Burris Fastfire 3 Review – 2021 Pick

| Last Updated: June 2, 2021

The Burris FastFire 3 (also spelled FastFire III) is an extraordinarily flexible red dot sight. It’s also the single best-selling optic from Burris, which puts it well ahead of its competition. However, the fact that it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Here’s what else you should know about this product before you go shopping!

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • The most popular reflex red dot sight on the market
  • Includes picatinny mounting setup and other hardware
  • Auto brightness settings and easy access to battery
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Burris Fastfire 3

Pros

  • Long Battery Life
  • Different Dot Sizes
  • Extremely High Compatibility
  • Automatic Brightness Adjustments

Cons

  • Low Operating Range
  • Quality Control Issues

Burris Fastfire III Specs

  • Eye Relief: Unlimited

  • Adjustment Options: Parallax-free, 115 MOA for elevation, 86 MOA for windage

  • Type of Reticle: 3 MOA dot or 8 MOA dot

  • Magnification: 1x

  • Objective Lens: 21 mm

  • Field of View: 190 feet at 100 yards

  • Weight: 0.9 oz

Pros

Here are the primary positives of the Burris FastFire 3.

Extremely High Compatibility

Burris’ FastFire 3 is among the most versatile red dot sights currently on the market. You can mount it on handguns, shotguns, or various types of rifles without difficulty, though we don’t recommend using it on a long-range rifle. It even mounts on top of existing primary sights as a secondary option, which is always nice to see.

This is already good, but what really sets this sight apart is the optional 'No Mount' version availability. Rather than having a fixed mount, this allows you to pair the sight with any compatible mount (i.e. most of them) for the gun you want to use. This is as flexible as a scope can realistically get, and it’s significantly better than many other sights in its price range.

Different Dot Sizes

This is another relatively rare feature on sights, most of which have a single dot size and leave it at that.

The 3 MOA dot is the best choice if you want to pair this sight with rifles or if you want to focus on accuracy. That’s particularly important for activities like competitive shooting, especially if you’re able to fire at your own pace.

The 8 MOA dot version is a better choice for fast target acquisition at close range, such as shooting in some obstacle courses or in urban environments. Since the dot is much larger, you can acquire targets faster, albeit at the expense of a little accuracy. This version of the sight works well with shotguns or handguns.

One other thing to keep in mind here is that the Burris FastFire 3 is functionally a short-range sight. It has no magnification, which means long-distance shooting relies almost entirely on skill. It does support adjustments for windage and elevation, but ultimately it’s not a substitute for a magnifying sight if you want to hit targets at long distances.

Automatic Brightness Adjustments

This sight adjusts for three levels of brightness, which is relatively low for sights. We’ve seen options with ten or more levels of adjustment, and more options are generally better. However, this sight still reduces the amount of time you need to spend adjusting it because it uses a sensor to detect light levels and adjust the sight appropriately.

That kind of added convenience makes up for the relatively low number of adjustment settings, and it’s aided further by the accessible battery access. The battery is on top of the sight, instead of near the base like on many other models, which makes it even easier to change when needed.

Long Battery Life

This sight has an automatic on/off system for the sight, which saves on battery power when you’re not using it. For context, that’s a feature that isn’t available on many sights sold at a higher price point, so it’s a particularly good value here. The manufacturer rates the battery for up to 5 years, but realistically, battery lifespan will vary based on how much you use the sight.

Cons

No sight is perfect, so here are the main negatives we found about this sight.

Low Operating Range

This sight is rated for -10 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. While this isn’t bad, many of the coldest areas in the country can get below that during the winter. Meanwhile, 130 degrees is about the hottest temperature on record, meaning it’s a level some parts of the country can actually reach.

Functionally, what this means is that you cannot use the Burris FastFire 3 in any part of the country at any time of year. This problem is most notable for winter shooters in Alaska, where the operating ranges of sights are most likely going to come into play, but it could affect other parts of the country during an excessive cold snap.

Since its operating range is small enough to matter for some potential users, we have to rate this a negative despite the overall quality of the sight.

Quality Control Issues

This is the main deal-breaker for the Burris FastFire 3. While most models of this sight work fine, enough to make it a highly-rated option by most buyers, there are some issues with the manufacturing process that make the sight unstable on some models.

On a faulty model, the red dot may split into multiple overlapping dots, effectively giving it an MOA of 10 or more. This is extraordinarily troublesome for precision shooting, and it happens often enough to be a notable issue.

Best Uses for the Burris FastFire 3

Here are the best uses for the Burris FastFire 3.

Close-Range Shooting

The FastFire 3 works exceptionally well in close-range environments, including urban environments and some shooting ranges, thanks to its versatility and two-dot size options. Unfortunately, you’ll have to choose whether to get the big dot or the small dot when you order it; none of the models let you swap between the dot sizes.

However, this sight is suitable for use with pistols and shotguns, not just rifles. Since it has no magnification, it can offer a generally excellent field of view without compromising your situational awareness.

The automatic brightness adjustment makes close-range shooting even easier. Notably, this allows for faster changes between indoor and outdoor shooting, which could make all the difference in a tense situation.

Mid-Range Precision Shooting

In this context, mid-range means about 100 yards. While many guns are more than viable at higher ranges, particularly if you’re skilled, the fact that the Burris FastFire 3 has no magnification means it’s fundamentally unsuitable for precise shots at longer distances.

Its mid-range shooting option is most effective with the 3 MOA version, which is significantly better for precise shots than the 8 MOA (which works better for close-range situations). While the FastFire 3 is suitable at this range, we think it’s ultimately better at close range, where more of its features are more likely to come into play.

Is the Burris Fastfire III Compatible With Any Rifle?

No sight is truly compatible with any rifle. However, as we mentioned above, the Burris FastFire III is as compatible as you can realistically expect any sight to be. It mounts on a wide variety of firearms straight out of the box, and even comes with a no mount option so you can pair it with the right mount for your gun.

That last point is a small linguistic concern. If you need to buy an accessory to make it work, it’s hard to say that sight is actually compatible. Rather, it’s the mount that’s compatible, and the sight just goes with it. That’s mainly a semantic issue, however. One way or another, you can use this sight with almost any rifle (or shotgun, or handgun, or other modern firearm).

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the Burris Fastfire III?

The main thing to know about mounting this sight is that it’s highly compatible straight out of the box, but its manufacturing issues mean that some models don’t mount as securely as they should. This sight is made for shotguns, so it ought to handle strong recoil with no problems.

Functionally, this means that the Burris FastFire 3 may require some expertise to mount securely, especially if you get a problem model. That means we can’t recommend this sight to amateurs, especially over similarly-priced options that are more consistent with their build.

What Makes the Burris FastFire III Stand Out From the Competition?

The main thing that makes the FastFire III stand out from other sights is the wide compatibility with other firearms and the exceptionally long battery life. Most models of this sight work fine, and when that’s true, it’s a simple and reliable sight you can use on many different guns.

Burris FastFire 3 vs The Competition

Burris FastFire 3 vs Vortex Venom

The Vortex Venom has significantly more brightness settings than the FastFire 3, as well as a 6 MOA reticule. The Venom is also lighter than the FastFire, and it has both more adjustability and a wider field of view. The Vortex Venom is a fundamentally better sight in the same price range.

Burris FastFire 3 vs Trijicon RMR

The Trijicon RMR offers outstanding night use compared to the FastFire 3, along with better anti-reflection coatings. However, it has a relatively small viewing plane, which can be an issue in some environments. It’s also relatively heavy, which can impact some users. We like the FastFire 3 better because of the weight issue, but the RMR is still a good alternative.

Conclusion 

The Burris FastFire 3 is a decent sight suitable for close-range and mid-range shooting. However, while it’s a popular option, persistent manufacturing issues make it harder to recommend over more-reliable choices.

People Also Ask

Here are some of the most common questions people have about this product.

Can You Use Burris Fastfire III in Low Light?

Yes. It also features an automatic brightness adjustment so you don’t have to fiddle with the settings in low-light situations.

What is the Burris Fastfire 3 Battery Life?

The battery lasts about 5 years with low use, or fewer if you use it regularly.

What Kind of Battery Do I Get for the Burris Fastfire 3?

The sight uses a CR1632 battery.

What is the Difference Between Burris Fastfire II and III?

The main difference in models is that the FastFire 2 has a 4 MOA dot, which is a somewhat odd balance between precision and ease of acquisition. The FastFire 2 is slightly cheaper, but we think the FastFire 3 is better overall.

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!