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Best MCW loadout in Modern Warfare 3

How to build the best and most accurate MCW class in MW3

A close-up of an adapted MCW Assault Rifle, superimposed over a shot of the Estate map in Modern Warfare 3.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Want to build the best MCW loadout and class setup in Modern Warfare 3? Although Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has been out for a while now, the MCW remains a recommended Assault Rifle pick. The gun received much attention in the MW3 beta, and for good cause.

Offering a fantastic blend of damage, range, accuracy and handling, the MCW can become near-unstoppable in the right hands. Below we'll walk you through the attachments, perks, and other choices you need to make to build the best MCW loadout in Modern Warfare 3 right now.

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The MCW is the best Assault Rifle in Modern Warfare 3 right now, and there's one simple reason: sheer accuracy. Compared to almost any of the other 21 ARs on offer in the game, the base MCW gives you the least gun kick and horizontal recoil. You can test it yourself: just point at a blank wall and empty a magazine into it, and you'll see that the recoil just goes straight up.

Normally, being the best at something means deficits elsewhere. But the MCW isn't like that. It has solid damage, a solid fire rate, solid range, solid handling and mobility stats. Other guns are definitely superior in these departments, but the MCW's insane accuracy means you can easily use it to score headshots down the longest paths, roads, and corridors in any of the Modern Warfare 3 maps.

Best MCW loadout in MW3

Here's the best MCW loadout in Modern Warfare 3:

  • Muzzle: XTEN Ported 290
  • Barrel: SL Crater Heavy Barrel
  • Underbarrel: Bruen Heavy Support Grip
  • Stock: RB Regal Heavy Stock
  • Optic: Slimline Pro
  • Vest: Demolition Vest
  • Gloves: Commando Gloves
  • Boots: Covert Sneakers
  • Gear: Ghost T/V Camo
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade
  • Tactical: Battle Rage
  • Field Upgrade: Portable Radar

This MCW loadout is built to push the guns high accuracy to the absolute max. This gun is a laserbeam, with virtually no recoil at all, and after using it for a while you'll frankly find it hard going back to handling any other gun. Below you can read more about each of our attachment choices for this top-tier MCW class.

Screenshot of MCW attachments in Modern Warfare 3
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Best MCW attachments

Muzzle: XTEN Ported 290

The XTEN Ported 290 is one of the strongest recoil-reducing attachments in Modern Warfare 3, reducing the MCW's gun kick, horizontal recoil, and especially vertical recoil by almost a third. It's unusual to prioritise vertical recoil control over horizontal, but the MCW's horizontal recoil is practically non-existent anyway.

Another good Muzzle option for the MCW is the EX-01 Match Compensator, which only benefits vertical recoil but also gives you some extra ADS speed - the only thing that's a little lacking in this MCW class. Ultimately, try both and pick whichever attachment you prefer.

Barrel: SL Crater Heavy Barrel

There are a lot of Barrel attachment choices for the MCW, but the SL Crater Heavy Barrel is an easy pick thanks to its excellent recoil reduction bonuses. It comes at the cost of slightly reduced range and ADS speed, but the differences to range are minor, and this isn't really the right loadout to use if you want a very fast ADS time.

We also really like the 16.5" MCW Cyclone Long Barrel for its impressive range-boosting effects and comparatively few downsides, and when the MCW is added to Warzone 2.0, this may be our go-to Barrel choice. But until then, the best thing you can do with the MCW is maximise its accuracy.

Underbarrel: Bruen Heavy Support Grip

Of the 50 available Underbarrel attachments for the MCW, we'd highly recommend using the Bruen Heavy Support Grip. This grip gives you another sizeable boost to horizontal recoil control and gun kick control, and by this point you should notice the MCW is really turning into a laserbeam with its accuracy.

Stock: RB Regal Heavy Stock

We're not done improving the recoil yet! The RB Regal Heavy Stock may add an extra 2.5% onto your ADS time, but it's also one of the best attachments for minimising the MCW's overall recoil and gun kick control.

Optic: Slimline Pro

Finally, add the Optic attachment of your choice. My go-to option at the moment is the Slimline Pro, although I'm also a big fan of the Slate Reflector and the Mk. 3 Reflector. All are excellent, very clean red dot sights.

If you think you can handle using the ironsights of the MCW, then our recommendation would be to really push the recoil to the theoretical minimum with the RB Claw-PSL Grip. But in all honesty, it's not necessary to reduce the recoil any more, and what will help you most is attaching a good Optic so you can make those longer-range shots. It's not just about improving the gun's accuracy, it's about improving your accuracy too.

Two players in Modern Warfare 3 run together through a wartorn street.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Best MCW class setup: Perks and Equipment

You have a lot of leeway when it comes to picking your perks and equipment for the MCW class, because the MCW itself is so versatile. But we'd recommend you pick up the Demolition Vest to keep all your Perk options open, and give you the extra benefit of extra (and recharging) throwables. The Commando Gloves will give you a bit of extra mobility by allowing you to reload while sprinting - a fantastic perk to have on basically any loadout.

If you want to really push for maximum mobility, add the Lightweight Boots to the list as well - although we prefer to substitute them for the Covert Sneakers if you want to go on flank attacks with your MCW without alerting anyone. And finally, fill your last gear slot with the Ghost T/V Camo to keep you off the enemy radar while you're on the move.

As for your Tactical and Lethal throwables, we've kept it simple for our MCW loadout with the versatile Frag Grenade and the Battle Rage. The Frag is easy to use and devastating when cooked, and Battle Rage is easier to pop in MW3 than its Stim equivalent was in previous COD titles thanks to Modern Warfare 3's extended health pools, making it a universally useful tactical option.

Finally, add a Portable Radar Field Upgrade so you can quickly scope out your surroundings and spot approaching enemies, so you don't have to rely solely on your slightly sluggish MCW ADS speed.

For more Modern Warfare tips and tricks, check out our guide to the best vests in-game for optimal loadouts.

Screenshot of a MCW loadout in Modern Warfare 3
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Best MCW class setup: Secondary weapon

Renetti with JAK Ferocity Carbine Kit.

The MCW's versatility means that even after bulking it out for medium-to-long range, it's still extremely effective in SMG ranges. So there's no need to use the Gunner Vest to get another primary weapon with this class setup.

Instead, we recommend you pick the Renetti with the JAK Ferocity Carbine Kit, because this gives you a fearsome close-range full-auto counterpart to the MCW. Kit it out for mobility and handling, and you'll have an extremely well-rounded MCW loadout for any MW3 match.

How to unlock the MCW in MW3

To unlock the MCW in Modern Warfare 3, you'll need to reach rank 44. You can do so by either playing in traditional Multiplayer or Zombies mode.

Although this may initially seem high, it's more than doable. Especially if you have a few double XP tokens on hand to speed up the process. Otherwise, you can earn player XP by completing daily and weekly challenges.

Best MCW alternatives in Modern Warfare 3

SVA-545, MTZ-556.

The SVA-545 and MTZ-556 are close competitors to the MCW in Modern Warfare 3, and while they lack the versatility and ease of use of the MCW, both guns offer something very alluring. The SVA-545's claim to fame is its hyperburst feature, which makes the first two shots of this full-auto weapon come out exceptionally close together. If you're good with your headshots, the SVA-545 can often beat any other Assault Rifle in terms of time-to-kill.

The MTZ-556 keeps the straightforward nature of the MCW but features a very high fire rate, which allows it to be built in a more close-range, movement-focused manner than the MCW.

That wraps up our best MCW loadout guide for Modern Warfare 3. If you're looking for more top-tier weapons to use in MW3 multiplayer, check out our primmeor on the best guns in Modern Warfare 3 right now. Or if you want to try out your new MCW loadout in a more high-stakes environment, why not dive into a Modern Warfare 3 Cutthroat match?

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