What is the best red dot or holographic sight for Battlefield 3 Assault, carbine or just guns in general. Also are iron sights ok?

Where to start. Not with sights, that would be too simple.

In my mind the most important thing in FPS is situational awareness. In Battlefield this is visual – the world view and your mini map, then audio. Bf3 is severely lacking in the audio department compared to most FPS so you have to lean on the visual more. I dislike this but I can understand why Dice have done it – simply more toning down of the genre to a generic mush that anyone can get some kills in. FPS development, or degradation, depending on how you look at it is in line with other more serious issues like schooling and upbrining of children to all be “winners”. Maybe a topic for another post.

Back to situational awareness. Since a large part of Battlefield 3 is visual having an open view, even when aiming down your sights is beneficial. Because of this it is a good idea to run iron sights if at all possible; they block the least view. I do not use all the guns – I see no need, they are all close enough to each other to not need to use everything. Also try using a higher FOV,instructions are at the end of this post.

Assault
AEK-971 – Iron sights. They are my favorite in the game.
M16 – put a scope on it. The aperture rear sight blocks too much close-in view for my taste.
M416 – Either is nice. This was the first gun I used and stuck with it on iron sights for a long time, however the center part is quite fat and can make aiming at distance difficult.

Engineer
M4A1 – Like the M16 a scope is better, the rear sight is annoying.
SCAR-H – Irons. This is one of the only guns I think benefits from a magnification scope – I like to run acog on it.

Recon
SKS – I use both, irons have a rear ring but it is nowhere near as annoying as the M16. While I play aggressive recon I tend to be slightly less aggressive with  the SKS which influences my choice here.
SV98 – Having not played recon very much and initially liking the iron sights, I am glad I tried an attachment*. I highly recommend the Kobra.

Non-Class Specific
AS VAL – Iron sights. They rock, second only to the AEK
I hipfire the PDW-R and P90 and put an ACOG on them for longer range.. somewhat usefulness. Funny thing, the ACOG is so large on these it becomes irritating when hip firing.
Shotguns: The MCS870 has very very open iron sights but I find they are difficult to aim so use an attachment. For the auto shotguns I  just hip fire if I feel like being a total ass and using them – DAO 12 was good for grinding recon on nosehair TDM.

Here are some images to illustrate the various sights.

fig 1. AEK with iron sights

 

fig 2. AEK with Red Dot scope

 

fig 3. AEK with Holo scope

 

fig 4. AEK with Kobra scope

 

fig 5. AEK with Red Dot scope

 

The very first thing to note is that iron sights, at least the good ones, do not obscure the view around the pointy end of your weapon; giving you a clear view of everything in the general aiming area. Seeing enemies allows you to react to them even if you are putting fire on another target at the time.

The second thing, and possibly the most important thing to note is that iron sights and the red dot sights give you a larger field of view when aiming down the sights. This is the primary reason to pick either the US red dot or the RU Kobra attachments when running a red dot or holographic setup. You can see more and react to more with more FOV.

So to recap:
Ironsights > Red dot sights > Holo sights.

How to pick between the US RDS and the Kobra? That is easy. The housing is much larger and obscures more view on the US RDS (fig 6), because of this the Kobra walks away as the best red dot / holo sight in Battlefield 3. In the fig 6 example 1 the housing is obscuring the door to the right of where the player is aiming. In the second example it is obscuring the arch where a player could walk. The Kobra also obscures your view in the same way, but because its housing is much less bulky the negative effect is less.

fig 6. AEK with RDS

 

* Prior to using the SV98 I found that iron sights were acceptable. The largest boon a rifle offers is the ability to easily dispatch those pesky hill camping snipers who do not move. However at longer range, 1-300m, the iron sights become difficult to use because the small size of the target, combined with bullet drop means that the target is behind your front sight. Engineer and assault weapons are ok to this range and can make up for this problem simply by being able to shoot more bullets – it is easy to put enough fire on a target even if all the bullets don’t hit. This was also the case with the SKS.  Obviously you can just shoot and it works reasonably well but I prefer to use the Kobra RDS. The reason the Kobra is better than the other RDS and holo sights is the aiming area. Instead of placing a dot on your target you place a gap on it. This is good, in addition to the other reasons to use the sight. Why is it good to place a gap instead of a dot? Because it does not obscure what you are aiming at! See the image below for a close up illustration.

fig 7. SV98 with Kobra – zoomed

More Battlefield 3 posts

Shotguns
DAO-12
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 30 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 175 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 200 Kills
870MCS
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 200 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 235 Kills
M1014
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 200 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 235 Kills
MK3A1
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 200 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 235 Kills
SAIGA-12K
Kobra (RDS) 10 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 40 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 200 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 235 Kills
SPAS-12
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 200 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 235 Kills
SPAS-12
Kobra (RDS) 10 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 40 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 200 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 235 Kills
Personal Defence
AS VAL
Kobra (RDS) 30 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 40 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 100 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 125 Kills
MP7
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 90 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 125 Kills
P90 Sight Unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 90 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 125 Kills
PDW-R sight unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 90 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 125 Kills
PP-19 sight unlocks
Kobra (RDS) 10 Kills
PKA-S(HOLO) 40 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 90 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 125 Kills
PP-2000 sight unlocks
Kobra (RDS) 10 Kills
PKA-S(HOLO) 40 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 90 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 125 Kills
UMP-45 sight unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 90 Kills
PKA-S(HOLO) 125 Kills
M5K sight unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 10 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 40 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 90 Kills
PKA-S(HOLO) 150 Kills
Assault Unlocks
AEK-971
Kobra (RDS) 50 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 80 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 235 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 270 Kills
AK-74M
Kobra (RDS) 50 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 50 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 235 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 270 Kills
AN-94
Kobra (RDS) 50 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 80 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 235 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 270 Kills
F2000 unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270 Kills
G3A3
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270 Kills
KH2000
Kobra (RDS) 50 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 80 Kills
Reflex (RDS) 235 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 270 Kills
M16A3 unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills
M416 unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills
FAMAS unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills
L85A2 unlocks
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills
AUG A3
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills
SCAR-L
Reflex (RDS) 50 Kills
Holographic (HOLO) 80 Kills
Kobra (RDS) 235 Kills
PKA-S (HOLO) 270Kills