|Burris currently produces both the FastFire III (left) and FastFire II (right) While similar, there are some very important differences other than retail price.|
Burris FastFire Series Website
When it comes to red dot optics, we are fortunate to be spoiled for choice. Using Midway USA as an example, searching for "red dot sight" returns 254 unique options from 32 different manufacturers. An enterprising industry writer could probably make a career out of specializing in reviews of red dot sights. I'm not that guy. While I've used red dot sights from a limited number of manufacturers, I like the FastFire sights from Burris the most.
At their core, all red dot sights function similarly. A beam of light is projected onto a glass lens and becomes the aiming point of the firearm the sight is mounted on. Think of the red dot as the front sight and your dominant shooting eye being the rear sight. Looking through the glass lens, the shooter simply superimposes the red dot on the target and fires the firearm. Quality red dot sights will allow for sufficient windage and elevation adjustment needed to zero the firearm at a desired distance.
In my experience the Burris FastFire sights are rugged, light-weight, waterproof, and do everything I expect a red dot sight to do. Across the industry red dot sights range in price from about $20 to $1200. The FastFire series falls within the bottom quarter of that price range with the FastFire II and FastFire III selling for $209 and $249 respectively. I would like to point out that the prices mentioned include the picatinny/weaver mount, but more on that later. Having purchased and used both the FastFire II and FastFire III, this article will highlight the major differences for those trying to decide between the two.
Abbreviation Alert - MOA stands for minute of angle. In laymans language, MOA is a description of angular measurement that can also represent area subtended (covered) by a red dot at 100 yards. 1 MOA is approximately 1 inch at 100 yards. A 4 MOA red dot will cover 4 inches of target area at 100 yards. At 200 yards, the 4 MOA dot will cover 8 inches of target area.
Dot Size - The FastFire II has a 4 MOA dot. The FastFire III is available in two models. The first has a 3 MOA dot and the other an 8 MOA dot. For long range precision shooting, a smaller dot is preferable because it subtends (covers) less area down range than a larger dot. For speed shooting, I prefer the larger dot since I find it easier to see when bringing the sight to eye level. In all cases, the dot is crisp and well defined on any FastFire sight I've ever used.
|The 8 MOA and 4 MOA dots are shown for comparison. Photographing the dots was a challenge. I captured the dots clearly, but the camera bleached out most of the red color from the dots. Trust me, the dots are indeed red.|
The FastFire III activation switch is a rubber covered pressure switch that cycles through 4 modes of operation. The first push turns on the sight in automatic mode with brightness controlled by the front mounted sensor. The second, third, and fourth button pushes cycle through three preprogrammed brightness settings ranging from highest brightness to medium brightness and finally lowest brightness. One final fifth button push turns off the sight.
|The small dot centered in the front housing under the lens is the ambient light sensor. You can see it was moved down on the Fastfire III. I assume this was done to accommodate the top loading battery.|
Battery changes are much easier with the FastFire III. The FastFire III has a battery access door positioned on the top of the sight housing. This makes battery changes a breeze. The FastFire II battery is changed from the underside of the sight housing and requires removing the sight from the base. While not overly difficult, there is always a small amount of doubt that the sight zero remains exactly the same as before removing the sight from the base. In my case, I feel compelled to verify the sight is still regulated before I trust it.
Speaking of batteries....the FastFire II and III use different sizes of lithium coin cell batteries. Before you go plunk down a wad of cash for spare batteries at a specialty or drug store, you might want to check Amazon or Midway USA. They seem to have the best prices.
I'll close this out with two other bits of goodness. Would you like a FastFire III for "free"? Now through April 1st 2016, Burris is giving away a FastFire III sight as a factory rebate when you purchase any of their Prism sights. I'm so tempted since the Prism sight can be purchased for $350 and you get another $250 value FastFire III sight for "free". Also, this last change snuck up on me when I wasn't looking. All the Burris optics are now covered by a Forever Warranty. See the Burris website for details on the program. It's pretty awesome.
|As I was preparing this article I discovered that Burris has changed from a 12 Month Limited Warranty, to their new Forever Warranty. This warranty applies to every Burris optic and has incredibly liberal terms. Bravo Burris!|