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Best M16 loadout and class build for Warzone and MW3

How to get your hands on and build the best M16 loadout in MW3.

The M16 is one of Warzone and Modern Warfare 3's assault rifles that has returned from the previous game.

As tradition dictates with this rifle, the M16 in Modern Warfare 3 features a three-round burst that results in a higher Time to Kill (TTK) than the full-auto rifles on offer, and this is especially true when hitting shots in the chest and above.

As a result of its burst fire, it's a weapon that can typically function relatively well at longer ranges.

In this guide, we'll explain how to unlock the M16 in Warzone and Modern Warfare 3, what the best attachments are for the gun, as well as the best class build in terms of vest, perks, gear, and equipment.

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Warzone and MW3 M16 best loadout and attachments

With the M16 being a mid-long range weapon, the goal of our recommended M16 build is to bolster its sightline-dominant strengths.

Below is our recommended M16 build for Modern Warfare 3:

  • Optic: SZ SRO-7, Cronen Mini Red Dot, or Hybrid Firepoint
  • Stock: Corio Precio Factory
  • Rear Grip: XTEN Grip
  • Underbarrel: VX Pineapple
  • Ammunition: 5.56 NATO High Grain Rounds or 5.56 High Velocity

For optics, we're pointing you toward a couple of options: the SZ SRO-7 is best for long-range engagements, especially where there's cover and corners to mount for extra stability, whereas the Cronen Mini Red Dot is tailored to medium-range encounters, particularly if you're on the move a lot, and is a good pick for objective modes such as Domination.

Alternatively, there's the Hybrid Firepoint, a scope that can toggle between a x4 zoom scope and holo sight. With the ability to swap between scopes on-demand, it'll provide flexibility so it's one to keep an eye out for if you want both options available to you during matches.

The Gunsmith view of the M16 with our recommended attachments.

When it comes to the second attachment, we're recommending the Corio Precio Factory stock ideal for fighting over longer sightlines thanks to its aim stability, recoil and gun kick control bonuses. It does affect mobility however, but that's where our alternative comes in.

Sacrificing some weapon stability for several buffs to aim, sprint, crouch movement, and aim down sight (ADS) speed, the Ravage-8 is the perfect opposite and a great choice for mobile playstyles.

Moving onto the third attachment, we're picking XTEN Rear Grip, a handy choice thanks to its bonuses to ADS and sprint-to-fire speed. If paired with the aforementioned Corio Precio Factory stock, you'll be able to offset this grip's reduced recoil control, or you can double up on mobility bonuses if paired with the Ravage-8.

Being able to mount a wall for an attack isn't always an option, but with the underbarrel VX Pineapple grip, you'll have increased control over the M16's recoil. This is especially useful when paired with longer range scopes, where the gun's kick is much more noticeable.

For the final attachment we're recommending, we look to the ammunition slot - the 5.56 NATO High Grain Rounds increase bullet velocity and damage range, boosting this weapon's long range potential even further. It does however cause some drop in recoil control, and so as an alternative you could pick the 5.56 High Velocity rounds which grant the bullet velocity bonus with a minimal 5% drop to damage range instead.

The 5.56 High Velocity ammunition attachment.

If neither of those are to your liking, a potential alternative could be the 45-Round Mag. Whilst it may impede movement and overall handling speed, having extended reserves with 15 rounds extra per mag helps not only for larger game modes, but also passive play, reducing reload necessity.

Warzone and MW3 M16 best class build, vest, perks, gear, and equipment

For the M16's class build, we're looking at picking a selection of perks that help with mobility and accuracy, assisting in the M16's strongest aspects.

Here are the recommended vest, perks, and equipment to make the best M16 class build in Modern Warfare 3:

  • Vest: Infantry Vest
  • Perk 1 - Gloves: Scavenger Gloves
  • Perk 2 - Boots: Stalker Boots
  • Perk 3 - Gear: Tac Mask or Mission Control Comlink
  • Secondary: Renetti or 9MM Daemon
  • Lethal: Semtex
  • Tactical: Shock Stick
  • Field Upgrade: Portable Radar

First up, we're picking the Infantry Vest, a solid and simple pick, but one that'll give us the full suite of options a loadout has to offer, whilst also giving some baseline Tactical Sprint boosts with an extended duration and lessened refresh time.

The full class build we're recommending for use with the M16.

Since we'll be spawning into matches with the standard amount of ammo, we'll be picking Scavenger Gloves that'll allow us to replenish ammo from packs dropped by defeated enemies. You could alternatively pick Commando Gloves to be able to reload whilst sprinting, though that's down to what you personally prefer for your playstyle.

For the second perk, we're picking the Stalker Boots, granting us heightened strafe and ADS movement speed, perfect for the M16 with its sightline-dominant strengths. Having this extra stafe and ADS speed will hopefully help you avoid more incoming shots, and give you more of a window to return fire and net the kill.

Rounding off the perk selection is a choice that'll depend on what you feel best suits your playstyle or the matches you're in.

With taking on enemies across longer ranges, you may be prone to ambushes, and so Tac Mask will be handy to help reduce the effectiveness of any stun, flash, or gas grenades, and the immunity to shock, EMP and Snapshot grenades should help give you a little bit more of a low profile.

The Tac Mask perk found in the Gear slot.

Alternatively, you could go for Mission Control Comlink which is more of a general perk, letting you obtain your kill/scorestreaks 1 kill/125 score faster, and it's one you may end up seeing the benefits of more often.

Most fights you'll end up in will likely be using the M16, but when it comes to close-quarter engagements, it won't hold up as well, and so you need a solid secondary to use when the moment calls for it.

With MW3, you've got a wide selection of options here - even more if you took a vest that lets you carry a primary weapon - but for us either the Renetti or 9MM Daemon are good choices.

The Renetti is a three-burst pistol that can be converted into a full-auto, machine pistol with its Jak Ferocity Carbine Conversion Kit, whilst the 9MM Daemon is a hard-hitting, semi-auto handgun that could be equally as strong in its own way. Pick whichever is available or preferable to you.

Left: A Renetti custom build with the Jak Ferocity Carbine Conversion Kit you could try out if you're running with that secondary. | Right: The 9MM Daemon handgun we suggested as an alternative to the Renetti.

In terms of equipment, we're thinking about Lethals and Tacticals that are good to pair with the accurate nature of the M16. With that in mind, we're going with Shock Sticks in the Tactical slot, and Semtex in the Lethal slot.

Furthermore, we'll also be recommending the Portable Radar - whether you use it to keep an eye on a particular zone of the map, or if you just want to use it for some safety to keep track of potential flanking threats, it's a strong piece of kit that's definitely worth folding into this loadout.

How to unlock the M16 in Modern Warfare 3

Unlocking weapons in Modern Warfare 3 that originate from Modern Warfare 2 can often be a little different from how it was in that previous game.

However, whilst that's not entirely the case for the M16's unlock requirements itself, the overall process is much longer due to the requirements needed to get there.

If you acquired the M16 in MW2, you'll have access to it immediately in MW3 thanks to the new Carry Forward system.

For those who didn't unlock it in MW2, to unlock the M16 in Modern Warfare 3, you need to reach weapon level 13 with the 556 Icarus.

The 556 Icarus' unlock tree showing the M16 unlocked when weapon level 13 is reached with the 556 Icarus.

To obtain the 556 Icarus though, you'll need to reach weapon level 18 with the M4, a gun that in itself is only unlocked after completing a challenge that reveals itself once you reach player level 55.

It's a very long process, but once it's unlocked, you'll be ready to start levelling the M16 to open up its customisation options - we'd recommend using the M16 for a few matches to level it up and unlock its attachment slots.

Additionally, if you're an owner of Modern Warfare 2's Vault Edition, you actually have a head start on this entire process thanks to the FJX Cinder Pack – with this pack, you'll have had access to all the attachments and weapons unlocked within the M4's family, including the M4 itself as well as the 556 Icarus and more, and that benefit carries across to MW3 as well.


If you're on the hunt to learn more about how you unlock and use weapons in Modern Warfare 3, be sure to check out our guide on all the weapons in MW3. For more loadout guides, check out some of the most recent for guns such as the M4, DG-58, and FR 5.56.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2023)

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Josh Mckenna

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