Modern Warfare 3 has introduced a ton of great guns, including some old classics, and the vast majority are at least viable. But you probably only want the very best MW3 weapons (understandably) so we’ve built a tier list for every gun in MW3 so far.

MW3 Best Guns Ranking
Modern Warfare 3: Best Guns. | © Activision

Modern Warfare 3 launched with just over 30 primary weapons, and a lot of them look and feel great to use. But we know that, ultimately, everyone is looking for the best MW3 guns. So, to save you time, we have tier-ranked every weapon in MW3 so far. From the absolute meta up in the S-Tier, all the way down to trash weapons in the D-Tier (and you shouldn’t worry too much about levelling even the worst weapons this year, because you have MW3 Zombies as an alternative to grinding multiplayer).

In general, the meta of MW3 is dominated by low-recoil, mid to long-range weapons, that fire in full auto or burst. Most other types of weapons are struggling, with SMGs feeling especially weak this year thanks to reduced aim assist at range and the current map-pool. We still don’t know why they nerfed the Striker so hard after the beta? Anyway, let’s get to the MW3 weapon tier-list.

We are only rating the Modern Warfare 3 weapons in this tier-list, not last year’s MW2 weapons. They have all been integrated into the game, but they have been made deliberately weaker than the newer weapons, so they are no longer relevant to the meta. 

MW3 Best Guns: Tier List

You can find the snapshot answer below, but please note: The individual weapons are not ranked within their tiers, they are all on about the same level as each other.

Warzone All Weapons Ranked
As you can see, SMGs are generally lower down than you normally see in a CoD game. | © Activision

As you can see, the bulk of weapons are at least viable, and so there isn’t too much “dead weight”.

MW3 Guns: S-Tier | Meta

These are the absolute best weapons in the game, here you can find the MW3 guns that will either be used in the CDL or banned from it.

S-Tier: Holger 556 (G36C) / Assault Rifle

The Holger 556 kills at about 300ms with an average spread of torso and limb shots, a TTK which is pretty standard for ARs. However, the Holger 556 maintains that 300ms TTK out to well over 50 meters, which is the longest range you typically fight at in multiplayer. Whereas, all the other ARs have significant damage dropoffs at much shorter distances. Add to this the amazing recoil control and respectable handling speeds of the Holger 556, and you can see why it was GA’d by the pros and banned on tournament sites like CMG within 24 hours of MWIII’s release.

The Holger 556 is the easiest and most consistent weapon in the entire game for mid to long-range, which is perfect for this map-pool.

S-Tier: DG-58 (QBZ-95) / Assault Rifle

Of the two burst-fire weapons, the DG-58 is the slightly harder hitting one with worse recoil. They are both fantastic, and it really just comes down to what you prefer.

They are stronger than usual because burst-fire weapons weren’t as effected by increased base health. Even if it takes one or two more shots to kill this year with an AR, you can still land those additional shots within two bursts (the same amount as last year). And so the effective TTK remains the same. In fact, with one headshot in the mix these weapons can be a single-burst.

S-Tier: FR 5.56 (FAMAS) / Assault Rifle

We described above why the burst-fire assault rifles are so powerful this year, and the same applies to the FR 5.56. Most players will probably prefer the FR to the DG-58 because it’s slightly more controllable.

This is definitely a weapon you should expect to see a lot of this year. Although, Warzone players will probably favor the heavier Battle Rifles.

S-Tier: Rival-9 (Scorpion EVO) / SMG

The Rival-9 was available in the beta alongside the AMR9 and the Striker. The AMR9 was garbage then, and it still feels garbage, so that’s irrelevant, but the Striker was clearly the best in the beta and felt amazing. However, upon launch they nerfed the Striker significantly, and so we now feel that the Rival-9, which was untouched since the beta, has taken the throne.

It will not be for everyone (SMGs are difficult to play this year, and we don’t recommend them to most players), but if you love the new movement, and you want to fly across the map, you should try the Rival-9. It has great mobility and handling, and crucially it can hold its own slightly better in mid-range than other SMGs.

S-Tier: BAS-P (MCX Spear) / Battle Rifle

The BAS-P is probably the best Battle Rifle we’ve ever seen in CoD. It plays like a heavy-AR, but not so heavy that the handling or mobility will get you killed. As long as keep your guns up, and try to take engagements at longer range, you can dominate gunfights against almost every other mid and long-range weapon.

What makes the BAS-P so strong is that unlike all the other “heavy AR” style guns in the game, which have a great TTK at range, the BAS-P also has fantastic recoil control. The other Battle Rifles and the Marksman Rifles that have full-auto mods tend to be wildly uncontrollable, but the BAS-P feels like just another AR.

Modern Warfare 3 BAS B
Based on the new XM7 rifle, the BAS-B is an excellent weapon in MW3. | © Activision

This is feeling like the Warzone meta already.

S-Tier: Pulemyot 762 (PKM) / LMG

The PKM, or “Pulemyot 762” is a heavy LMG that has suffers from all the disadvantages you imagine (slow reload, poor mobility etc.), but it nevertheless deserves a spot in S-Tier because the damage per bullet is insanely high compared to everything else. That fantastic damage profile extends out to a very long range, so you really feel the advantage in gunfights against ARs and even against multiple targets.

The recoil is also very manageable, like most guns in MW3, and so you don’t need to worry about spending attachments negating it. No, instead you can spend your attachments making the Pulemyot more mobile, and it has access to a fantatic Aftermarket Part that can help.

MW3 Guns: A-Tier | Competitive

Here are some strong weapons that will be able to compete against the meta, but aren’t quite the very best weapons in MW3 for one reason or another.

A-Tier: MCW (ACR) / Assault Rifle

The MCW, or ACR as most will still want to call it, is an instant classic. It has almost no recoil, and beams like a weapon from MW2019. You will still feel the effects of higher base health; it takes about 5 or 6 shots to kill at mid-range, which is fairly average for ARs. But no other mid-range weapon we’ve seen so far is as comfortable to shoot.

The MCW has access to 60-round box magazines, so we expect it will also be part of the Warzone meta when MW3’s integration takes place later this year.

A-Tier: SVA 545 (5.45 AK)

The SVA 545 is modelled on the AN-94 from MW2 (2009), and it uses a unique firing mechanism that means the first two rounds are fired almost instantly and then subsequent rounds are shot at the normal firing rate.

The SVA 545 has the best short-range TTK of all the ARs, but it’s also the worst at range. In this sense, it’s similar to the WSP-9 in being a flex weapon.

This opens up a fun playstyle for aggressive ARs, but the damage dropoff at range with the SVA is so bad we don’t think it qualifies for the S-Tier, despite its prowess up close.

A-Tier: Holger 26 (MG36) / LMG

LMGs were very comfortable to use in Modern Warfare II (2022) because the pace of the game was so slow, and so the disadvantage of carrying a heavy weapon was less impactful. But in MW3, with its faster movement, this whole class of weapons seems to have taken a slight hit for this reason.

The Holger 26 is like the AR equivalent in being low-recoil, but it doesn’t have the crazy no-range-dropoff benefits of the 556. We therefore feel it offers no real advantage over that weapon besides increased ammo capacity, which isn’t that important in traditional multiplayer. But still, it can compete with most other weapons, so A-Tier seems reasonable.

A-Tier: WSP-9 (Uzi) / SMG

The WSP-9 does not have the best short-range TTK of the SMGs, in fact it’s on the lower end at close-range. However, this SMG is the only one that can hold its own in mid and long range fights. And given how long the sightlines are on many of these maps, this is exceptionally helpful. It makes this a less situational SMG, and more of an all-purpose weapon.

There’s an interesting Aftermarket Part for this weapon called the Broodmother that converts it to .45 Auto. This lowers the rate of fire but increases range and damage, and so it turns the WSP-9 into a hybrid SMG/AR, a flex weapon in other words. However, this mod limits you to 22 round mags, so as interesting as it is, it isn’t viable.

A-Tier: KVD Enforcer / Marksman Rifle

The KVD Enforcer is surprisingly great. A lot of players will level up the Marksman Rifles last, and they will probably expect them all to be trash, but wow is this one fun.

This is semi-auto weapon, but the trigger delay is short, and so if you have a good trigger finger you can acheive a solid rate-of fire. But you often won’t even need the second shot, because unlike the other MMRs the KVD Enforcer is one shot to the head and the neck. This makes the headshot hitbox feel bigger and much easier to hit.

Even if you don’t hit the head or neck, the Enforcer is only two shots to kill anywhere else on the body, and so with its respectable rate-of-fire you can normally win gunfights at mid-range, even against full-auto weapons.

A-Tier: Katt-AMR / Sniper

Our heavy sniper, the KATT-AMR is going to feel completely familiar to any long-term CoD player. This is the slower to fire sniper that will reliably one shot anywhere on the body. The only thing to mention is that the heavy sniper feels even better this year. This is because snipers in general have been unaffected by the increased base health that has raised the TTK for every other weapon (one shot to kill is an instant TTK, same as last year).

This will almost certainly see a lot of use in Warzone as well this year.

A-Tier: KV Inhibitor / Sniper

This sniper isn’t as consistent with one-shots as the KATT (it requires a torso or headshot, anything lower won’t do), but it has an excellent rate of fire and a decent aim down sight speed. Not exactly a quick-sniping machine, but no slouch either.

The KV Inhibitor is an easy-to-use sniper, and we only really have one serious gripe: The reticle in the default scope is horrendous.

MW3 Guns: B-Tier | Viable

Now we’re down to the “just good” guns. You won’t have an especially hard time using these weapons, but you also won’t feel like you have any advantage over other players.

B-Tier: MTZ-556 / Assault Rifle

The MTZ-556 has worse damage per bullet than the MCW but a higher rate of fire, so the TTK is actually better at most distances, but only slightly. The real difference is that the MCW is the AR with slightly better recoil control, whereas the MTZ-556 is the AR with better mobility and faster handling. Think of the MTZ as the more aggressive/short-range AR.

Modern Warfare 3 MTZ 556
The MTZ-556 is one of the best weapons in MW3, at least for multiplayer. | © Activision

It’s an ugly weapon, but it handles wonderfully.

B-Tier: Striker (UMP-45) / SMG

The Striker is easily one of the best weapons in Modern Warfare 3 that we’ve seen so far. This SMG is modelled on the iconic UMP45 from MW2 (2009).

The Striker has a fairly low rate-of-fire for an SMG, but it only ever requires four shots to kill, which gives it one of the best close-range TTKs in the game. And if that wasn’t enough reason to use it, the Striker also happens to have low recoil and impressive handling speeds. It was nerfed even during the beta, but it still feels like the obvious best SMG in MW3.

B-Tier: WSP Swarm (Mini-Uzi) / SMG

The WSP Swarm is the opposite of the full-sized UZI, the WSP-9. It’s amazing in close-quarters (with nuts hipfire) but it really struggles at any noticeable range. If you are playing Rust, or you’re an objective-focused player that likes to live in the hill, go for it.

B-Tier: Striker 9 (UMP 9mm) / SMG

If the Striker 9 had better damage, it would instantly be meta, because in every other stat it’s a beast. The mobility, handling and recoil control are some of the best in the entire SMG category, but the Striker 9 feels like the definition of a pea shooter. You will get into a lot of gunfights that you will lose even after shooting first simply because the damage is so low, and needless to say, it can be infuriating.

The Striker 9 is great in every other regard, though, so for simple ease-of-use we don’t feel it should be ranked lower than B-Tier.

B-Tier: Sidewinder / Battle Rifle

The Sidewinder is like the Lachmann 762 of MW3; if you land all your shots, you will wreck people, but staying on target with the Sidewinder is tough. The recoil is aggressively bad, even when you fully kit out the Sidewinder with recoil mitigating attachments. For that reason, the effective range is very limited, and we don’t recommend challing other ARs/BRs at range.

Instead, use it like a weird and sometimes enjoyable SMG.

B-Tier: DG-58 LSW (QJB-95) / LMG

This is the full-auto, LMG variant of the burst-fire AR, the DG-58. Unlike that weapon, this one is sadly underwhelming in many ways.

The DG-58 LSW has a slightly worse TTK than most of the ranged options you will be up against, but its recoil control, handling and mobility are closer to the average. We could possibly have demoted the weapon to C-Tier, but it’s hard to argue that the DG-58 LSW doesn’t at least meet the bar for “Viable”.

B-Tier: DM-56 (SL8) / Marksman Rifle

Now we get to the closest thing in MW3 to a semi-auto AR, like the FAL. The trigger delay is very short and so you can get a great rate-of-fire, while the recoil is basically nonexistent and the damage is strong. The damage isn’t quite like the Interceptor or the Enforcer, and it will require more like 2-3 shots to kill rather than 1-2, but landing those shots before you’re outgunned is possible in most instances.

B-Tier: Longbow / Sniper

The Longbow is one of the superfast “light snipers”, and in addition to having a great aim-down-sight speed, it also has 25-round mags and fairly consistent damage. It feels like this game’s Kar98k in some respects, and so we highly recommend it. You will get more hitmarkers than with the average sniper, to be sure, but you get amazing handling and mobility in exchange.

The Longbow should be excellent for Warzone, and so if you play that, it will probably be worth levelling.

MW3 Guns: C-Tier | Noticeably Weak

These weapons will probably have an impact on your performance, and against similar players you will find yourself losing gunfights that you don’t think you should have.

C-Tier: AMR9 (AR-15 9mm) / SMG

The worst SMG, and it’s not even close. Yes, it does have access to 100-round drums, which is fun. But that’s about the only good thing there is to say about the AMR9. The TTK is absolutely dog for an SMG, and across other stats it’s only average.

This is still a full-auto SMG, so it’s not completely useless, but it won’t be anyone’s favorite.

C-Tier: MTZ-762 / Battle Rifle

This weapon is a shining example of the C-Tier. The MTZ-762 has no right being as horrible to shoot as it is, because the TTK is completely unimpressive, and the handling is poor.

The only reason we don’t have the MTZ-762 ranked even lower in our ranking of the weapons in MW3 is because with good attachments you can at least make it usable at mid-range.

C-Tier: Bruen MK9 (M249) / LMG

If you want a big old LMG, use the Pulemyot. The Bruen has all the disadvantages of a heavy LMG, but without much noticeable upside, except for increased magazine capacity. The TTK and recoil are mid, and even with the 60-round mag you can’t massively improve handling speeds.

We think this still qualifies for C-Tier because there are modes where the extended magazine capacity can be helpful, and thanks to great bullet penetration it can be a bit of a wall-bang machine.

C-Tier: MCW 6.8 / Marksman Rifle

Out of the MMRs, the MCW 6.8 is on the lower end of the damage spectrum alongside the DM-56, and will usually take three shots to kill rather than two. But it has a worse rate-of-fire than the DM-56, and so you will often die before landing all three shots.

There is an Aftermarket Part that allows for full-auto fire on the MCW 6.8, but the recoil is so uncontrollable in full-auto that we aren’t sure the mod is worth it.

C-Tier: MTZ-Interceptor / Marksman Rifle

The MTZ-Interceptor is a two-shot at any range and semi-auto, but it has a terrible rate of fire for a semi-auto, and so between the first and second shot you will often die against a capable enemy.

As a marksman rifle, the Interceptor should be less powerful than a sniper, but faster in exchange. However, the Interceptor feels just as slow as the snipers, while being significantly less powerful. We really don’t know why you would use it, in fact, it could probably be in D-Tier, but at least it has some utility on the bigger maps.

MW3 Guns: D-Tier | Terrible

Avoid these guns at all costs, for your own sake.

D-Tier: Riveter / Shotgun

A full-auto AR-style shotgun is badass, and so we like it (aesthetically, at least). But, it’s very situational because the range is so poor.

If you like to play Hardpoint and basically live in the hill, then you could make use of this weapon, but you shouldn’t try and shoot anyone further than seven or eight meters away.

Modern Warfare 3 Riveter
The best shotgun we’ve seen in MW3 is the Riveter, but it’s not good compared to the rest of the guns. | © Activision

You can get Dragon’s Breath rounds for the Riveter as well, although fire damage doesn’t seem to be nearly as effective in MW3 as it has been in recent titles like Vanguard. Praise be.

D-Tier: Lockwood 680 / Shotgun

And now, last and very much least, we get to the Lockwood 680. This is MW3’s pump-action, and it’s too situational to be relevant to the MW3 meta.

Perhaps it’s a result of the increased health, or perhaps they’ve just made the damage numbers of the shotguns weak this year, but for whatever reason The Lockwood 680 is inconsistent at one-shotting people, even in close range. And when you need multiple shots to kill with the Lockwood, there’s almost never enough time to pump the gun and fire your second shot before you’ve been killed.

You could use the Lockwood on a map like Skidrow and just stay in Top Green all game, but outside this scenario or playing Hardcore, we advise using other weapons.

And that’s how we rate all the weapons in Modern Warfare 3. From the very best MW3 guns, all the way to the trash. Do you agree? Or, are we sleeping on a great weapon?

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