COD MW3: 5 Best Shotguns [All Types]

After spending over 120 hours in MW3, I recommend you these Shotgun Loadouts.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has featured shotguns as a unique and valuable option for intense, close-range combat. Players who prefer close-range action can rely on shotguns for high-damage output.

Helpful Reads:

Key Takeaways
  • There are a total of 9 shotguns available in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
  • Out of all the nine shotguns, the most lethal is the Bryson 800.
  • Shotguns are especially effective in close combat as they can inflict devastating damage with a single shot.
  • The limited effective range of shotguns makes them less suitable for medium to long-range fights.

Best Shotguns In MW3

Here are the top five shotguns in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:

Serial NoShotgunDamageRate of FireMax RangeMagazine CapacityReload Time
1Bryson 800120/ 110/ 102164.4 rpm26.7 m85.4 s
2Lockwood 68083/ 82/ 81150 rpm16.5 m63.1 s
3Haymaker52/ 52/ 52250 rpm21.6 m82.8 s
4MX Guardian37/ 31/ 29428.6 rpm7.9 m153 s
5Riveter35/ 28/ 27400 rpm31.8 m152.8 s

1. Bryson 800

Best Shotgun For Hig Base Damage In MW3
mw3 best shotgun
Bryson 800 [Image By Me]
Damage 120/ 110/ 102
Rate of Fire 164.4 rpm
Max Range 26.7 m
Magazine Capacity 8
Reload Time 5.4 s
  • Why I chose it: Pump action shotgun with accurate shots.

One of my favorite shotguns in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the Bryson 800. Unlike some other shotguns, it doesn’t have a detachable magazine, but in my opinion, that’s not a big deal. It actually performs better without it.

The Bryson 800 is a powerhouse, dealing massive damage to opponents. Additionally, its range is perfect for my playstyle. You can also customize it with different attachments to improve its accuracy when shooting at targets from a distance.

  • Pump-action mechanism
  • Better recoil control
  • Decent handling and mobility
  • Less firepower as compared to meta guns
  • Slow mechanism

2. Lockwood 680

Best Well-Balanced Shotgun
mw3 best shotgun
Lockwood 680 [Image By Me]
Damage 83/ 82/ 81
Rate of Fire 150 rpm
Max Range 16.5 m
Magazine Capacity 6
Reload Time 3.1 s
  • Why I chose it: High damage in close-mid range.

Ranked as the second-best shotgun, the Lockwood 680 is a direct and powerful option within its optimal range. However, it falls a bit short in range compared to the Bryson 800, a shotgun with a similar feel.

Despite its limitations, the Lockwood 680 remains a solid choice for those who prefer straightforward and close combats in the fast-paced world of Modern Warfare 3. Lockwood 680 can be unlocked by reaching level 6 in multiplayer.

  • One-Shot kill potential
  • High TTK in close-range
  • Fast firing rate
  • Limited range

3. Haymaker

Best Fast-Firing Shotgun
mw3 best shotguns
Haymaker [Capture By Me]
Damage 52/ 52/ 52
Rate of Fire 250 rpm
Max Range 21.6 m
Magazine Capacity 8
Reload Time 2.8 s
  • Why I chose it: Fast fire rate and decent TTK.

The Haymaker has earned its place as my third-best shotgun in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It is a semi-automatic, fast-firing shotgun that strikes a great balance between damage potential and range. Although the Haymaker may not have the raw power of other weapons, it is forgiving and easy to control, making it a reliable choice.

It is especially beginner-friendly and a great option for those just starting out. You need to reach level 39 in multiplayer to unlock Haymaker.

  • High TTK at close range
  • Magazine capacity
  • Decent handling and mobility
  • Hip-fire bullet spread

4. MX Guardian

Shotgun with High Rate of Fire
mw3 best shotgun
MX Guardian [Capture By Me]
Damage 37/ 31/ 29
Rate of Fire 428.6 rpm
Max Range 7.9 m
Magazine Capacity 15
Reload Time 3 s
  • Why I chose it: Fully Automatic Shotgun.

The MX Guardian is a fully automatic shotgun that exceeded my expectations, particularly when used in room-clearing scenarios with the right attachments. Despite being a full-auto shotgun, it maintains its killing power, remaining reliable for one-shot kills.

The ability to quickly follow up with additional shots makes it an impressive weapon. What I appreciate most about the MX Guardian is that minimal thinking is required – you can simply point and shoot. Reach level 55 to activate the unlock challenge. You can use MX Guardian after completing the challenge.

  • Better recoil control
  • Versatility in attachments
  • Slow reloading

5. Riveter

The best Semi-Automatic Shotgun
mw3 best shotguns
Riveter [Shot By Me]
Damage 35/ 28/ 27
Rate of Fire 400 rpm
Max Range 31.8 m
Magazine Capacity 15
Reload Time 2.8 s
  • Why I chose it: Impressive base stats and semi-auto mode.

The semi-automatic magazine-fed Riveter shotgun is in a league of its own. Its impressive fire rate, substantial magazine capacity, and unexpected range allow you to wield it almost like an assault rifle rather than a typical shotgun.

Although it may not hit as hard as other shotguns, it still holds its ground in the middle of the pack. You can unlock Riveter by purchasing the vault edition, or the armory unlocks at level 25. 

  • Impressive Damage
  • High Mobility
  • Fast TTK
  • Recoil
  • Hip-fire bullet spread

Alternative Weapons

Here are some other viable options that you can use instead of the others mentioned above; however, they’re not included in my top 5 list because of personal choices.

  • Expedite 12: An excellent choice, but it lacks consistent effectiveness against heavily armored opponents.
  • Lockwood 300A commendable pick, yet leaves players vulnerable with a two-shot reload, requiring strategic navigation in multiple opponent engagements.

Modern Warfare 3 Best Shotgun – Personal Take

Huzaifa Malik Steam Profile
My Steam Profile

In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, my top shotgun pick is the Bryson 800, as it hits hard, handles well, and has a longer range than other shotguns.

I really like the fact that I can customize it with different attachments to match my playstyle. Regarding shotguns, personal preferences align with individual playstyles, which may differ from the ones highlighted in this guide. So, while the Bryson 800 reigns supreme for me, your perfect shotgun might reflect your unique approach to the game.

This is all about the best shotguns in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Make sure to read about Modern Warfare 3: Best PC Settings to optimize the game and boost your FPS. Also, read Obaid’s guide on Helo Hat Trick Achievement. 


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Huzaifa Malik is a Guides Writer on eXputer who’s been playing FPS games like Call of Duty for as long as he can recall. He is one of the most seasoned COD players on eXputer. He has several years of experience writing for games. By following his passion for games, he chose eXputer as his hub to deliver information-rich articles. Feel free to get more familiar with Huzaifa on his gaming profiles on Steam.

Experience: 3+ years || Education: Bachelor in Architectural Engineering.

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