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Warzone 2.0 best guns to use in Season 1 Reloaded's current meta

The best firepower to unlock in Warzone 2.0's first mid-season update.

Figuring out the best guns to use in Warzone 2.0 and understanding the meta is a key element to take note of as you’re playing across all its modes.

Since weapon unlocks have changed in both Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0, much more investment across all weapons is now needed.

As such, you’ll want to know the best weapons to be hunting, levelling and customising to arm yourself on the battlefields of Al Mazrah.

On this page, we’ll be going over the best guns in Warzone 2.0 across all the primary weapon classes – with a few extra recommendations based on the past meta and unlock requirements.

On this page:

Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 - PS5 vs Xbox Series X/S - The DF Tech Review!

What is the current meta and best guns in Warzone 2.0?

Halfway through its first season, Warzone 2.0's meta has begun to settle.

Some of this is in part due to the popularity and effectiveness of weapons unlocked early such as the M4 assault rifle and SP-R 208 marksman rifle.

Other guns such as the FSS Hurricane submachine gun take a little bit more time to earn, yet are sowever making waves with their popularity.

With the addition of new weapons in Season 1 alongside the complicated weapon and attachment unlock systems, the meta may yet sowever evolve.

For example, with the arrival of Season 1 Reloaded - the game's mid-season update - the new Assault Rifle, Chimera has shaken up the meta, pushing players away from popular picks such as the M4, especially with a relatively easy challenge to unlock.

Best Assault Rifle in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: M4 or Chimera
How to unlock:M4 (Reach player level 4), Chimera (2 AR kills in 15 separate matches/DMZ extraction)

Acting as an all-round effective option, the M4 is an easy-to-access weapon available as soon as you unlock access to custom loadouts.

It’s a strong and versatile option, and an effective selection for all players.

Thanks to its robust nature, it’s a best-in-class assault rifle, providing strong stopping power with a high fire rate that, when paired with quick reactions and pinpoint accuracy, will allow you to dominate Battle Royale matches throughout Season 1.

The M4.

With such a direct and quick path to unlock, the M4 is most certainly a weapon you’ll want to be investing into and customising as you play.

Whilst the M4 is sowever the best selection for an assault rifle to use in Warzone 2.0, the M16 did recently obtain a few buffs in the Season 1 launch patch, whilst the Kastov 762 is also becoming a popular selection worth keeping an eye on.

If you’re an owner of the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2, thanks to the included FJX Cinder Pack, you’ll instantly unlock a plethora of attachments to customise and enhance the M4 and M16 with.

Additionally, as an option available to every owner of the base Modern Warfare 2 game, if you complete the campaign, you’ll obtain a blueprint of the M4, complete with various attachments from the offset – learn more about that in our campaign rewards explainer.

The 'Union Guard' M4 blueprint earnable via the Campaign.

If you’re looking for a strong loadout to pair with the M4, we have you covered – check out our guide on the best M4 build, covering the best attachments, perk package and more.

On the flipside, thanks to the Season 1 Reloaded update in December 2022, there's another assault rifle on the rise – one that's more suited to close-quarter engagements.

Available after getting two assault rifle Operator kills in 15 different matches – if you see players leaving matches more than usual, this is likely why(!) – or by extracting the weapon from the DMZ's mysterious 'Building 21', the Chimera is a new weapon in Season 1 Reloaded that's taken numerous players by storm.

(As well as the above in-game unlock methods, you can also obtain the Chimera by purchasing any bundles that contain a blueprint for the weapon.)

Referred to as the Honey Badger - no doubt due to its original name in Call of Duty: Ghosts - this weapon features a built-in suppressor, or more specifically .300 BLK Subsonic Ammo.

As the game says, this means the weapon "features no visible tracers and hides kill skulls from the enemy team", making this an effective stealth weapon, perfect for keeping a low profile in Warzone matches – it also means that you can allocate attachments elsewhere on the weapon, effectively allowing the weapon to have a complete of 6 attachments, rather than the usual cap of 5.

The Chimera.

It does, however, mean you can't swap the suppressor out or add any other muzzle attachments, so there is some limitation, but it's arguably more of a positive than a negative.

On top of that, this weapon has a higher time-to-kill than the M4, requiring just three shots to the chest to eliminate an enemy, compared to the M4's four.

This is most definitely one to keep an eye on as the season progresses, and one that may slowly rise to the top over time.

Best Battle Rifle in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: FTAC Recon
How to unlock FTAC Recon: Reach weapon level 13 with the M4.

The FTAC Recon is the strongest battle rifle available right now in Warzone 2.0.

Whilst the FTAC Recon’s – admittedly limited – base mag size of 10 may appear off-putting, don't let that distract you from what is otherwise a very powerful battle rifle option.

When it comes to TTK (Time-To-Kill), you're looking at a two-shot kill in most engagements, so long as you're gunning for the chest and above, with headshots being a easy one-shot kill – create sure you've got an itchy trigger finger with this one, and you'll be tearing through other players with one of the strongest weapons available.

Should the mag size be an issue for you however, there is a 15 Round Mag option available – whilst not a massive increase, it should alleviate some ammo issues you may face, just be wary of the decreased reload speed.

The FTAC Recon.

If the mag size isn't an issue for you though, the 5 Round Mag option is available and recently just received a buff to the weapon's mobility and handling when equipped – you just have to create sure you've got pinpoint accuracy or else you'll be reloading a lot!

Want to obtain the best out of the weapon? Our Modern Warfare 2 FTAC Recon loadout can give you some ideas as to what could work in Warzone 2.0.

Much like the M4, if you're an owner of the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2, you'll have access to the FTAC Recon immediately, along with all attachments from the M4 Platform – this includes the aforementioned smaller and larger mag options!

Best SMG in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: FSS Hurricane
How to unlock: FSS Hurricane (FTAC Recon weapon level 16)

The Submachine Gun (SMG) space escalated quickly at the launch of Modern Warfare 2, but thanks to Season 1's balance patch and a settling meta, there's one that's come out on top.

The strongest option for SMGs right now is the FSS Hurricane, thanks to its solid range, recoil control, and vast mag size.

In fact – thanks to Season 1's balance patch – it's become even stronger, with buffs to ADS movement speed, headshot damage and far damage range.

If you haven't unlocked the FFS Hurricane yet - what else is there in this category? Previous contender VEL 46 might not be the best pick for Warzone 2.0, but it too received a damage range increase in the Season 1 update, so who knows how this will pan out compared to the Hurricane in the long run.

The MP7 / VEL 46.

Since the VEL 46 is unlocked so early on too – unlike the FSS Hurricane that, unless you're an owner of the Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition, requires multiple weapons to be levelled – it might sowever be worth a spin!

The FSS Hurricane.

Season 1 did introduce a new SMG – the BAS-P – which hasn't quite made the rounds, but it's always possible that'll gain traction amongst the community.

Until that day comes though, the FSS Hurricane is a good shout – be sure to keep checking back here though as we'll be updating this list if a new SMG champion rises.

Best Shotgun in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: Expedite 12
How to unlock Expedite 12: Reach player level 9

The Expedite 12 is the strongest Shotgun in Warzone 2.0’s Season 1 meta.

Thanks to a faster fire rate, even while the Bryson 800 is a good starter shotgun – available as soon as you unlock custom loadouts – the Expedite 12 provides similar power, but boasts extra range and a faster fire rate.

Going from the Bryson 800 to the Expedite, you’ll no doubt notice the increase in fire rate that makes it feel a lot snappier, and incredibly handy if you miss your first shot.

And if its fire rate isn’t enough for you, with the Expedite L-Bolt attachment – unlocked at weapon level 2 – you can increase the fire rate even further for some truly wild spray n’ pray action!

The Expedite 12.

When it comes to range, the Expedite 12 is able to hit and eliminate enemies from a pretty extensive range – in combination with the fast fire rate, should your first shot not kill an enemy, you’ll be able to easily fire off a second – or third – to quickly finish them off before they react.

It’s a weapon that works well on its own, but is especially effective as a backup primary weapon when using the Overkill perk, helping you cover multiple ranges in combat.

Overall, especially with Overkill equipped, the Expedite 12 is a shotgun worth using, and most definitely a solid and reliable, close quarters option to have on-hand.

Thanks to the Season 1 Reloaded update, the Expedite now also has access to three 'Guard' attachments too, allowing you to customise and bolster various stats such as sprint, movement, or ADS speed, or flinch resistance and recoil steadiness depending on your pick, allowing this weapon to be more flexible for various playstyles on the battlefield.

Best LMG in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: 556 Icarus, RAPP H or RPK
How to unlock: 556 Icarus (M4 weapon level 18), RAPP H (Lachmann-556 weapon level 16), RPK (Kastov 762 weapon level 16)

Light Machine Guns (LMGs) don't often populate the Call of Duty meta, and their usability is rather niche – however, with their extended ammo supplies, it's a category worth setting your sights on during Warzone matches, even if it's not a weapon type you typically use.

If you're looking for a particular LMG to try out in Al Mazrah, the 556 Icarus and RAPP H are where you’ll want to look.

The RAPP H’s standout feature is its high rate of fire, paired with impressive accuracy and stability, whereas the 556 Icarus provides a little bit more mobility, allowing you to move around a bit quicker than with other LMGs.

The 556 Icarus.

Both LMGs are on the lower end of magazine sizes – sitting at 75 each – but there’s sowever more than enough rounds here to rack up several kills before needing to reload – just be ready to hold your position when you do need to swap mags!

As a bonus, the 556 Icarus is available to use much earlier than the RAPP H, making it a more attractive and accessible option.

Both require a bit of grinding, but since the 556 Icarus is acquired via the M4 Platform – the first Platform you’ll have access to – you’ll be able to begin working your way towards it early on.

If you own the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2 however, it’s unlocked instantly, along with all that Platform’s attachments too.


In terms of the RAPP H though, it’s a similar process to the 556 Icarus, but with the added grind of an extra weapon to level which you can only begin the process of after reaching player level 16.

Another popular selection that's been making the rounds over time is the RPK.

The RPK.

Unlocked by levelling the Kastov 762 to level 16, the RPK is an incredibly solid selection for Warzone, accompanied with similar ammo totals as the RAPP H and 556 Icarus – though 75 rounds short and a reduced fire rate overall – but it sowever packs a punch.

It's also joint-highest when it comes to recoil control, sitting alongside the 556 Icarus, however it's got better handling, range, reload speed and damage output, key elements that will help keep you in the fight during Warzone matches.

Definitely keep your eye on this one, as it might be one to build a loadout for as the meta continues to evolve in the weeks and months ahead.

Best Marksman Rifle in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: SP-R 208
How to unlock SP-R 208: Reach player level 7.

Living in its own lane by being a highly customisable, sniper rifle-like weapon, the SP-R 208 is Warzone 2.0’s best marksman rifle right now.

Without the inclusion of a scope from the outset, and packing high damage per shot that can easily result in a one-shot kill when landing rounds in the chest and above, it’s a rifle that is just as effective at medium range as it can be at long range, with the ability to lean into that later via long-zoom scopes and other range and bullet velocity-boosting attachments.

The SP-R 208.

If you prefer its closer-range advantages and want to lean into that playstyle, by levelling other weapons, you can unlock various short to medium-range scopes for the gun as well.

Much like in Modern Warfare 2, the SP-R 208 has proven to be an early game favourite during Season 1 despite a nerf to the flinch received when being shot.

There are other effective options for marksman rifles too such as the EBR-14, a semi-automatic rifle that'll take a couple of shots to the chest to kill, but the SP-R sowever remains king.

The EBR-14.

The release of Warzone 2.0 is here! If you want to put together a strong arsenal, we explain the Warzone 2.0 best guns, plus how to forge a solid M4 loadout, Kastov 762 loadout, FSS Hurricane loadout, FTAC Recon loadout, VEL 46 loadout, Lachmann Sub loadout, Victus XMR loadout, SP-R 208 loadout and M16 loadout. Elsewhere, we have explainers on Season 1 Battle Pass skins and blueprints, AQ Soldiers, contextual tap and how to unlock Operators.

Best Sniper Rifle in Warzone 2.0 recommendation

Best weapon recommendation: Signal 50 or Victus XMR
How to unlock: Signal 50 (Reach player level 44), Victus XMR (Season 1 Battle Pass)

Sniping has often been quitely popular in Call of Duty multiplayer, and it seems with Warzone 2.0 that’s no different, with a couple of options presenting themselves depending on your overall progress.

If you're just starting out, the MCPR-300 is a decent option, available to use as soon as you reach player level 4, its ease of access bolstering an already strong selection for sniper rifles.

On the other hand, if you're in the higher ranks, the Signal 50 is a good pick, unlocked when you hit player level 44.

Alternatively, the Victus XMR – added as an unlock via the Season 1 Battle Pass – is another very strong option.

The Victus XMR.

Compared to the other two sniper rifles in the game, these are much easier and simpler to unlock, letting you play how you want without requiring the usage of a single weapon.

For example, the LA-B 330 and SP-X 80 snipers both require a chain of weapons to be levelled, beginning with the SP-R 208 marksman rifle – a weapon in another class entirely.

The Signal 50.

With that in mind, if you're just starting out or are in the higher ranks, you've got a few options – the MCPR-300 is good for ease of access, the Signal 50 has a high damage out with the best overall stats of any sniper, whilst the Season 1 addition of Victus XMR is a solid long-range option with the highest damage of any sniper in the game right now.

All in all, our absolute best pick would be the Signal 50, simply because from a high-level view, it's the most consistent and best all-round sniper available, essentially besting all other snipers with its stats, bar a couple of minor differences.

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