Bomb Proof Dots: The Burris FastFire

Red dot sights aren’t unique or rare anymore, and that means the market is flooded with many options. You can get red, green, and even blue dots and the sizes vary a lot. After running more dots than I can count over the years, there’s one family of red dot sights I always recommend when someone wants an ultra-durable option: the Burris FastFire. Here’s how it’s worked for me and why I believe it’ll be ideal for you, too.

burris fastfire 3
The FastFire 3 has proven to be an excellent option. [Photo: Kat Stevens]

What’s the Burris FastFire?

The FastFire has gone through a few generations and is now offered as the Burris FastFire 4. You can still get the FastFire 3, but eventually, the FastFire 4 will overtake it. The third-generation models still get a lot of use, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today. However, the FastFire 4 is the newest, and every time Burris releases a new generation, it’s been tweaked and fine-tuned in fantastic ways.

As for the Burris FastFire 3, it’s offered with different dot sizes (as are all the Burris dots). The two options are 3 MOA and 8 MOA, and I prefer the 3 MOA option. It’s made to be a bright, clearly defined red dot in a rugged, lightweight housing, and it definitely gets the job done. You can get it with a Picatinny/Weaver mount, which makes it compatible with a lot of guns. It’s tough enough to be mounted on everything from handguns to shotguns.

burris fastfire 3 in box
Although there’s a Gen 4 model out now, you can still get the FastFire 3. [Photo: Kat Stevens]

How well does the Burris FastFire 3 work?

Although I readily admit I’ve put the FastFire on a few different guns, it’s a favorite for my Remington R1 Elite Longslide Hunter. On that 10mm handgun, it works well for handgun hunting but can also be used for home defense or even carry. The barrel on that model is extra long, which makes it a better home defense or open carry option than concealed carry. When it comes to open carry, I only use it in situations that aren’t out in the general public. I don’t generally recommend open carry unless you’re on your own property or property belonging to a gun-friendly friend or family member.


On the R1 Elite Longslide Hunter, the FastFire needed a mounting plate. There are a ton of optics-ready handguns on the market, though, so you can easily drop the FastFire on those without messing with finding a compatible plate. Even with the need for a mounting plate, it was easy to put the FastFire 3 on the gun.

After that, I took it hunting and for range use all over the country. This included Washington State, Mississippi, Tennessee, and, of course, Texas. When traveling by air, it had to be checked with the TSA, something that always involved a rifle case because I never flew with just one gun. This brings us to the story of why I always recommend the Burris FastFire for its toughness and resistance to damage.


Before flights, I usually zero my optics. This includes red dots, which means that when I arrive, I just check zero and make minor adjustments if needed. It tends to save a lot of time on the ground. On one trip, something happened to the rifle case. It looked as though it had been driven over by a forklift. This is also the time that sold me on Flambeau’s hard-sided, high-end rifle cases, but that’s a story for another day.

In the end, the rifle case remained locked and closed thanks to deeply embedded, large gauge wires built into the locks and latches. The guns inside had so much pressure put on them that they were forced into the foam layers hard enough to permanently cut their shapes into the material. And the Burris FastFire 3? The housing did get damaged. The housing around the lens was torqued hard and twisted around. However, the glass itself was completely fine and untouched. I assumed this would require a totally new red dot, but I tried it out anyway because despite its being mangled, it was functional.

The dot was still dead on. It didn’t lose zero, it didn’t crack, and the damage was aesthetic, meaning I didn’t really care. On that hunt, I dropped double-digit numbers of feral hogs with that gun and dot combo. From then on, I was permanently sold on the design of the Burris FastFire 3.

remington r1 handguns
Two Remington R1s, one with the Burris FastFire and one without. It takes the gun to the next level by adding the red dot. [Photo: Kat Stevens]

How does the Burris Fastfire 3 work at the range?

From a clarity and field of view standpoint, the Burris FastFire is awesome in all its generations and sizes. The window size is pretty standard for a reflex sight, and the dot itself is easy to visualize quickly. Rapid target acquisition is straightforward and re-acquiring the target during a long string of fire is also simple to do. It has three different manual brightness settings so you can adjust accordingly, but it also has an automatic sensor that will change brightness as the environment demands. That leaves your hands free to manipulate the gun unless you specifically want the brightness in a different setting.

burris red dot sight
The sight has a multi-coated lens to reduce glare. [Photo: Burris]


The housing of this red dot sight is made of durable aluminum, which is different from the dots out there with polymer-blended housings. If you think a polymer housing around the glass would’ve withstood the damage that twisted the edges of the aluminum on this dot, I will counter that by saying the aluminum protected the glass from any damage and gave just enough to stop the sight from getting crushed.

The lens is fully multi-coated, which reduces glare and helps it perform better in low-light situations. This sight works well after dark. If you can see your target—feral hogs, in my case—you can get this dot on target with no problem. It’s powered by a single CR1632 battery, and thanks to the top-mounted access door, you can change out the battery without taking the dot off the gun.

Burris states the FastFire is shockproof and can handle years of hard recoil, and that is true. I’ve had one FastFire 3 survive use on several handguns and shotguns, and it still works great.

Why don’t you have one yet?

The Burris FastFire 3 is well-made, functions reliably, and holds zero impressively. I wholeheartedly recommend it, whether you want a sight for defensive use or hunting. Don’t have a red dot sight? Get a FastFire 3. I think you’ll be pleased.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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