Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is finally here, bringing with it another blockbuster season of hyper-competitive multiplayer action.
But when the difference between success and failure is less than a second in-game, to get the edge over your opponents on the battlefield you need to use MW3’s best guns.
However, sometimes not even that is enough. When everyone else is also rocking the most popular meta weapons you need to fine-tune your loadout to come out on top.
That’s why we’ve scoured the internet for the opinions of top pros and streamers and combined them with our own experience, saving you the legwork of wading through hours of VODs and distilling everything down to a definitive list of the best guns in MW3.
As the meta progresses, we’ll update these pages with the latest loadouts. Sledgehammer Games is constantly fiddling with the balance of weapons and one gun is rarely allowed to dominate completely for too long. What is overpowered at the start of the season might not always stay overpowered.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get to grips with a wide variety of weaponry, so you can switch things up as the meta dictates.
In each weapon’s page below we’ve detailed a comprehensive loadout, discussing both the best attachments to use with each gun and the best perks that complement its optimal playstyle.
MW3 best guns for Multiplayer
- MCW - Assault Rifle
- MTZ-556 - Assault Rifle
- Holger 556 - Assault Rifle
- TAQ 56 - Assault Rifle
- SVA 545 - Burst Assault Rifle
- BAS B - Battle Rifle
- Striker - SMG
- WSP Swarm - SMG
- AMR9 - SMG
- Rival 9 - SMG
- Pulemyot 762 - LMG
- Longbow - Sniper Rifle
- MCPR-300 - Sniper Rifle
- FJX Imperium - Sniper Rifle
- Renetti - Sidearm
Which of the best guns in MW3 should you choose?
Which of the best guns in MW3 you should pick as your main weapon depends on your preferred playstyle.
The assault rifles are versatile at short and medium range, giving you the adaptability to know you can compete on a variety of different maps.
But, with this in mind, you need to play slightly more conservatively than your SMG-toting colleagues and competitors, because you’re not as mobile and take longer to ready your weapon, making you liable to being sprayed down if you’re caught sprinting around a corner.
This means you have to be mindful of your distances and control the space in front of you as you move around the map.
The slick and fast-firing MCW and Holger 556 will probably be the most popular weapons at the start of MW3 because of their easy-to-use recoil pattern, fast rate of fire, and strength at multiple ranges. This makes it a safe, solid no-brainer pick as the best gun in MW3.
However, even if you’re starting completely from scratch you will always have access to the MTZ-556, which is similarly versatile, but tougher to handle without handling attachments.
Then, at the other end of the spectrum, if you’re allergic to recoil then the SVA 545 is the assault rifle for you.
Our AR advice goes double for the BAS B Battle Rifle and Pulemyot 762 LMG. Unless you’re cool and accurate and can make your damage advantage count, you will get hosed down and melted by faster firing weapons.
Try to consciously place yourself in positions where you’re most likely to encounter enemies at the optimum range for your weapon.
Conversely, even though many of the maps are remakes from previous Call of Duty games, MW3 can almost be considered a “movement shooter” given the amount of slip ‘n’ slide tools you have to choose from.
Because of this, SMGs are very strong in the MW3 meta because of their fast rate-of-fire, quick mantle and ready speed, and high mobility in general.
The fast and aggressive Striker will likely be one of the most popular guns in MW3, particularly early on, since it perfectly suits a run-and-gun playstyle. Alternatively, the AMR9 can be specced out into a jack-of-all-trades, giving you more range versatility. Or if you prefer a stealthy approach where you stay off the radar but still like to remain mobile, give the Rival 9 a try.
However, whether you’re the kind of sniper who waits patiently to pick out your targets or the kind of quickscoper who barely raises the scope to their eye, there are some great snipers to choose from. Namely, the Longbow or FJX Imperium sniper rifle are likely the right choice for you. That said, the MCPR-300 is a solid starter sniper rifle to play with while you work on those Armory Unlock challenges.
What makes the best guns in MW3 the best?
Most meta weapons in MW3 have one thing in common: they’re not just powerful in their intended use case, but are adaptable enough to lay down that power across a variety of situations on many different maps.
Pro players tend to value consistency above all else. Obviously this can be trumped by raw power if one gun’s balance is buffed to be wildly better than all the rest, but most of the time it’s being surprised and not reacting quickly enough to any given encounter that will get you killed in a multiplayer match.
Whether it’s because of low recoil, a fast time-to-kill, or forgiving mobility, the best guns in MW3 are always predictable. This then allows you to pull off clutch moments as if they’re second nature because you already know how your weapon will react, rather than having to adjust in the heat of the moment.