Saturday, June 22, 2013

Midwest Industries Mini-Red Dot Mount/Burris FastFire II Combo

A few months ago, I ordered a Midwest Industries Mini-Red-Dot mount from Primary Arms with a combo deal that included a Burris FastFireII mini-reflex sight to mount in my AK. Obviously, you can go to their respective sites to get more technical information and pricing on the product. Midway has information on the Burris FastFire II sight.

Left-side View
I had tried mounting an optic on this rifle--a 2-7X Nikon scope--using a side mounting plate and sight base. I found that the combination was heavy and unwieldy, while the scope was overkill for what the rifle was capable of in accuracy and range. Plus, it ruined the lines of the rifle, which for me was important.

What appealed to me about the MI mount with a small red dot sight is that (a) it didn't require gunsmithing, (b) it didn't need to be removed to conduct cleaning, (c) it co-witnessed with the front site while providing a back up rear sight, and (d) didn't significantly alter the appearance of the rifle.

The sight base, as you may be able to tell from the picture, is two parts. There is a steel section that fits into the existing sight base (you have to remove the old AK rear sight). There is a pin that goes through the pin hole for the sight, and then a vertical screw that tightens down on the pin. Then, in addition, there are two screws on each side of the piece that tighten down on the sides of the old sight ramp to prevent horizontal movement. Finally, there is a large set screw at the rear for adjusting the height above the sight ramp.

The second part of the mount is an aluminum piece that slides into dovetails at the rear of the steel section. The aluminum section is held in place by a set screw. It is this section which has a rear iron sight (to use as a backup) and the base for mounting the FastFire II.

The MI mounting kit comes with a small tube of lock-tite. You will need to use it on every screw. Once you have everything aligned as you want, back the screws out slightly one at a time and apply a small dab, and then retighten and repeat with the other screws. I neglected to do this with the set screw for holding the aluminum extension in place (thinking I would be able to adjust for windage), and it loosened up after a few shots the first time I used the sight. So, lock-tite all those screws.I bore sighted the rear iron sight before applying the lock-tite.

The FastFire II box came with a Picatinny mount which you won't need, although I held on to it in case I ever decided to move the sight over to another gun. One thing I want to point out is the FastFireII is very small and light--it is primarily designed to mount on handguns.

The FastFire II has a small rubber coated plate that mounts onto the base with four holes. You then put the sight over this, then tighten down with two screws. This plate is important because without it, water and dirt can get into the electronics. The two screws come with lock washers, so there is no need to use lock-tite here--and you don't want to because, unfortunately, you have to remove the sight from its base to replace the battery. Fortunately, the battery is supposed to last 2 to 3 years under normal use. You can turn the sight off, but if you prefer to leave it on, it comes with a cover to protect the glass and reduce power usage. It does not automatically shut off.

If you have a laser bore sighter, bore sighting is easy: simply line up the red dot from the Burris over the dot from your laser. Then tighten down the lock screw for the sighting and you are done.

Rear view


I haven't had an opportunity to really give the sights a workout, but here are my initial impressions from just handling the sight and my second shooting trip with it (after I had fixed the lock-tite issue). First, if you have correctly bore-sighted the backup iron sights, they are actually visible and usable. In fact, there is probably one condition where you will have to rely on them. The FastFire II automatically adjusts the brightness level for the sighting dot, which is fine with me. I can see it, outside in bright sunlight, or inside with dimmer lighting, without having to fiddle with brightness buttons or knobs. The only time this doesn't work is being in a dark location, while aiming through a window or doorway into an area that is brightly lit. The light sensor adjusts the dot for your dark location (i.e., by dimming the dot) so that it can be hard to see to use to sight in for the bright location of your target. At first this irritated me, but then I realized it is actually the ideal situation for using the iron sights on the weapon. So, if you have adjusted your iron sights correctly, this is actually not an issue.

Right side view

I set up a dynamic course where I had to move around and shoot targets. (I have an area with high berms on three sides).  I liked this sight because it kept the rifle light and handy. The dot was bright enough to see in bright, noon-time daylight. I recognize that this may not be the strongest, most durable mounting system or sight, but it works for my situation and my desire to keep this particular rifle looking "authentic" while giving me a modern optical sight at a reasonable price.

2 comments:

  1. Since the red dot is projected onto the glass from the back of the sight, is any red illumination visible from the muzzle end of the sight, even at high off-boresight angles?

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