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Call Of Duty: MW3 Zombies - How Custom Loadouts Work

Weapon loadouts work differently in MW3 Zombies. Here's everything you need to know.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 delivers a large-scale Zombies experience, which works differently to all of the Zombies modes of the past. You get more than a starter pistol here, but there are still some major limitations to your loadout. Here we break down how custom weapon builds work in this year's Zombies mode.

MW3 Zombies is an extraction mode

It's important to understand that this year's Zombies isn't a traditional round-based mode, nor does it work like the most recent objective-style modes from Black Ops Cold War or Vanguard. MW3 Zombies is a high-risk trios mode in a PvE environment, where you can have the option to choose how you want to play, which includes looting for high-value items and gear and completing story based Operation Deadbolt missions.

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Just like MW2's DMZ, you keep your weapons and gear with a successful exfil, but failing to extract from the match means you'll lose everything in your inventory with the exception of one weapon type.

Weapon types explained

There are two weapon types you'll use in Zombies: Contraband and your insured weapons.

MW3 Zombies weapon select
MW3 Zombies weapon select

Insured weapons

You have the option to use the Gunsmith to build your own custom weapon blueprint.This weapon can be created with any gun you've unlocked in either MW2 or MW3 and customized any attachments you have available for it.

This custom weapon build is placed in an insured weapon slot, which means it's not permanently lost upon death. However, there is still a penalty. Dying in Zombies or failing to properly exfil from the match with your insured weapon makes the custom blueprint inaccessible for a period of time.

You'll only have access to one insured weapon slot at launch, but two more insured slots can be unlocked by completing Zombies missions.

Contraband weapons

Weapons can be found and looted throughout the world in a variety of ways, including traditional Zombies-style Wall Buys and the iconic Mystery Box. All the weapons you find and extract from your time in Zombies matches are considered Contraband.

You can store up to 20 Contraband weapons in a locker for use in later matches. This gives you other weapon options, and it'll come in handy when your Insured weapon slot is on cooldown. Just remember, these weapons are permanently lost if you don't successfully exfil with them.

Make sure to check out our recommended settings guide, covering all the best settings across multiplayer, campaign, and Zombies. Additionally, we have a guide on how to level up faster, including both player rank and weapon progression in Modern Warfare 3.

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