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Assault Rifles are the most frequently used primary weapon by online players in Modern Warfare 2. The reason they are so popular is because they are great for both long and short range kills and usually have good accuracy and very little recoil. Assault rifles also have moderate reload times and medium mobility. They are the perfect choice for anyone just beginning to play Modern Warfare 2 online.
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The M4A1 is the default assault rifle that you begin with. It's not bad for a default weapon either. It is very accurate but it's strength leaves a little to be desired. Its average damage stat means that you'll need to have the stopping power perk on all the time or you may find yourself getting very frustrated. The M4A1 boasts high fire rate and mobility stats making it a very good all round weapon.
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The FAMAS is unlocked at level 4 and it fires a three round burst. Weapons that fire in bursts are not suitable for everyone – especially players that just like to hold down the trigger so they can 'spray and pray'. Using the FAMAS effectively means that you have to have pretty good accuracy yourself as there is a slight pause between each shot and not being accurate means you can easily be killed during this pause.
The main advantage of the FAMAS is its damage stat which is very high. With the stopping power perk on you can kill a player in close or average distance with one burst if all three bullets impact. The FAMAS can be quiet difficult to get used to if your used to just spraying bullets around but it is definitely a weapon worth taking the time to master just for its damage stat.
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The SCAR-H is unlocked at level 8 and most players recognise it as the 'best' assault rifle available in Modern Warfare 2's online mode. The SCAR's damage and accuracy stats are high – it is one of the few weapons that can be used online in Modern Warfare 2 without the stopping power perk and still get good results. The SCAR's main disadvantage is it's small magazine's of only 30 rounds and its fire rate means you tend to need to reload often. It's range is also very high and it's low recoil means that you can pick targets off from a considerable distance effectively.
If you're new to the Modern Warfare 2 online experience I highly recommend using the SCAR-H as soon as you unlock it.
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The TAR-21 is unlocked at level 20 and is another favourite among the Call of Duty online community. It has a pretty high damage stat coupled with a good fire rate stat so it is another of the few weapons in Modern Warfare 2 that can be used without stopping power successfully. It also has a good range stat but long range kills are difficult unless you're firing single shots as the TAR-21 does have serious recoil. The TAR's recoil and low accuracy stat is it's biggest disadvantage. Anyone who plans on using the TAR extensively should learn to fire in controlled bursts to overcome the recoil. The TAR is also one of the few weapon in Modern Warafare 2 that fair's well with a silencer. Silencer's limit a weapon's range but it seems to leave the TAR's range at a very acceptable level.
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The FAL is the only semi-automatic single fire assault rifle in Modern Warfare 2. It is unlocked at level 28. The FAL's accuracy, damage and range stats are all very high but its single shot aspect makes it one of the least used assault rifles on Modern Warfare 2. Using the FAL effectively means that you will need to have a high accuracy of your own as a wounding shot could leave you open as a target during the pause between shots.
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The M16A4 is unlocked at level 40 and fires in three-round bursts. It has very high accuracy and damage stats but, as with the FAMAS being semi-automatic means that you're potentially a target during the pause between shots. The M16 does have a shorter pause between shots than the FAMAS so if you're looking for a good semi-automatic three round burst you've found it.
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The ACR is the most accurate of all the available assault rifles in Modern Warfare 2. It's unlocked at level 48. The ACR's accuracy stat is amazing but its damage stat isn't great which means you'll need to have stopping power on. The ACR's range is pretty good and its recoil is low allowing for long range kills. Its rate of fire is average but it's great accuracy makes up for that. It's very low recoil means that a red dot sight is invaluable. If you want total accuracy this is your gun.
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The F2000 is unlocked at level 60 although it only fairs as average in my book so I don't know why its unlocked at such a high level. The F2000's accuracy and damage stats and accuracy are average meaning you will need stopping power. Its fire rate and range are relatively high. Its not an amazing weapon but it is definitely worth trying out when you unlock it to see if it fits your playing style.
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The AK-47 was one of the most popular assault rifles in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In Modern Warfare 2 the AK is unlocked at level 70, but it is definitely worth the waite. It hasn't changed much since Cod 4 – it's still one of the best assault rifles. It's high damage and range stats make it perfect for both close and long range shots. But if you're aiming long range I'd advise single bursts as the AK's recoil can be quiet strong. Its accuracy is average but it suffices, don't bother to use red dot as it becomes useless because of the AK's recoil. Once you reach level 70 I strongly advise at least trying the AK-47.
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Sub Machine Guns are generally best used at close range. They have high fire rates and low or average damage stats meaning they pack a punch by firing everything as quickly as possible. They are not designed to be incredibly accurate – you basically just aim them towards your target.
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The MP5K is the default SMG you start with. It's pretty good for a default gun too. It's a fairly average SMG with nothing in particular marking it as unique. There are better SMGs but this is a pretty good one to start with. It's got a pretty high fire rate so avoid using the Rapid Fire perk as it increases the guns recoil making it even less accurate.
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The UMP is one of the most popular SMGs used online in Modern Warfare 2 and is unlocked at level 4. Its accuracy stat is unusually high for an SMG. Its recoil makes the red dot sight useless so stick to the iron sight. You can unlock the Akimbo (dual) attachment by getting 30 kills with the FMJ attachment – Akimbo UMPs work great and are definitely worth trying at least once.
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The P90 is unlocked at level 24. Its recoil makes it inaccurate unless you're firing in short bursts – which is pointless to do with SMGs. Avoid using the Rapid Fire perk at all costs as its high fire rate and inaccuracy will mean you will find yourself short of bullets and facing a wounded enemy pretty quickly.
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The MINI-UZI is not unlocked until level 44, and with good reason. For me the MINI-UZI takes the cake when compared to the other SMGs on offer. It has average recoil and good accuracy meaning its easy for close range shots. It has a really high fire rate so avoid using Rapid Fire as it increases the gun's recoil. Akimbo MINI-UZIs are pretty powerful and are a popular choice online. The recoil from both guns tends to make them a little more inaccurate that usual but for close range kills they get the job done.
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Light Machine Guns generally pack a punch – they usually have a good damage stat and, most importantly, a huge amount of ammo. Some player claim having over 100 bullets in a magazine is unnecessary but that is not true. If you've ever been thrown into an online match of any type on the map Rust you will know that an LMG is invaluable. Rust is such an unbelievably small map that those few seconds you take to reload will probably get you killed – but if you have an LMG you don't have to think about reloading for a long time.
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The L86 is the default LMG. It's a pretty standard LMG but has a low accuracy stat. As with all LMGs the accuracy stat can be increased with the help of the Grip attachment. If you just have to use an LMG when you start this isn't a particularly bad choice but it would make sense to wait for a better LMG to unlock.
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Not to be confused with the RPG rocket launcher (see Secondary Weapons), the RPD is one of the most popular LMGs used online, it has been popular since its introduction in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Unuslally it is the second default weapon in this category. All of its stats are pretty good – except for its below average fire rate. Buts its fire rate doesn't really affect it too much. If you have Stopping Power and Grip on you could find yourself holding a great weapon.
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The AUG is unlocked at level 32. The AUG is the quickest to load of all the LMGs. It is not as powerful as the RPD but It's stats are all great and it's accuracy is beautiful for medium and long range kills. The AUG is my personal favourite LMG in Modern Warfare 2.
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The M240 is unlocked at level 52, although I can;t imagine why as it's damage stat is depressing – much like the MG4. Also like the MG4 the M240 is great for hardcore games with its high fire rate. For normal matches you won't need Grip with its high accuracy but you will always need stopping power.
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Sniper Rifles are used to take out targets from a distance. Snipers need to stay outside the action and pickoff targets without drawing attention to themselves. Some of the best players in the world on Modern Warfare 2 are snipers, at least in some matches. If you want to snipe make sure to protect the area you will be in – usually setting down some claymores is a good idea. A heartbeat sensor is also a huge asset but be aware that more and more players are using the Ninja perk to make themselves invisible to heartbeat sensors.
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Unlocked by default the Intervention is a great weapon. Its fire rate is on the low side as its a bolt-action weapon so if you miss or only wound your target you may find them getting away before you can finish with a second shot. If you have good accuracy the Intervention may help you get a lot of one-shot kills.
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Barrett .50 CAL
The .50 CAL is also unlocked by default. In real life this weapon is used to shoot down helicopters and a well placed bullet will easily rip a huge hole through the human body, with the shot's force sending it sprawling into the air. Often times a .50 CAL will rip a human in half. But in Modern Warfare 2 the gun is not portrayed realistically. I have seen targets being clipped by a .50 CAL and wounded – realistically the force of the bullet clipping you would almost certainly kill you.
However, in Modern Warfare 2 it is still a great gun. A lot of people will choose it for its high fire rate, but this also means there is a lot of recoil so don't expect the gun to stay still while you pump your target full of bullets. The Barrett .50 CAL is one of my favourite sniper rifles in Modern warfare 2 and I highly recommend it.
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Having received so many comments about my verdict on the M21 I have had to retry it recently: The M21 boasts high accuracy and low-recoil which means that although it is weaker than most other sniper rifles in Modern Warfare 2 it allows you to keep your target scoped for longer so that you can make that second, fatal shot more quickly. However if you are a fan of the one-shot-one kill idea that a lot of people associate with sniping then the M21 may not be the weapon for you.
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The riot shield is a primary weapon which means you can only use a secondary weapon in conjunction with it. The riot shield can deflect bullets which can ricochet and kill enemies. You can also melee an enemy with the riot shield, although it takes two hits from the riot shield to kill an enemy.
The riot shield is extremely useful if you are playing online in third-person mode. In third-person mode it is also very easy to deflect bullets from enemy aircraft overhead. Deflecting bullets earns you XP so deflecting bullets from enemy aircraft can potentially earn you a lot of XP.
In normal mode the riot shield can leave you vulnerable unless you known how to use it properly. Walking with the riot shield leaves your feet an open target while crouching covers them but slows you down. Most people tend to take out riot shielders by throwing a flash-bang or stun grenade and then going at them from the side. There is not much you can do to avoid this unless you have someone else using a riot shield by your side. Using riot shields in pairs or in groups can work amazingly but can lead to a very frustrated opposition so be ready for the verbal backlash that ensues.