The M16 is an assault rifle in Modern Warfare 2.
Much like in previous entries, the Modern Warfare 2 M16 features a three-round burst which results in a high Time to Kill (TTK), particularly when gunning for the chest and above.
With its effectiveness at mid-long range, it’s a versatile weapon for several modes.
However, there is a brief delay between each burst, making precision a must and close-quarters engagements more or less off the table.
This page explains how to unlock the M16 in Modern Warfare 2, as well as our recommendations for the best M16 loadout.
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How to unlock the M16 in Modern Warfare 2
Unlocking weapons in Modern Warfare 2 is different from previous titles.
Several weapons, such as the M16, are now unlocked by using and leveling weapons within families known as ‘Platforms’.
In the M16’s case, you have to use the 556 Icarus until it reaches level 12. To unlock the Icarus to do this, you need to level the M4 to level 15. Quite the process!
Once unlocked, you’ll be ready to start leveling the M16 to open up its customization options – it’s best to use the M16 for a few matches to level it up and unlock its attachment slots.
It’s worth noting – many attachments are unlocked by leveling other weapons, both inside and outside of the M4 Platform.
Additionally, if you own the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2, you actually have a head start on this process thanks to the FJX Cinder Pack – with this pack, you’ll have access to all the attachments and weapons unlocked within the M4 Platform.
Modern Warfare 2 M16 best loadout and attachments
With the M16 being a mid-long range weapon, the goal of our recommended M16 build is to bolster its sightline-dominant strengths.
Below is our recommended M16 build for Modern Warfare 2:
- Optical: SZ SRO-7 (Unlocks at M4 Lv. 2) / Cronen Mini Red Dot (Unlocks at FSS Hurricane Lv. 3)
- Stock: Corio Precio Factory (Unlocks at M4 Lv. 7)
- Rear Grip: XTEN Grip (Unlocks at M4 Lv. 16)
- Underbarrel: VX Pineapple (Unlocks at 556 Icarus Lv. 14)
- Ammunition: 5.56 Armor Piercing (Unlocks at M4 Lv. 9) / Magazine: 45-Round Mag (Unlocks at M4 Lv. 5)
For optics, we’re pointing you toward a couple of options: the SZ SRO-7 is best for long-range engagements, especially where there’s cover and corners to mount for extra stability, whereas the Cronen Mini Red Dot is tailored to medium-range encounters, particularly if you’re on the move a lot, and is a good pick for objective modes such as Domination.
Alternatively, there’s the Hybrid Firepoint, a scope that can toggle between a 4x zoom scope and holo sight. With the ability to swap between scopes on-demand, it’ll provide flexibility during matches, so it’s one to keep an eye out for – you’ll unlock it by leveling the Lachmann-762 to level 14!
When it comes to the stock, there are a couple of options: the Corio Precio Factory is a good shout when it comes to longer sightlines thanks to its aim stability and recoil control bonuses. It does affect mobility, however, but that’s where our alternative comes in.
Sacrificing some weapon stability for several buffs to aim, sprint, crouch movement, and aim down sight (ADS) speed, the Ordnance Ravage-8 is the perfect opposite, a good choice for mobile playstyles.
For rear grip, the XTEN Grip is handy thanks to its bonuses to ADS and sprint-to-fire speed. If paired with the aforementioned Corio Precio Factory stock, you’ll be able to offset this grip’s reduced recoil control, or you can double up on mobility if paired with the Ordnance Ravage-8.
Being able to mount a wall for an attack isn’t always an option, but with the underbarrel VX Pineapple, you’ll have increased control over the M16’s recoil. This is especially useful when paired with longer range scopes, where the gun’s kick is even more noticeable.
While there’s not much choice in terms of ammunition, picking 5.56 Armor Piercing rounds for bonus bullet penetration is a no-brainer for the M16.
A potential alternative to the final attachment could be the 45-Round Mag for the Magazine slot. While impeding movement and overall handling speed, having extended reserves with 15 extra rounds per mag helps not only for larger game modes, but also passive play.
Getting stuck into multiplayer? We have explainers on putting together a M4 loadout, M16 loadout and FSS Hurricane loadout. At launch, you might be wondering where the Battle Pass and Hardcore Tier 1 modes are. Elsewhere, learn how to turn off crossplay on PlayStation and Xbox, get and use Double XP, check KD and unlock all MW2 Operators. Playing the story? We have explainers on how long the Modern Warfare 2 campaign is and all safe code combinations.
Modern Warfare 2 M16 best class build, perks, and equipment
Here are the recommended perks and equipment to make the best M16 class build in Modern Warfare 2:
- Base Perk 1: Overkill (Unlocks at Lv. 21)
- Base Perk 2: Battle Hardened (Unlocks at Lv. 37) / Scavenger (Unlocks at Lv. 26)
- Bonus Perk: Fast Hands (Unlocks at Lv. 8) / Hardline (Unlocks at Lv. 1)
- Ultimate Perk: Quick Fix (Unlocks at Lv. 44) / High Alert (Unlocks at Lv. 14)
- Secondary: FSS Hurricane (Unlocks at FTAC Recon Lv. 16) / Expedite 12 (Unlocks at Lv. 9)
- Lethal: Semtex (Unlocks at Lv. 20)
- Tactical: Shock Stick (Unlocks at Lv. 1)
- Field Upgrade: Portable Radar (Unlocks at Lv. 5)
While perk selection has changed in MW2, the fundamentals of equipping them remain the same as in previous titles.
For base perks, we recommend Overkill swear Battle Hardened. The former allows you to carry a second primary weapon, while the latter reduces the effects of enemy tactical grenades.
Together, whether running-and-gunning or holding down sightlines, you’ll be less affected by sudden ambushes and have a backup weapon should you need to reload, especially key now that reload canceling is gone.
Paired with the increased weapon swap speeds provided by the bonus perk Fast Handsresponding with a secondary weapon is even more effective.
For the ‘Ultimate Perk’, there’s a couple of options: High Alert will keep you aware of when enemies spot you, but Quick Fix‘s health regeneration on kill is a good pick to keep you in the action.
For a couple of good substitutes, Scavengerreplacing Battle Hardened, is great for aggressive playstyles, allowing you to replenish ammo from dead enemies.
And if you’re willing to sacrifice weapon handling speed, Hardline‘s reduced killstreak requirement is valuable, especially if racking up a lot of kills – a strong alternative for your Bonus Perk.
Thanks to Overkill, you can carry a second primary weapon. We recommend a close range option, namely the FSS Hurricane submachine gun (SMG) or Expedite 12 shotgun. Both are perfect, covering ranges where the M16 is less effective.
For your lethal, Semtex is one we found paired well with the M16 – sticking enemies with grenades is not only satisfying, but also allows for greater intentionality compared to a typical Frag Grenade, which often rolls or bounces away etc. resulting in a missed kill.
An effective pairing for Semtex in the Tactical slot is the Shock Stickwhich sticks to surfaces, electrocutes enemies, and destroys equipment.
They’re good for catching oncoming enemies off guard for a quick ambush, or opening them up for a sweet, sticky Semtex kill.
Of course, if they don’t suit your playstyle, you can always opt for the traditional Frag and Flash or Stun Grenades, all very good in their own way.
Even more so than lethal and tactical, Field Upgrades are very much down to what you want during matches.
We’re going to recommend it Portable Radara quick-recharging piece of equipment that’ll ping a small area for enemy signatures, marking them on your radar.
Paired with some recon-based killstreaks such as the UAV, this will keep you alerted to oncoming enemies, as long as they don’t have the Ghost perk equipped, hiding them from UAV and Portable Radar sweeps.
As with all equipment, like killstreak selection, pick based on your playstyle and preference.
Since the goal of this loadout was to be flexible at all ranges too, there’s more freedom with how you enhance the loadout, so don’t hesitate to mix and match with the various options available.
If you want to learn more about Modern Warfare 2, be sure to check out our other guides such as our recommended FSS Hurricane build, or how to get and use double XP!
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