Burris Fastfire 3 vs Vortex Venom: Head to Head Comparison

There is no doubt that both Burris and Vortex build some of the best optics on the market.  In the compact red dot sight niche, there is an overwhelming number of options.  A search on Amazon shows page after page of red dot sights from well-known manufacturers to names I can barely pronounce.  Red Dot sights have become a staple item among shooters of all kinds.

Burris and Vortex Optics are two of the top contenders in this market. The Burris Fastfire 3 and the Vortex Optics Venom often compete head to head in the marketplace.  I wondered how these two red dot sights stack up on paper when compared side by side. Let’s look at each of these red dot sights and then compare them to find out how they stack up and which of these sights comes out on top.

Burris Fastfire 3 Red Dot Sight Review

Burris Optics has been building fine optical sights since it was founded in 1971 by Don Burris. Burris has developed a reputation for quality, performance, and competitive pricing, from the first Fullfield riflescope series to the current array of night vision, thermal and mainstream optics.   The Fastfire 3 red dot sight doesn’t miss the mark.

Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount

The Fastfire 3 is a small form-factor red dot sight designed for rifles, shotguns, or pistols. Small red dot sights have become the rage among pistol shooters.  The low profile of these sights presents few problems for those of us who carry a pistol on a routine basis.  The weight added to the pistol is negligible and the benefits almost always outweigh the negatives.

Let’s begin looking at the features offered with the Burris Fastfire 3 before we dive into the technical specifications.

  • Automatic Brightness Sensor – The Burris Fastfire 3 includes an automatic light sensor.  No more manual adjusting the intensity of the red dot when lighting conditions change.  If you prefer to set the red dot intensity manually, the controls for this are easy to access and use.
  • Easy Battery Replacement – Many red dot sights require you to dismount the optic to change the battery.  That usually means a trip to the range to zero the sight again.  Not so the Burris Fastfire 3.  The battery compartment is located on the side of the sight for quick and easy battery changes without dismounting the sight.
  • Maximum Battery Life – Burris advertises a battery life of up to 5 years.  Such a long battery life is possible with the automatic time-out feature that turns off the sight when the firearm doesn’t move for a set period.  
  • Easy Mounting Systems – No matter what type of firearm the Burris Fastfire is mounting too, Burris has a mount solution.  The Fastfire three comes with Picatinny or Weaver mounts for any application.  Burris also offers a full line of accessory mounts for almost any firearm.  The Burris mounting system is compatible with the Glock MOS system.
  • Available Dot Sizes – You can choose from an 8 MOA dot size or a 3 MOA dot size.  The larger red dot size is popular with pistol and shotgun applications. Many close-range shooters prefer the rapid target acquisition of the 8 MOA dot over the 3 MOA dot.  Rifle shooters often opt for the 3 MOA dot size to ensure more precise shot location on targets at longer ranges.

The Technical Side

Here is a look at the factory specification for the Burris Fastfire 3 red dot optical sight for those of you who like the technical side.

  • Reticle color – Red
  • Objective Lens Size – 21 x 15 mm
  • Finish – Matte
  • Mount Type – Picatinny, Weaver, or none (custom mounting)
  • Eye relief – Unlimited
  • Adjustment per Click – 1 MOA
  • Total Elevation Adjustment – 115 MOA
  • Total Windage Adjustment – 86 MOA
  • Parallax free operation
  • Overall Length – 1.9 inches
  • Weight – 1.5 ounces
  • Illumination controls – Manual push button with auto adjustment features
  • Illumination Settings – 3 manual settings
  • Battery – CR 1632
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • 1X Magnification
  • Multi-coated lenses 

The Word on the Street

It’s always good to listen to what is being said on the street about these kinds of products.  The actual users often provide better insight into optics and scopes.  

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy access to the battery
  • Clear glass with great light transmission
  • Auto-brightness control

Cons

  • Small viewing window compared to other scopes
  • Only three manual intensity settings
  • The battery compartment cover is hard to replace

Last update on 2021-04-14 at 22:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Burris Fastfire 3 is an excellent choice for the price and makes a great entry-level red dot optic.


Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sight Review

I won’t hesitate to say that I am a Vortex Optics fan.  I have several Vortex Optics products in my gun safe.  I have an AR pistol with a Vortex Venom red dot sight installed. For the money, I believe Vortex Optics to be some of the best buys on the market. Vortex Optics is a solid choice if you want above average quality, features, and performance at a reasonable price.

Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights

No matter the application, the Vortex Venom red dot sight can meet the challenges.  Vortex has not shorted the shooter from the low profile design to the high quality glass, where it counts in creating the Vortex Venom red dot sight.  Let’s begin this review by looking at the features that Vortex Optics offers with the Venom red dot sight.

  • Fully Multi-Coasted Glass – the Vortex multi-coating provides the highest level of light transmission and reflective protection.  Coatings on all air to glass surfaces provide maximum effectiveness and protection.
  • Widefield lens – Featuring one of the widest lenses on the market, you also get an exceptional edge to edge resolution with no blurring or fading of the image.  Better resolution from side to side allows faster and more precise aiming.
  • Ten intensity settings – Ten levels of intensity settings for the red dot make finding the right level of brightness on the red dot for the prevailing conditions easy and quick
  • Brightness Controls – The brightness controls on the Vortex Venom are side-mounted for easy access and adjustment, even when wearing gloves.
  • Automatic red dot intensity system – Includes an automatic intensity level feature to adjust the red dot intensity to match the ambient lighting for best operations
  • Unlimited eye relief – Unlimited eye relief allows quick target acquisition
  • Parallax free operation – Every optic exhibits some parallax.  In keeping with industry practice and standards, the extremely small amount of parallax is considered “parallax free,” and the impact on performance is negligible.
  • 3 MOA red Dot – Small three MOS red dot makes target acquisition quick and precise for rapid shot placement with accuracy and confidence.
  • Battery Life – At the lowest intensity setting on the red dot, the battery life extends to 30,000 hours.  When left on the highest setting, you can expect the battery to last 150 hours.
  • Top loading Battery – The Vortex Venom features one of the easiest batteries to install or replace.   The battery is located on top of the optic and features a screw-down cap.  There is no need to dismount the optic, no trays, or drawers to lose or break.  Unscrew the cap, replace the battery, return the cap and screw tight and you are done.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight

From a technical standpoint, you can’t get much better specifications than the Vortex Optics Venom red dot sight.

  • Weaver or Picatinny rail mounting
  • Magnification – 1X
  • Dot color – Red
  • Dot Size – 3 MOA
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Adjustment per click – 1 MOA
  • Total Elevation Adjustment – 130 MOA
  • Total Windage Adjustment – 100 MOA
  • Parallax Free
  • Overall length – 1.9 inches
  • Weight 1.1 ounces
  • Included in the box
    • One Vortex Optics Venom red dot optic
    • One Picatinny/Weaver mount
    • One T-15 Torx wrench
    • One rain cover
    • One lens cloth
    • Mounting screws
    • One CR1632 battery
    • One screwdriver

What Users Report Overall About the Vortex Optics Venom

Pros

  • Lightweight and low profile for easy carry
  • Great glass and some of the best clarity
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lots of intensity settings for different conditions

Cons

  • The low profile may require a riser block to co-witness with some sights

Last update on 2021-04-14 at 20:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Vortex Venom red dot sight is in the middle range of prices.  However, the quality, workmanship, and performance of these optics get you more for the money.


The Side by Side Comparison Burris Fastfire 3 Vs. Vortex Venom

Putting these two scopes side by side is a good way to get an overall impression of the comparison.  

FeatureVortex VenomBurris Fastfire 3
Dot ColorRedRed
Dot Size3 MOA3 or 8 MOA
Adjustment per click1 MOA1 MOA
Max elevation adjustment130 MOA115 MOA
Max windage adjustment100 MOA86 MOA
Length1.9 inches1.9 Inches
Weight1.1 ounces1.5 ounces
Battery typeCR 1632CR 1632
Battery Life (lowest setting)30,000 hoursUp to 5 years
Battery loadingTop access
Side Tray
Brightness Setting10 levels3 levels
Intensity setting controlsSide-mounted buttonsSide-mounted buttons
MountsPicatinny or WeaverPicatinny, Weaver, or Custom



There isn’t a lot of difference physically or internally between these two sights.  For many shooters, the choice boils down to price and that is where the Burris Fastfire 3 gets the edge.   I hate to hang my hat on price alone.  When the comparisons on paper are so close, the choice then comes down to performance and the shooter’s preferences.


My Choice – The Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sight

My experience with Vortex Optics products over the years has been without a blemish.  I have not shot many Burris scopes, so I can’t say my experiences with the two products are equal.  I can say that I have never been disappointed with one of my Vortex Optics products.  

The Vortex Venom optic that I have mounted on an AR pistol platform performs flawlessly.  The gun typically rides in a custom rack behind the back seat of my pickup truck.   The pistol endures all the bumps, bounces, and shocks of running off the road and down the highway.  The Vortex Venom scope mounted on this AR pistol holds zero without fail.

Last update on 2021-04-14 at 20:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Vortex Venom optic gives me the confidence that I have a red dot sight that will perform reliably when I need it.   That is the bottom line on my red dot sight selection.

Making Your Decision – Your Needs and Preferences

Ultimately, your needs, expectations, and preferences should guide your decision about a red dot scope.  Do your due diligence, learn all you can, try them out if you can arrange it, and then decide.  In the meantime, be safe and shoot straight.




Written by Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dennis's articles.

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