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Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech

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There was a high-pitched whine like a Colt .45 in a spaghetti western. With a speed and accuracy that only comes from cybernetic hand-eye co-ordination and a computer-controlled aiming system, Seven fired three times from the hip, cutting them down in an instant.

In Hollywoodland, all automatic firearms benefit from the Law of Inverse Recoil and function solely on the premise of "Spray a lot of bullets on full auto and at least some of them will hit something", and not "I should actually aim at whatever I'm shooting at so I can hit it and take it down in the least amount of shots possible".

Therefore, fictional guns don't bother with gun sights of any kind, since nobody really uses them anyways. A Hand Wave common in SF settings is that some sort of HUD allows the shooter to aim without actually lining up a bead. A variation of this is when modern weapons that normally do have iron sights excise those because of an attached optic of some variety, like a scope. While this can be Truth in Television (some dedicated sniper weapons only have a scope with no iron sights underneath), it's not nearly as common as media would have you believe; the vast majority of weapons keep their normal iron sights, even with scopes and the like attached - several of which are even designed to leave the sights clear while a scope is attached - just to be ready if something knocks that optic out of commission or gets in too close for a magnified sight.

Another common SF version of this trope is when the guns are wielded by robots, be they Mecha-Mooks or human-piloted Humongous Mecha. Even when the gun is hand-carried rather than directly integrated to the robot (in-universe to provide more flexibility by allowing easy switch of weapons, out-of-universe to make the robot seem more similar to a human soldier), it's presumed that a robot's targeting sensors would have no need of iron sights or scopes.

See also A-Team Firing and/or Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, where, regardless of whether anyone can aim their guns, they don't see any reason to bother trying.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gundam zig-zags for mobile suit weapons. For the most part, mobile suits, especially in the original Universal Century timeline, have targeting systems independent of their weapons, and the typical "real weapons vs ray guns" angle is played straight - kinetic weapons like machine guns and rocket launchers still have sights and scopes, while beam weapons are entirely dependent on the suit's own targeting systems. Even then there are exceptions to this rule, such as 08th MS Team, where Sanders' 180mm cannon has no sights of its own, while the giant beam sniper rifle used by GM Snipers late in the series have equally-large scopes on top.

    Comic Books 
  • The Lawgiver from Judge Dredd at first glance appears to have no sights. Turns out that the lens on the rear is a "Fast Focus" scope down either the line of the barrel on the Mk 1 or, sometimes, another lens beneath the barrel on the Mk 2. Not that this would work in reality, since there'd be a bullet, firing pin, the magazine, and all other sorts of goodies in the way, but it doesn't really need to.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Smart-Guns from Aliens have computer assisted aiming, and don't need iron sights. However, the more basic weapon, the M41-A Pulse Rifle, has a channel down the top of the shroud that acts as a set of iron sights; note though that Ripley's famous pulse rifle with a flamethrower duct-taped to the side of it has a locator also duct-taped to the carry handle, obscuring the sights. Aliens: Colonial Marines, meanwhile, utilizes a second-generation version of the pulse rifle that adds actual sights, alongside the ability to add on alternate optics.
  • Justified in The Fifth Element; Zorg advertises that the "replay" feature on his ZF-1 rifle makes aiming unnecessary. Hit a target once, turn on the replay, and every bullet will curve in midair to hit it again no matter where you aim. Given nobody in the film survives the first hit from any weapon, the usefulness of this feature is rather suspect. The ZF-1 actually does have a scope on it, but it is hard to see amongst all the other attachments.
  • Averted in Star Wars, mainly because the blasters were modeled off of real guns. It does have a variant, however, where most of the guns are lacking actual ironsights in favor of a scope of some kind (only the Stormtrooper's E-11 rifles noticeably have them - not that they use them). It's mentioned in The Han Solo Trilogy that Han's famous DL-44 blaster pistol originally did have standard sights, but because they would catch on the tip of his holster (not good when you're looking to draw your gun in a hurry) he removed them and attached the short scope.
    • Played straight with the E-5 blaster rifle that was standard-issue for the Separatists' battle droids in the prequel trilogy. This gun was intended solely for use by robots that have their own built-in targeting systems, so the fact that humans or other biological life forms would be unable to do any kind of precision aiming if they picked one up was irrelevant (nor does it do anything to stop Padmé from making accurate shots with one in Attack of the Clones). Though the droid army was built on the cheap, so their targeting sensors weren't very good. Notably, the more advanced BX commando droids introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars use the exact same rifles but are far more lethal.
  • All the guns in Men in Black are modeled on 50s sci-fi rayguns, looking like chrome cigar-tubes without any features on the top.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun: Scaramanga's Golden Gun has no sights, which is justified as it's assembled from innocuous-looking parts. At the very least it does have a substitute for a front sight in the form of the pen's clip, but it wouldn't be of much use except in extreme close range without a rear sight.
  • Excluding the scoped version used by Private Watkins and the Mk II variant with a front post briefly shown near the end of the film, the Morita assault rifles in the film adaptation of Starship Troopers lack sights of any kind. Combined with a complete lack of any sort of safety protocols at the firing range, this is taken to its logical conclusion when the recruits are training with live ammo.
  • RoboCop's super-charged Beretta has iron sights, but due to his cyborg nature he never actually uses or even needs them; in at least one scene he shows that once he's targeted something he can hit it even while looking away.
  • The LAPD 2019 Blaster from Blade Runner is a partial example, as it only has a visible front sight - the gun it's based on has a channel along the top of the frame acting as the rear sight, which was completely covered by the receiver of an entirely different weapon as part of its makeover to turn it into the blaster.
  • Early in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice acquires a pair of Vector submachine guns that are apparently specifically modified for use two at a time, as they lack ironsights as well as stocks or foregrips - which doesn't stop several characters from using one of them solo to good effect.

  • Time Scout averts this. Guns are among the things treated realistically. Old guns are treated as more difficult than modern guns, as among modern advancements are those that make them easier to use. But even dangerous modern guns (mostly just described as being "modern" and "evil looking") still have sights and have to be aimed. Many bullets are fired, but very few people end up shot, except at close range.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek phasers have no sights at all. The official Hand Wave is that they don't actually need sights: all the one-handed phasers are designed specifically to be point and shoot, where your index finger points if it were extended would be where you shoot. In practice, actors had so much trouble aiming their guns (so that the effects team could add in the beams coming straight out of the weapons and still hit the target) that the weapons were redesigned with gun sights for Deep Space Nine.
    • Type III Phaser Rifles also have a zoom-able scope on top.
      • As do the rifles used by the MACOs. One was specifically used in the Old West-themed episode to take out a cowboy in a window.
    • Weapons used by other species, like the Klingon and Romulan versions of the Disruptor Pistol, similarly lack sights.
    • The original phasers have small reflex sights, though they're so small that they're only really usable with the "Type II" phaser, which is the normal Type I phaser clipped onto a separate handgrip to make it look more like a regular firearm.
  • Ditto all of the alien weapons in the Stargate-verse. Though the earthlings suspect that they're weapons of terror rather than weapons of war, and such is borne out in the hordes of Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy graduates that almost universally wield them; a demonstration in season 5 sees Rak'nor, "among our best marksmen", hitting a stationary target with two out of three blasts from the staff, while Carter, after the target is set swinging, cuts it in half with her "primitive" P90's full-auto, then shoots out the rope holding it up with one shot in semi-auto. The fact remains that some characters (such as Teal'c) are still superb shots with the things. This gets ridiculous to the extent that Goa'uld Death Gliders lack any sort of targeting systems, requiring their pilot/gunner to aim the staff cannons manually. Mostly, they just strafe their targets, though.
  • Usually averted in Doctor Who, especially the revival era of the series. Notably, the anti-cyberman gun from the episode "Nightmare in Silver" has very prominent gun sights (similar to a modern assault rifle), especially in the front.
  • Babylon 5's various PPGs (phased plasma guns) are for the most part lacking sights, with only the standard pistol version carried by Earth forces having even what appears to be a front sight, although it apparently can be fitted with a small scope.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 mostly averts this, as bolters have what seem to be iron sights. Strangely enough, every variant of the heavy bolter has them too, even though the Space Marine variants seem specifically designed to be fired from the hip.
    • Some Chaos Space Marines also have special bolters whose nozzles are redesigned to resemble the open jaws of a daemon. Cool, but it really hampers with iron sights.
    • Likewise, the Imperial Guard's lasguns have sights (and sometimes bayonets) - and so do the rifles of the highly advanced Eldar and Tau. Figures that the setting that deliberately goes for outdated designs would get something right that nearly all settings don't.
      • Many troop types have systems linking their guns to their helmets to assist aim, but they keep the iron sights just in case.
      • In Real Life militaries there's a clear trend towards scoped guns. Does the fact that a gun has a scope or red dot sight mean that the iron sights are removed? In most cases — definitely not.
      • The T'au include sights on their weapons, but they're intended as a last resort. Most targeting is done via Augmented Reality, but this relies on painting the target with "markerlights" in order to provide telemetry for the rest of the army. Without this, T'au (who are actually a little weaker and clumsier than the Puny Earthlings in the setting) find using the sights of even their own weapons somewhat unwieldy. Taken to the extreme with the Firesight Marksman: T'au are too ungainly to effectively use any weapon with the pinpoint accuracy needed to single out high value targets, so the "marksman" hunkers down with a control interface to remote-control specialized Sniper Drones.
    • So do Ork weapons, but being Orks, they have no idea what they're there for.
      • Oi! We puts dem dere so da gun is dead accurate, right?!
      • Yeah! We callz dem gubbinz, and we puts em on da shootaz cuz it makes dem look shootier. Giv'n dat Ork technology 'perates on Clap yez 'hands iff yew b'live, this makes dem work, right?!
      • Dat's right! If'n we'z be thinkin' dat dem lit'l bitz o' metal make our shootaz more hittier, den da shootaz'll be more hittier! But, yewz ain't no ork if ya wantz ta be hittier insted o' shootier, ya grot.
      • Who sez yew can't be both shootier and hittier? Hittier shootaz shoot big glowy dakka so the otha guy sees how much more dakka yew have!
      • Oi - yew allz 'is just mucking about, right?! 'Cuz yaz can aim like a grot, but dat don't matter when yew've got... MORE DAKADADAKADAKDAKADAKADAKADAKADAKA!!!
    • Tyranid weapons don't have sights, they have eyes.
    • The Eldar almost completely avert this, pretty much every weapon in their arsenal (down to the pistols) is equipped with either an optical scope or a sense-link that allows the user's HUD to display a view of what the gun is looking at.
  • Averted in GURPS with its fairly high attention to detail and one-second combat rounds. Simply taking the time to properly aim before firing can improve a shot's accuracy considerably, and a variety of sights and scopes to boost this further do exist.

    Video Games 
  • The modern trend is that this trope is generally becoming less common in shooters (especially first person shooters), for the simple reason that the games tend to have mechanics for aiming down sights that the player usually has to make use of to get any mileage out of your average gun.
  • Interesting variation in E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy, where while generally this trope is averted, it is played straight with one of the high end sniper rifles which has no regular sights; if you try to aim with it, you use your helmet or augmented vision to zoom instead.
  • Halo:
    • The entire top of the assault rifle is completely smooth (though the Expanded Universe claims that the weapon has backup iron sights somewhere along the top). So are most of the non-precision Covenant weapons.
    • This is actually averted with almost all other human projectile weapons, which either have a scope or recognizable iron sights (even the version of the assault rifle in some later games seems to mount its cool ammo readout/compass thingy on a sight rail that could, conceivably, take actual sights). The other major exception is the pistol, which has a special sighting system that is connected to the user's helmet. With it they can zoom in on targets digitally and pinpoint their shots. Even the alien-designed Brute Spiker has iron sights, at least in Halo: Reach, as do some of the Forerunner guns.
    • Justified with the needler though, as it fires homing ammunition and thus does not need precision aiming. It's also justified with the Forerunners, whose guns were built specifically for Powered Armor-wearing soldiers and robots with independent targeting systems.
    • Partially handwavable since all characters controlled by the player in the games note  have targeting systems independent of the weapons. This doesn't explain how everyone else aims with sightless weapons, though in the case of the Covenant, it might just be a case of preventing their Slave Mooks from becoming too rebellious and/or their typical religious dogma being an obstacle to sound weapon design (see also their inability to recharge energy weapons in the field).
    • Averted in Halo 5: Guardians, where every gun has a sight of some kind when zoomed in (with several being holographic).
  • The top of the assault rifle in the Marathon series (at least the model in 2 and Infinity) is likewise smooth, but the thing is so inaccurate that it doesn't matter much. With the other guns (except for the SMG's actual usable sight) one just has to aim for the middle of the screen and watch the impact flashes, since there are no crosshairs in the Marathon HUD.
    • Especially strange since the pistols are drawn with scopes, but alas they're only for decoration. They are the most accurate guns in the game, however, even in pairs.
  • Averted in Half-Life 2. The MP7 has an open reflex sight and the AR2 Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle has tiny iron sights. Nobody uses them and the latter are hardly noticeable, though, and on top of that the MP7 sprays all over the place anyway, so precision aiming wouldn't do much good.
    • The Tau Cannon from the first game seems specifically designed to be fired from the hip. On the other hand, it is a prototype that doesn't even have covering or a safety feature to prevent overcharging, much less sights of any kind.
    • And taken to extremes in Opposing Force, an expansion for the first game. Some of the weapons are living creatures that spit plasma or acid. It looks as if it would be tough enough just to point the thing at something and coax it into belching biological death directly in front of it. Never mind sticking any gun sights on their heads.
      • It's entirely possible that the creatures do the aiming themselves. How Shephard can coax them into doing so is another matter entirely.
      • There's also the Desert Eagle, which for some reason forgoes ironsights entirely in favor of a laser aiming module. In a nod to reality, if you fire it with the laser off your shots are much less accurate than they would be with the base game's Colt Python, but in return you get to fire a little faster.
    • Half-Life: Alyx zig-zags this. On the one hand, the human-made pistol and shotgun have ironsights while the Combine SMG lacks them. On the other, the pistol and SMG can both be upgraded with holographic reflex sights, whereas the shotgun gets a Laser Sight placed in such a way that the regular irons are blocked off. Also, the specific SMG Alyx gets her hands on seems to be a prototype missing a few features from the production versions Combine grunts use against her - one of which, weirdly enough, appears to be actual sights, which are visible on the model grunts use.
  • Doom
    • The original games zig-zag this. The pistol and both shotguns have visible sights, but the chaingun and both of the energy weapons lack them. The rocket launcher sports both a rear sight and a pistol grip to make it viable, but said sight can't be seen in first person.
    • The machine gun (which is actually more of a submachine gun) from Doom³ seems to be completely ripped off from the assault rifle from the Halo games. That means it has no sights.
    • Doom (2016) averts this with the Heavy Assault Rifle and Gauss Cannon, which can be upgraded with sights. While you don't need them to get relatively accurate fire, using them increases the Heavy Assault Rifle's damage and lets you charge up shots with the Gauss Cannon to induce chain-reaction explosions.
  • Zig-zagged in Gears of War; the Lancer has iron sights, but none of the other guns do. In the sequel the Hammerburst has been redesigned and now has sights, but the shotgun still doesn't. Then again, considering how useless the shotgun is at long range, that may have been intentional.
  • Averted in Perfect Dark Zero. Although Joanna will almost never actually directly looks down them when zooming unless the weapon has a scope or reflex sight of some form, every weapon has sights of some variety - even the plasma rifle that almost any other game would have never bothered putting sights on because it's a plasma rifle, thanks to being more or less a direct copy of the real-life FAMAS assault rifle.
  • Fallout:
    • As a general rule, low tech guns (revolvers, small automatic pistols, simple rifles, and the classic plasma defender, for example) have good iron sights, but the high tech weapons like the high-end autopistols and nearly all energy weapons lack them unless you add a scope on your own. Generally the low-end weapons seem to be designed to work well, and the high-end weapons seem designed to look cool. Fallout 3's hunting rifle has no iron sights at all (which is funny, given that in every other game you can attach a scope to the hunting rifle) but it's strangely one of the more accurate long-range guns in the game. Given that you can only aim so well with the crosshairs anyway at long-range, you may or may not be using V.A.T.S. to help you. Game Mods specialized in iron sight aiming exist, however, and add sights to all unsighted guns in addition to correcting crappily-designed ones like the 10mm pistol's (which has a tall bulky front sight that does not match at all with the rear sight).
    • Played nearly straight in Fallout: New Vegas, though, which optionally uses iron sights as opposed to just zooming in. Almost all kinetic weapons use them (the only exceptions are the minigun and its unique variant), but a number of energy weapons, particularly lasers, do not. Most explosives don't, either, but on many of them that do have iron sights (like the grenade rifle), it's more of a hindrance than it is helpful. The Honest Hearts DLC has a great rifle available to find, but after its many years of both pre- and post-nuclear service its front sight is bent; regardless, provided you point the right post at what you want to shoot, the sights are still perfectly accurate. The main game's hunting rifle also has misaligned sights, though attaching a scope fixes this (on top of providing a zoom). The Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC adds versions of default laser/plasma weapons to which iron sights and scopes can be attached. The Laser RCW does have a iron sight but seeing how it's a close to mid range weapon there's little point.
    • Fully averted with Fallout 4, which has iron sights as an integral game mechanic instead of an option. Every gun has properly-aligned iron sights mounted by default, including laser weapons.
  • Subverted with the Bullseye from Resistance. While the gun lacks physical sights, it has a holographic HUD that serves the same function. Plus there's the Secondary Fire, which causes its bullets to home in on a tagged target no matter what direction they're fired in; you can also see it has a Laser Sight when a homing tag is active.
  • Call of Duty
    • The series generally averts this, being the Trope Codifier for the need to aim down the sights of a weapon to get it to shoot straight in a video game, but starting with the attachment system in Call of Duty 4, the series has been playing the caveat about ditching regular ironsights in favor of optics painfully straight - even for weapons whose sights are required for them to work properly (for instance, the M16 and M4's front sight acting as the gas block for its direct-impingement gas system; without it, the weapon wouldn't cycle and would essentially become a bolt-action gun), the instant you put a red dot sight or ACOG on it, the ironsights are gone entirely. This comes to a head in Modern Warfare 2 after an EMP strike renders powered aftermarket sights useless, forcing the player to either scrounge up the one M4 they can find with just ironsights or shift through various dropped weapons and try to aim their sights without the targeting reticule.note 
    • EMPs are available in multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2 and 3, too, and will disable all Red Dot and Holographic sights (among other things) for a time... except for that of the F2000's unique Red Dot (modeled after the real F2000's specialized sight, though it is actually a 1.6x scope). ACOG scopes in the second game are also largely unaffected except in darkness as well, as the crosshairs are still there, just not illuminated (especially in the case of the L86's unique ACOG, which takes the form of a SUSAT scope that isn't illuminated at all).
    • In an odd aversion, one campaign level of Call of Duty: World at War has an easter egg Ray Gun from Nazi Zombies. Said gun has a reflex sight, unlike the rest of the game's guns which are all from World War II, making it noticeably easier to aim than any other gun in the game. Multiplayer does allow for the addition of telescopic and/or aperturenote  sights for the automatic weapons and full scopes for the rifles; otherwise, you'll be using the default iron sights.
    • An aversion in Call of Duty: Black Ops lets you attach upgraded iron sights on most pistols (adding fluorescent dots to the rear sight and coloring the front sight; the Python instead has the ACOG Scope attachment for the same purpose). Unfortunately, since you can only put one upgrade on a pistol, upgrading the sights means you have to forgo better upgrades, like extended magazines and suppressors for the automatics, speedloaders for the Python, or the ability to go Guns Akimbo.
  • Similar to the practice of Call of Duty and other more modern shooters, Iron Grip: Warlord encourages you to aim with iron sights for more accurate and effective fire. However, only the basic double-barreled rifle and light machine gun actually feature workable iron sights (activated by the secondary firing mode).
  • Operation Flashpoint is notable for being one of the earliest First-Person Shooters to thoroughly avert this. Each firearm has working sights and using them is essential for hitting anything properly at all, especially if you maxed up the difficulty by disabling things like the small context-sensitive targeting reticule. As a general rule, NATO sniper rifles have a simple crosshair scope, Soviet sniper rifles have a scope with a functional stadiametric rangefinder; assault rifles, carbines and small anti-tank missiles have iron sights while man-portable AA launchers and larger anti-tank missiles have reflex sights.
  • The ARMA games take this further, with different weapons available with different sets of optics. ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead in particular gives the player the ability to zero in long-range optics to compensate for bullet drop or sight along backup iron sights above them for close-range or night-time shooting, while ARMA III lets you carry extra optics for your weapon and switch them on the fly, almost all options either able to be zeroed or having markings to determine where the shot will land at certain distances, and many still having backups of a small reflex sight or an extra set of irons.
  • They're a little too small to see if the guns feature sights, but Terran Marines in Starcraft shoot from the hip constantly. Although with a Powered Armor heads-up display they might not need 'em.
  • Being that it takes place after an apocalyptic event and most of the guns are made from scavenged scrap metal, the guns of Metro 2033 all use iron or laser sights, though some (namely, the revolver and some Kalash rifles) have sights with dots of glow-in-the-dark paint. Played even more straight with the Hellbreath/Volt Driver ball bearing railgun, that's aimed exclusively with a Laser Sight, though you can add sights and scopes to it in Redux.
  • Averted in Dead Space. While all the weapons in the game are aimed from third-person with a Laser Sight, if you look closely you can see that the pulse rifle, which is the only weapon in the game that was actually designed to be used as a weapon rather than a mining tool, does indeed have iron sights on it.
  • Averted naturally with most of the guns in Borderlands, since the game allows you to aim down the sights. However, sometimes the random gun generator will produce a weapon with a very strange sight setup on it, and there are a few pistols that don't have sights at all. And thanks to the randomized drops, literally anything and everything can have a scope on it. Including a Terrible Scattergun with a 60º spread having a 5x sight.
  • Borderlands 2 zig-zags this like crazy.
    • Bandit (scavenged and often jury-rigged parts, quite low-tech) and Tediore (cheap but still high-tech given the digistruction reload mechanic) pistol and SMG barrels have no front sights at all. Not very useful beyond close range.
    • The Hyperion (also a high-tech company) and Tediore shotgun barrels are sightless, which is made weirder since they're the only single-shot barrels and so tend to have a spread tight enough to avert Short-Range Shotgun - despite being much shorter-ranged, the double (Jakobs), triple (Bandit) and quadruple (Torgue) barrel variants have fairly good front sight posts. Hyperion also has the problem of the previous game of making big zoom scopes for shotguns, meaning that getting a quad with said scope means the buckshot will spread way past the edges of your aimed vision.
    • Torgue is middle-of-the-road when it comes to tech, and their scope accessories are all very good reflex sights, even their rocket launcher ones.
    • Dahl is also a happy medium in tech level, more towards high-tech given their ubiquitous smart burst-fire mechanic. Even so, their assault rifle barrel sights leave much to be desired, being two lateral posts with no proper front sight. Using an un-scoped Dahl-barrel AR has a bit of a learning curve. Strangely, their sniper scopes have an unused reflex sight on top of the scope itself.
    • Maliwan averts this entirely. They're easily the most hi-tech brand of all, to the point where their guns don't fire bullets as much as they process bullets into gobs of elemental death, but all of their weapons have decent iron sights, and their scope accessory on submachine guns and pistols is a holographic reflex sight. They only have true-to-form scopes for sniper rifles and rocket launchers.
  • Several guns in PlanetSide don't have any recognizable iron sights. The Terran Republic's Cycler assault rifle, which is the most accurate automatic weapon in the game, has no iron sights or optics. The Vanu Sovereignty's Pulsar assault rifle has no iron sights, but it has a scope affixed to the side of the gun - the wrong side, meaning soldiers would have to hold the gun sideways to use it. The New Conglomerate, which relies on more old fashioned technology, has iron sights on all their weapons, including their Jackhammer shotgun which has an effective range of about 6 feet. Averted in PlanetSide 2, which has usable iron sights or a scope of some form on every infantry weapon.
    • The sequel's heavy weapons, such as the Terran Republic's Mini-Chaingun, play this trope straight. Instead of lining up the sites, holding the right mouse button just zooms the player's view in a bit and tightens up the bullet spread. There was also a bug in beta (that still crops up now-and-again in the finished game) where one might spawn and whatever sights are on their gun are invisible.
  • Several of the Battlearmor weapons in MechWarrior Living Legends have no visible iron-sights, such as the handheld Autocannon/2, the Bear Autocannon, the Flamer, and the Manpack PPC. While it may make sense as they are physically mounted onto the armor's arm and the armor has a built-in HUD, it makes less sense when most of the weapons (lore-wise) are modified infantry support weapons, essentially like stationary machine guns. Averted with the bread-and-butter gun, the handheld Small Laser, which has a simple set of open iron sights.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
    • The first game plays this straight for the most part. The energy and other heavy weapons all lack sights of any kind, which is especially odd in the case of the Type-7 Particle Weapon, which is the game's resident Disintegrator Ray-as-Sniper Rifle and gets a sniper scope-like zoom despite no visible magnified optics. The weapons that do have sights also have the caveat that the aiming mode is just a generic zoom except for the weapons with actual magnified scopes (the ASP and Perseus Mandate's VES), so the sights weren't designed to actually be lined up properly, such as the AT-14 pistol having a tall front sight with smaller rear ones, or the HV Penetrator having both the front post and rear wings positioned on the front of the weapon (which the ammunition counter jutting out of the gun just behind them would prevent you from lining up properly anyway). The LP4 Lightning Gun from the Perseus Mandate expansion pack justifies it in that the arc curves towards the target, so not much precision is needed.note 
    • F.E.A.R. 2 for the most part went away from this due to changing the zoom mode into a proper ironsights mode, but still has a few oddities.note  One of the most bizarre aversions, however, is the Seegert ACM46 pistol, a renamed USP with two sets of iron sights... one of which is set on a rail system that blocks the ones on the gun itself, and which no one to this day has figured out how to use properly (if you look, you'll see the aim mode doesn't even line up either set of sights with where the crosshair would center, instead shoving the model a little ways below and forcing you to aim a few inches below your target). Other oddities include: the Ultra92 shotgun only having a front sight; a small handful of other ballistic weapons not having proper ironsights, because they have some variety of powered optic like the PK470 assault rifle with its red dot scopenote  and the Hammerhead with its reflex sight; and heavy or energy weapons (except for the scoped Type-12 BFG and SR5 missile launcher) still following this trope to the letter. The FL-3 laser weapon at least has a Laser Sight alongside the actual laser, but that one has the added confusion of not actually aiming towards your crosshair past a certain distance.
    • F.3.A.R. averts this further for the ballistic weapons. While the shotgun only has a generic zoom mode because even shots from a foot away aren't a guaranteed instant kill, every regular gun has iron sights - even that shotgun that doesn't need them, even those with other optics attached like the Briggs SMG and G3A3 burst-fire rifle (the only exceptions are the Penetrator and the sniper rifle, and even then the latter still has a visible rear sight and backups built into the top of the scope), even the dual machine pistols you can't properly aim with. Energy weapons still play this straight, however, complete with generic zooms even for the few of them that look like they do have sights.
  • Mass Effect goes all over the place. A few guns, like the Revenant Light Machine Gun, the Predator pistol, and the Tempest submachine gun, have iron sights. Many others, such as the Avenger, Mattock, and Vindicator assault rifles, as well as all the sniper rifles, have internally integrated scopes clearly visible on their model. However, most guns just don't have any sort of sight or scope at all. As a general rule of thumb, human-made weapons have them and alien ones don't. Prior to Mass Effect 3, every gun had either a sight or an integrated scope, but these were removed from that game onward to accommodate the new Gun Accessories feature. Now every gun can have a scope on it, but doesn't come with it by default.
  • Battlefield played this straight with Battlefield 1942 and Vietnam, where anything without a scope just had a generic zoom mode. Averted for most weapons from Battlefield 2 onwards (which had one interesting variation where the front sight of the USMC Spec Ops' M4 would disappear when looking through the attached red dot sight), though shotguns would continue to have a generic zoom at best until Battlefield 3.
    • Battlefield 4 interestingly allows one to play to both extremes. You can unlock not only optical attachments like red dot or holographic sights, scopes of varying powers (from 2x with a red dot and magnifier behind it, up to 20x on some weapons), and even upgraded iron sights for guns that otherwise don't get those optics, like more open and visible ghost-ring sights. Then you play the third mission in the campaign and pick up the collectible SPAS-12, and for some reason it is missing sights entirely until you drop it and pick it back up again - fortunately, between it being a shotgun, its combined Laser Sight/flashlight giving a rough idea of where it lines up, and the cramped quarters of most of the level, you can make do without them.
  • The weapons in Command & Conquer: Renegade follow this for the most part. Even the weapons that do seem to have sights (including, surprisingly, the laser rifle) either only have one half (the pistol and the aforementioned laser rifle only have rear sights, the grenade launcher only has a front sight) or have a second set of rear sights instead of a front post (the sniper rifle, otherwise a unique aversion for still having visible sights despite the do-everything scope attached). Despite this, nearly everything is perfectly accurate anyway, and what isn't both carries and spits out a lot of ammo to compensate. Possibly justified by having an Electronic Video Agent produce a HUD for you, including a crosshair.
  • Blood plays this almost absurdly straight. The only gun in the game with a visible set of full ironsights is the Tommy Gun - so, naturally, as the analogue to the classic Doom chaingun, it's among the least-accurate weapons in the game even without the Secondary Fire that sweeps it in a wide arc to shoot at everything that happens to be on-screen at the time. The flare gun is perfectly accurate despite only having a rear sight, and the Sawed-Off Shotgun is also pretty good at surprising ranges (at least with primary, single-barrel shots) without any sights at all. None of the sci-fi type weapons have sights either, nor do the magical weapons since they're not even really guns (a voodoo doll that targets whoever's in front of you and a skull on a stick that shoots magic fire which drains their life to heal you). Blood II gets even worse about this - most ballistic weapons like the pistol or the assault rifle all have sights of some variety (the only one that doesn't is the vulcan cannon, which compensates via More Dakka), though it doesn't stop the ones that aren't the Sniper Rifle from firing in a fixed cone where even the first round is likely not to hit dead center of your aim. Meanwhile, energy and heavy weapons like the Napalm Cannon or the Death Ray are entirely sightless, but are noticeably more accurate than the bullet-firing weapons, on par with that sniper rifle. Interestingly, the new version of the Tesla Cannon, which as a non-bullet-firing weapon is also near-perfectly accurate (so long as you can deal with the Painfully Slow Projectiles) does have a scope attached - not that anyone uses it.
  • X-COM
    • Zig-zagged in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Sniper rifles always have a scope (the plasma sniper has a hard light-like set of concentric rings as a sight), and both XCOM's and EXALT's rifles have a holographic sight. Every other non-ballistic weapon (aside from EXALT's laser rifle, that totes a small scope) is sightless, and so is the ballistic shotgun.
    • More or less the same in XCOM 2: Snipers have integrated scopes, everything else only has ironsights if it's a ballistic firearm (or in the case of the Cannon, the Grenadier's primary weapon, not even then). However, you can go against the trope if you wish: among the Gun Accessories available to slap on a soldier's gun are the Laser Sight, that increase the chance of a Critical Hit (and looks like a holographic sight), and a proper Scope, which increases accuracy by up to 15%.note 
  • Metroid: Samus Aran's Arm Cannon lacks any external sights and is usually fired from a position where she could only vaguely tell what direction it's pointing in. The Diegetic Interface in the Prime games show she aims it using her visor.


    Real Life 
  • In the majority of real life firefights, there is no time to aim. Point shooting is a method of armed self-defense which accepts this fact, and so focuses on using a fighter's natural instincts and reflexes, rather than the weapon's sights, to hit the target at close range. A gun designed specifically for point shooting would not need sights, though this would obviously hinder its use in any other situation beyond close-range self-defensive shooting.
  • The IMI TAR-21 was actually initially designed without ironsights, instead meant solely for use with the ITL MARS red dot sight. The production version does have regular ironsights, but it's still heavily designed to work with the MARS, such as having the battery for that sight within the body of the rifle, rather than the sight.
    • This has been a common idea for bullpup weapons, probably as part of some sort of belief that, since bullpup weapons are "futuristic", they don't need to rely on old-fashioned, not-futuristic ironsights. The Steyr AUG was initially designed for use with an integrated 1.5x scope, as was the ST Kinetics SAR-21, and the Enfield L85, though able to take regular ironsights, was initially issued standard with a 4x SUSAT optic, with the sights removed entirely. Note though that some of these, like the AUG's Swarovski scope and the L85's SUSAT, do have a rudimentary set of backup ironsights along the top for use if the scope breaks or at ranges where the magnification is more of a hindrance than a help. Note as well that most such weapons were quickly redesigned and/or issued with actual, regular ironsights almost immediately after seeing real combat.
    • One amusingly frequent attempt at an aversion when it comes to video games revolves around the FAMAS. The weapon is one of the few bullpups from its era that does come with ironsights rather than an integrated scope, but they're shrouded along the top of the large carry handle and essentially only able to be seen when you're actually aiming down them. As such, most video game developers will come to the conclusion that either the gun doesn't have sights at all or, more rarely, that players would find them nigh-unusable, and shove rails on top of the carry handle (ironically blocking the real sights) to then place aftermarket sights on that. This gets particularly weird when developers actually bother with modeling the real ironsights just to block them off with a rail.
    • Focus on scopes over ironsights isn't limited to bullpups, either. Heckler & Koch put out special-forces versions of their HK13 and HK23 machine guns, the GR6 and GR9, which had no provisions for the improved G3-style sights the originals used but instead had a 4x scope permanently mounted. The PSG1 sniper rifle also eschews ironsights in favor of its scope, though the similar MSG90 keeps G3-style irons alongside a scope rail. Most variations of the later G36 also use optics integrated into the carry handle, a red dot on top and a higher-magnification scope below for their own military and export versions with just the lower scope. That said, the G36 handle does have backup ironsights built in, the more famous G36C version uses a lower-profile handle with a rail and more prominent ironsights on top (which can also be attached to any of the other variations, and are on some export variants), and later versions of the full-size rifle have since come with new varieties of rails as well (one with the integrated scope and then a rail on top of that where the red dot used to be, and another that eschews the carry handle entirely in favor of a rail directly behind the charging handle).
    • The rise of Picatinny rails allowing for a gun's user to attach whatever accessories suit their likes or needs has lead to a variation on this trope, especially in civilian markets - several weapons, particularly those by Kel-Tec like the KSG and RFB, now do not come with integrated ironsights at all, instead having a rail along the top for the user to attach what they like or need.
    • The FN P90 has interestingly played to both extremes. The original model featured an integrated reflex sight, with small backup ironsights on either side. After that came the P90 TR, which replaced the reflex sight with a sight rail.
  • In an inversion, the earliest firearms didn't have sights of any kind. Early hand cannons did not have shoulder stocks, so could only be fired by holding the weapon under your shoulder and hoping you're pointing it close enough to the general direction of what you want to hit. Even after the invention of shoulder stocks, muskets generally just had a tiny piece of metal at the end of barrel to indicate aim, and most flintlock pistols had no such aiming assistance. To be fair, at the range an ironsight would be helpful, the flintlock pistol was unlikely to hit its target anyway.