Best MW3 Search & Destroy loadouts, guns, equipment & more (Season 3 Reloaded)

Best MW3 Search & Destroy loadouts, guns, equipment & more (Season 3 Reloaded)
Images via Activision

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

2nd May 2024 16:23


While many of the best guns in MW3 are also excellent in Search and Destroy, certain loadouts excel in the single-life game mode, letting you stay alive and rake in the kills with ease.

In a sense, the key with Call of Duty's SnD is to eliminate risk and ensure that you're covered for as many situations as possible in the game. Assault Rifles are perfect for this as they offer an all-around solution, but Sniper Rifles are attractive too with their one-hit-kill potential.

What are the best Search & Destroy loadouts?

1. SVA 545

Image of the SVA 545 in Modern Warfare 3
Click to enlarge

  • Muzzle: Shadowstrike Suppressor
  • Ammunition: 5.45 High Grain
  • Stock: Mane V6 Stock
  • Underbarrel: DR-6 Handstop
  • Rear Grip: DEMO 650

Since the arrival of Season 3, the MCW has been pushed out of the top spot thanks to significant buffs to the SVA 545. The gun received massive damage range increases, making it even more consistent, a massive plus for an AR that's already extremely easy to use.

The main 'quirk' of the SVA is that the first two shots are fired simultaneously, giving you technically double damage if you're accurate enough. This is super strong in Search and Destroy as achieving the fasted time to kill (TTK) will let you take down any foe - even those who have spotted you first.

I've found a lot of success when using the SVA in my games, as the instant headshot kill potential is a force to be reckoned with. 

2. MCW

Image of the best MCW loadout for Search & Destroy in MW3
Click to enlarge

  • Muzzle: ZEHMN35 Compensated Flash Hider
  • Barrel: Second Line Mammoth Heavy
  • Underbarrel: XRK Edge BW-4 Handstop
  • Conversion Kit: JAK Raven Kit
  • Ammunition: Blackout High Grain Rounds

In my opinion, the MCW is the second strongest choice in Search and Destroy despite the nerfs that dropped in Season 3, as it has very minimal recoil, letting you ensure that all of your shots are hitting their intended target. This is as important as ever in Search and Destroy as dropping your opponent before they can take you out is what will help you stay alive and win more games.

While one gunfight might seem small in the grand scheme of things, staying alive in single-life modes does far more than one kill might seem - and thus a weapon like the MCW shines in this regard. It is an absolute laser, which you will quickly learn to appreciate when playing.

It's one of my favourite guns to use in the game too because of its similarities to the ACR from the original Modern Warfare 2, so it gets extra points from me for that little bit of nostalgia.

3. Longbow

Image of the best Longbow loadout for Search & Destroy in MW3
Click to enlarge

  • Barrel: Pro-99 Long Barrel
  • Stock: No Stock
  • Laser: CORIO LAZ-44 V3
  • Conversion Kit: JAK Tyrant 762 Kit
  • Underbarrel: DR-6 Handstop

You've got to try running a Sniper Rifle in SnD at least once, as the sheer potential is too high to turn down. The best weapon for this in MW3 is the Longbow, as its semi-automatic firing serves perfectly to help you stay alive.

While some bolt action rifles might have higher damage, the sheer adaptability and speed of the Longbow is more than enough to compensate for this - as it lets you take on multiple targets without too much recompense if you miss a shot or two.

The attachments that I've chosen have dramatically increased the movement of the weapon, letting you stay mobile and ready to shoot, considering any sluggishness could send you to the spectator screen.

4. RAM-9

Click to enlarge

  • Barrel: Boreal-6C Suppressed
  • Stock: HVS 3.4 Pad
  • Rear Grip: Retort 90 Grip Tape
  • Underbarrel: Bruen Heavy Support Grip
  • Magazine: 40 Round Mag

While SMGs aren't always the most optimal for SnD due to their limited range, the RAM-9 is still worth considering as it is a close-range monster that can shred through any opponent if used correctly.

This SMG comes equipped with amazing handling, strafe speeds, and if that wasn't enough, it hits like a truck. 

There's no doubt that this is the best Submachine Gun in Season 3 of MW3, and every time I've used the weapon, it's fried in multiplayer. It has received some nerfs in Season 3 Reloaded, increasing the weapon's recoil by around 3-4%, and decreasing the max damage range by 12% - but it still remains the ideal choice for close-range gunplay.

5. BAL-27

Image of the BAL-27 in MW3
Click to enlarge

  • Muzzle: XTEN Havoc 90
  • Barrel: Crown-H3 Barrel
  • Underbarrel: Schlager Tango
  • Magazine: 60 Round Mag
  • Stock: Sandbar Heavy Stock

The BAL-27 has only just arrived in Season 3 Reloaded, but it's more than made its stake on being one of the best guns to use in Search and Destroy.

The assault rifle has proven to be an absolute demon so far, offering high damage, pinpoint accuracy, and a decent fire rate - which is everything that you need in the single-life game mode.

Furthermore, while a 60-round mag might seem a little overkill for S&D, the longer reload time is one of the gun's only weaknesses - and being caught in the animation is the last thing you want. It's definitely a worthy sacrifice, and also gives you the potential to deal with multiple enemies at the same time!

Best secondary, equipment & perks for Search & Destroy

Image of the best equipment for Search and Destroy in MW3, with the Bone Conduction Headset perk featured
Click to enlarge

Making sure that you've got the ideal equipment to bring alongside your weapon is perhaps just as important in SnD, as they will help support you in your fights and keep you alive as long as possible.

  • Secondary: WSP Stinger
  • Tactical: Stim
  • Lethal: Claymore
  • Field Upgrade: Suppression Mine
  • Gloves: Marksman Gloves
  • Boots: Covert Sneakers
  • Gear: Bone Conduction Headset

The general theme of the equipment here is to help you stay alive and hidden from any enemies, as that will let your weapon do the rest. The Stim Tactical is one of the most important parts, as it will give you a quick surge of health and replenish your tactical sprint - letting you evade enemy fire or rejuvenate after a tough gunfight.

Covert Sneakers and Bone Conduction Headset are also a perfect perk pairing, letting you listen out for enemy sounds while also concealing your own - although I'd only recommend these if you're using a gaming headset or a good pair of headphones.

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That will have you set to dominate your next Search and Destroy games, and you'll be a blessing to your teammates as you win game after game. You can find more tips and loadouts like this on our MW3 homepage, including all of the best loadouts for quickscoping, alongside all of the best audio settings to enable that make the perks even more effective.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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