The Burris FastFire 3 red dot is the company’s best-selling red dot optic, with good reason. It is tough, fast on target, and adaptable to a lot of different shooting situations.
Fast target acquisition is where this red dot optic truly excels. The dot size, a medium 3 MOA or truly huge 8 MOA, means you spend less time looking for the dot and more time putting that dot on the target.
In tournaments where fractions of a second are the difference between being in the winner’s circle and bringing home the money or being an also-shot, you need every advantage you can get.
If you need a scope for self-defense, that big dot is easy to find when the situation has gone sideways.
At the same time, the dots’ sizes mean this optic is not your best choice for precision work.
The FastFire 3 works well on handguns, carbines, and shotguns. The 8 MOA dot version is particularly good for shotgunners and close-in work such as CQB tournaments.
The 8 MOA dot covers 8 inches at 100 yards. At 50 yards, that is 4 inches. At 25 yards, the dot is hiding 2 inches from the target. This is handgun territory.
The 3 MOA dot covers 3 inches at 100 yards, 1.5 inches at 50 yards, and a ¼ inch at 25 yards. This is good for shotguns and handguns. It is OK for rifles at 100 yards.
Past 200 yards, you need more precision than either of these red dots provide.
Looking at how much of the target the dot covers sounds like a lot. However, it is only a big space, depending on your target.
The average adult male human has a chest around 11.5 inches across. Even at 100 yards, the 8 MOA dot will not hide all of a torso-sized target.
In 3-gun tournaments (used to keep this simple), handgun targets range from 2”x2” squares to 6”-8” circles. Depending on the course, these targets are placed a few feet away to as far out as 30 yards.
In general, as the target gets farther away, it gets bigger.
Since speed matters, the faster you can get on target and bang the gong, the better your score will be. Accuracy is only relevant to hitting the target. Where you strike does not matter.
That huge 8 MOA dot is easy to find in the scope. You will not be wiggling it around to find the light. It jumps right out at you.
Finding the target through the single pane window is even easier and faster. Only iron sights are faster, and iron sights lack the ability to let you focus on the sight and target at the same time. With the FastFire 3, the dot is sharp, and the target is sharp in your sight.
This is a distinct advantage over iron sights.
Targets for shotguns and rifles on 3-gun shoots follow a similar pattern. So, getting on target fast helps.
The exception is in rifle class. Some of these targets may be several hundred yards away. An 8 MOA red dot does not provide the accuracy you need to get on target.
Even the 3 MOA dot loses functionality past 200 yards. At 300 yards, the 3 MOA dot covers 9 inches. You could shoot in a tournament where 3 MOA dot completely hides the target. That will not do.
This scope has 3 mounting systems.
- If you shoot an autoloader handgun, the scope will mount to a cut on the slide. If your gun does not have an optics cut, a skilled gunsmith can do this. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-cut aftermarket slide for many guns.
- If you have a rail, the scope comes with a Weaver or Picatinny mount. It is short so you only need a few inches of rail. This connects to the receiver.
- You can add a rail to the top of a traditional scope and put the sight atop the scope. You can also get canted rails and mount the FastFire 3 at a 45-degree angle to your regular scope.
Option 3 lets you take your rifle and use it for close and distance work. Sight the scope in the past 100 yards. Sight the FastFire in at 50 yards. You get the best of both. Since the FastFire weighs 1.5 ounces, the extra weight is not noticeable.
If you want to co-witness, you will need high-iron sights. Most gunsmiths can install these for you.
The scope is parallax-free and has unlimited eye relief. The lack of parallax is found in every red dot.
The unlimited eye relief means you can hold the sight at arm’s length or a few inches from your eye and still get a quality sight picture. This also means the scope is compatible with magnifiers.
Magnifiers will enlarge your target and the dot at the same time. The dot still covers the same amount of space relative to the target with magnification.
Red dots are not known for precision. They are meant to get you on target fast, period. The FastFire holds to that with a W/E click value of 1 MOA. That means the dot moves 1 inch at 100 yards with each click.
You get 115 MOA total elevation adjustments. If you mount the scope on top of a traditional scope, you will need all that to lower the dot to a useful level.
Traditional scopes offer a ¼ MOA click value. Sniper scopes go as low as ⅛ MOA.
The on-off switch on the side is a slider on the right side. The left side has the brightness adjustment. On the sunniest of days, you will probably need maximum brightness.
Max Bright also lowers your battery life. Battery life is estimated at the lowest brightness setting. This is another reason I recommend changing the battery every year.
The scope does auto-adjust to the lighting, but I find these settings generally do not work for me. I almost always set the dot to max brightness. This means I have to manually override the scope’s internal adjustments.
To me, this is the biggest drawback of the scope.
- Auto-off – The scope automatically turns off after being n for 8 hours.
- Battery – It uses a CR1632 battery. You can expect several years of constant use. I still recommend replacing the battery every year. Batteries are cheap.
- Compact – The FastFire3 is small and light enough for concealed carry, even on small-frame guns.
- Warranty – You get the Burris lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship. Burris will repair or replace your scope at their option for covered items. Batteries and impact damage are not covered.
- Dot size – Pick a 3 or an 8 MOA dot.
- Waterproof – The sight is waterproof to 1 meter, so rain is not a problem.
- Glock MOS – The FastFire 3 is Glock MOS compatible. Other guns may need gunsmithing or longer mounting screws.
The FastFire 3’s 8 MOA dot is not too big for close work. It is too big when you are shooting past 50 yards.
The FastFire 3 is a great choice for shotguns, especially with the 8 MOA dot.
The FastFire 3 is compatible with most handguns with an optics cutout or a rail.
If you are looking for a good optic for speed tournaments, 3-gun shooting, home defense, or shotguns with birdshot or buckshot, the FastFire 3 with the 8 MOA dot is ideal. You get on target super fast because seeing the dot is so easy.
If you need a bit more precision, say shooting shotgun slugs or rifle rounds to 100 yards or so, the 3 MOA will serve you better. It covers much less of the target.
The FastFire 3 is not meant for precision work, even in the red dot optics field. It is meant to be fast, and there it excels.