FTP Optics Alpha 3 Six and Eight MOA model - Review
Fast Toys Performance is predominantly a performance auto parts webstore - but the company is run by Phil - a competitive shooter. Not pleased with the offerings of other red dot makers - like C-More and their RTS2 which is pretty universal in open division - he decided to specify his own version of a miniaturized red dot site for use in Open division in USPSA - which lead to the birth of the Alpha. Since this is a competition optic - who better to review it than a competition shooter - right?
note: you can save 15$ on an Alpha 3 using code "HUMBLE21" at checkout above.
The Alpha is a tombstone shaped window similar to a Deltapoint Pro - in fact the window is very comparable in size to a Deltapoint Pro - the difference is rather than being on it's own footprint like the DPP is - it shares a footprint with the RTS2, which is also common with the Sig Sauer Romeo 3 Max and Romeo 3 XL. The optic body is a little longer front to rear than the RTS2 - so if your scope mount has a blast shield - it may need to be relieved ever so slightly for adequate clearance for the body of the RTS2.
The "Problem" with the RTS2 is that it's made by a non-major brand to specs of a competition shooter - which basically doesn't care a fig for battery life - he wants brightness and there's no stupid settings for night vision or anything else - this is an optic that is intended for IPSC and USPSA style shooting - and to that end the range of brightness runs from usable on a sunny day to blooming in a midsummers day. The brighness is immense.
The battery life - as you can imagine - with glass as clear and as can be and larger dots (typically it is available in both 6 and 8 MOA with special runs of 10 MOA) - is rather short. While it does have shake awake technology baked in - that's for if you set the gun down at the range while you go to the bathroom kind of use - it's not really conserving the battery much since the type of pistol this goes on to will typically always be moving in a holster. Since batteries are changeable on the side and use CR2032 batteries - keeping on top of battery life isn't a major concern. At this point I have tried two of these optics - a 6 MOA dot purchased last year for use on top of a Glock 34 gen 5 MOS using a C-More MOS plate that I kept on the gun for about 4 months. I used it in practice and matches - including an all day Steve Anderson Advanced class - for a round count of approximately 4,000 rounds. While on the gun the optic suffered two holster height drops directly onto the optics shroud. The glass was unaffected. A Nikko Sterling RTS2 clone (they're made in the same factory - the RTS2, Nikko Sterling, and Sig Romeo 3 Max/XL are all made in the same factory - FYI) took a tumble at about 18" above the ground and cracked the glass. Since the shroud is so robust on the Alpha 3 - it kept smiling and kept going - glass was unaffected. The second unit I got is an 8 MOA unit for the Bul Armory SAS II Ultimate Racer I am competing in USPSA this season. I've had it for about a month and the round count is only about a thousand rounds as I begin my train up for majors later this summer. To date - it's functioned exactly as it should.
The only complaints I really have about the Alpha are pretty minor. The adjustment is accomplished via a fine hex wrench - so it's one more tiny hex wrench in the range bag to keep track of. Good news is it doesn't lose zero so you never need the wrenches - but that means you still need to not lose them - and that kind of sucks.
The other complaints - for slide mounted use - is the body is thick so cowitness is pretty much impossible if that's your thing. If your slide will fit a Romeo 3 - it will fit an Alpha 3.
The battery life goes pretty quick - rated for 150 hours - if you're dryfiring every day and hitting the range a time or two a week - plus leaving it on all day at the range at matches - you can expect a 3 month or so battery life. The provided optic cover is soft rubber and allows the dot to be turned on through a gun rug - I got a Range Panda optic cover for it as it's stiffer and doesn't allow the dot to turn on through the cover. NBD.
Finally - possibly the most legitimate gripe about the sight is the lowest brightness setting is maybe two clicks too much for an an overcast day - the dot is still very bright at that point - would be nice to be able to get the transparent barely there dot effect for group shooting and zero.
The Alpha 3 is squared away for shredding in USPSA or IPSC. I will update this article with any future negative information on the go forward.
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