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Modern Warfare 2 best guns to use in the early meta

The best firepower to unlock before Season 1 begins.

Learning the best Modern Warfare 2 guns to use and figuring out the meta is a key element to learn as you’re playing multiplayer.

Since weapon unlocks have changed this time in Modern Warfare 2, and require investment with several specific weapons, you’ll want to know the best weapons to be hunting, levelling and customising to arm yourself with the most efficient playstyles.

In this page, we’ll be going over the best guns in MW2 across every class - with a few recommendations available depending on your unlock progress..

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What is the current meta and best guns in Modern Warfare 2 at launch?

Even though Modern Warfare 2 has only just launched, a meta has already begun to form.

This is particularly due to the popularity and effectiveness of immediately unlocked weapons such as the M4 and VEL 46.

Others, such as the Lachmann Sub SMG (Submachine Gun) – commonly known as the MP5 by the community – take a little bit more time to earn, yet are still making waves with their effectiveness.

However, it’s still early days, and players are still levelling and unlocking weapons, attachments and more, so the meta is still in flux.

For now then, let’s dive into the best weapons forming the launch meta in Modern Warfare 2.

Best Assault Rifle in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: M4
How to unlock M4: Reach player level 4 (access to custom loadouts)

Acting as an all-round effective option, the M4 is an easy-to-access weapon available as soon as you unlock access to custom loadouts.

It’s a strong and versatile option, and an effective choice for all players.

Thanks to its robust nature, it’s a best-in-class Assault Rifle, providing strong stopping power with a high fire rate that, when paired with quick reactions and pinpoint accuracy, will allow you to dominate Multiplayer matches in the lead-up to Season 1.

The M4.

With such a direct and quick path to unlock, the M4 is most certainly a weapon you’ll want to be investing into and customising as you play Multiplayer.

If you’re an owner of the Vault Edition, thanks to the included FJX Cinder Pack, you’ll instantly unlock a plethora of attachments to customise and enhance the M4 with.

Additionally, as an option available to every owner of the game, if you complete the campaign, you’ll receive a blueprint of the M4, complete with various attachments from the offset – learn more about that in our campaign rewards explainer.

If you’re looking for a strong loadout to pair with the M4, we have you covered – check out our guide on the best M4 build, covering the best attachments, perks and more.

Best Battle Rifle in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: FTAC Recon
How to unlock FTAC Recon: Reach weapon level 13 with the M4.

The FTAC Recon is the strongest battle rifle available right now in Modern Warfare 2.

Whilst the FTAC Recon’s – admittedly limited – base mag size of 10 may seem off-putting, don't let that distract you from what is otherwise a very powerful battle rifle option.

When it comes to TTK (Time-To-Kill), you're looking at a two-shot kill in most engagements, so long as you're gunning for the chest and above, with headshots being a simple one-shot kill – make sure you've got an itchy trigger finger with this one, and you'll be tearing through other players with one of the strongest weapons available.

Should the mag size be an issue for you however, there is a 15 Round Mag option available – whilst not a massive increase, it should alleviate some ammo issues you may face, just be wary of the decreased reload speed.

Want to get the best out of the weapon? Our FTAC Recon loadout can help.

The FTAC Recon.

Much like the M4, if you're an owner of the Vault Edition of the game, you'll have access to the FTAC Recon immediately, along with all attachments from the M4 Platform – this includes the aforementioned larger mag option!

If you're looking for an alternative recommendation when it comes to your battle rifle selection, particularly a weapon that's closer to an assault rifle, no further than the Lachmann-762.

The Lachmann-762 is preset to a semi-automatic firing type, but using the left button on your D-pad when holding the gun, you can actually swap this to fully automatic – combining that function with its 30 Round Mag attachment, the 762 will function like a harder-hitting assault rifle – just be wary of its stronger recoil pattern that'll make long-range engagements less favourable.

Best SMG in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: MP7 (VEL 46), FSS Hurricane, or MP5 (Lachmann Sub)
How to unlock: MP7 / VEL 46 (Reach player level 4), FSS Hurricane (FTAC Recon weapon level 16), MP5 / Lachmann Sub (Lachmann-556 weapon level 12)

The Submachine Gun (SMG) space is escalating quickly, boasting a few strong options, all of which are competing with each other.

Right now, whether you’re using the VEL 46, FSS Hurricane, or MP5 / Lachmann Sub, you can’t really go wrong.

The stronger options are the FSS Hurricane, thanks to its solid range, recoil control, and large mag size, and the Lachmann Sub – commonly known as the MP5 – that boasts a slightly higher fire rate, with strong mobility and handling.

However, the VEL 46 is also a strong contender – and it’s available right from the get go, unlike the other two recommendations that require some grinding to acquire.

The MP7 / VEL 46.

The FSS Hurricane for example, requires you to use and level the FTAC Recon to level 16 – which, in itself requires a levelled-up M4 to be unlocked – but if you own the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2, it’s available to use right away!

The FSS Hurricane.

For the Lachmann Sub however, you’ll be looking at another slew of weapon unlocks and levelling that’ll take a bit more time to reach.

The MP5 / Lachmann Sub.

First you’ll need to reach player level 16 to unlock the Lachmann-762 battle rifle, then use that until it reaches level 13, unlocking the Lachmann-556 assault rifle.

After that, you’ll need to use and level the Lachmann-556 up to level 12 to finally unlock the Lachmann Sub – an extensive process indeed!

With that in mind, the MP7 might stand out to you as the most appealing option thanks to its ease of access.

Whichever SMG you pick, you can’t really go wrong, and they are all most definitely worth trying out.

As the meta evolves and more attachments are unlocked, it’s possible one of these will slowly rise to the top – and you can count on us to provide that update on this page!

If you're looking to use the above, be sure to check out our guides on the best FSS Hurricane build and best MP5 build.

Best Shotgun in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: Expedite 12
How to unlock Expedite 12: Reach player level 9

The Expedite 12 is the strongest Shotgun in Modern Warfare 2’s pre-Season 1 meta.

Thanks to a faster fire rate, even while the Bryson 800 is a great starter shotgun – available as soon as you unlock custom loadouts – the Expedite 12 provides similar power, but boasts additional range and a faster fire rate.

Going from the Bryson 800 to the Expedite, you’ll no doubt notice the increase in fire rate that makes it feel a lot snappier, and incredibly handy if you miss your first shot.

And if its fire rate isn’t enough for you, with the Expedite L-Bolt attachment – unlocked at weapon level two – you can increase the fire rate even further for some truly wild spray n’ pray action!

The Expedite 12.

When it comes to range, the Expedite 12 is able to hit and eliminate enemies from a pretty extensive range – in combination with the fast fire rate, should your first shot not kill an enemy, you’ll be able to easily fire off a second – or third – to quickly finish them off before they react.

It’s a weapon that works well on its own, but is especially effective as a backup primary weapon when using the Overkill perk, helping you cover multiple ranges in combat.

Overall, particularly with Overkill equipped, the Expedite 12 is a shotgun worth using, and most definitely a solid and reliable, close quarters option to have on-hand.

Best LMG in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: 556 Icarus or RAPP H
How to unlock: 556 Icarus (M4 weapon level 18), RAPP H (Lachmann-556 weapon level 16)

Light Machine Guns (LMGs) don't often populate the Call of Duty meta, and their usability is rather niche – however, if that's what you're into or you're just looking for something new to try out, the 556 Icarus and RAPP H are where you’ll want to set your sights.

The RAPP H’s standout feature is its high rate of fire, paired with impressive accuracy and stability, whereas the 556 Icarus provides a little bit more mobility, allowing you to move around a bit quicker than with other LMGs.

The 556 Icarus.

Both LMGs are on the lower end of magazine sizes – sitting at 75 each – but there’s still more than enough rounds here to rack up several kills before needing to reload – just be ready to hold your position when you do need to swap mags!

As a bonus, the 556 Icarus is available to use much earlier than the RAPP H, making it a more appealing and accessible option.

Both require a bit of grinding, but since the 556 Icarus is acquired via the M4 Platform – the first Platform you’ll have access to – you’ll be able to start working your way towards it earlier on.

If you own the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2 however, it’s unlocked instantly, along with all that Platform’s attachments too.


In terms of the RAPP H though, it’s a similar process to the 556 Icarus, but with the added grind of an extra weapon to level which you can only start the process of after reaching player level 16.

Even if you’re not a huge fan of LMGs though, these are definitely a couple to keep your eye on!

Best Marksman Rifle in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: SP-R 208
How to unlock SP-R 208: Reach player level 7.

Living in its own lane by being a highly customisable, sniper rifle-like weapon, the SP-R 208 is Modern Warfare 2’s best marksman rifle right now.

Without the inclusion of a scope from the outset, and packing high damage per shot that can easily result in a one-shot kill when landing rounds in the chest and above, it’s a rifle that is just as effective at medium range as it can be at long range, with the ability to lean into that later via long-zoom scopes and other range and bullet velocity-boosting attachments.

The SP-R 208.

If you prefer its closer-range advantages and want to lean into that playstyle, by levelling other weapons, you can unlock various short to medium-range scopes too.

This SP-R 208 has proven to be an early game favourite during the game’s launch weekend, but others that are unlocked at higher levels in other weapon Platforms still might shake this up as time goes on.

For example, the EBR-14 is an alternate option that falls into a similar category as the FTAC Recon Battle Rifle mentioned earlier – with a two shot kill, it’s a strong alternate option for this slot that can be similarly customised to increase its effectiveness.

The EBR-14.

The EBR-14 is available right away, but the SP-R 208 requires you to reach player level 7, so whichever you pick, they’re both solid options and available very early on unlike a lot of other long-range options.

Getting stuck into multiplayer? We explain the best guns in Modern Warfare 2 and how to unlock all weapons and attachments - as well as individual pages on putting together an MP5 loadout, FTAC loadout, M4 loadout, Kastov 762 loadout, SP-R 208 loadout, TAQ 56 loadout, 556 Icarus loadout, Vel 46 loadout, M16 loadout and FSS Hurricane loadout. At launch, you might be wondering where the Battle Pass and Hardcore Tier 1 modes are, as well as how to claim Modern Warfare 2 Twitch drops. Elsewhere, learn how to turn off crossplay on PlayStation and Xbox, get and use Double XP, level up fast, get gold camo, check KD and unlock all MW2 Operators. Playing the story? We have explainers on how long the Modern Warfare 2 campaign is and all safe code combinations.

Best Sniper Rifle in Modern Warfare 2 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: MCPR-300
How to unlock MCPR-300: Reach player level 4 (access to custom loadouts)

Sniping has often been a popular, yet niche aspect in Call of Duty’s multiplayer, and it seems with Modern Warfare 2 that’s no different, with the MCPR-300 being the standout option already.

There are four snipers total in Modern Warfare 2 – one is unlocked at player level 44, with the other two opening up as back-to-back unlocks in the Bryson Long Rifle Platform, and so with the MCPR-300 being available to use and level up as soon as custom loadouts are unlocked, there’s a clear option as to which one you’ll be using initially if sniping is what you’re into.

The MCPR-300.

Like many traditionally-popular snipers in Call of Duty, it’s a bolt action rifle with the highest damage and mag size of any sniper rifle in the game – loaded with 10 rounds per mag, this sniper packs a punch and is most certainly a strong weapon to be using in long-range combat.

There’s always the possibility the sniping meta shifts as time goes on though, once more players get their hands on the other three snipers – including the Signal 50, a choice that boasts a big jump in fire rate over the MCPR-300.