What are the best Assault Rifles in Modern Warfare 3? Assault Rifles have always been a reliable choice in the Call of Duty franchise thanks to their ease of use and versatility. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is no exception, and ARs are currently dominating MW3's multiplayer.
Whether you're a new player searching for an easy-to-use weapon that deals consistent damage at all ranges, or an old COD vet whose go-to gun used to be the ACR, the following Assault Rifles will be of interest. Read on for our rundown of the best Assault Rifles in Modern Warfare 3!
What is the best Assault Rifle in Modern Warfare 3?
Modern Warfare 3 features a whopping 21 Assault Rifles in total thanks to the game's Carry Forward option. But if you had to pick one weapon, the best assault rifle in MW3 is the MCW, thanks to its sheer usability which has made it a popular choice among the COD playerbase. It's an all-around great gun not just for those who prefer Assault Rifles, but for all players in general, and that's why it also got the top spot in our ranking of the best guns in MW3.
Here is our tier list of Assault Rifles in Modern Warfare 3:
- SVA 545
- Holger 556
- STB 556
- FR Avancer
- ISO Hemlock
- Kastov 762
- Kastov 545
- FR 5.56
- TR-76 Geist
- Tempus Razorback
We've highlighted the major details of each AR below, with some more explanation about why we've ranked them as we have.
22. Tempus Razorback
At its best, the Tempus Razorback makes for good sniper support - a job that the FR Avancer or the Chimera technically fulfil a bit better. At its worst, it's a very weak AR that simply can't go the distance at long range thanks to a poor damage output.
The M13C has high mobility and damage, but these good points are tempered by an annoying recoil which will knock you off your back. When compared to the M13B, this gun feels slightly more like an SMG, and it'll certainly work for aggressive playstyles - though honestly, you might as well go with a proper SMG if that's what you're after.
20. TR-76 Geist
The TR-76 hits hard as a decent AR in most respects, but its slow fire rate lags behind the competition. The substantial recoil also keeps it from knocking our socks off, but we do have a TR-76 Geist loadout guide if you take a liking to this gun and want to stick with it. The FTAC Ripper 56 and STIP-66 will steady the recoil, while the VLK LZR 7MW will go a long way towards making this feel like a faster gun.
The Chimera's got the damage output of an AR but the close-range punch of an SMG. It also has an integrated suppressor, making it great for stealth engagements. At close range on small or medium-sized maps, it's just as monstrous as its namesake, but it falls apart pretty quickly at long range. This somewhat limited usability - combined with the fact that Modern Warfare 3's increased health pool of 150 makes this weapon less useful than it was in MW2 - keeps it in fairly low ranking, at least for now.
The M16's always been a Call of Duty classic, but its three-shot burst lacked potency in MW2 and still isn't great in Modern Warfare 3. You'll also need good headshot aim to make the most of this weapon.
Still, it's always good to enjoy the classics at times, and we have a guide to the most effective M16 loadout if that's your style. To give the M16 a little more bang, we suggest using 5.56 High Velocity rounds to make that bullet velocity fly high.
17. FR 5.56
Another three bullet burst weapon, we prefer the FR 5.56 over its competitors thanks to the heavier damage, even if its burst feels inconsistent at times and kicks like a mule. If you've got the skill to consistently hit all three burst shots, you'll dominate with this gun, though there are certainly easier-to-use ARs in MW3.
The TAQ-56 isn't bad, it's just a bit slow and overshadowed by the other heavy hitters on this list. In Modern Warfare 2, the M4 put it to shame, and in Modern Warfare 3, the MCW does the same thing. Nevertheless, this rifle has good handling and time-to-kill stats - just not enough to elevate it above a middle-class ranking.
15. Kastov 545
The Kastov 545 was in an odd spot in Modern Warfare 2 due to its high similarities to the Kastov-74U, and the same is true here. While the Kastov-74U is one of our favourites, the Kastov 545 feels like a redundant clone with somewhat better range and lower recoil, but weaker damage. We'll take the original whenever possible, though we do have a Kastov 545 loadout guide if you still want to pick the Kastov 545 up.
If the M4 and the STB 556 had a baby, it would be the Lachmann-556. This gun feels like the M4 but has better long range capabilities with little recoil a la the STB 556. It's not as good as the firearms that birthed it, unfortunately, since it lacks the M4's stopping power and the accuracy doesn't really hold a candle to the STB 556.
It's tricky to get this gun to live up to the potential of its parents, but we've got a Lachman 556 loadout guide to help you out. Start with the Harbinger D20 muzzle for more bullet velocity, then go with the 15.9" Lachmann Rapp Barrel.
13. Kastov 762
The Kastov 762 was Modern Warfare 2's version of the AK47. A major disruptor in terms of damage, it dealt the highest damage per shot of all ARs in the game. In Modern Warfare 3 it's still a beast as long as you fix up its erratic recoil.
As detailed in our Kastov 762 loadout guide, load the Kastov 762 with the FTAC Ripper 56 for recoil stability and the Kastov-Rama for better mobility. This will balance the weapon out nicely, and when paired with a good sniper rifle, you'll have a reliable AR guaranteed to win more than a few matches.
The MTZ-556 is an excellent Assault Rifle for new players searching for a starter gun. Those who took a liking to the M13 in past Modern Warfare games will find a lot to like here, as the MTZ-556 handles similarly but outclasses the M13 with its superior fire rate and high mobility.
Our in-depth MTZ-556 loadout guide contains all you need to know about outfitting this easy-to-use gun. In a nutshell, you'll want barrels that boost bullet velocity and damage range while reducing idle sway, muzzles that reduce the MTZ-556's recoil, and drums with a substantial capacity to take advantage of the MTZ-556's already high fire rate.
When comparing the M13B and the M13C in terms of which AR is actually better, the M13B 100% takes the cake with an excellent fire rate and much more versatility for long range engagements. The fact that it won't destroy you with excessive recoil also helps. Our M13B loadout guide has the full details on maximising this gun, starting with the Harbinger D20 muzzle attachment.
10. ISO Hemlock
The ISO Hemlock was a great heavy-hitter at one point in Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0 until it got nerfed to oblivion and even banned from ranked play. It still boasts excellent time-to-kill stats at mid-range, and time will tell if it evolves into a top choice once again in MW3. At the moment, however, certain other guns have risen in the ranks to become more reliable choices.
9. FR Avancer
Based on the FAMAS bullpup AR used by the French military and featured in previous Call of Duty games, the FR Avancer's an easy-to-use AR with a rock solid fire rate. Its mediocre damage is the only thing that keeps it from ranking even higher here, but when used as an alternate primary gun alongside a sniper loadout, it's an excellent choice.
8. STB 556
Previously known as the AUG, the STB 556 is a wonderful AR for going up against all manner of other rifles at mid-to-long range. There's very little recoil on this weapon, and it has the potential to outclass a lot of sniper rifles with its world class accuracy. For that smooth as butter, no recoil feel when you fire off a shot, the STB 556 is a nice choice. Our STB 556 loadout guide has tips for pushing the gun's bullet velocity and range a bit further with attachments like the 24.4" Bruen S-620 barrel.
Last seen in 2019's Modern Warfare - and initially named the TAR-21 in the original Modern Warfare trilogy - the RAM-7 returns in Season 1 of Modern Warfare 3 to deliver blazing shots in a very compact frame. This is an all-around solid AR with a great fire rate that excels at aggressive tactics. Equip it, jump into the thick of combat, and unleash a barrage of bullets, preferably with an ammunition upgrade like the 40 Round Mag attached. While its default range isn't anything special and the recoil needs some work, our guide to the best RAM-7 loadout can go a long way towards fixing this gun's shortcomings.
A powerful mid-to long range AR, the DG-58 is a bullpup AR with a mighty three-shot burst similar to the M16. It's a superb starting AR with nice accuracy, handling, and a pulsating fire rate that'll have you massacring opponents left and right. The DG-58 is especially deadly when Manual Fire Behaviour is switched to "Hold" in MW3's settings. This lets you hold down a single button to keep firing, transforming all burst guns into full-auto weapons. In the DG-58's case, it amplifies the gun's low recoil and smooth firing into a smooth-as-butter feel that seems far superior to the game's other three-shot-burst rifles. If this sounds appealing, take a look at our DG-58 loadout guide for tips on outfitting this weapon.
5. Holger 556
One of the AR newcomers in Modern Warfare 3, the Holger 556 instantly differentiates itself by hitting like a truck with fantastic range and good versatility for the vast majority of engagements. Its handling is reminiscent of the fan-favourite G36C in the original Modern Warfare trilogy, and several Call of Duty professional players have already agreed to stop using this gun due to its intense damage output.
It's still early to tell if the Holger 556 will unseat the well-known heavy hitters at the top of this list, especially if it receives a nerf. Nevertheless, we've ranked it high for now, and our Holger 556 best loadout guide contains all the attachments you need to make this gun soar.
Once upon a time, this was our pick for MW2's best AR. In Modern Warfare 3, the Kastov-74U continues to win us over thanks to its unique hybrid feel between an Assault Rifle and a SMG. Despite its light frame, the Kastov-74U doesn't sacrifice anything in the damage department, proving itself a monster at run and gun assaults.
The tradeoff is a lower fire rate than the other ARs here and a hefty recoil, which we strive to fix in our Kastov-74U loadout guide. Put the Echoline GS-X on this gun as well as the FT Tac-Elite Stock and it'll be much smoother handling as you take on the opposition with ease.
3. SVA 545
If you used the AN-94 in the Call of Duty: Black Ops games, you'll be familiar with the SVA 545, which boasts the same hyperburst feature. Hyperburst lets you fire off two shots in quick succession with every trigger squeeze, though the firing rate drops quickly by the third shot. Nevertheless, if you want an initial explosion of power that can quickly take out enemies with headshots, the SVA 545 is the gun to go for.
Using the SVA 545 is all about assuming the role of a fast killing machine that ambushes foes and zips around the map, and if you have a trained trigger finger, this gun ranks as one of the game's deadliest. For more on how to complement the SVA 545, check out our Modern Warfare 3 guide to the best SVA 545 loadouts.
The M4 has been a tried and true AR mainstay throughout the entire Call of Duty franchise, and it remains one of the best choices in Modern Warfare 3. Consistent and accurate, the M4 is a good ally to have by your side for both medium and close range firefights, and there are few that match the description of "reliable workhorse" more.
We've got a detailed guide to best M4 loadout to help you teach this old gun a few new tricks. With improvements to control, stability, and range - and perhaps a SMG as your secondary weapon - the M4's relatively low time-to-kill won't be a bother in the slightest.
The MCW is Modern Warfare 3's new name for the much beloved ACR, and it was ranked by many beta players as one of the game's top guns. It's still a stellar deliverer in the final game. If you're tired of options and simply want the best Assault Rifle to serve in most situations, you can't go wrong with the MCW's all-around rock solid stats that have the potential to destroy targets without any attachments.
Kit the MCW out appropriately, and you have a firearm that doubles as a smooth laser beam in ranged combat. This rifle also performs admirably at close-quarters scuffles, and our MCW loadout guide has the full rundown on the most versatile combos. For an easy start, go for the 16.5" MCW Cyclone Long Barrel to increase bullet velocity, range, and stability.
That finishes our look at the best Assault Rifles in MW3. If you're ready to diversify to different firearms and also want a quick look at some of the most usable kit combinations in the game, be sure to check out our list of the best Modern Warfare 3 loadouts. If you need more help picking out the right gun for you, head to our Modern Warfare 3 primers on the best Sniper Rifle and best Battle Rifle.