MW3: Get Better With LMG's

Here are a few reasons why LMG's shouldn’t be overlooked so hastily and why they could be the guns for you.

By fishdalf, Posted 15 May 2012

The Light-Machine Gun class in Modern Warfare 3 is probably the least used in online multiplayer, even now after they were patched for improved performance. Everytime anyone even hints at using an LMG it’s met with sarcasm and scepticism, which for me makes it all the more sweeter when you mow down their entire team with one of its massive clips. You may move slower than a turtle on a treadmill with one in hand, but when used in the correct manner they really can produce some exciting results.

Here are a few reasons why they shouldn’t be overlooked so hastily and why they could be the guns for you. We’ll start by looking at the basics and go from there.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide

The Basics

All of the games five LMG’s have a 100 clip capacity, which is ideal for those who are constantly getting caught reloading and allows you to kill a handful of enemies before you need to find sufficient cover. A common misconception about the LMG’s is that they all have horrific reload times, but that isn’t the case. While the PKP Pecheneg and MK46 have lengthy reload times, and the M60E4 has the worst reload time of any gun in the game, the L86 LSW and the MG36 only take 3 seconds before they’re back up and running.

Out of those 100 bullets from each clip only a maximum of 3 need to make contact with an enemy in order to kill them no matter what the range, meaning it doesn’t require a headshot for a faster kill. Those are pretty impressive facts and make it a worthy opponent to the assault rifles, especially when you consider their spray range is a lot larger and taking out enemies from distance, becomes a pretty simple task. This makes it the perfect counter to snipers who are camped in a spot that you and your team are struggling to move them from.

The recoil can be pretty tricky to manage at first and because of their weight they’re also a pain to manoeuvre, but overcoming those two obstacles can be achieved through smart tactics and a perfect class setup, which brings us on nicely to our next section.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide


Class Setup – Perks

A perfect class setup is made up of the correct combination of perks, proficiencies and attachments that are going to compliment both your gun and each other. Here are the perks I believe you should be looking at.

I’ll start off by saying the Specialist Killstreak package is ideally the one you want to be using as those extra three perks can become invaluable to making the most out of the failings of an LMG. To counter the guns slow speed I’d recommend starting off with Extreme Conditioning so you can move around the map at a quicker and more consistent pace, not on par with the assault rifles, but on a level that is manageable. Then I’d recommend QuickDraw that will act as a deterrent to the agonising time it takes to aim down sights. Lastly, I would use Stalker as that gives your overall movement and aim speed a significant kick up the backside.

With these nailed down you now have a class with a gun that packs a large punch and has a fair amount of movement to back it up. The next thing you should be looking at is improving that reload time, especially if you’re not using the L86 or the MG36 because that time saved could make or break a long Killstreak or possibly even a MOAB. Now Sleight of Hand isn’t really needed in your first perk slot as if you can’t kill four or five enemies with your first clip then you have serious aiming problems. I personally run it in my second slot.

Now to fill the last two spots, I would recommend having Marksman as your first, because with a gun with such lethal range you want to be able to see enemies first and fast. The last perk I would go with is Assassin, because you want to be able to stay off enemy radar. With many of my other classes I have Assassin equipped a lot earlier, but with LMG’s there are so many thing’s it needs more urgently that it gets pushed down the pecking order.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide


Class Setup – Proficiencies & Attachments

A perfect class setup is made up of the correct combination of perks, proficiencies and attachments that are going to compliment both your gun and each other. Here are the proficiencies and attachments I believe you should be looking at.

The foundation of any LMG setup should consist of a silencer, except on the rare occasions where you either want attention drawn to you, or if you’re using a scrambler. It’s good practise to stay off of the enemy radar as much as possible, especially when you have a gun that cannot compete at short range and will fall short at medium range against any assault rifle. The silencer also has little to no drop off effects in performance compared to any other gun class in the game, which is a massive plus point to consider.

The next thing to consider is whether you want reduced recoil or a better sight on your weapon to help improve your accuracy. If the recoil is something you struggle to handle then I would go with Grip over Kick as it has a bigger impact. It may cross your mind to use both Grip and Kick together but it doesn’t make all that big of a difference and is a waste of a proficiency in my opinion. If an improved length of sight sounds more appealing to you then the ACOG is a nice option that will help you spot targets further afield, but the problem lies in reduced all-round vision and is better suited for a more conservative play style. Between the ACOG and Red Dot I personally prefer Red Dot as it gives you a wider field of vision compared to any other scope attachment and the iron sights each LMG houses.

The Rapid Fire attachment is a waste of time for me as it increases the recoil up to a point where it becomes unbearable, the Extended Mags attachment is unnecessary as you have such a large bullet supply from the get-go, and the Heartbeat Sensor is more hassle than it’s worth on pretty much any weapon in the game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide

PKP Pecheneg

Class Setup – Summary

Here is my current LMG setup to backup and summarise what I’ve stated above:

Primary: L86 LSW w/ Silencer & Grip
Secondary: MP9 w/ Silencer

Lethal: Semtex
Tactical: Portable Radar
Perk 1: Extreme Conditioning
Perk 2: QuickDraw
Perk 3: Stalker

Killstreak Package: Specialist

Perk 4: Marksman
Perk 5: Sleight of Hand
Perk 6: Assassin
Deathstreak: Juiced

In my Lethal slot I like to use Semtex, but this is purely down to personal preference. The Frag grenade can be just as effective if that’s what you’re more comfortable in using. Both can be swapped for either a Claymore or Bouncing Betty if you want to block off a flanking route. The Portable Radar is a tremendously handy tool for me when using LMG’s as it allows you to pinpoint where the enemies are coming from long before they get into an area that will put you at a disadvantage.

My secondary at the moment is the MP9 silenced as it’s the perfect accompaniment to a long range weapon. Whenever I need to navigate tight passages I’ll pull this out to help me win whatever gunfight I may be dragged into. If things are going my way I like to have Juiced there as my fall back deathstreak, because anything that can increase your speed, albeit for a limited period of time is a bonus as far as LMG’s are concerned.

Some alternatives to this setup you may want to consider are swapping out one of your perks for Blind Eye to allow you to take down air support more effectively. The LMG’s are extremely effective against almost any airborne vehicle, including UAV’s, and will take out an Osprey Gunner with less than one clip. You may also want to consider SitRep Pro if you are in possession of a gaming headset as hearing enemy footsteps and reloads from a distance can act as a second radar to pick up anyone unseen or running Assassin.

Another commonly used setup is the L86 with Grip and a Thermal Scope, using a Scrambler to stay cloaked. With this combination your gun becomes laser accurate and if you don’t allow anyone to flank you then there aren’t many that are going to stand in your way.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide


Knowing Your Limitations

The reason so many people get frustrated with the LMG class is because they don’t fully understand the limitations of the weapon they’re using. The most important thing to remember is to keep your distance. You may win the occasional fight against an assault rifle at medium range or sub-machine gun at close range, but that usually comes down to your opponent not fully paying attention. These occurrences are in the minority and patience is the key in picking your fights.

You also have to remember that unless you’re using the M60E4 that hip firing is something you should not be doing unless absolutely necessary. They may have a good spray but after much trial and tribulation I’ve learnt that you’ll die in the attempt almost every time. At the opposite end of the scale crouching or going prone will help your accuracy massively, so if you know an enemy is coming from a certain direction positioning yourself correctly can be key.

You have to think of your LMG as the perfect answer to oncoming rushers from the other team. Holding your ground in a supporting capacity and letting them come into your sights will get you the best results. That’s not to say you should remain in one position for the entirety of the game because you’ll almost certainly be flanked or get pre-fired upon, but getting a couple of kills in one spot and then moving on to another well-covered spot is the tactic you should adopt.

Another tip is not to forget about that secondary weapon of yours. If your ammo is running low and you have people coming right for you swapping out your secondary will always be the faster alternative. You should only reload your LMG when you know the area is clear and it is safe to do so. Of course these things are easier said than done and it will naturally take a lot of practise to get it right, but perseverance will see you prevail in the end.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide


Which Gun Should I Use?

From my class setup tutorial you’ll already know that I prefer the L86 LSW as it has one of the best rates of fire, a quick reload and the smallest recoil of all the LMG’s. The iron sights don’t tend to distract or obstruct your view as much as the alternatives either, which is a major factor I consider when choosing a weapon. The MK46 isn’t too bad either, with a quicker rate of fire and faster reload time compared to the L86, but is a little harder to control.

The MG36 is a tough gun to use all around, but if you are willing to put the man hours in you can tear it up. I witnessed just last week a friend of mine who got a back-to-back MOAB in Domination with this gun with Grip and Red Dot equipped. He didn’t need a silencer in those particular games as he stayed well behind the spawn points and picked his spots at the right moment.

The M60E4 is the ugly duckling of the group and when using it it’s more a case of hanging on for dear life than getting any sort of accurate shot off on the enemy. This gun should be used 90% of the time as a hip-fire monster, and if you want to go full pelt with it you can stick Rapid Fire and Extended Mags on for all-out Armageddon.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, LMG, Light-Machine Gun, L86 LSW, MG36, PKP Pecheneg, MK46, M60E4, Guide

Additional Help

If you want any additional advice be sure to drop me an email to or leave a comment below. I don’t claim to be some Call of Duty guru, but I do get around online a fair bit and I believe what I’ve written to be very sound advice. Also, if you have any other good LMG setup’s or tips you want to share feel free to do so and I may try them out and get back to you on what I think. For now, peace out and happy killing.

* Special thanks to for the in-article LMG images.

Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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  • I much prefer a shotgun to anything else after I learned to use one. One shot kill, once you learn where enemies will be, spawn, go etc. coupled with a powerful shotgun and good reflexes is much more effective for me then a LMG would probably be. I hate going slow as well, it just....bugs me. Don't think I could put up with a LMG myself. 

    Posted May 26, 2012

  • MG36 is what I prefer when I go bloodthirsty.

    Posted May 30, 2012

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII
Publisher(s): Activision, Square Enix
Developer(s): Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2011-11-8

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