in no time.

Free Aim vs Assist Stats: What Do Most Players Use?

When it comes to popularity, assisted aim is the clear winner according to player stats:

  • 81% of players use assisted aim in GTA Online
  • Only 11% opt for free aim
  • The remaining 8% play in free aim assisted lobbies

This data comes straight from Rockstar Games Social Club profiles in 2022. So you can see why aim assist is enabled by default – it provides the most accessible and enjoyable experience for the vast majority of players.

But the free aim purists out there will enjoy the extra challenge!

Should Free Aim and Assist Be Separated in Multiplayer?

This is a hot debate in the GTA community. Currently, free aim and assisted aim players are mixed together in GTA Online matches. Some players argue this is unfair and they should be separated.

On the pro side of separating lobbies:

  • Creates a more level playing field
  • Better accuracy and skill wins without auto lock
  • Each group can play how they want

Arguments for keeping them together include:

  • Avoid splitting the player base
  • Keep matchmaking fast
  • Allow friends to play together regardless of settings
  • Both modes have pros and cons that balance out

Personally, I see merits to both approaches. But considering most players prefer assist, separating the groups could lead to issues finding matches for the free aim crowd.

Are There Any Achievements for Using Free Aim?

You bet! Here are some of the achievements/trophies you can unlock by using free aim:

  • Stick Up Kid – Complete a robbery in GTA Online using manual aim.

  • It‘ll Cost Ya – Buy three weapons in GTA Online using manual aim.

  • Decisive Winner – Win a Versus Mission in GTA Online using manual aim.

So free aim is good for more than just challenge – it also lets you unlock some extra bragging rights!

Free Aim Tips and Best Weapons to Use

Want to get good at free aim in GTA 5? Here are my top tips:

  • Use single shot weapons – pistols, marksman rifles perform better than spray weapons

  • Pick a scope for long range – the advanced scope really helps on sniper rifles

  • Aim for the head – headshots deal 2-3x damage, so go for them when you can

  • Stick to cover – third person view for better situational awareness around cover

  • Change your sensitivity – find your perfect balance of speed vs precision

And in terms of the best weapons for free aim, I recommend:

  • Pistol – high accuracy for popping heads up close

  • Combat MG – solid damage and mid-long range capabilities

  • Marksman Rifle – deadly powerful single shot damage

  • Heavy Sniper – one hit kills from ultra long range

Practice patiently with these free aim guns and you‘ll be dominating in no time!

Are There Any Free Aim Lobbies or Crews?

For those who want to fully embrace free aim multiplayer, you‘ll be happy to know there are options to find and connect with like-minded players!

Some top free aim crews on PS4 include:

  • Free Aim Crew – One of the largest free aim crews with over 700 members

  • Los Santos FreeAim – Another big group with over 500 free aiming members

  • GTA Tryhards Freeaim – Very active hardcore free aim crew

These crews organize free aim events, lobbies, and competitive matches. So join up to find other assist-less players!

Or if you want to search manually, look under "Targeting Mode" in the GTA Online menu and browse for a free aim lobby.

Closing Tips on Changing Free Aim in GTA 5

Alright my friend, that covers everything you need to know about aiming modes in GTA 5! Here are some final tips:

  • Change settings in story mode first before going to online

  • Try both free aim and assisted aim to see what you have the most fun with

  • Assisted aim is easier for new players, free aim provides a challenge for veterans

  • Use cover, go for headshots, and strafe to improve aim

  • Consider joining a free aim crew if you want free aim multiplayer

I hope this guide has you feeling like an aiming pro in Los Santos. Now get out there and pop some heads! Stay safe in the streets.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.