Some time ago I started making a list. It contained players who as CT saved their lone pistol, if they were left alone against a bomb plant during pistols or eco rounds. Olofmeister did it at the major. Taco did it in the ESL One Cologne finals last year. Guardian did it against Cloud9. Even GeT_RiGhT did it. Skadoodle, kennyS, gla1ve, f0rest, and everyone on Team Liquid were equally as guilty.
Almost every other top player out there did it; they all saved their pistols. They even got applause from some of the top casters and analysts in the business for doing it. The list I started making, grew at such a rate that it became ridiculous. So much that I became more upset about it than Anders about the box on Overpass (just kidding, that's impossible). So here's why they should all stop doing it, because in almost all situations it's stupid.
You're inadvertently giving money to the opposing team
Since the beginning of Counter-Strike it has always been a game of economics. You earn different amounts of money if you win or lose a round. So far, so easy. Every player that's ever played a match of CS knows this. There's also some bonus money to be earned from planting the bomb or getting kills.
But something that seems to have slipped through the cracks is the fact that if the round is won by bomb detonation, the terrorist side get an extra $250 bonus per player.
Round won by bomb detonation
Round won by elimination
$3500 is the amount awarded to each terrorist after every round that ends with a bomb detonation. If the last player on the CT side is killed before the bomb explodes, this instead shrinks to $3250 per player. Might not sound like a lot, but it's a significant difference when you look at how big of a factor economy plays in the game. Five players per team multiplied by $250 is a total of $1250 extra.
This means that the worst thing you could do on an eco round is to save that USP you were gifted at the beginning of the round. You're giving away money.
From a mathematical point of view, not saving equipment worth less than $1250 is generally a good guideline. It's not all black or white though.
In some situations it's viable
There are a number of variables that need to be considered. Rounds when you of course can — and should — save that pistol exist in plural.
First off, it's the money difference between your team and the opposing team. If they are in a position where they can guarantee a full buy for the remainder of the rounds, it obviously doesn't matter if they get more money. The higher the advantage of your opponent, the less of a difference those extra $250 per player will have.
You also have to weigh in the likeliness of the saved equipment having any impact on the following round, and the money's worth. If you're up for another eco or a sluggish force buy, it's more viable to save a useable pistol than if the next round is a full buy.
Another, not as easily computable concern, is the psychological outcome. You might feel like your team has the momentum on your side, and you don't want to give that away with some easy frags for the opponent.
In most cases though, it's almost always worth trying to go for an exit kill in a somewhat aggressive manor before the bomb detonates. Even if it's a one in ten chance of you getting a kill, that's good enough. If you get that kill one out of ten rounds, that's about $3000-$5000 lost for your opponent most rounds, plus a decent chance for you to grab a gun. If you die the other nine, that's $300-$600 for one person and $250 less per player for the whole team, since the bomb didn't detonate. Either way, you win the money game.
Saving a USP on the pistol round? No, thanks.