EMP Icon

The EMP killstreak icon.

Dunn after getting EMP'd in Second Sun.

The EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) is an unlockable killstreak reward in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Requiring a killstreak of 15 (or 14 with with Hardline) , or occasionally found inside a Care Package, the EMP disables all enemy electronics. Hostile players will have no HUD, and electronic scopes (such as the Red Dot Sight) will be disabled. Their vision will also be slightly fuzzy. Any enemy sentry guns will be destroyed and all hostile aircraft will crash. Enemy players will be unable to activate their own killstreaks while they are affected by an EMP. The EMP effects last for 60 seconds, but does not affect friendlies.

In multiplayer, this killstreak is one of the least used because of the large number of kills required to obtain it. However should players attempt to use the EMP killstreak, the most effective other killstreaks to choose are Harrier Strike, Pavelow, Chopper Gunner or AC130, as these are likely to to earn many kills each, and also add to the user's killstreak.

An EMP is featured in the single-player missions Contingency and Second Sun, halting the Russian advance in the Russo-American War.

Effects of the EMP

"Hey is your red dot working? Mine's out."
Dunn commenting on his red dot sight not working because the effects of the EMP.

Any other active killstreaks other than a Tactical Nuke and a Stealth Bomber the player, or their enemies, has will be destroyed in the initial explosion when the EMP is activated. The following effects will take place for the duration of the EMP for the opposing team:

File:Emp unlocked.png

Player View

  • Vision becomes fuzzy.
  • Entire HUD disappears, including radar, hip-crosshairs, ammo count, game score, and timer; making the game appear like a Hardcore game for the affected team but with normal weapon damage.


  • AT4 - Is not able to lock-on to enemy killstreaks but can still be fired freely.
  • Stinger - Is not able to lock-on to enemy killstreaks.
  • Javelin - Unable to fire, regardless of enemy killstreaks or on the ground.

This is to negate the effect of enemies waiting to call in Killstreaks during an EMP meaning allies are unable to shoot them down.

Weapon Attachments

  • Red Dot Sight - "Red dot" disappears (exception - the F2000[1].)
  • Holographic Sight - Targeting reticule disappears.
  • ACOG Scope - Red cross hairs disappear, but the black cross hairs remain.
  • Thermal Scope - Thermal vision is disabled, but crosshairs remain, essentially becomes a standard sniper scope but with no thermal feature.
  • Heartbeat Sensor - Inoperative, static fills the screen, no red or green dots.


  • All killstreak rewards will be destroyed if they are active at that moment, but the Emergency Airdrop C-130 cargo plane will be unaffected and still proceed to drop its load.
  • No killstreak rewards can be activated during duration of an EMP.
  • If a player uses an EMP after using an AC-130, it will still fly off the map deploying flares.
  • The Tactical Nuke is a unique case. While an EMP is active, the nuke cannot be activated. However, if the nuke has already been launched, the EMP will not disable it, and the countdown will continue until endgame, presumably because the nuke has already been launched.
  • An EMP will prevent a Stealth Bomber from releasing its payload.
  • In Hardcore modes, the EMP destroys friendly killstreaks as well as enemy ones.


  • Claymore - Claymores placed when the EMP hits are destroyed, but new ones will detonate during the EMP
  • C4 - Remote detonator is disabled; can be shot to detonate.
  • Throwing Knife/Semtex/Frag - You can still throw these but the crosshairs are removed. Semtex still explodes after it's 2 second electrical fuse.


  • EMPs are very seldom used because of their high kill requirement, and it provides little effect compared to other high killstreaks.
  • The announcer will ALWAYS announce an EMP by shouting it out to the team, instead of by radio.
  • If the player listens carefully, all other enemy killstreaks that get announced make a radio "beep" sound followed by the killstreak being said. The EMP announcement does not make a radio sound, so it could be that it is not actually the announcer saying it but a nearby teammate. This is also indicated by the fact that the announcer/teammate says "We've been EMP'd!"
  • If the player looks outside the map immediately after an EMP is deployed (by either team), they can see a nuclear explosion identical to the one seen in Second Sun in the distant sky. However, to actually drop a nuke on the map itself requires the 25 killstreak Tactical Nuke, 10 kills more than the EMP.
  • It is odd that setting off an EMP does not affect Semtex as it has an electronic detonator on it.
    • The reason for this is that, in reality, the E1 component of an EMP may or may not affect simple circuits. Assuming the detonator circuit on the Semtex grenade was not activated, the EMP will have no damaging effect on it, whereas sights are always on.
  • It is also odd that the ACOG is affected by the EMP, since the 'illuminated' part of the sight is tritium paint, and not powered by electricity.
  • The EMP in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is classified as the E1 component of an EMP, as the E2 component is more lightning-like, and the E3 component has a much slower pulse.
  • The EMP is the highest killstreak available in a Care Package. There is a 0.87% chance of getting one. It cannot be found at all in an Emergency Airdrop.
  • The title obtained when completing "Blackout: II" is called "Starfish Prime," which was a high-altitude nuclear test that caused a resulting EMP to affect most of Hawaii.
  • Using two EMPs will complete the Blackout I challenge, unlocking the callsign "Chick Magnet."
  • If an AC-130 is being used by a player at the time of the EMP detonation, the player is forced to stop controlling the plane and will come back to their body. The AC-130, however, will remain above.
  • The EMP along with the UAV and the Counter-UAV are the only killstreak rewards that cannot kill an enemy.
  • A friendly EMP used in conjunction with a Chopper Gunner or AC-130 is a deadly combination, as enemies won't be able to use lock-on missiles to shoot down the gunships. A good strategy for obtaining a Tactical Nuke is to try and get 4 more kills and call in an EMP before using the players gunship, as only 10 more kills are needed after the EMP, and the gunship is highly unlikely to get shot down. However, as of the recent patch, Stingers are now able to lock onto AC-130s and Chopper Gunners during EMPs both unannounced and for no apparent reason, rendering this strategy now useless.
  • An EMP can be used as a good anti-air support killstreak instead of a launcher. This will benefit your team further in team games as well.
  • The EMP is probably most useful in long objective based team games such as Sabotage, Domination, Demolition and Headquarters where the enemy will use killstreak rewards to support their team and help them obtain the objective. The EMP will destroy current enemy killstreaks airborne and prevent them from using anymore during the duration of the EMP, while the friendly team can freely use killstreaks. This can be beneficial for the team and turn the tide of a game. The enemy will find it much harder to defend against killstreaks as lock on missiles will prove ineffective. They will also find it more difficult to spot harriers, helicopters, predator missiles, etc. because the radar is temporarily disabled.
  • The EMP is perhaps most effective in third-person game modes; if EMP'd, players will have few ways of aiming their weapon as the reticule used disappears.
  • If a friend is using a Predator Missile, activating an EMP while they are doing so will cancel it.
  • EMPs are useful in Ground War matches as it is very hectic and many Killstreak Rewards may be in the air.
  • When an EMP goes off, it temporarily blinds everyone on the map.
  • Price himself doesn't seem to know exactly what an EMP can do. If he did, he might have tried to find another way to end the war as an EMP would cripple America for years making them more vulnerable to further attacks from their enemies (and Price wanted to save them). Technically, therefore, Price could be labeled as an enemy and terrorist of the U.S. as well as TF141 for helping him in these actions. However it is possibly a reference to the saying "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
  • The EMP along with Counter-UAV and Tactical Nuke are the only 3 killstreaks that directly affect all opposing players
  • An EMP cannot destroy a Stealth Bomber, an Emergency Airdrop, or a Tactical Nuke but can delay them.
  • It is interesting to note that an EMP does not affect things such as the digital wrist watches of the U.S. army rangers, televisions and computer monitors, printers, lights, and other ambient electronics.
  • The metal detectors in Terminal are not affected and still function during the EMP.
  • In some strange cases if the enemy calls in two aircraft at the same time and have one waiting for the other to leave and the EMP hits it takes out the first but the second is unharmed.thumb|340px|left|A user-made montage on earning the coveted EMP emblem.
  • The EMP is one of the two killstreaks which the Spetsnaz announcer panics about, the other being the AC-130.

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