Good Gear: HIVIZ’s FASTDOT H3 Tritium/Fiber Optic Sights

By Greg Moats

The modern firearms arena is very much a “me too,” bandwagon industry. When a product is successful, it’s not long before rival companies introduce their own versions of similar products. Nothing is unique for long in the gun business.

Often, subsequent versions marketed by competing companies, and even updated models of proprietary products aren’t so much improved as they are “morphed” into “Gen2” versions of the original item. Thus when something truly unique comes along, it’s worthy of examination. Such a product is the HIVIZ FASTDOT H3 tritium/fiber optic sights.

The FASTDOT H3 is the creative product of HIVIZ’s founder, Phil Howe. Howe was one of the early developers of fiber optic sights. At the company’s outset, they primarily manufactured products intended for use on shotguns. Being a creative problem solver, Howe developed the MagniOptic technology that was designed to ensure that a cross-dominant shotgunner could only see the fiber optic pipe when using the “proper” eye (right eye for a right-handed shooter and vice versa).

If you’ve ever attempted to shoot a shotgun at a moving target from of your weak-side shoulder, you know the difficulty and visual confusion that can result.

The FASTDOT H3 is a derivation of the MagniOptic in that it only glows green when the shooter has proper alignment. Instead of having four points of alignment (the target, the front sight, the rear sight, and the shooter’s eye) which must be verified by the shooter, with the FASTDOT H3 the shooter focuses on the target and the sights verify that they are aligned by glowing bright green.

This parallels the ease of using a red dot sight, but due to the comparatively large size of the green dot and its being located in the rear sight dovetail, it is much quicker to locate. An added benefit is that there’s no blocky rear sight or large red-dot housing in the sight picture…there’s just a green dot seemingly “hanging” there in space.

Being in the optics business, over the years Phil has asked law enforcement and military personnel that have been in armed combat detailed questions regarding their encounters. Specifically, he wanted to know about their use of their weapon’s sights under pressure.

Virtually everyone who he’s talked to has said that they were too intensely focused on the threat to be looking at their front sight. That’s a natural reaction and requires training to overcome or technology to circumvent.

Pointing vs. Aiming

The first word listed on my computer’s thesaurus for the verb “point” is “aim.” The first word listed for the verb “aim” is “point.” They’re used interchangeably, but they’re very different when it comes to shooting successfully. The difference is what you do with your eyes.

When your eyes are focused on the target, you’re pointing. When your eyes are focused on your front sight, you’re aiming. The combatants that Howe interviewed pointed instead of aimed. Since red dot and laser technology function by superimposing or projecting an illuminated dot on the target, they provide precision while allowing the shooter to do what comes most naturally during a gunfight: focusing on the threat.

The FASTDOT H3 works much the same way.

While HIVIZ sponsors competitive shooters with names such as Michel and Miculek, Howe’s goal in developing the FASTDOT H3 was to produce a true CQB sight, not a sight designed to win shooting matches. He wanted to build a sight that could be acquired quickly while providing adequate accuracy at combat distances of seven to ten yards while allowing the shooter to focus on the threat.

I spoke with a federal law enforcement training officer that HIVIZ used during the beta testing phase of the FASTDOT H3. According to the officer, their agency seeks to develop shooting skills while in a state of duress. They emphasize high-stress simulations during their training. His experience validates the feedback that Phil has gathered that while shooting under stress, almost everyone focuses on the threat, not their sights.

He feels that the FASTDOT H3 is a step between iron sights and a red dot. Many of his students who are issued red dot mounted firearms have a slight hesitation on their first round in a string of fire as they visually “find the dot.” This hesitation is an issue which can be overcome with training and practice, but few agencies have the resources of time and money to ensure that mastery is achieved. Virtually every student that has used a FASTDOT H3 equipped gun shoots their first shot quicker than when using a red dot equipped firearm.

How it Works

The front sight is an approximately one-inch red fiber optic pipe. Along with the rear sight, it contain tritium which allows for low light scenarios. The rear sight “housing” mounts to the existing dove tail of the handgun and has flexible green fiber optic material wrapped around the sight that feeds into a tube which encases a lens.

Calling on their MagniOptic technology, the rear lens must be aligned with the front sight to allow the light that’s transmitted through it to be visible to the shooter. This light is illuminated by the green fiber optic material and, when properly aligned, the green dot is visible, when not aligned the dot remains black.

Personal Observations

After test-shooting the sights I can see them being a shortcut to getting a new shooter consistently on target during their first few range sessions. They’re certainly easier than aligning a traditional post and notch set of sights. For experienced shooters, especially those currently using red dot sights, there may be a short learning curve.

First, there’s the “Wow, that’s different” factor. I had never seen anything like these sights before. The green dot just appears and disappears as it’s aligned like flicking a light switch. Second, unlike a red dot sight, the FASTDOT H3 requires a 6 o’clock hold. During my first range session, we consistently shot high. I found that after adjusting to a 6 o’clock hold, the shots went where I intended them to go. Keep in mind that these sights are designed for CQB. Minute-of-bad guy accuracy is preferable to dawdling precision.

The FASTDOT H3 is currently available for the SIG P320 and 365, S&W M&P and various GLOCKs. The MSRP is $175 which will probably result in a street price in the $130 range. They were a popular feature at this year’s SHOT show and can be checked out online at and on various YouTube videos.

3 Responses

  1. I like iron sights. Only my Mini 14 has a scope and I am not happy with it. This is the very first optics product for pistols that has me interested. I may have to spend some money.

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