Burris AR-F3 (FastFire III) review
The Burris FastFire III is a member of the Miniature Red Dot (MRD) family of red dot reflex sights. The sight is very similar in size, weight and function as the Trijicon RMR, EOTech MRD, Docter Sight II & III, Leupold DeltaPoint, JP Enterprises JPoint4, and PFI Rapid Reticle Micro Red-dot…
Burris AR-F3 sight bundle components:
· FastFire III red dot sight
· AR-F3 picatinny style mount
· Open-end wrench
· Torx Wrench w/ Torx screws for mounting MRD to base
· Plastic dust / debris sight cover
· CR 1632 battery
The AR-F3 base included attaches to any picatinny / Weaver style mount. The sight base includes a storage area to stow the Torx and open-end wrench. Directly under the sight mounting area there is a relief cut which will allow you to store an Extra CR1632 battery. The MRD must be removed from the base in order to retrieve the battery.
Burris FastFire III operations include a small push button located on the left side of the unit. Pushing the button once will turn the MRD on in Auto red dot brightness mode, press again for high red dot brightness, press again for Medium, press once more for the lowest red dot brightness. The fifth press of the button will cycle the MRD to the off position. The AR-F3 sight mount has a cut out which provides access to the on/off-brightness-level button.
The FastFire III does not have an auto off function built in, depending on who you ask; not having the unit turn off on you in the most inopportune time is a check in the “pro” side of the chart. The FastFire III will begin to blink every 5 seconds to signify it is time to change the battery. I normally always carry extra red dot sight batteries just in case the inevitable happens and the battery goes out while in the field.
The FastFire III is rated to be a submersible optic; the battery compartment has an O-ring seal to ensure water does not enter. The location of the battery compartment is ideal. The MRD does not need to be un-mounted in order to replace the battery. This should be a design requirement in all MRD style sights.
On the right lower side of the MRD case you will see an area for making windage adjustments. A small flat blade screw driver works perfect. The included AR-F3 mount has a cut out which will allow the MRD to be adjusted while mounted. Elevation is a similar adjustment located on the top rear deck of the MRD. The adjustments are clearly marked giving you indication on what the strike of the round will do for the given sight adjustment. The adjustments are in 1 MOA increments which would be 1 inch @ 100 yards, ½ inch @ 50 yards, ¼ inch @ 25 yards, 0.1 inch at 10 yards.
Installation of the MRD into the sight base is very straight forward. Utilize the included screws to mount the sight to the base. The AR-F3 mount quickly attached to my flat-top AR-15 picatinny rail. Using the supplied open-end wrench the base was quickly secured.
The first thing I noticed when turning on the FastFire III was how responsive the auto brightness setting was. I had moved into a very dark room, very quickly the MRD red dot brightness level decreased to a level which was appropriate for the environment. Moving back into a bright room the red dot brightness level again automagically increased to level which allowed the red dot to not wash out against a very bright outdoors background.
The red dot stayed very crisp throughout all the intensity levels. I didn’t utilize the dust/ sun shade cover which came with the unit. I suppose it would work fine for some. I found it to be not practical for the strenuous training activities we put our weapons through; the cover will fall off with very quickly while doing fire team bounds or other individual movement techniques.
I utilized a 100 yard target for the initial zero. The zero was applied very quickly; the initial 3 rounds were all on paper with only the factory mechanical zero applied. The MRD glass is clear and free from imperfections or blemishes. I come back to the red dot, the dot is one of the best dots I’ve seen. No visible starburst or mangled looking dot here, it looks almost perfectly round.
So far the sight has gone through one of our classes without issue. I will say that during our movement classes’ equipment, especially sensitive equipment such as optics- routinely goes down due to the harsh environment and the rough handling. Throughout the class this optic performed flawlessly, held zero, I had no issues with the 100 + degree weather affecting battery life either.
For the price point the Burris FastFire III is one of the best miniature red dot sights on the market today. Looking around you can find the AR-F3 package which is the mount and the sight, going retail for approximately $299.00, at this price you could outfit several weapons for the price of one MRD from other competitors.
Running the Burris FastFire III on the AR-15 as the primary optic worried me at first. I thought it might be lacking, or that the sight would not withstand the training environment. So far I have been impressed by the ruggedness, and its matched performance of other full size and medium sized red dot sights.
I have not found any major Con’s to running the Burris FastFire III as a primary optic. I have however found some nice Pro’s which I didn’t expect. The small footprint of the AR-F3 provides a much lighter optic option. Any time we can cut ounces off our fighting equipment without sacrificing in durability or target acquisition then we are winning. That is until you take those few ounces and put them back on your fighting load-out in the form of ammo or water.
I feel like my situational awareness is also elevated. Not having a huge optic body protruding into my field of view gave me the feeling of having more awareness; I didn’t have the same huge blind spots which are prevalent with full sized red dot sights.
I can carry far more extra batteries for the Burris FastFire III as compared to other red dot sights which utilize full size CR123A batteries.
When utilizing an AR-pistol or an SBR for close protection work, the Burris FastFire III makes for a perfect match. The slim profile prevents the sight from being a snag hazard when carried under clothing, the sight itself is fully protected by the AR-F3 base with its high sides, and the sight base will help prevent accidental dings or dents on the actual optic.
Speaking of the base, one of the only things I found I would look toward an aftermarket solution is the base. The sight base itself is fine for day-to-day shooters, in my experience having 2 picatinny securing lugs will allow for the sight base to maintain a better return to zero when the optic is removed from the weapon then replaced. Two lug picatinny designs also help prevent the optic from losing its zero if it is dropped or otherwise subjected to being mistreated and thrown around.
I will be doing a follow up to this article in the days to come. I have been working with a gentleman out of North Carolina who makes some of the best return to zero mounts for MRDs I have ever laid hands on.