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Best Weapons to Level up First in Modern Warfare 3

There are 37 weapons in total to use in MW3, but there are only six that we recommend you focus on first.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is finally here, and you’re able to jump in now and experience the original MW2 maps from 2009 with some truly iconic weapons. From the classic ACR to the UMP-45, there are plenty of recognizable weapons from past Call of Duty titles available to use in MW3.

Out of the 37 total weapons currently in multiplayer, there aren’t too many that the community would consider unusable. The developers at Sledgehammer Games have done a decent job at weapon balancing early on, with every weapon class featuring viable options. However, if you don’t want to find out what weapons are strong for yourself, you can take a look at our guide below, which details the six weapons you should focus on leveling up first in MW3.

These six weapons are considered among the strongest in multiplayer and give you the best chance at success during your early leveling. They are organized in no particular order.

MCW (Assault Rifle)


Spoiler alert, there will be a decent number of assault rifles on this list. We’re starting with the MCW, which is essentially the classic ACR from previous titles. The MCW is arguably the best assault rifle currently in MW3, featuring very little recoil, terrific damage range, and strong mobility for a rifle.

You unlock the MCW through the leveling system at level 44, but you can unlock it far earlier through the Armory Unlock Challenges system. If you want to use the MCW at the earliest point, make it to level 25 and then go through the Armory Unlocks menu to activate the MCW. Then, complete the required number of Daily Challenges, and you’ll unlock the MCW to use in multiplayer.

Holger 556 (Assault Rifle)

Holger 556 Assault Rifle COD MW3

It’s another assault rifle, and this time it’s the Holger 556. The replica of the G36C is an absolute menace in MW3, even being banned by professional players and tournament websites. Of course, you are not obligated to stop using it by any means.

The Holger 556 can be used by players of any skill level and in any situation in multiplayer. It has no recoil, can kill enemies in three bullets, and sports fantastic mobility. You can unlock the Holger 556 at level 37 in MW3, but as we said before, you can also unlock it earlier through the Armory Unlock system at level 25. Unlocking the Holger 556 or MCW early on is your best chance for success, as those are arguably the two best weapons currently in the game.

Rival-9 (SMG)

COD MW3 Rival-9

Now it’s time for an SMG. The Rival-9 is a top-tier submachine gun that has a fantastic fire rate and mobility, making it great for aggressive players who like to get right in the enemy’s face on the map. While it’s not the best option at range, there’s really no SMG that can deal with assault rifles at farther distances. As such, it’s recommended you stay as close to enemies as possible when using the Rival-9.

If you played the MW3 beta, you likely already have a Rival-9 weapon blueprint all ready to go, so throw that on a loadout and get to work leveling it up. However, if you don't have the blueprint, you have to go through the Armory Unlocks menu. The Rival-9 cannot be unlocked through standard leveling in MW3.

BAS-B (Battle Rifle)

BAS-B Battle Rifle COD MW3

If you’ve played any multiplayer in MW3 so far, you have undoubtedly been a victim of the BAS-B. This battle rifle is currently wreaking havoc in multiplayer thanks to its amazing damage range and low recoil. While it’s classified as a battle rifle, it’s basically another AR, and it’s a weapon you should use extremely early on in MW3.

You have the BAS-B unlocked by default in MW3, so you can immediately equip it on one of your loadouts. There is also a default class with the BAS-B, so you can use that before you gain access to the loadouts menu.

DG-58 (Assault Rifle)


While it's another assault rifle, but this one is a little different from the others on the list. The DG-58 is a three-round burst weapon, which might be unappealing to fans of fully automatic weapons. However, if you try out the DG-58, you will instantly see why it’s on this list.

The DG-58 is an extremely strong AR, featuring the ability to one-burst kill enemies. Even if you don’t one-burst enemies, though, the rifle has a fast fire rate, allowing you to put down enemies at any range. You can unlock the DG-58 through the Armory Unlocks menu, but you also have a weapon blueprint for the DG-58 if you complete the MW3 Campaign. The blueprint is called Brogue and it’s available as soon as you unlock the loadouts menu in multiplayer.

KATT AMR (Sniper Rifle)

COD MW3 sniper rifle

The lone sniper on our list is the KATT AMR, which is a large caliber, bolt-action sniper that can inflict massive damage on enemies. However, this comes at the cost of mobility, making the KATT AMR not too adept at quickscoping. If you’re looking for a quickscoping sniper, we recommend the Longbow, which has tremendous mobility but does have a tendency to hitmarker enemies more often than not.

You unlock the KATT AMR at level 4 once you gain access to the loadouts menu in MW3. This means you can start leveling it up immediately after creating a loadout for it.

And that does it for our list of the top six weapons you should level up first in MW3 multiplayer. These are all meta weapons that will serve you well in your matches, but they only get stronger as you equip more attachments on them.

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