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Best Loadouts in Modern Warfare 3

The best guns and accessories for your playstyle in MW3.

The best loadouts in Modern Warfare 3 can make a huge difference in Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer. Everyone has their favourite guns, but certain builds tend to become the consensus best, or 'meta' loadouts. This list was put together with this in mind.

After hours of play and delving into the deepest reaches of the online community, here are our recommendations for the best loadouts in Modern Warfare 3. We have grouped each loadout to reflect different playstyles andto give you options based on the map and mode you're playing.

On this page:

Best general loadout in Modern Warfare 3

Here is our recommendation for the best general purpose loadout in Modern Warfare 3:

The DG-58 Meta kit

While we would argue the MCW is the better gun, there is no doubt the COD community is gravitating towards the DG-58. It’s lethal at all ranges, easy to use, and has a fast time-to-kill (TTK). It’s the perfect piece for a general 'do everything' loadout. We go into greater detail about how to set up the gun in our dedicated DG-58 guide, but an ideal setup of the weapon makes for an exceptionally lethal assault rifle with minimum recoil, and it can be used in any game type or role effectively.

menu view of the dg-58 assault rifle and its stats
Image credit: Eurogamer/Activision

To round out the kit we recommend a strong general purpose build:

  • Weapon: DG-58
  • Vest: Infantry Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Commando Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Boots: Lightweight Boots
  • Perk 3 – Gear: Threat Identification System
  • Field Upgrade: Munitions Box
  • Tactical: Stun Grenade
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade

Infantry Vest will let you sprint more as you seek out new targets. Commando Gloves will let you reload while you do so, and Lightweight Boots will get you around quickly. Threat Identification System will be of great help as it marks targets while you aim-down-sights, and if you run low on ammo after all these gunfights you can drop your Munitions Box to refill. The Stun Grenade is a great way to start a fight, while the Frag can control the field, or be a parting gift as you sprint to the next spot.

Best sniper loadout in Modern Warfare 3

Below you'll find our recommendation for the best sniper rifle loadout in Modern Warfare 3:

The mixed-range Longbow build

The Longbow is an interesting sniper. Naturally it can one shot with head shots, and even torso hits at medium range, but properly kitted has enough handling and rate of fire to compete with other guns in more mobile stand up gunfights. Checkout our Longbow build guide to see exactly how best to set it up.

This kit is built around careful one-shot/one-kill gameplay:

  • Weapon: Longbow
  • Vest: CCT Comms Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Marksman Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Boots: Covert Sneakers
  • Perk 3 – Gear: Bone Conduction Headset
  • Field Upgrade: Dead Silence
  • Tactical: Stim
  • Lethal: Breacher Drone

Kill fast, and don’t be seen when you don’t want to be. Covert Sneakers make sure nearby enemies can’t find you from footstep sounds, while Bone Conduction Headset lets you know if they are getting too close. The CCT Comms Vest enhances the radar and map, making it easier to know where your next shot should be directed, and the Marksman Gloves help make that shot an accurate one. If the fight gets too close for comfort, pop a Stim for the health regen and running ability, and let your Breach Drones find (and explode) the enemy while you get out of there.

If you're looking for alternatives, check out our recommendations for the best sniper rifle loadouts.

Best assault loadout in Modern Warfare 3

Here's our recommendation for the best assault rifle loadout in Modern Warfare 3:

The aggressive MCW build

The MCW is our choice for best gun in MW3. It’s perfect for running and gunning. It has amazingly little recoil, meaning all three shots from its burst hit the same spot. It can drop multiple enemies extremely fast if you assemble the gun properly, and in skilled hands completely turn the tide of gun fights.

The loadout for it focuses on aggressive combat over sneaking or subtly:

  • Weapon: MCW
  • Vest: Gunner Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Commando Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Gear: Mission Control Comlink
  • Field Upgrade: Munitions box
  • Tactical: Stun Grenade
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade

Gunner Vest is great here for the extra ammo and reload speed, and losing access to boots isn’t a big loss for this build. Commando Gloves will let you reload while sprinting from place to place. This kit is meant to focus on kills, and equipping the Mission Control Comlink will make all kills streak rewards cost less. You’ll want the extra ammo from the Munitions Box before long, and the versatility of basic Stun and Frag grenades is hard to pass up.

If you're looking for alternatives, check out our recommendations for the best assault rifle loadouts.

Best shotgun loadout in Modern Warfare 3

Below you'll find our recommendation for the best shotgun loadout in Modern Warfare 3:

The up close and personal Lockwood 680 build

There’s a clear king of the shotguns in MW3, and that’s the Lockwood 680. You can see a full breakdown in our detailed guide. This gun is exceptionally lethal with more range than one might expect, and it’s particularly handy for objective based games that force close engagements.

Image credit: Activision

The best loadout for this adds mobility, and some extra options for when enemies don’t prefer to keep their distance:

  • Vest: Gunner Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Quick-Grip Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Gear: EOD Padding
  • Field Upgrade: Trophy System
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade
  • Tactical: Flash Grenade

The Gunner Vest takes away your boot option, but it’s worth it to enable a second primary weapon for longer encounters, especially if you take advantage of the faster swap speed from the Quick-Grip Gloves. The EOD Padding will help protect you from explosives, while the Trophy System lets you deploy gear to take out enemy equipment while you hold narrow spaces. A standard grenade set is perfect to round out the kit.

If you're looking for alternatives, check out our recommendations for the best shotgun loadouts.

Best high speed loadout in Modern Warfare 3

Here's our recommendation for the best high speed loadout in Modern Warfare 3, so you quickly defeat your foes:

The overwhelming WSP Swarm build

Outmaneuver, out position, and outplay the competition; that’s the idea of this build. WSP Swarm is an SMG that fires rivers of bullets. It’s fast, light, and handles like a breeze.

Combine it a kit geared focused on speed, and you have a loadout that’s a nightmare for other teams to deal with:

  • Vest: Overkill Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Scavenger Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Boots: Lightweight Boots
  • Perk 3 - Gear: Ghost T/V Camo
  • Field Upgrade: Dead Silence
  • Lethal: Battle Rage
  • Tactical: Throwing Knife

This is all about moving fast, and being hard to predict. Lightweight Boots make you run faster. Ghost T/V Camo makes you hard to locate by concealing you from UAVs, radars, and sensors, while Dead Silence makes you quiet as a ninja. Throwing Knives will save your life if you run out of ammo in front of an enemy, while Scavenger Gloves keep you stocked up by harvesting knives and bullets off dead enemies. Just activate your Stim for health regen and a limitless sprint meter, and you will be able to menace enemies all over the battlefield.

That's it for now! If you're looking for more MW3 content, check out our Reactor weapon and item locations guide or our Crash Site weapon and item locations page to help you with loadouts. Also, check out our Campaign Mission list and rewards page if you feel like following the story!