Best competitive loadout for Search and Destroy in MW3
The best competitive loadout for Search and Destroy in MW3
Image via Activision

Best competitive loadout for Search and Destroy in MW3

Make your S&D game top notch

While the competitive season in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is not officially here yet, there is still plenty of Search and Destroy. Whether you’re playing in a public match or an online game/tournament, you need the absolute best Search and Destroy loadout to ensure you’re not behind the competition in MW3.

Recommended Videos

There is a ton to go over in regards to designing a loadout tailored for S&D. From equipping the right Vest to the best perks, you might be confused by exactly what to put on your loadout. Luckily, I have a guide that goes over every element of a Search and Destroy loadout in MW3, which includes some variations depending on whether you are an assault rifle or submachine gun player.

Best competitive loadout for Search and Destroy in MW3

Image via Activision

For starters, you first need to establish whether you are an AR or SMG player. Of course, what I always do is make multiple classes, some with an SMG and others with an AR to ensure I’m ready for anything. Your gun choice will determine some of the other elements of your loadout, so it’s important to know what gun you’re equipping before you make any other decisions.

Below, you can see a couple of early loadouts for the meta AR and SMG in MW3, the MCW and the Rival-9. I also included a sniper loadout for the KATT AMR, which is the current top sniper in competitive.

MCW Loadout

  • Optic: MK. 3 Reflector
  • Muzzle: L4R Flash Hider
  • Barrel: 16.5″ MCW Cyclone Barrel
  • Underbarrel: XTEN Phantom-5 Handstop (accuracy)/DR-6 Handstop (mobility)
  • Rear Grip: RB Claw PSL-Grip

Rival-9 Loadout

  • Muzzle: Purifier Muzzle Brake S
  • Barrel: Rival-C Clearshot Barrel
  • Underbarrel: DR-6 Handstop
  • Stock: MTZ Marauder Stock
  • Rear Grip: Rival Vice Assault Grip

KATT AMR Loadout

  • Barrel: Perdition 24″ Short Barrel
  • Stock: Tactical Stock Pad
  • Ammunition: .50 Val High Velocity
  • Bolt: Ephemeral Quickbolt
  • Rear Grip: Phantom Grip

With your weapons now decided, you can move on to the rest of the loadout. Your first decision will be picking what Vest your loadout uses. While there are a couple of possible choices, there’s one I recommend over anything else. You can see the choices below:

Best Vests for Search and Destroy

Image via Activision
  • Infantry Vest – Recommended pick for all loadouts, as it increases Tac Sprint duration, reduces its cooldown, and gives you access to the Running Sneakers Boots.
  • Engineer Vest – Primarily useful if you’re a slower AR player. The main benefit of the Engineer Vest is gaining two Gear slots, but the downside is losing your lethal slot.

Now, it’s time to focus on the more customizable aspects of your loadout. This includes the perks, Field Upgrades, Lethals and Tacticals, and Killstreaks. I will list several options for all of these categories and explain whether you should use them as an AR or SMG player.

Best Perks for Search and Destroy

  • Gloves Marksman Gloves (Best for all loadouts), Assault Gloves (SMG or aggressive players), Quick-Grip Gloves (Preferred by Flex players)
  • Boots Covert Sneakers (The only real pick for Search and Destroy)
  • Gear Tac Mask or EOD Padding (Both are viable. You can equip both of them if you use the Engineer Vest)

Best Field Upgrades for Search and Destroy

  • Trophy System – The top pick for AR players. These help prevent early grenade spots from killing or damaging your team.
  • Dead Silence – The top pick for SMG players. While you might already be running Covert Sneakers, using Dead Silence provides a slight movement boost as well.

Best Lethals and Tacticals for Search and Destroy

Image via Activision


  • Frag Grenade – The main choice for Search and Destroy so you can take advantage of grenade spots off the start of a round or onto bomb sites.
  • Semtex Grenade – Only viable if you plan to be ultra-aggressive and don’t want to use any grenade spots.


  • Stun Grenade – Slows enemy movement and provides a more consistent success rate over Flash Grenades
  • Smoke Grenade – Perfect for countering sniper rifles, getting a bomb planted, distracting enemies, and crossing lanes without enemies seeing you. More useful for SMG players.

Best Killstreaks for Search and Destroy

  • Cruise Missile – The perfect streak to use at the start of a round to move enemies inside a safe space or to prevent a bomb defuse.
  • Mortar Strike/SAE – Either streak works to prevent enemies from moving into a specific area or to prevent a bomb plant/defuse.

In regards to killstreaks, I recommend opting to use scorestreaks in Search and Destroy. Using scorestreaks rewards you for getting assists and planting and defusing bombs. You can learn about how to switch between killstreaks and scorestreaks in my other guide.

And with that, you have the perfect loadout for Search and Destroy in MW3, regardless of whether you’re using an SMG or AR. It’s possible some of these elements change throughout the year, but for the start of the game, you can craft the best S&D loadout using the items I listed above.

Image of Joey Carr
Joey Carr
Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 7+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.