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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2010 - Page 20
BETTERSHOOTING Dave Anderson Big Red LittLe Red A couple of issues back I chatted about some advantages of red-dot sights and used a JPoint with an 8-MOA dot. To keep learning, recently I borrowed another red dot, the Burris FastFire II, but with a 4-MOA dot. It seemed a good opportunity for a side-by-side comparison. The JPoint was on a Glock 22. I fitted the FastFire on another Glock 22 slide using a base from Burris. A third slide with iron sights would make the comparison even more useful. I don’t have unlimited Model 22s, but the slide/barrel assembly from my Glock 35 fits and functions nicely on a 22 frame. To keep trigger pull consistent I interchanged all three slide/barrel units on the same frame, a 22 with RTF grip. At an indoor range, where I could control light levels, I set up a simple test with three USPSA targets. The idea was to engage the targets with one round each at five yards, then repeat at ten and 15 yards, with each of the three sight options. Next, I repeated the exercise with the lights dimmed so the targets were just visible. Several club members very kindly provided their time to shoot the same exercise. Time for each string was measured with a Top, a Glock 22 slide/barrel with JPoint red-dot Pocket Pro II timer, and the hit sight; center, another 22 slide with Burris FastFire factor calculated for each type ll sight; bottom, Glock 35 slide with iron sights. All of sight at each range. three slide/barrel assemblies were used interchangeably on the same Glock 22 frame. Vs Burris FastFire ll sight: these locking screws prevent unintentional movement of the windage and elevation adjustments. Use the provided screwdriver to secure your adjustments. enerally, the red dot sights were superior to iron sights as distance increased and in dim light. I say “generally” as results weren’t always clear-cut. Some individual strings were better with iron sights even at 15 yards in dim light. Overall, though, the pattern held true. At five yards there was little difference in scores, and what little difference there was favored iron sights. Likely this is a matter of familiarity, as these shooters had a lot of experience with iron sights and relatively little with dots. Adapting to red-dot sights isn’t difficult but it does take some learning. Those who use these sights regularly tell me they bring the gun up with the muzzle slightly elevated so they see the front sight in the sight window. As the gun moves out to shooting position they lower the muzzle and the red dot is right there. With training it becomes very fast. Despite my prejudice in favor of the bigger dot, there was virtually no difference in results between the 4- and 8-MOA dots. What seems to matter is not dot size, but brightness. Since both these sights automatically adjust brightness for changes in ambient light, their brightness is similar and therefore Burris FastFire ll red dot sight fitted to a Glock results are similar. The smaller dot does 22 pistol with a Burris base. This is a strong, provide a more precise aiming point on well-made sight with a clear, bright viewfinder and accurate reticle adjustments. a target or hunting pistol, or on a rifle. 20 G What’d We Learn? he Burris FastFire II is made of metal for greater strength and appears to be a very well made sight in all respects. The image seen through the viewfinder window is clear and bright. Sight adjustments tracked very well and over a wide range. A feature I like is the locking screws on sight adjustments. Once elevation and windage have been set, tightening the two locking screws prevents reticle movement. Dot brightness adjusts automatically — and quickly — with changes in ambient light. Putting the protective hood on the sight puts the dot in sleep mode to virtually eliminate battery drain, even with the power switch on. I like an on/off switch to prevent battery drain. On a defensive pistol don’t forget to keep it turned on, and don’t switch it off inadvertently. One of the shooters, while grasping the rear of the slide to chamber a round, found he had moved the switch to off position. Burris has bases for a number of popular handguns and rifles. These bases are well made, the one for the Glock fit perfectly and appears to be very strong. A gasket between the base and sight makes the sight water resistant. For firearms with Picatinny style rails a “Protector” mount with steel wings to protect the sight from impact damage is available. For greater precision, for low-light shooting and for those of us who can’t focus on iron sights as well as we once did, red-dots sights are a blessing. Burris FastFire II T * For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/productindex WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2010