MW3: Perks Guide

In this Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Perks guide you will find not only a complete list of what all the perks do (both standard and pro), but you will also discover what the best perks are and what perks you should use with each weapon type. Perks affect the available equipment, effectiveness of that equipment, effectiveness of the enemy’s equipment, and the physical properties of the player’s character.

By learning the best strategies to use each perk for, you can select better perks. When you pick better perks than your opponents (and some are indeed better than others), you will have a strong advantage over the enemy, allowing you to get more kills and suffer less deaths.

There are three tiers of perks; you can select 1 perk from each tier. The descriptions below will tell you a bit about each one and help you pick the best ones according to your playstyle.

Notably missing from the MW3 list are Last Stand, One Man Army, and Commando from previous versions of the game.

  • Tier 1 Perks
  • Tier 2 Perks
  • Tier 3 Perks

Tier 1 Perks

Perk Name Effect Pro Effect
Sleight of Hand Fast reloading Fast weapons change
Recon Explosive damage shows target on mini-map Bullet damage shows target on mini-map
Blind Eye Undetectable to air support and sentries Fast lock-on for rockets. Increased bullet damage to vehicles
Extreme Conditioning Increased sprint time Climbing speed increased
Scavenger Get ammo from dead enemies Get more ammo

There are a lot of good perks here and I can see myself using all of these perks in different game situations. Tier 1 perks tend to all be pretty good, so you have to choose carefully.

First off there is Sleight of Hand. This is good if you are using a gun which runs out of ammo really quickly (SCAR-H from MW2, anyone?). The Pro effect, which lets you swap weapons faster, is good if you are using a Overkill and swapping between a Shotgun and long-ranged gun. It also works for Snipers who want to swap quickly between their Rifle and pistol.

Personally, my favorite of the Tier 1 MW3 perks is Recon, which makes players show up on radar more often. I think that anything which makes players show up on radar more often is practically an unbeatable perk.

Blind Eye is for advanced players; you need to stay alive if you are going to be using any number of Aircraft or Sentries. Taking down enemy planes and vehicles also is a bit of work. Definitely not for new players.

Extreme Conditioning is an okay perk, but really only useful for big maps. I don’t really like it for most maps. If you do use it, it needs to be combined with Steady Aim, so that you can recover quicker from sprinting. Otherwise, you will find yourself on the losing end of a sprint very often.

Finally, there is Scavenger. This is another perk which is reserved for really good players – newbies will not stay alive long enough or win enough battles to actually run out of ammo. If you are running out of ammo, you are wasting bullets a lot (and giving away your position in the process).

Tier 2 Perks

Perk Name Effect Pro Effect
Quickdraw Faster aiming Faster recovery from using grenade/equipment
Blast Shield Increased explosive resistance Resistance to flashbangs and stuns
Hardline Killstreaks require 1 fewer kill Two assists count as kill towards killstreaks. Deathstreaks require 1 fewer death.
Assassin Immunity to UAV, portable radar, thermal, and heartbeat Immunity to CUAV and EMP, no red crosshair or name over you
Overkill Carry two primary weapons Second primary can have attachments


Like Tier 1, Tier 2 has some of the best perks on this Modern Warfare 3 perks list, and it is hard to choose between all these good perks.

Quickdraw is a good choice for Snipers, as aiming faster will net you more kills. I consider Blast Shield to be fairly worthless and I cannot see a reason for using it over some of the other MW3 perks on this list.

Hardline is an excellent perk. Killstreak rewards are very good, and this makes rolling together 3 low-hanging killstreaks very easy. This is simply one of the best perks in the game. Getting two kills means you get a UAV, which can then roll into a few more kills, and you can quickly go up the ladder. My favorite for any mid or long-ranged gun.

Assassin is the best Tier 2 Modern Warfare 3 perk for classes using submachine guns or shotguns. You need to get close to use these weapons effectively, so being able to stay off the radar helps a lot. I recommend combining these with a suppressor (no sound) to stay off the radar entirely. Add in Steady Aim and Sleight of Hand (small maps) or Extreme Conditioning (big maps) and you have a winner.

Overkill is an interesting combination, but I find it hard to justify using this over Hardline or Assassin. Should you be on a map with very small rooms and larger areas, it can be helpful. This way you can pull out your shotgun for close-quarters fighting and then switch to an Assault Rifle when you get out in the open area.

Overkill is also good for Snipers who want a better secondary weapon to defend themselves with for close-quarters combat. Combine with Sleight of Hand for best effect so you can switch between the two easily.

Tier 3 Perks

Perk Name Effect Pro Effect
Marksman Identify targets at more distant range Hold your breath for longer when sniping
Stalker Increased movement speed while aiming down the sites Add delay to enemy claymores before exploding
SitRep Detect enemy explosives and tac inserts Opposing team’s footsteps make more noise
Steady Aim Increased accuracy while firing from hip Weapon ready more quickly after sprint
Dead Silence Quieter movement, recon does not work as well against you Do not take any fall damage

Compared to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Perks, I’ve always found Tier 3 to be particularly underwhelming. I think that there is a lot less competition between perks here and it is easier to pick the best ones.

Marksman is obviously a great perk for Snipers. However, the best Snipers do not need to aim for very long – so the pro effect is fairly useless. You should be able to aim and shoot your target very quickly if you want to be a good sniper.

For everyone else, I would consider Dead Silence and SitRep to be fairly useless. Footstep sounds are hard to detect, as footsteps can be a player in front of you, behind you, above you, or below you. It is not like in real life where you can easily hear the direction of the sound (perhaps this works on surround sound – I don’t have one so I can’t tell for sure).

I do however consider Steady Aim to be an amazing perk for anyone using a submachine gun. This way you can strafe side to side very quickly while shooting from the hip. It significantly increases your accuracy in this regard. If there are too many players using ranged classes and camping out, I like to use a Submachine Gun with a suppressor, Assassin, and Steady Aim. It is a great class for taking out long-ranged players. No need to aim – just shoot from the hip and take people out while you strafe. It is hard to keep up with a Sniper Rifle on a console when you do this.

For everyone else, Stalker is your best bet. You can strafe faster this way when aiming, which can make it harder for your opponent to take you out if you meet in head to head combat, but are too far away to actually shoot from the hip.


By using the information and strategies on this list, you now know the best Modern Warfare 3 perks and the top ways you can combine them to have a winning class. By picking these perks, you can win more fights, level up faster, and have a lot more fun in CoD MW3!

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2 Thoughts to “MW3: Perks Guide

  1. jeremiah

    using sleight of hand, quickdraw, and steady aim with the p90MIL with silencer and rapid fire, and with akimbo skorpins and a portable radar and bouncing bettty is a killer class

  2. Quazoosl

    I don’t quite agree with you on the tier 3 perks

    If you play FFA or S&D you can’t play it without dead silence imo… There is a lot less surrounding sound in those gametypes and not being detected is of the utmost importantce. Knowing the direction the footsteps of other players come from is quite easy. If you use a stereo headphone you just need to turn around and spot the difference in balance between the left and right speaker. Also with dead silence on it is easyer to hear other players footsteps.

    On steady aim, that’s a must have for shotguns since the spread of the bullets doesn’t change when you go ads.

    As for marksman, i suggest you look at the tmartn video on marksman 😉


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