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Modern Warfare 3 Longbow loadout, best class build and how to unlock Longbow

Learn how best to build one of MW3’s most powerful snipers.

The Longbow is a new sniper rifle for Modern Warfare 3.

After making the rounds as a popular choice in the beta – highlighted by its 'Crimson Fate' and 'Carbon Fate' variants courtesy of the Modern Warfare 3 Vault Edition – the Longbow is back to steal the show as one of the best sniper rifles of them all.

Equipped with the right attachments, the Longbow can be a very strong choice that’ll help you dominate medium-long sightlines with ease.

In this guide, we’ll be running through how to unlock the Longbow in Modern Warfare 3, as well as the best attachments to equip, and discussing the best build when it comes to vest, perks, equipment, and more.

On this page:

How to unlock the Longbow in Modern Warfare 3

To unlock the Longbow, all you need to do is play Multiplayer matches to earn XP and reach player level 4 – this is also the same level you’ll unlock custom loadouts at.

Earning XP is as simple as playing matches, completing challenges, and more – you should be able to hit level 4 relatively quickly.

Once there, you’ll be able to equip and start using and levelling the Longbow.

The two cosmetic variants of the Longbow granted to owners of the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 3.

If you’re an owner of the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 3, you’ll have access to a full suite of attachments right off the bat, giving you full control over how you build the weapon as soon as you unlock it alongside custom loadouts.

Modern Warfare 3 Longbow best loadout and attachments

Since the Longbow is a sniper rifle, we’ll of course be wanting to emphasise that playstyle with attachments that make it even stronger.

While you could opt for a more close-medium-range optic sight, we’ll be sticking with the base scope it comes with, whilst focusing on adding attachments that keep the gun feeling snappy and with high bullet velocity and range.

Here’s a high-level view of the attachments we’re recommending to build the best version of the Longbow sniper rifle:

  • Barrel: Pro-99 Long Barrel
  • Underbarrel: XTEN Phantom-5 Handstop
  • Rear Grip: Chorus Gen4 Grip
  • Bolt: SA-M Quickbolt
  • Ammunition: 7.62X39MM High Grain Rounds

There are a couple of aspects I felt was necessary to immediately focus on when building this gun and its set of attachments – the first is its one-shot kill potential, and the second is its rate of fire and rechambering needs.

Focusing on the one-shot kill potential first, we’re picking recommendations that increase the bullet velocity, damage range and overall accuracy of the gun – the Pro-99 Long Barrel is great for this, though it does introduce some aim-idle sway, as well as reductions to ADS and sprint to fire speeds.

To offset some of that, the XTEN Phantom-5 Handstop underbarrel grip, as well as the Chorus Gen4 Rear Grip provide a collection of bonuses to help this. Whilst the latter does impede ADS speed further, the former itself offsets some of that and together they bring even more positives to the table, including less vertical recoil, more flinch resistance, aim-idle sway, and more.

Moving onto the other issue this gun needed to overcome – one that admittedly could be somewhat subjective – is that rate of fire and rechambering speed.

The Gunsmith view of the Longbow, customised with our recommended attachments.

The perfect pick for this issue is the SA-M Quickbolt, a bolt attachment that does exactly what we need, boosting the gun’s rechambering speed, making it so that you can load the next shot at a quicker rate. It does however lead to briefly less accurate aiming right after a rechamber, but it’s a necessary tradeoff to solve this problem.

However, if you’d rather keep things accurate, there’s the second bolt, SA-M Longdraw, which has the same effects but in reverse – that way you can stay on target easier, but will have a slightly longer rechambering time.

To cap off this build, we’re just giving an extra boost to the gun’s bullet velocity and damage range with the 7.62X39MM High Grain Rounds. Even if there’s a hit to recoil control, some of the attachments will help with some of the lowered accuracy, and generally all together, the build keeps the gun accurate, whilst increasing its damage to land fairly consistent one-shot, if not, two-shot kills.

Modern Warfare 3 Longbow best class build, vest, perks, gear, and equipment

To support the medium-long range encounters that the Longbow is most acclimated to, we’ll be looking at a couple of builds that complement different approaches when using this gun.

Before we delve into all the specifics and uses of each part of this class, here’s a high-level view of the perks and equipment we’re recommending for use with the Longbow:

  • Vest: Infantry Vest or Engineer Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Marksman Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Boots: Stalker Boots
  • Perk 3 – Gear: Ghost T/V Camo
  • Perk 4 – Gear (Engineer Vest Only): Threat Identification System
  • Secondary Weapon: Renetti w/ Jak Ferocity Carbine
  • Field Upgrade: Portable Radar
  • Lethal (Infantry Vest Only): Claymore
  • Tactical: Scatter Mine

As mentioned, there are a couple of approaches that can be taken with this class and the Vests are the point from which all of this starts.

If you’d like a more traditional Call of Duty approach, we’d recommend the Infantry Vest, giving you access to the full suite of options you’ve come to expect from a loadout – you’ll get three perks, a secondary weapon, field upgrade, as well as a lethal and tactical equipment option.

The Infantry Vest itself will grant an increased Tactical Sprint duration as well as a reduced refresh time, providing more mobility and helping you move about the map quicker. Pairing this with perks like Ghost T/V Camo that hide you from enemy UAVs, radars and heartbeat sensors allows you to move around the map with extra stealth – a nice pairing with our recommended secondary weapon, a suppressed Renetti with the Jak Ferocity Carbine Conversion Kit.

The full Longbow loadout, using the Infantry Vest.

In terms of the other perks, we’re picking the Marksman Gloves – which will reduce the sway and flinch whilst aiming down sights of any weapon, a handy complement to the Longbow – as well as the Stalker Boots that grant increased strafe and ADS movement speed, another boost that’ll be some extra mobility to this class.

When it comes to equipment, the idea is that this class will help you find a good sniping spot to hunker down and cover sightlines, objectives etc. For Tactical and Lethal we’re going with equipment that’ll cover your six, specifically the Scatter Mines and Claymore. Both are proximity-detonated, and even if they don’t eliminate a target, they’ll give you a heads up of an intruder.

To provide even more intel about your surroundings, taking the Portable Radar in your Field Upgrade slot will ping your radar of any intruders before they reach you, though be careful if they too are running the Ghost T/V Camo, as they won’t show up.

Now you can take all of this if picking the Engineer Vest too, though you’ll lose your Lethal slot. In return however, you’ll be able to take two pieces of Tactical equipment, an extra perk, and you’ll have a different set of passive abilities compared to the Infantry Vest.

The Longbow loadout, using the Engineer Vest as an alternative, with the different perk and gear selections it provides.

With the Engineer Vest, you’ll be in much more of a support-focused role, being able to spot enemy equipment, Field Upgrades, and killstreaks through walls, as well as highlight them for teammates. You’ll also have a faster Field Upgrade charge, meaning you can have the Portable Radar up and ready more often.

As for the newly-opened-up perk slot, you can emphasise the support role with Threat Identification System which lets you automatically ping enemy locations for teammates when ADSing and spotting targets.

It’s a much more support-focused role, but a good alternative for objective or competitive-based modes.

If you're interesting in checking out more guides for Modern Warfare 3, be sure to check out our other loadout guides such as for the KV Inhibitor, Renetti, and more, as well as an explainer on what the Tac Stance is, and a compilation of all the best guns and meta in MW3 right now.