Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – A Complete Guide To The Gunsmith

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  • What Is The Gunsmith?
  • Changes From MW2019's Gunsmith
  • Unlocking Attachments
  • Weapon Stats Explained
  • Weapon Tuning
  • The Best Attachments

The Gunsmith system from previous Call of Duty titles returns in Modern Warfare 2, this time with some new tricks up its sleeve. Attachment unlocks have been overhauled, unlocking new weapons is slightly different this time around, and players now have the ability to fine-tune the stats on their attachments.

Needless to say, there's a lot to unpack here, especially if you haven't played a Call of Duty title in recent years. This guide will explain what the Gunsmith system is, how to unlock attachments for your weapons, briefly cover the weapon tuning system, and we'll give some recommendations on which attachments you should use.

What Is The Gunsmith?

The Gunsmith is a submenu dedicated to weapon attachments, camos, and attachment tuning. All players unlock the Gunsmith at rank four, although weapon attachments are unlocked through certain weapon trees (explained later). Excluding certain secondary weapons, all weapons in MW2 can be altered through the Gunsmith.

You may equip up to five attachments on your weapon at a time, the same as Modern Warfare 2019. No mechanics allow you to increase this attachment cap. Attachments consist of:

  • Scopes
  • Barrels
  • Muzzles
  • Underbarrel Attachments
  • Magazines
  • Ammunition
  • Grips
  • Stocks

Only one attachment may go in each slot; you can't equip four different scopes, for example. Overall, MW2's gunsmith is similar to previous Call of Duty titles but with far more attachment options and one new mechanic: weapon tuning. We'll cover weapon tuning toward the end of the guide.

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Changes From MW2019's Gunsmith

Not much has changed from MW2019's Gunsmith system, although the limit of five attachments is still present—Cold War's Wildcards and Vanguard's raised attachment cap are absent here. A few attachment categories were separated in this installment, similar weapons are now bundled into weapon trees, and it's now possible to fine-tune attachment stats upon maxing out a weapon.

Some notable changes include:

  • Attachment unlocks are now tied to specific weapons, not weapon levels.
    • For example, a certain scope might be unlocked by leveling the FTAC Recon to Level 7, at which point every weapon can use that attachment, not just the FTAC.
  • Ammo types and magazine sizes have been decoupled. They are now two different attachments.
  • Upon reaching Level 20 with a weapon type, you can tune the stats on every attachment.
  • Weapon perks have been mostly removed. Most perks can be replicated through certain attachment options or player perks.
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    Unlocking Attachments

    You'll need attachments if you want to use the Gunsmith system. Attachments are unlocked by leveling weapons in your arsenal. Each weapon has 20 levels, all of which are obtained by earning XP in matches. Your typical sources of XP—eliminating targets, playing the objective, and landing headshots—all contribute towards your weapon's level.

    Unlike past CoD titles, Modern Warfare 2 locks attachments behind specific weapons, not weapon rank. For example, the VX Pineapple Grip is unlocked by leveling the 556 Icarus to level 14. Once the attachment is unlocked, you can apply the VX Pineapple Grip to any weapon you own, not just the 556 Icarus. This highly encourages players to level every weapon in the game.

    How To Level Your Weapons Quickly

    We won't cover every attachment in Modern Warfare 2—there are hundreds to choose from—but we'll give some tips on leveling your weapons quickly.

    • Play Invasion: This mode has a ton of bots that give weapon XP when killed. Shoot anything that moves.
      • If you dislike Invasion, you can farm objective modes like Kill Confirmed and Domination.
    • Complete The Campaign: You'll receive four Weapon XP Tokens upon completing the campaign, doubling your weapon XP earnings for 30-60 minutes each. Use these tokens to level faster.
    • Use Different Weapons: It doesn't take long to max out a weapon, but this unlocks additional weapon platforms. Level every weapon tied to a platform to maximize your attachment unlocks.
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      Weapon Stats Explained

      Modern Warfare 2 (2022) does not quantify weapon stats in the Gunsmith menu, similar to MW2019. Extensive testing will be required to determine the effect of all attachments.

      Every firearm in Modern Warfare 2 has a suite of stats that generalize its performance in certain categories, ranging from its effective range to overall accuracy. These categories are as follows:

      DamageAffects bullet damage at optimal range
      Fire RateAffects how quickly your weapon fires
      RangeAffects how far your bullets may travel before experiencing damage falloff
      AccuracyAffects how close bullets land to the center of your crosshair
      Recoil ControlAffects the weapon's horizontal and vertical recoil while firing
      MobilityAffects your strafe and sprint speeds while this weapon is drawn
      HandlingAffects draw, stow, ADS speeds, and your sprint-to-fire delay
      RoundsAffects your magazine capacity
      ReserveAffects how much additional ammunition you spawn with

      That might be a handful of stats to track, but that's unfortunately not all of them. Many attachments in MW2 alter elements of each stat, not the core stat itself. For example, a specific grip might alter your sprint to fire time and not your other handling stats, yet the game will increase your handling bar to indicate the sprint to fire buff. This means not all attachments have the same effect on your core stats, even if they alter your stat bars in the exact same way.

      The end result is that you should take stat bars with a grain of salt. Weapons with the same stats might perform much differently based on their attachments. Once you account for weapon tuning, this gets even more confusing. Focus on what your attachments are doing, not your weapon's stat bars.

      Weapon Attachment Modifiers Explained

      Some attachments in MW2 alter a stat that's not directly tied to your weapon's core stats. For example, some attachments affect stability, sprint to fire delay, or add noise suppression. None of these stats have a clear indicator of which weapon stat they impact, so we'll be covering what they actually do in this section.

      Aim Down Sights (ADS) SpeedAffects how quickly your weapon aligns its sights from hip fire
      Bullet PenetrationAffects how much damage is preserved when your bullet passes through soft objects
      Bullet VelocityAffects how quickly your bullet travels upon firing
      Crouch Movement SpeedAffects your strafe speed while crouching
      Flinch ResistanceAffects how far your reticle moves away from your target while under fire
      Recoil ControlAffects your horizontal and vertical recoil while aiming down sights or in hip fire
      Sprint to Fire SpeedAffects the delay from sprinting to firing your weapon
      StabilityAffects reticle sway while aiming down sights or in hip fire
      Recoil ControlAffects the weapon's horizontal and vertical muzzle climb while firing
      Recoil StabilizationAffects reticle displacement during sustained fire; a higher value means your reticle is more accurately aligned with where your bullets are going
      Reload QuicknessAffects how fast you reload your weapon
      Walking SpeedAffects your character's strafe speed while aiming down sights or in hip fire

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      Weapon Tuning

      Weapon tuning is a new feature in MW2 that allows you to alter the stats on equipped attachments. You'll unlock this feature after leveling a weapon to max rank, at which point any attachments installed onto that weapon may be tuned. Upon installing an attachment, hover over the "Tune" icon above the attachment to adjust its stats.

      Every attachment has two sliders that impact two stats each, doing so on an inverse scale. For example, if an attachment has a slider that affects ADS speed and sprint to fire time, increasing your ADS speed would lower your sprint to fire time and vice versa. While hard to quantify, expect around a 10% performance impact by maxing a particular slider. That sounds minuscule on paper, but doing this on all five of your attachments can have a noticeable impact on your weapon's performance.

      We'll have a more thorough write-up on the weapon tuning system once we unlock more weapons and attachments. For now, we highly recommend giving the system a try for yourself and experimenting with values in the firing range. A weapon that's tuned to your tastes will feel noticeably better than a Gunsmith configuration that ignores the feature entirely.

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      The Best Attachments

      Most weapons in Modern Warfare 2 have dozens of attachments to choose from, some of which provide similar stat differences to one another. With so many options, how can you discern which ones are worth using? While some of this will be subjective and reliant on playstyles, here's what we recommend:

      • Anything With Recoil Stabilization: Weapons that spec for this stat will have accurate reticles during hectic gunfights, ensuring that your bullets land where you're aiming.
      • Cronen Mini Red Dot: A x1 red dot sight that's clear, has a non-obstructive frame, and can be adjusted to take up more or less of your peripheral vision through weapon tuning.
      • VX Pineapple Grip: It's arguably the best early-game underbarrel attachment in MW2 for recoil control. This grip substantially improves your weapon's recoil and general consistency with a minor ADS penalty.
      • Sprint to Fire Delay: If you're an aggressive player, equipping attachments that lower your sprint to fire speed can be extremely useful. Pair this with multiple ADS attachments for a snappy build.

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