Call of Duty Guns in Real Life – Which Guns Are the Most Iconic?


Call of Duty is nothing without its guns, right? For two decades, Call of Duty has been built on the back of a military-based premise, with each new game introducing dozens of new weapons that are almost always based on real-world guns. In this breakdown, we’re looking at the Call of Duty guns in real life, answering some all-important questions. For instance, why did Call of Duty stop using real guns, and how realistic are the guns in Call of Duty?

If you’ve been wondering about a comparison of Call of Duty guns in real life, look no further than this guide. We’re breaking down which real-world guns have had the biggest impact on Call of Duty, comparing how realistic they are and how well-represented they are in the series. From end to end, there are hundreds of guns to consider, so we’ll be focusing only on the most impactful ones, such as the M4A1, the M16, and the MP5.

How Realistic Are the Guns in Call of Duty?

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Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

For the most part, Call of Duty guns in real life are vastly different from their counterparts in the game series. In real life, there’s very little chance that the average combatant could survive a hail of bullets from an AK-47, or even a single shot from a 9mm SMG – like the MP5 – to the head.

In Call of Duty, that’s commonplace – it’ll take a couple of shots to kill someone when they’re shot in the head, and that’s just not realistic. Furthermore, if we leave the core multiplayer experience and move over to Warzone, it gets worse. In Warzone, it can often take 20 – 30 bullets to fully kill a player, which is a ludicrous concept when applied to a real-world scenario.

With the Call of Duty guns, how they handle can be drastically changed by the application of a single attachment. For instance, players can clip a laser or a torch onto their weapon, and suddenly, they’ll be able to hip-fire more accurately. That’s not how things work in the real world.

Why Did Call of Duty Stop Using Real Guns?

It was a few years ago that – for the most part – Activision and all associated studios stopped using ‘real guns’ in Call of Duty. They still used the likeness of the weapons, but they changed the names. This was reportedly to avoid licensing fees, which could be considerable, as the terms of which were set by the owner of the intellectual property – the weapons manufacturers themselves.

This wasn’t the case for all weapons, though. For instance, the Colt M4 is still called the M4, but the Heckler and Koch MP5 is now called the Lachmann Sub.

Call of Duty Guns in Real Life – The Impactful Ones

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Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

So, which Call of Duty guns in real life have had the biggest impact on the franchise? Here are some of the most common real-world guns to have made an appearance in the Call of Duty series over the years:


The AK-47 has appeared in more Call of Duty games than any other real-world weapon. It’s almost always a powerhouse of a weapon, but it hasn’t always taken the form of the AK-47. For instance, in Modern Warfare II’s universe, it’s called the ‘Kastov 762’. It’s typically a weapon favoured by those that prefer taking on enemies at a longer range, but it can be built in a shorter form, too.


The M4A1 is just as common as the AK-47 when it comes to Call of Duty guns in real life. It’s a staple weapon of Western combatants in the franchise, and as a highly-customisable weapon, it’s the gun of choice for many players in both the multiplayer and the battle royale worlds. It was widely appreciated in Call of Duty Warzone, one of the most popular battle royale games ever.


There have been some legendary iterations of the M16 during the history of Call of Duty. For instance, in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the M16 was arguably the meta, and it was used by basically every player in the game at one point or another. It was also a fantastic gun in 2011’s Black Ops, widely considered to be the best Call of Duty game of all time.


The MP5 has always been a staple in the Call of Duty series, standing firm as one of the most beloved sub-machine guns in history. It’s an iconic real-world weapon, but it’s misrepresented in Call of Duty, always seeming to boast almost no recoil. It was a fan favourite in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Black Ops Cold War, Modern Warfare (2019), and as the MP5k variant in 2011’s Black Ops.


If there’s a Call of Duty game based on the Second World War, it’s almost a guarantee that the MP40 will be both represented and adored. In Call of Duty Vanguard, it was the meta for sub-machine gun players in the Call of Duty League. That was the same for 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII, and it was also favourited in 2008’s World at War.

There are hundreds more Call of Duty guns in real life, but these are arguably the most impactful and common. As Call of Duty changes over time, these weapons are expected to remain – even if they do change names or characteristics.

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