In the Call of Duty series, there isn't a ton of focus on balance between weapons in the same class. Just because a weapon is unlocked later doesn't mean that it is any better than any other weapon in that class.
There are almost always a few clear winners in the weapon lineup in every Call of Duty game, and those tend to be used the most often by the "serious" or "pro" players.
There's also frequently a couple of different types of weapons in a given class. For instance, some people prefer single shot or 3-shot burst AR's, of which there are relatively few. You might use the M16 over the AK-47 if you prefer 3-shot burst, for instance. Similarly, some shotguns are pump action and others are semi-automatic or fully automatic, and some sniper rifles are bolt action and others are semi-automatic, etc.
Also, sometimes you get the 'feel' for a weapon and you prefer it, even if its stats aren't the best, or other weapons unlock. You may choose an earlier weapon because you've unlocked an attachment you like, or are trying to get a particular challenge or kill count with it.