The Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3, Ranked

These Shotguns Will Tear Through Anything in Modern Warfare 3

Abdul Muqsit
Abdul Muqsit
9 Min Read

After rigorous testing across different game modes and making a lot of people rage, I have put together a list of the 8 best shotguns you can currently use in Modern Warfare 3.

These shotguns were picked based on how much damage they do, their ability to one-shot enemies, what’s their recoil and gun kick like, and whether they are suited to be a main or secondary weapon in any loadout. So, lock & load people…. we are diving into it!

Here’s our complete tier list of the best shotguns in Modern Warfare 3:

PhotoNameTierWeapon SpecialityDamageMax RangeTTK
Lockwood 300 Lockwood 300


Highest damage output after Dual Trigger60/54/5027.21.05s
Sword of Disorder MX Guardian


Fully automatic, with large magazine size37/31/297.90.7s
KV Broadside KV Broadside


Great recoil control for a fully-automatic shotgun35/35/3225.71.4s
KV Broadside Riveter


Great secondary firearm thanks to quick rate of fire35/28/2731.80.9s
Haymaker Haymaker


Good close-range encounter shotgun52/52/5221.60.72s
Hay Maker Lockwood 680


Fast reload times due to removable magazine83/82/8116.50.8s
Shotgun Bryson 890


Unlocks early, so its great for newer players140/120/11023.90.8s
Shotgun Expedite 12


High recoil allows you to spray and pray140/120/10224.40.94s


Lockwood 300

Lockwood 300 - Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 Feature

Unlocks at Level 4

The Lockwood 300 is the best shotgun in MW3, thanks to it having the highest damage output for a shotgun (after using the Dual trigger) and its ability to one-shot enemies at close to medium range.

This weapon becomes utterly insane once you attach the Maelstorm Dual Trigger. This trigger lets you shoot two rounds with just one trigger press. This means you can dish out insane damage that can melt through any armor and one-shot anyone within range. All you need is a bit of accuracy and a well-placed shot. You’ll always get the kill.

Recommended Attachments:

  • Barrel: 711MM Matuzek D50
  • Muzzle: Bryson Series XII Choke
  • Trigger: Maelstrom Dual Trigger
  • Stock: Heist Stock Mod
  • Ammunition: 12 Gauge Slug

Want to learn more? Take a look at our Complete Loadout guide for FJX Imperium!

I have unlocked the Platinum Camo for the Lockwood 300 and will keep a class around this beast until it gets nerfed.


MX Guardian

MX Guardian

Unlocks at Level 55

Next up is the MX Guardian. This fully automatic shotgun does not skimp over damage just because it has a larger magazine size. You can easily nail one-shot kills with it in smaller maps, and even if you miss, well…you have 14 more shells to confirm the kill. Let it rip!

Recommended Attachments for the MX Guardian (from MW2)

  • Barrel: HYP-LM Barrel
  • Muzzle: Bryson Improved Choke
  • Trigger: Semi-Auto Trigger
  • Underbarrel: VX Pineapple Underbarrel
  • Laser: 7MW Canted Laser

The attachments above will give you more control over your shotgun and also improve its range by a huge margin. I suggest that you try these attachments if you think that the range is not good enough for you.


KV Broadside

KV Broadside - Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 Feature

Unlocks at Level 55

Coming in at #3 would be the KV Broadside. Another full-auto shotgun in Modern Warfare 3 that is an absolute joy to use. It is slightly different from the MX Guardian, and some players prefer one over the other.

The fire rate is a tad bit lower than the MX Guardian, but that also means you’ll get better recoil control here.

Recommended Attachments for the KV Broadside:

  • Barrel: Gunner D20
  • Muzzle: Bryson Choke
  • Bolt: Dashbolt 60
  • Magazine: 25 Shell Drum
  • Laser: Point-G3P 04

Use this shotgun on smaller maps like Rust; you’ll be folding players left, right, and center.




Unlocks at Level 25

The Riveter is a semi-automatic shotgun with decent range and slightly less than-ideal damage that will prove to be an amazing secondary firearm in any Overkill build. You can even use it as your primary weapon with proper attachments.

The Commando default loadout also features this shotgun, so you can get an idea of what the weapon feels like before committing to it. Its quick rate of fire and crosshair recentering ability makes it a viable option for clearing buildings in Warzone where you are worried about shields as well.

Recommended Attachments for the Riveter:

  • Barrel: SA Draven-20 Long Barrel
  • Magazine: 30 Round Mag
  • Rear Grip: XTEN Grip
  • Underbarrel: Phase-3 Grip
  • Laser: FTAC Grimline Laser



Haymaker - Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 Feature

Unlocks at Level 39 or by Purchasing the Vault Edition

While it is a pretty decent semi-automatic shotgun, the Haymaker doesn’t come close to the Riveter or Guardian’s damage output. That’s why I have placed it at #5 on our list.

It is not bad by any means and will still suit players who prefer spraying their shottys. Aim and shoot. You’ll get some easy kills in close-ranged fights. It’s just that you’ll unlock the Riveter before you can get to the Haymaker, and the prior is an overall better shotgun.

Recommended Attachments for the Haymaker:

  • Barrel: Imperator Long
  • Muzzle: Crown Breaker Choke
  • Magazine: 20 Round Drum
  • Stock: No Stock Mod
  • Laser: Corvus PEQ Beam-5

I have a Haymaker with the Gold camo applied, and people get tilted when I use it in smaller maps. Mission accomplished!


Lockwood 680

Lockwood 680

Unlocks at Level 4

The Lockwood 680 is a pump action shotgun in MW3 that has slightly worse damage and range than the Riveter. You can make it work with a few good attachments and by focusing on making a build that increases its range. Its a better

Recommended Attachments for the Lockwood 680:

  • Barrel: Bryson Hammerforge Long
  • Muzzle: Crown Breaker Choke
  • Stock: Sawed Off Mod
  • Bolt: Express Light Bolt
  • Ammunition: 12 Guage Slug

With these attachments, you’ll see far better results at medium range and the Slugs will also make it easier for you to one-shot players.


Bryson 890

Bryson 890 - Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 Feature

Unlocked by Leveling the Bryson 890 to Level 16

Bryson 890 appears lower down on our list because of its insanely high recoil and low damage at medium range. Sure, you get a removable magazine, which makes reloading a lot faster, but the negatives here still outweigh the positives.

I’ve found the best attachments that can help you turn the Bryson 890 into a viable shotgun. The intent of these attachments was to make it more stable when trying to hipfire with it.

Recommended Attachments for the Bryson 890:

  • Barrel: 21.5” Bryson Tacfire
  • Muzzle: Bryson Improved Choke
  • Stock: Sawed Off Mod
  • Underbarrel: VX Pineapple
  • Laser: Point-G3P 04


Expedite 12

Expedite 12 - Best Shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 Feature

Unlocks at Level 4

Expedite 12 is the last one on this list because of its high recoil and lack of damage. It unlocks at Level 4, which means a lot of new players will be trying it out. I would suggest the Lockwood 680 over this weapon simply because it is an overall more stable shotgun in its base form.

Is it unusable? No. None of the shotguns in MW3 are unusable, so to speak. You have a boatload of attachment options for each gun, allowing you to make something useful out of even the weakest weapon.

In its base form, you have many better options compared to the Expedite 12. But if you can tone down its recoil and increase damage/ reduce pallet spread, it becomes a viable option.

Recommended Attachments for the Expedite 12:

  • Optic: Slimline Pro
  • Muzzle: Bryson Choke
  • Stock: Bryson Reverb-55 Stock
  • Laser: VLK LZR 7MW
  • Ammunition: 12 Guage Slug

With the best sniper rifles and shotguns in Modern Warfare 3 covered, expect us to dive into the other weapon categories in the upcoming days and also talk about some of the best loadouts you can make in MW3. A lot of fun stuff on the horizon for WIG readers. Stay Frosty!

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As an enthusiastic gamer, wanderer, and anime consumer, I find that a good day is one spent discussing and writing about games, but an even better day is spent playing them.
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