- PINPOINT ACCURACY - The FastFire III puts an unmistakable red dot at...
- LIGHTWEIGHT OPTICS - With lightweight construction and durable design,...
- VERSATILITY DEFINED - Rely on the automatic brightness sensor to...
- RED DOT SIGHT - Choose a 3 MOA dot, popular on rifles or with anyone...
- MUST-HAVE COMPETITION GEAR - The FastFire III will work with virtually...
While Aimpoint and EOTech tend to get most of the attention when it comes to electronic weapon sights, the Burris FastFire series of red dot sights is quickly gaining a reputation for offering excellent quality optics at a much more affordable price. Like Aimpoint sights, the Burris FastFire sights are reflex sights, which use mirrors to reflect a red LED reticle to create an illuminated aiming point. However, this alone says very little about this excellent line of sights, which is why today we’re presenting our Burris FastFire 3 review to allow you to see how this particular model ranks against some of the other top red dot sights on the market.
Burris FastFire 3 Review: A Brief Introduction
Due to its smaller size, the FastFire 3 is an excellent choice not only for rifles but also for shotguns and handguns It only measures a mere 1.9 inches long. The model is available with an included Picatinny-rail mount. You can also choose to buy it without a mount and instead select from one of the many other rail mounts currently available. All of this means you can easily mount this electronic scope on a wide range of weapons and without having to worry about it taking up too much space or adding too much weight. In fact, it is so light that you’ll barely even notice it’s there.
In order to be able to compare the Burris FastFire 3 to other electronic weapon sights, we’ve narrowed down the review to the most important criteria. This allows us to do a direct side-by-side comparison of the FastFire 3 with both the previous FastFire models and some of the other top red dot sights.
By setting up the review in this way, you will be able to look specifically at those criteria most important to you, allowing you to determine if the FastFire 3 is the right choice for you based on factors such as price, the quality of the optics, durability and battery life.
Reticles and Brightness
The Burris FastFire 3 is available with two different reticle styles; a 3 MOA red dot and 8 MOA red dot. Both of these reticles are designed specifically with quick targeting in mind, as you’ll already be able to see where your shot will hit as soon as you pull your weapon up.
However, due to the larger size of the reticle compared to the 1 MOA dot found on EOTech scopes or the 2 MOA dot found on most Aimpoints, the FastFire 3 can’t offer quite the same level of accuracy or precision for longer range shots. In fact, it is primarily designed for situations where quick targeting is the most important factor. This is why this model is especially popular for tactical shotguns.
When choosing between the 3 MOA or 8 MOA reticle, the most important thing to consider is what you’ll primarily be using the sight for. If you plan on using it on a handgun or rifle, you’ll probably be better off going with the smaller 3 MOA dot, as this will offer you better accuracy in those situations where the target is more than a few feet away. On the other hand, if you are looking for a high-quality scope for use on a tactical shotgun, the 8 MOA reticle is definitely best, as it virtually mirrors the spread pattern of both buckshot and birdshot at 25 yards.
Automatic Brightness Function & Settings
One of the biggest features of the Burris FastFire 3 is its automatic brightness function. It uses a sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of the illuminated reticle based on lighting conditions. This means you won’t have to struggle with changing the brightness settings every time the lighting conditions change, saving you valuable time when your target suddenly appears in front of you.
Users can also take advantage of three manual brightness settings if they prefer to have total control over the reticle. While the automatic brightness function is definitely handy, and the sensor always chooses an appropriate setting based on the light conditions, some shooters will definitely prefer to have total control over this function. In this case, while the three settings offered by the FastFire 3 gives you at least some level of control, it still doesn’t begin to compare to the 10-20 brightness settings offered by some of the top models.
The Burris FastFire 3 is a parallax-free, 1x magnification sight, meaning it offers true two-eye open shooting. Like most other higher quality optics, Burris uses high-grade optical glass to provide incredible clarity and brightness. As well, the FastFire 3 uses Burris’ HiLume multicoating, which helps to eliminate glare and provide increased brightness and light transmission even in lower light situations.
However, while the multicoating definitely allows the FastFire 3 to offer improved brightness and clarity compared to most other sights in its price range, the optics still don’t quite live up to the quality found on the top dollar products. Nonetheless, the differences between the FastFire 3 and top models like Aimpoint are barely noticeable. This means the Burris model is about the best you can get. unless you want to spend around three times the price for a top-of-the-line model.
Another area where the FastFire 3 can’t quite compare with the top-dollar electronic weapon sights is in terms of durability. However, this isn’t really a critique of the FastFire line, and instead has more to do with the fact that Aimpoint, Trijicon, EOTech and the other top brands are designed specifically for military/law enforcement use and are built to military specifications.
Although it may not be built to military specifications, the Burris FastFire 3 really doesn’t need to be either, as it is primarily designed to be used more for hunting, tactical shooting and home defense purposes. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that it can’t take a beating. The FastFire 3 has been repeatedly tested to stand up to even the strongest recoil.
While many other red dot sights will need to be zeroed back in after a few shots on a 12-gauge, the Burris FastFire 3 holds it zero consistently, no matter what you throw at it. The sight is built to withstand years of heavy recoil and is fully shockproof to prevent damage from drops, hits and other abuse. It is also fully waterproof.
Still, the best part is that it comes with Burris’ Forever Warranty. This warranty is fully transferrable and covers any owner against damage or defects for life. This applies, no matter whether you bought the sight new or used. If something does happen to the sight, Burris will repair or replace it free of charge, with no receipt or warranty card needed and no questions asked.
Ease of Use
The automatic brightness function and the ease of installation make using the Burris FastFire 3 simple and intuitive. Turning the sight on and changing between the brightness settings is done using a single button located on the right side of the unit. The FastFire 3 also features an automatic shut-off function, which turns the illuminated reticle off after 8 hours in order to conserve battery life.
One of the major complaints about the original FastFire and the FastFire II was the battery placement. The battery compartment was located underneath the scope, meaning you had to unmount it from the weapon in order to change the battery. Burris has corrected this issue on the FastFire 3 by moving the battery compartment to the top of the sight, ensuring you can quickly change the battery whenever needed, without having to take the sight off first.
The windage and elevation adjustments is another area where Burris has made improvements. Now, adjusting the FastFire 3 is much easier than it was on the previous models. The adjustment slots are sunken into the sight to keep them secure, but can easily be turned using either the rim of a shotgun shell or a coin. Users enjoy a wide adjustment range when using the FastFire 3, allowing for up to 115 MOA elevation adjustment and 86 MOA windage adjustment.
One of the major advantages of choosing a reflex sight over a holographic sight is the extended battery life. The LED used in reflex sights consumes much less energy than an etched holographic reticle. The FastFire 3 is powered by one 3-volt CR1632 lithium battery. This gives it an approximate battery life of 5,000 hours or so. While this is still far superior to holographic sights, it is about half of that offered by some of the top reflex sights.
The reason for this slight decrease in battery life compared to some other reflex sights is mainly to do with the automatic brightness function, as the battery life rating on most other sights is based on continuous use at the minimum brightness setting. As you likely won’t be using the sight at the lowest brightness setting only, in reality, the FastFire 3 actually offers a fairly similar amount of battery life as most other reflex sights. Either way, the battery will still last long enough to ensure you won’t have to change it for years.
While the FastFire 3 may not be able to compare to the top-dollar electronic sights in terms of optics, it performs nearly or even equally as well on most of the other major criteria. On the other hand, when we begin comparing it to the other electronic weapon sights in the FastFire 3’s price range, few, if any, models even begin to come close.
Although it may not be the absolute best reflex sight on the market, the Burris FastFire 3 is still an excellent product and offers incredible value for your money. As you can see from this Burris FastFire 3 review, if you’re looking for an affordable scope that combines quality optics with a rugged, durable design, there’s almost nothing better. This sight is truly built to last and provides the versatility to make your favorite rifle, shotgun or handgun that much more fast and accurate.