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Best MCW loadout and class build for Warzone and MW3

Learn how best to build the classic ACR with its MW3 2023 reprisal.

The MCW is one of the new assault rifles released with Warzone and Modern Warfare 3.

This Modern Warfare 3 weapon bears many similarities to - and so is being referred to by the community as - the ACR from the original MW3.

Much like that original gun, it’s a rather versatile rifle with solid all-round performance and one that’s a very approachable option for all.

Continue reading to find out not only how to unlock the MCW in Warzone and Modern Warfare 3, but also how to create the best loadout, including the best attachments, perks, gear, equipment and more.

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Warzone and MW3 MCW best loadout and attachments

For the MCW in Warzone and Modern Warfare 3, we’re looking at building a loadout that compliments its core strengths, enhancing its range in combat whilst also ensuring stability and clear sights for spotting and attacking enemy targets.

To find all the level and unlock requirements for each attachment we're listing, head to a weapon’s gunsmith screen, then open up its relevant attachment slot to view the full list of attachments for that slot, and be able to see what the unlock requirements are.

The level requirement to unlock an attachment shown in the upper left of the screen, below the name of the attachment - this information is visible on both the Gunsmith attachment slot menu, as well as each weapon's own level progression track.

Below are the five attachments we’re recommending for the MCW:

  • Optics: MK.23 Reflector
  • Barrel: 16.5" MCW Cyclone Long Barrel
  • Muzzle: L4R Flash Hider
  • Rear Grip: RB Talon-X3 Grip
  • Ammunition: 5.56 Nato High Grain

First off, a popular but effective choice is the MK.23 Reflector Optic.

There are many optics on offer in Warzone and MW3, but with much usage during the beta, it’ll no doubt continue to be a great choice in the full game, offering up a clear sight for accurate shots when Aiming Down Sights (ADS).

For the second attachment, we’ve picked the 16.5" MCW Cyclone Long Barrel which is going to give the strongest bonuses of all the attachments we’ve picked.

The biggest boosts it gives are an increased bullet velocity and range and aiming idle sway, with some extra firing aim stability that all together, are buffs that make the weapon stronger and more effective at longer ranges, whilst its rounds are hitting targets at a quicker pace.

As with most attachments, there are some downsides – for this barrel, that's introducing greater Tac Stance and hip fire spread, as well as slower aim walking speed.

For those getting into Warzone and MW3, 'Tac Stance' is a new aiming mode that’s between hipfire and ADS, providing greater mobility than when in ADS, and accuracy that’s somewhere between hipfire and ADS. With that in mind, these cons aren’t really going to affect the medium-range combat encounters we’re building the MCW for.

The MCW with its attachments in the Gunsmith screen.

For the third attachment, it’s one that’s almost as equally beneficial as the barrel, and it only has a single, slight drawback.

The L4R Flash Hider Muzzle attachment is not only going to conceal the muzzle flash of the MCW, it’s also going to give boosts to vertical and horizontal recoil, whilst also granting you greater control over the gun’s kick when firing.

Moving on to the last couple of attachments, starting with the RB Talon-X3 Rear Grip, this is going to even further enhance the medium sightlines the MCW is effective at dominating thanks to buffs to firing aim stability, gun kick control, and recoil control.

This attachment does mean the gun takes a hit to aiming idle sway, however that’s cancelled out by our barrel pick, meaning whilst you won’t necessarily be getting any less sway, you certainly won’t be getting any more than usual with this build.

To top all of this off, the 5.56 Nato High Grain Ammunition choice not only reduces recoil control, but it also once again gives a boost to bullet velocity and damage range, pushing the gun’s strengths even further, making it even more effective at lasering down your enemies.

All the attachments combined, there are plenty of buffs going directly to ADS gunfights – and with the option we’re recommending for a secondary weapon in the next section, you’ll still have an answer to close-quarters combat whilst upkeeping a solid option for all medium range encounters.

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

When it comes to the particular build and set of equipment to sit alongside the weapon’s attachment set up, with some of MW3’s alternate approaches and overhauls, there’s more flexibility than usual.

For MW3, this all starts with the new 'Vest' option within loadouts that acts essentially as a more defined playstyle that is a great starting point when thinking about the core benefits you want a loadout to provide.

The Vest selection menu in Modern Warfare 3.

However, things are a little different on the Warzone front since there are different components that make up any given custom loadout.

With that in mind, let's discuss the Warzone approach to this loadout, starting with a high-level view of its components.

Best Warzone MCW Loadout

  • Perk 1: Scavenger
  • Perk 2: Double Time
  • Perk 3: Stalker
  • Perk 4: Resolute
  • Secondary Weapon: Lockwood 680
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade
  • Tactical: Flash Grenade

Without the Vest and Field Upgrade slots, Warzone loadouts feel a little bit more traditional focused primarily on your firearms, attachments, perks and a couple of pieces of equipment.

For the MCW class, we're looking to keep stocked up on ammo and stay mobile, and the slew of perks we've picked here are all perfect for that - Scavenger provides ammo, armour plates and cash from dead enemies, Double Time and Stalker are boosting mobility via Tac Sprint, strafe, and ADS movement buffs, whilst Resolute provides a short boost to movement speed when taking damage, a nice bonus to have when taking fire.

Left: The perk selection we're recommending for use with the MCW loadout in Warzone. | Right: The full recommended Warzone loadout for the MCW.

As for the rest of the loadout, it's focused on having a strong backup secondary in the Lockwood 680, with tradtional equipment that ultimately can be swapped in and out as your playstyle and preference dictates - we delve more into these in our MW3 loadout explainer below.

As for MW3, we're taking a similar approach to the above but across a wider array of items - before diving into the specifics here's a high-level view of what we’re recommending for the best MCW class:

Best Modern Warfare 3 MCW Loadout

  • Vest: Gunner Vest
  • Perk 1 – Gloves: Commando Gloves
  • Perk 2 – Gear: Mission Control Comlink
  • Secondary Weapon: Lockwood 680
  • Field Upgrade: Munitions Box
  • Lethal: Frag Grenade
  • Tactical: Flash Grenade

Starting off with the Gunner Vest, this is going to provide a couple of extra abilities that are fundamental to keeping you in the action for longer, improving both ammo and reload speed.

This will also open up the ability to carry another primary weapon in your Secondary slot, and for that we’re going with the Lockwood 680 Shotgun, a great backup for close-quarters engagements.

As for the now-overhauled 'Gear' slots – most players will know these as Perks – we’re focusing on abilities that round off the playstyle of the class.

With having picked the Gunner Vest, this does reduce the overall perk options down to just two, but it’s working keeping in mind the number of functions given by the vest on top of the two perks here.

For the Gloves slot, we’re going with the Commando Gloves which let you reload whilst sprinting, making it easier to stay locked and loaded, and is made even better thanks to the improved reload speed granted by the Gunner Vest.

When it comes to the 'Gear' Perk slot, we’re recommending Mission Control Comlink – longtime players may know this as Hardline – that’ll net you killstreaks in one less kill (or 125 less score if you’ve selected to earn streaks that way).

The MCW class build we're recommending.

For this loadout's Field Upgrade, it's very much a personal choice, but you can always stick to something like the Munitions Box, which is always handy for a quick ammo and equipment stock-up.

When it comes to the Tactical and Lethal options, for this loadout, we’re going with the old faithful Flash and Frag Grenade combo, but of course – as with any part of the loadout ultimately – you are free to mix and match and go with what works best for you.

For example, with the Vests in particular – since they are a good place to start along with your primary weapon to determine the playstyle of a loadout – you might want to pick the Infantry Vest which swaps out the boosted ammo and second primary weapon for a much more mobile approach, with increased Tac Sprint duration and a reduced cooldown. This also lets you pick from a more traditional 3-perk selection.

How to unlock the MCW in Warzone and MW3

The MCW is unlocked by reaching player level 44.

You can increase your player level by earning XP, rewarded by completing various actions during matches, such as getting kills, completing objectives, and more.

Once you’ve earned enough XP and reached player level 44, you’ll be able to equip the MCW to any of your loadouts to level and customise it to your liking from that point on.

The player level progression track showing the MCW unlocked at level 44.

If you’d like to use the MCW earlier, you can also pick the preset 'Counter-Invasion' loadout when in MW3 Multiplayer matches – whilst you won’t be able to customise the weapon or class, you’ll at least be able to get a head start levelling the gun.

Though since compatible attachments can be unlocked by levelling other weapons too, you might want to use other weapons, or check to see what you need to do to unlock the attachments we’re recommending below and work towards unlocking them.

If you’re on the lookout for more from Warzone and MW3, we have various other guides we’d recommend checking out too, including one on how to build the best loadouts for the Striker, KV Inhibitor and more, as well as a guide on all the best guns in MW3 and Warzone.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2023)

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Josh Mckenna