What does ADS mean in gaming?

There are two standard definitions of ADS.

Image via Activision

ADS is a common phrase most gamers will likely encounter at some point in their gaming career. New players might not know what the abbreviation means at first, but there are only two common definitions of ADS. 

The most common meaning of ADS is “aim down sights,” which is often used in first-person shooters. This refers to the act of aiming with a weapon in first-person view to get a better look at distant enemies. Some players also refer to this as hard-scoping, but this usually refers to using a scope or other long-distance optic. 

Call of Duty has adopted this term and lists the ADS speed for certain weapons, which changes based on certain attachments. Most first-person shooters have a hipfire or ADS option, and the ADS typically is more accurate. 

Aiming down sights can also slow down players in games like VALORANT, and understanding each game’s mechanics is important to use the ability effectively. 

Some MMO players also use ADS to refer to additional enemies that are typically easy to kill. Some players will call out these new enemies to their team or group to let them know new enemies have appeared in the area. 

Players will encounter both uses of the word depending on the games they play. Context clues can also help you understand if a player is referring to aiming down their sights or new enemies on the map.