Best weapons, perks, and loadouts for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: Best loadouts, weapons, and perks
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had a job to do. Not only was this blockbuster first-person shooter expected to carry the lofty nostalgia of its namesake, it simultaneously needed to usher in a new era for the whole of the Call of Duty franchise. One such way that this was accomplished was an onslaught of changes to the gunsmith.  

Call of Duty's gunsmith is part of the custom loadouts options for weapon classes in multiplayer (and soon Warzone 2.0). Players can choose their primary and secondary weapons, and then smith them with attachments to better suit their playstyle. Modern Warfare 2 even goes so far as to introduce weapon tuning for even greater customization at later stages of progress, though at the time of writing this guide that has been disabled by the development teams. 

If you’re just getting started with multiplayer in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox or Windows PC, you may find that the skill gap can be overwhelming even with Skill Based Matchmaking on your side. Finding the right loadouts, weapons, and attachments for your playstyle can help level out the playing field in your favor. There are a few preset classes for brand-new players, and these are fairly well-rounded starter loadouts and builds in their own right. The real fun begins, however, when Create a Class is unlocked at level 4.  The initial offering of weapons at level 4 is slim, but with a little grinding and leveling up you can piece together some pretty solid loadouts early on. 

Here are a few of the best loadouts for those just getting started.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 M4 beginner loadout

(Image credit: Windows Central)


The M4 is a classic assault rifle that has stood the test of time in the Call of Duty franchise. Reliable and flexible, the M4 offers up decent stopping power at mid to long range but with a little tweaking after some leveling up it can even hold its own in close quarters scenarios against other ARs and some SMGs. A solid beginner build will want to focus on improving Aim Down Sight speed and accuracy without giving up too much damage range or bullet velocity. The M4 is immediately available in the gunsmith for developing your loadouts. 

  •  Muzzle: Harbinger D20
  • Barrel: 419MM EXF Barrel
  • Optic: Cronen Mini Red Dot
  • Stock: Ravage-8
  • Ammunition: 5.56 Frangible 

VEL 46

Modern Warfare 2 lacks the super tight close range maps that reigned supreme in Call of Duty: Vanguard (Yes, we’re already missing the Ship Haus 24/7 playlist) there are plenty of narrow and compact areas even on large maps that offer opportunities for snappy SMG gunplay. Get your recoil and handling under control with some extra firepower to really make the high fire rate have an impact, and you’ll be shredding through corridors in no time. The Vel 46 is an immediate unlock. 

  • Barrel: Lachmann Dart 165mm
  • Underbarrel: FTAC Ripper 56
  • Muzzle: XTEN RR-40
  • Stock: VEL A-568 Collapsed
  • Laser: Schlager ULO-66 Laser

556 Icarus

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 beginner loadout build for 556 icarus

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The 556 Icarus is a well-rounded LMG that can be unlocked by reaching level 18 with the M4 platform. It’s ideal for laying down heavy suppressive fire over long range, but you’ll want to focus on improving its recoil and aim down sight times to make it viable for mid-range combat, as well. It’s a bit more of a grind to get added to your loadout, but it pays off in spades.

  • Optic: Cronen Mini Red Dot
  • Barrel: FTAC Coldforge 16” Barrel
  • Underbarrel: FTAC Ripper 56
  • Ammunition: 5.56 Overpressured +P
  • Rear Grip: XTEN Grip

SP-R 208

This marksman rifle has become the bane of many players’ existence and is a go to rifle for quickscopers and trickshotters alike. Despite being a marksman rifle, the SP-R 208 has been snarkily dubbed “the best sniper, pistol, shotgun, and assault rifle in the game”. It will inevitably be nerfed, but in the meantime you can certainly level up quickly by taking advantage of its heavy firepower. The SP-R 208 is unlocked once a player hits level 7.

  • Barrel: 23.5” Fluted R-67
  • Laser: Canted Vibro-Dot 7
  • Stock: ZRL T70 Pad Extension
  • Bolt: FSS ST87 Bolt
  • Magazine: 10 Round Mag

Gunsmith’s notable changes since the last 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot means that players will need to go outside of their choice weapon classes to unlock attachments.  That can slow down the progression toward creating ideal loadouts early in the game, but once an attachment is unlocked for its assigned weapon it can be used freely on any weapon type that it is available for after that. Regardless of whether you prefer to play with an Xbox controller or keyboard and mouse input, you'll want to optimize your settings for Call of Duty to make the most of these loadouts and level up quickly.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

Load up for the next generation of Call of Duty. Hop into Multiplayer to rank up your weapons before Warzone 2.0 goes live along with Season 1 on November 16.

Available now: Xbox | Amazon | Steam

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.