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Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War: Weapons Overview

  • BOCW

Learn about how each weapon class can help you conquer Multiplayer, including a quick bullet-by-bullet breakdown of all weapon types and a detailed look at each one individually.

Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War: Weapons Overview

  • BOCW

Learn about how each weapon class can help you conquer Multiplayer, including a quick bullet-by-bullet breakdown of all weapon types and a detailed look at each one individually.

A critical component of Call of Duty Multiplayer is its weapons. Each one can be instrumental to a team’s success, but only if the operator wielding it knows how to unleash its true potential.

In the Black Ops Cold War there are ten weapon classes across the primary and secondary categories, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that are defined by four statistics:

·      Firepower – How much and how fast a weapon deals damage against enemies and vehicles.

·      Speed – How much the weapon affects an Operator’s movement speed and ability to aim down sights.

·      Accuracy – How much recoil the weapon has, as well as its stability, and hipfire spread.

·      Ammo – How large a weapon’s magazine is and how fast an Operator can reload with it.

In simplest terms, these ten weapon categories are defined by these traits and specific combat situations (with no attachments equipped):

·      Assault Rifles – Fully-automatic, highly modular weapons that excel in mid-range combat (ideal combat range: 20-45 meters).

·      Submachine Guns – Compact and fast-firing weapons that find their stride in close-quarters (ideal combat range: 5-30 meters).

·      Tactical Rifles – Similar to assault rifles, but meant for more accurate Operators due to their burst or semi-auto firing modes (ideal combat range: varies)

·      Light Machine Guns – Heavy, high capacity, and high-caliber weapons that are incredibly effective against vehicles and large infantry groups (ideal combat range: 15-50 meters.)

·      Sniper Rifles – High precision rifle defined by superior damage per shot and low fire rate. Can hold breath while using to line up more accurate shots. (ideal combat range: 40-100+ meters.)

·      Pistols – Lightweight, low capacity weapon with extremely quick handling speeds, especially when switching from a primary weapon. (ideal combat range: 3-20 meters.)

·      Shotguns – Fires shells, usually made of pellets that spray out from the barrel, making it ideal for extreme close-quarters situations. (ideal combat range: 1-15 meters.)

·      Launchers – Single-shot weapons with explosive payloads; the most effective category against enemy vehicles and Scorestreaks, with splash damage against enemy groups being a secondary use case (ideal combat range: N/A)

·      Melee – A weapon used in hand-to-hand combat; provides the fastest movement speed out of any weapon and near-instant, silent kills on impact. (ideal combat range: close quarters).

·      Special – Additional weapons that do not fit the above categories, usually meant for niche combat roles such as launching grenades (ideal combat range: varies).

Here is a more detailed look at where each weapon category shines through these statistics – and through the features that go beyond those numbers – starting with the first primary weapon category.


Primary Weapons

Assault Rifles

These fully-auto weapons are built for a variety of combat engagement scenarios. Damage output in this weapon class typically eliminates enemies in 4-5 shots and performs best at long-to-medium range.

Across the board, an assault rifle will have relatively balanced statistics, making it a great baseline for comparison against other primary weapon categories. However, their strength lies in their customizability, making them ideal for a loadout with the Gunfighter Wildcard. Assault rifles are so modular that they can even be customized to excel in close quarters or at a distance outside of their typical range.

Within this category, the various assault rifles will often have certain stand-out stats that make them distinct within their weapon class. This can be easily seen within the five assault rifles that can be unlocked at launch.

The XM4 boasts solid accuracy with great control and recoil statistics, and boasts a high fire rate. As a result, this weapon is a fine choice for players who like to put down rapid sustained fire against enemy infantry.

The second assault rifle, the AK-47, is the opposite, featuring a more impressive Firepower stat and dealing more damage per bullet against infantry and vehicles. This makes it great for versatile players who take a more methodical approach in how they fight the enemy team.

Midway up the main progression journey, you’ll unlock the Krig 6, which adds a highly accurate choice to an already diverse assault rifle pool. While not as powerful as the AK-47, its incredible weapon control properties, especially when it comes to vertical recoil, make it one of the most accurate in the class.

Then there is the QBZ-83, which offers the best Speed stats in its class. It’s ideal for run-and-gun Operators who still like to have a bit of range while being quicker on the draw compared to most assault rifle users.

The final assault rifle that can be unlocked is the one with the fastest fire rate out of the five, making it ideal for suppressing fire. Compared to other assault rifles, it has the fastest stock reload speed and an additional starting magazine, but only 25 rounds per magazine by default. Think of this as the “bridge” weapon between assault rifles and the next primary weapon category.

Submachine Guns

Submachine guns, or SMGs, are lightweight weapons well-suited for close quarter engagements; consider these if you like to move in on opponents before firing, or on maps with tight interior spaces.

SMGs offer more speed and mobility than assault rifles, quicker aim down sight times, and smaller hipfire spread. They also typically come with four magazines instead of an assault rifle’s standard three, as they will be expended quicker on average.

The first SMG unlocked at Military Rank 4 is one of the fastest firing weapons in the game, and offers a phenomenal baseline for what to expect out of this category.

Two more SMGs are unlocked within the first 20 levels of the launch progression journey: the Milano 821 and AK-74u, prime examples of highly mobile weapons that sit on the lower end of the category’s fire rate spectrum.

The Milano 821 boasts high damage per bullet and low recoil, all in a compact package with a manageable hipfire spread and 32-capacity mag by default. This unique combination of strengths ups its stats across the board, making it a versatile weapon for a variety of play styles.

As for the AK-74u, it too boasts an impressive damage profile. It fits a similar role to the Milano 821 as a flex between the first two primary weapon categories, although it has a faster fire rate and higher bullet velocity, but less damage per bullet.

Towards the back half of the main progression journey, two more SMGs can be unlocked.

One of them is a three-round burst weapon, which bridges the gap between the tactical rifle and SMG categories. Those with a quick trigger finger can deliver rapid eliminations at medium ranges, or against additional threats that enter the fray.

The last SMG is a weapon defined by its sheer ammunition carrying capacity; despite starting with three magazines, each one can carry 50 rounds of ammo as standard. If that is too little, the available higher-round attachments are the largest capacity ammunition attachments in the SMG category, rivalling that of an LMG. Along with being a great tool for suppressive fire, this also boasts the longest effective range in the category, making it a competitive gun in fights that extend out to mid-range.

Tactical Rifles

Tactical rifles are more similar to assault rifles in their design but have one key difference: unlike their fully-auto brethren, these rifles have either burst or semi-auto fire by default, meaning each pull of the trigger sends out only a few bullets or a single round rather than outputting sustained fire.

They also boast the highest bullet velocity compared to other weapon categories on average. When you fire a tactical rifle, expect the bullet to reach its target faster than most other guns.

The category is split down the middle between semi-auto and three-round burst weapons at launch, with the first two to be unlocked being a prime standard of what each type has to offer.

The Type 63, unlocked with Create-a-Class at Military Rank 4, is a high-damage semi-auto rifle that can down an enemy with two headshots. In the hands of a true marksman, this weapon can pick off infantry at medium-to-long ranges. Those who also have a quick trigger finger could use it to get out of surprise encounters up-close without needing to switch to another weapon.

At Level 49, the DMR14 becomes available for use, playing the role of the more accurate, precision-focused battle rifle. With lower recoil, superior muzzle velocity, and better range than the Type 63, consider this the more long-range tool out of the two, especially when equipped with high-magnification optics and attachments that further reduce its recoil.

As for the three-round burst tactical rifles, the first that can be unlocked is the

M16. There is a slightly pronounced delay between bursts that manages recoil control, which increases this weapon’s already excellent accuracy. A well-aimed single burst of bullets can down an enemy player, making this weapon highly lethal in the hands of players who fire with precision.

While the M16 is more suited for more mid-range engagements, the alternative three-round burst rifle is meant for fights at slightly longer distances. Compared to the M16, it has a more pronounced burst delay, longer effective range, and built-in 1.5x magnification optic, all of which add up to a powerful rifle.

Light Machine Guns

Light machine guns, or LMGs for short, are regarded as the heavyweights among primary weapons.

On paper, they have the best ammo stat on average out of the four categories, with highest capacity magazines by default and through attachments. In practice, these weapons are superb in outputting suppressing fire at all ranges and dealing damage to enemy vehicles and Scorestreaks.

While their bulky design and larger magazines result in lower mobility, some players who prefer more tactical or support roles may not mind a more methodical pace. Alternatively, because any weapon can be fired out of a vehicle, an LMG could be an effective asset in vehicle vs. vehicle combat.

Even though LMGs can be useful in any mode, you may find them more useful in larger Multiplayer experiences like Combined Arms and Fireteam modes, where vehicles and Scorestreaks can be more prevalent.

The first unlockable LMG is built for accurate fire, despite it having the best fire rate out of the three options. That’s thanks to a design that promotes great visibility when firing and great recoil control, which adds up to a great introductory LMG for those learning this category’s strengths and weaknesses.

The second unlockable LMG, the RPD, has a better Speed stat and a more favorable hipfire spread than others in its class. In other words, it could be better for LMG users who want a more mobile weapon, even if it means sacrificing a bit of recoil control.

Rounding out this heavyweight trio is the one of the most lethal full-auto weapons in the game, granting a staggering amount of firepower in each magazine. Built with a slow fire rate, this heavy hitter is built for shredding vehicles and Scorestreaks with sustained fire, or for dealing with waves of enemies that rush in from unknown horizons.

Sniper Rifles

Out of every weapon in the game, sniper rifles are best in class when it comes to firepower due to their sheer damage and range statistics. They are capable of dealing one-shot eliminations at impressive ranges and can be deadly in the right hands.

Making the most out of this weapon class means precisely hitting your target, as one-shot elimination damage can only be done to specific body parts on an enemy Operator. This category has access to the most powerful magnification optics in the game, and an Operator may need to hold their breath to get a steady, precise shot on their target.

Sniper rifles have varying rechamber times, or otherwise have slow self-loading mechanisms, which can make players vulnerable if they miss their shot. So, that one shot may be the difference between life and death.

This category’s first choice is the Pelington 703, unlocked alongside the four other starting primary weapons at Level 4. A bolt-action rifle, the Pelington 703 can deal a one-shot elimination by hitting an opponent’s head or upper chest. It has a quicker than average aim down sights (ADS) time and minimal “idle sway,” e.g. when the scope moves around while aiming.

If a marksman needs a more powerful sniper rifle than the Pelington 703, they could opt for the LW3 - Tundra, which can drop enemies with a single shot to the head, upper chest, or shoulders. Unlocked at Level 25, the LW3 - Tundra is meant for more traditional snipers who “focus” by holding their breath to steady aim, but can still be used as aggressively given its balanced design.

The last sniper rifle option is also the final one unlocked in the main progression journey. A semi-auto anti-material rifle, this weapon shares the Pelington 703’s potential for one-shot eliminations to the head or upper chest. Its ability to deliver follow up shots faster than either of the two bolt-action rifles is limited only by its recoil, but in general, this weapon is a phenomenal option for accurate snipers who like to pick off groups at range.


Secondary Weapons


Otherwise known as “sidearms,” pistols can provide an accurate backup option in close-range situations.

Pistols are among the most versatile secondary weapons in the field given their lightweight design. Much like an SMG, which chambers similar-sized ammunition, a pistol’s effective range usually spans out to about 20 meters, and has a high rate of fire compared to other weaponry.

Typically, a pistol is semi-automatic, meaning that one pull of the trigger will fire one bullet. This is seen in the 1911, the secondary you unlock for Create-a-Class.

Chambered in high stopping power ammunition, the 1911 packs a surprisingly powerful punch in a small package and comes with a default eight-round magazine that can easily be extended into double digits. Throw in some stellar accuracy and solid speed, and it becomes no shock that the outstanding 1911 is considered a standard-issue secondary.

The 1911 is rivaled in damage per bullet only by the Magnum, an old reliable double-action revolver that chambers a more powerful cartridge. In practice, the revolver has higher damage against enemies and vehicles than the 1911, but in exchange has a slower fire rate, making it a preferred sidearm for sharpshooting gunslingers who know they won’t miss their mark.

At launch, one more pistol defines this category: a three-round burst sidearm that trades raw power for a high fire rate. Clocking in with the largest default magazine in its class, this sidearm has a fast cyclical rate of fire with a short time between bursts, similar to the M16 tactical rifle. This pistol may not stretch far out of its effective range, but within a dozen meters, it can shred through the opposition with quick follow-up shots.


Like pistols, shotguns are more effective against enemy Operators within close range, using shells instead of bullets. A typical weapon fires a single projectile forward, and a shotgun sends a burst of smaller pellets out towards its target. Due to pellet spread, shotguns have the shortest effective range out of all weapon classes but deal the most damage within only a half-dozen meters.

At first, you’ll have access to the Hauer 77. This hand-loaded, pump-action weapon can dish out a one-shot elimination at extreme close ranges, making it the ultimate CQB weapon against individual hostile forces. While the weapon’s rate of fire and reload speed aren’t the highest, the potential for a one-shot elimination makes it a tantalizing secondary weapon option, especially in buildings with tight corridors and smaller rooms.

One other shotgun can be unlocked at launch upon reaching Level 34. While it typically doesn’t drop an enemy in one shot, it is a reliable semi-automatic weapon with a tighter pellet spread. Consider this shotgun a fantastic hipfire tool when fighting indoors or at crucial chokepoints where enemies will have to bunch up to get by.


This secondary weapon category isn’t built for accuracy. Rather, the Launcher class, a collection of tools that fire explosive rounds, are best used against enemy equipment, vehicles, or Scorestreaks. Alternatively, you can free-fire certain launchers at groups of enemies with explosive results.

Launchers don’t have an “effective range” per se, but they do deal splash damage. If you’re too close to the launcher’s blast radius, it can compromise your Operator’s health or even prove fatal.

The first launcher you’ll unlock at Military Rank 4 has “lock-on” and free-fire capabilities. For “lock-on” shots, aim down its sights at an enemy Scorestreak or vehicle until a small reticle appears over it. Once the reticle changes color and the launcher emits a beeping noise, you can fire a rocket out of the launcher and it will track down the target until it explodes or is redirected by flares.

Alternatively, this weapon can be free-fired to combat infantry or deal with targets on the ground, such as stationary vehicles or equipment.

At level 40, you’ll unlock the launcher category’s other, more rugged and unruly option: the RPG-7. This portable, shoulder-fired launcher fires an unguided missile-like projectile with a less predictable flight path outside a few dozen meters. Despite its potential accuracy concerns at long distances, an RPG-7 will deal great damage to enemy vehicles, Scorestreaks, equipment, and even groups of infantry within a small blast radius.


Melee weapons are non-projectile weapons that eliminate enemies with one hit in extremely close ranges.

At launch, this category is defined by one deadly, bladed weapon: the Knife. Just a single slice can down an enemy Operator, which flips the term “bringing a knife to a gunfight” on its head.

And because the Knife does not leave any visible red dot pings on the mini-map whenever it is swung, it can be considered the ultimate choice for stealth-based encounters, including when players want to flank behind enemy lines to disrupt the flow of combat.


A category designated for Secondary weapons that don’t fit the above designations, the Special category is where more unconventional loadout items live.

At launch, a grenade launcher is the only Special weapon. This weapon fires grenades in a parabolic arc, meaning that Operators will have to account for physics when firing in order to reach targets at longer ranges.

If one of these grenades hits an object after travelling several meters, it will explode on impact, dealing major splash damage within a short radius. Alternatively, if the grenade hits an object at an extreme-close distance, or hits an enemy Operator shortly after firing, it will not explode, but will deal lethal damage upon impact. Treat this as a compliment to the RPG-7 launcher for dealing with infantry; in situations where an enemy is taking cover, this grenade launcher can send an explosive payload over that obstruction and clear the immediate area.

No matter what weapon you use, it’s up to you, the Operator, to use it effectively. Try to explore every weapon category to find what works for you and experiment in Gunsmith to craft your perfect tool of destruction. You may find the perfect weapon and attachment setup that’ll be instrumental in earning those high-end Scorestreaks, destroying the enemy team’s vehicles, equipment, and Scorestreaks, or better yet, leading the squad to a well-deserved victory.

Execute the mission.


For more information on Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War, check out: and follow @Treyarch, @RavenSoftware, and @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

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