The Fastfire 4 – Budget Blasting Red Dot

in Authors, Gear Reviews, Optics/Sights, Travis Pike

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Burris Fastfire series are some of the original, affordable micro-sized red dots. They’ve been around long enough to use the Docter footprint still. They’ve recently reached their 4th generation in the form of the Fastfire 4. I have had a special relationship with the Fastfire series for some years now that dates back to the Fastfire 3.

Years and years ago, I wasn’t quite sold on the idea of red dots mounted to a handgun. At least not sold enough to purchase something premium like a Trijicon RMR. One day at a local gun shop, the owner was clearing out some demo units, one being the Fastfire 3, for a very small sum of money. I said to hell with it, and I’ve been using that Fastfire 3 for nearly a decade now. 

Fastfire 4 against hardwood backdrop

The Fastfire 3 proved itself to be quite useful, and I used it extensively for reviewing guns. It’s been moved from rifles to handguns and large-format pistols and shotguns. It’s been zeroed and rezeroed over and over again and never let me down. 

I approached the Fastfire 4 with a good degree of excitement. I loved the Fastfire 3 and would hope the Fastfire 4 lives up to its reputation. The optic seems to retail between 280 and 300 dollars, planting it in the budget category. 

The Fastfire 4 – Diving In

The Fastfire 4 sticks to roughly the same size constraint, but the window does appear to be slightly larger than the other Fastfires and larger than most. At 1.1 inches wide and .75 inches tall, the window stands out amongst its competitors. A wide window does give you a bit more room to make mistakes with your pistol presentation and to find the dot quickly. It remains light at 1.6 ounces. 

We are stuck with the Docter footprint, which isn’t exactly common or popular anymore. It works, and Burris does send the Fastfire with a Picatinny mount. It’s workable with most multi-mount systems, including the Glock MOS system. I used it primarily on a Beretta PMXs with the Picatinny mount. 

Fastfire 4 Red Dot in front of grass

We get four brightness options that keep things very simple. It rotates between low, medium, high, and automatic modes. The automatic mode adjusts itself based on the ambient light and self-adjusts. I prefer manual for defensive firearms, but automatic is fine for other shooting ventures. 

One of the more interesting features is the weather shield. This weather shields screws onto the optic and creates what’s essentially an enclosed emitter design. It’s a rather clever and certainly welcome feature. With an enclosed emitter optic, rain, snow, and similar debris can’t get between the emitter and the lens. This creates a much more reliable option all around. Also, they smartly set the lens a bit further back into the optic, which shields it from frontal impacts. 

Looking Through the Lens

We get multiple reticles, four to be specific. One is a 3-MOA dot. The other is supposed to be an 11-MOA circle around a 3-MOA dot. To be honest, it just looks like a big 11 MOA dot. Finally, we get a circle around the big 11 MOA dot and, my favorite, a circle with a 3 MOA dot in the center with two stadia lines flanking it. 

Aiming at trees with the Fastfire 4 red dot

The controls of the Burris Fastfire 4  sit on the right and left-hand side. The left-side control cycles through the brightness settings, and the right-side buttons cycle through the reticles. I’ll admit I’d prefer the buttons to adjust the brightness up and down and maybe long presses to switch the reticles. It works but isn’t optimum. 

The lens itself provides a nice, clear image. The Fastfire 4 doesn’t slouch in the clarity department, and it certainly punches above its price point. The reticles are crisp, although, as mentioned, the 11 MOA design just looks like a rather large dot rather than a circle and dot. The 3 MOA dot and the circle and dot are very crisp and quite nice. 

2 - The Fastfire 4 - Budget Blasting Red Dot

The top-loading battery lasts for 26,000 hours, and there is an automatic auto-off feature after eight hours. This is not a shake-awake optic, so it won’t spring to life with movement. Users will have to turn the Fastfire 4 on manually to get it up and ready. 

At the Range With the Fastfire 4

Zeroing was easy thanks to the included wrench and the fact we get nice tactile and audible clicks of the adjustments. Snapping in and getting the optic zeroed to my PMXs was no big challenge. Once mounted and zeroed, I began blasting away. The mount held steady, and the optic remained zeroed. I love the bigger circle and dot reticle. It was easy to see and snap on target. 

At close ranges, all I needed to do was fill the big circle with the target and let the lead fly. On a shotgun, the big 11 MOA dot would likely be perfect. It catches the eye and ensures you can get on target quickly and with great capability. The circle and 11 MOA dot might be just perfect for a shotgun as well. The 3 MOA works for just about everything, including handguns. 

2 - The Fastfire 4 - Budget Blasting Red Dot

It works and holds zero without complaint. The blowback action of the PMXs certainly didn’t challenge its durability. A few hundred rounds into testing, the optic never failed me. It held tight and worked without complaint. 

READ MORE: The Best Pistol Red Dots Out There

I took the Fastfire 4 through numerous lighting conditions. I had a light in front of the optic and tried it in the dark. That wasn’t great for the automatic setting but fine for the manual settings. On top of that, I tested the optic with the sun behind me, the sun in front of me, and to both sides. The different conditions never challenged my ability to see the reticle and use the gun if needed. 

Holding Up

The Fastfire 4 and I certainly don’t have the time needed to establish the same level of trust I keep in the Fastfire 3. However, it seems promising, and Burris has a real winner with the Fastfire 4. It features multiple, very useful reticles, a huge window, great battery life, and the ability to turn it into an enclosed emitter design. Burris has an excellent budget optic for sport shooting and hunting, and it certainly has a niche spot in the budget market. 

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