500 rounds down range: Testing the Glock 17 MOS and Burris Fastfire III

What happens when you combine the G17 MOS with a Burris Fastfire III? Magic

Imagine a 25-year class reunion. You show up in your best attire driving a fairly new yet sensible car, shaking hands inanely with people you fell out of touch with more than two decades ago. Then suddenly, she walks in the room—the girl you naively hoped might be the one. Your pulse quickens. While your hair is receding and your waistline has expanded, time only seems to have refined her.  Zumba and Yoga classes have kept her curvaceous and lean. The twinkle in her eye and crook of her smile hint at an individual who knows what they want in life, and how to get it!  This captivating image summarizes my reunion with the Glock 17.

First love
Many people may have inherited a revolver as their first handgun.  I bought mine from a local police chief who highly recommended the (then fairly new) Glock 17. Suffice to say in those days there was no need to clarify which generation as there only was one. I fell in love with that shooter. Compared to the abysmal Beretta 92f I was issued, the Glock shot what I aimed at, fired every time, and did not stovepipe or shoot multiple rounds randomly. Time swam by and I found myself recently considering that return to prom, to see the newest iteration, a Generation 4, Glock 17 MOS (modular optic system).

Talking ‘bout my generation
So what has changed? Much. The Glock 17 is arguably one of their best models though the majority of the updates have been ergonomic. Yes, she stayed trim and got better with age. The various backstraps available allow a range of different sized users to pick them up and wield them like King Arthur pulled The Sword from the stone. The texture on the grip is better as well as the beveling and knurling on the front side. Trailing forward of the trigger guard you find a new rail for mounting the accessory of your choice now: light, laser, combo, or Ares-approved bayonet. Despite the outer appearance, the internals which spell Glock’s success are largely the same. The doubled recoil spring now gives more definitive slide movement and trigger reset is better. Despite no safety switch your author has never experienced any type of accidental nor negligent discharge over multiple generations of Glocks (…booger hook off the bang switch).

All this said, many things about Glocks are built for the long run. I feel the triggers need breaking in, perhaps 1,000 to 1,500 rounds before they smooth out and perform like I expect. Some people polish and swap various parts. I find the regular trigger just fine after a taming period and cleaning. They are predictable, crisp, and get the job done, a reflection of the philosophy behind Glock, function is beauty in and of itself. I have paid premiums for higher-end weapons only to find they were finicky because they did not agree with certain types of ammo. Glocks sell at a much lower price point, and have consistently chewed up and spit out everything I’ve thrown in them.

The newest version offered by Glock, the MOS, drops a chunk out of the top, rear portion of the slide, just before the rear sights. This makes room for a series of mounting plates for your new option, the micro red dot sight. Recently more popular in the assault rifle platform, micro red dots have transitioned to pistols. The trend is seemingly ubiquitous, I endeavored to find out if they would be applicable to a couple of walks of life near and dear to me—concealed carry and uniform.

I see you
There are a few offerings out there for the shooter looking to outfit their pistol with a reflex sight. Most are in the $400-$500 range. The Burris Fastfire III can be found online for around $250 and offers a great value for tactical, yet practical-minded souls. For half the price, you get an incredible value. The Fastfire III has three brightness levels which change the size and the intensity of the red dot you view. One of my favorite features however, is the auto-adjusting dot that changes in various lighting levels. In daylight the red dot burns brightly, but walk into a dark house and the dot tones down so it isn’t overwhelming. The unit itself is tough, and waterproof too. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for a one-handed reload if pressed.

You can do magic
So what happens when you combine the G17 MOS with a Burris Fastfire III? In a word… magic. There was no signing or horns from on high. No. Combining these two tools forced me and a few other shooters to learn new skills. But the dawning realization of the possibilities really began to form in my mind. I’ve used a reflex sight on a rifle for years but I’m a much more traditional pistol shooter. So when I drew the G17 MOS and presented it in my normal shooting stance, I could not see the red dot in the optic. This was due to training. 

I often repeat the mantra “A thousand times is a good start” when referring to learning/practicing physical skills. All my years of drawing and presenting were honed to a place where I would automatically bring up a pistol to a level where my eye would pick up the front sight over my target. My presentation did not bring up the red dot, I had to move the gun a bit to find it. What felt  like pointing the gun at my toes only ended up being a minor lowering adjustment. This revealed the red dot in the window. The dot is higher than iron sights in relation to the bore axis, so it makes sense some fine-tuning might be required.

Three shooters ran the G17 MOS and Burris Fastfire III hard, putting approximately 500 rounds down range.  It ran flawlessly, firing, cycling, and repeating with aplomb. I found that with practice I could bring the gun up and find the red dot more easily. This is a skill that will take some practice. With the dot you don’t line up front with rear sights and cover your target just above the front sight. You place the window over your target and make sure your dot is covering your target—something you can do with both eyes open. Again, this all takes practice but while firing I began to see how quickly I could acquire sight acquisition and get back on after recoil. Being my first time to use a micro reflex, I warmed to it quickly. Is a reflex better than iron sights? For some people it might be. I think some shooters may be able to pick up the red dot quicker than iron sights, enabling faster sight picture and shots on target. I feel like students new to shooting should still start with iron sights though—learn the fundamentals.

Last dance
The Glock 17 MOS and Burris Fastfire III are a great combination. The gun demonstrates rock solid performance for an MSRP of $726.00. The optic is sturdy, accurate, and intriguing. The reflex sight runs on a single, top-mounted, CR1632 battery. Sources at Burris indicate the Fastfire III will run for years because of its 8 hour auto-shut off feature — a feature which should be kept in mind for anyone who carries. I would be remiss however, to not point out the possibility of electronics failing due to battery life or some other issue. Taller iron sights can be installed on your MOS Glock that will allow you to co-witness both the front post and your red dot. Having a redundant system would be the safest bet. Overall I can see now how a micro reflex would be like getting the phone number for that woman at your reunion — the world is suddenly full of exciting possibilities. 

About the author

Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with 15 years of experience, serving with SWAT, diving, and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS, and emergency management.

Request product info from top Police Firearms companies

Thank You!

= required Error occured while sending data

By submitting your information, you agree to be contacted by the selected vendor.
  1. Tags
  2. The TacticaList
  3. Product Article

Join the discussion

logo for print