I’ve been meaning to write more reviews on various optics that I’ve handled. I suppose I just simply haven’t got around to it since there have been so many other topics to write about. Regardless, my review of the Burris Fullfield TAC30 1-4x24mm riflescope is long overdue and comes with a bit of history.
This riflescope was the very first scope I purchased (if I exclude other scopes that were factory mounted and bundled with a rifle). At the time, I knew pretty much nothing about scopes. The decision to purchase it was made on the recommendation from the guy behind the gun counter when I asked for a suggestion for an aiming device for an AR-15 that had no sights. The salesman did a good job asking me about what I was looking for and what applications I had in mind for the rifle I was going to mount it to. Those applications were home defense and recreational target shooting. I also didn’t want to break the bank. Given my parameters, the salesman suggested this riflescope in a tactical kit configuration which included an AR-P.E.P.R. 30mm scope mount and a FastFire 3 red dot sight. Overall, I still think it was a decent sub $500 recommendation.
Let’s break this tactical kit down (feel free to jump down to the Fullfield TAC30 section if you are only here for the scope review).
The FastFire 3 is a nifty little red dot sight. While it’s available with either a 3 or 8 MOA dot, the one included with the kit has a 3 MOA dot. The dot is crisp and easy to see. It offers three different brightness settings and an automatic brightness setting that adjusts the brightness to the environmental conditions.
Battery life has been great so far. The current battery has been in place for about four years and is still functional. The dot has an automatic time-out feature that turns the red dot off after 8 hours which is intended to prolong battery life. I’m not a huge fan of that feature (especially if I was going to use this dot on a defensive pistol). Frankly, I’d trade a shorter battery life (say two years) for the ability to leave the red dot on for the duration of the battery life. On the other hand, battery access is located on the top of the sight which makes for very convenient and quick battery changes without having to unmount and re-zero the point of impact.
Speaking of zeroing the point of impact, the FastFire 3, like most other red dots on the market, allows for elevation and windage adjustments in 0.5 MOA increments.
The price point of the FastFire 3 by itself is around $240 with a Picatinny mount. Given its feature set and price, I think this is a great option for recreational target shooting or competitive shooting applications. Probably not a bad option for short range hunting applications either. However, I would avoid this red dot sight for defensive applications due to its automatic shut-off feature. Turning a red dot sight on is not something I would want to worry about during a defensive encounter.
This mount is a competitively priced ($99 standard or $119 with a quick detach feature) cantilever scope mount. Works very well for mounting a scope to an AR platform rifle. It includes two sets of top rings. One set is smooth. The other set has a Picatinny top. I really like the idea of the Picatinny mounting option on top of the rings which is where the FastFire 3 red dot sight is attached as part of the kit.
While the idea of the Picatinny top rings is nice, I haven’t found it very practical. At least not practical for a red dot. Perhaps there are other accessories that are practical when mounted there, but I don’t know what accessories those would be. I arrived at this conclusion while attending a training course not long ago. The thing is when driving the rifle fast, as one would in a competitive shooting or defensive scenario, a good cheek weld is extremely important and any attempt to use a red dot mounted on the top rings forces the shooter to break the cheek weld. This isn’t an issue to recreational plinking, but I still don’t think it’s ideal or practical.
Even though I haven’t found the Picatinny top rings practical, the P.E.P.R. mount is still a solid well priced mount. I have no reservations in suggesting it to anyone looking for a cantilever scope mount.
The Fullfield TAC30 is a low powered variable optic (LPVO) with a magnification range of 1 to 4 and a 24mm objective lens (that’s what the 1-4x24mm designation means). By itself, this scope is priced at around $329.
The glass is good. It’s very clear and gathers light very well. I’ve got no complaints here. The lowest magnification setting is ideal for engaging targets at close ranges. The highest magnification works well for targets at slightly longer distances. Some folks are fine with using 4x magnification to take shots at targets up to 300 yards away. I found the 4x magnification to be good for targets up to 100 yards away, but that limitation is more likely due to my skill level and lack of perfect vision. The eyepiece on the scope can be focused to ensure a sharp reticle and objective image for the user’s individual eye.
The turrets on this scope are capped. The elevation and windage turrets provide adjustments in 0.5 MOA increments. I prefer finer 0.25 MOA increments, but 0.5 MOA increments work well and are fine enough to get a good enough zero for close to medium range target engagements.
The Ballistic CQ reticle has it’s pros and cons. For close range targets, it assists the user with fast target acquisition. This is ideal for close quarter combat applications like self defense and competitive shooting where targets within 25 yards.
While the reticle provides trajectory compensation dots for up to 600 yards (cartridge dependent), I haven’t found a use for them since I don’t personally find the 4x magnification on this scope to be suited for shots beyond a hundred yards. Users should be aware that the compensation dots should only be used at full magnification. If someone was going to use this scope for longer shots (500-600 yards), then they should be aware the reticle doesn’t provide much in terms of windage hold over reference points which is important given the capped turrets. If targets at 600 yards are included in your application, then I suggest looking at another scope with exposed turrets, a reticle that provides more reference points for better elevation and wind hold overs, or both.
The reticle in this scope is also illuminated. The illumination can be turned on and adjusted using the rubber push button located to the left of the elevation turret on top of the batter cap. The batter cap is easy to open and close for battery changes – simply unscrew it, change the battery, and screw it back on. I’ve had ongoing battery life problems with this scope. Basically, new CR2032 batteries are drained within a 24-48 of being installed. I am generally very careful about pressing and holding the button to turn off the illumination after using the scope, but that doesn’t seem to help. The scope also includes an automatic shut-off after two hours feature, but that hasn’t helped either. I plan to take advantage of the Burris Forever Warranty, but haven’t got around to it yet.
Overall, the scope is a good value and is a good choice for close to short range applications such as self defense, short range hunting, recreational plinking, and some competitive shooting sports. However, I suggest to look at other scopes intended for medium to long range applications.
I’m going to lead my final thoughts with the fact that I’m currently in the process of replacing the Fullfield TAC30 currently mounted on an AR-15 rifle whose primary purpose is home defense with another LPVO. For the time being, I will be reusing the AR-P.E.P.R. mount but that’s it. While I mentioned the Fullfield TAC30 scope is a good option for close to short range applications, I’ve found another LVPO that is very capable for the same applications but will allow me (and my less than perfect eyesight) to use the rifle in medium range applications. I will be relocating the Fullfield TAC30 and the FastFire 3 red dot to a dedicated plinking rifle.
The tactical kit is a good value. For $500, a buyer gets a $230 scope, a $240 red dot, and $100 scope mount. Even though getting $570 for $500 seems like a good value, I wouldn’t recommend it unless one was planning to put the kit on a dedicated plinking rifle (like I am now). Given the FastFire 3 red dot in its out of the box configuration is essentially useless for anything other than plinking, one is really paying $500 for $330 worth of functional value (the mount and scope). My suggestion is to avoid the kit and consider acquiring the components individually assuming they meet one’s application needs.