The Vortex Venom is an entry-mid mini red dot sight under $250 which can be used on both handguns and long guns. Even though the Vortex Venom is not SHTF grade where you depend your family and your life on, but could serve you well on range guns or hunting guns where stakes aren’t as high and budget is more of a focus.
But is the Venom the best deal in its class or is there a better mini red dot? Worry not, I’ll tell you all there is to know about this optics so you can make informed decision whether the Venom is the right one for you.
Due to recent improvements in optics manufacturing technology, firearms optics have become easier and cheaper to produce. Many overseas factories are learning the know-how of making quality optics at reasonable price. It’s very likely that prices for these optics will continue to drop while qualities and capabilities will continue to rise. Such a great time to be gun owners!
Furthermore, optics sold in the US has pretty much the best warranties available. You can see many big brand names offering fully transferable lifetime warranty which even “death won’t do us part”. Very few other industries offer this type of coverage on their products.
What are the PROS and CONS of the Vortex Venom?
- Lightweight and Compact
- Can choose between 3 and 6 MOA
- Sharp and bright dot
- Auto brightness settings
- Batteries can be changed without unmounting the sight
- Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex
- Not SHTF rugged
- A number of battery cover defect
The 6 MOA Option Made Vortex Venom Much More Viable
In the past, you can only get 3 MOA dot with the Venom. And with my less-than-perfect eyesight, 3 MOA is rather small on handguns for my preference. So I used to think Vortex Venom is more for long guns.
But this is no longer true as you can now get 6 MOA with the Vortex Venom.
With this, the Venom has proceeded on to become one of the bestseller mini red dot with overwhelming positive reviews.
My recommendation? Get this Vortex Venom if you don’t intend to depend your life on it and want affordable, quality mini red dot (can be used on both handguns and long guns) with unparalleled Vortex lifetime Warranty.
A quick summary of this article : Compared to the Vortex Viper and the Burris Fastfire III (similarly priced optics), the Vortex Venom is the best red dot of the three in my opinion. Their dot clarity, glass and lens coatings are pretty much the same, but due to battery compartment and brightness settings, Vortex Venom is a solid winner. That said, if cost is your concern, Vortex Viper is the cheapest. And if you need a heavy duty red dot, Trijicon RMR is a better bet.
Best for : Shooters who want affordable mini red dot
|Dot & Glass||4.7/5|
|Ease of Use||4.2/5|
|Size and Weight||4.8/5|
The Whole Story on the Vortex Venom
Since no optics nor products exists in isolation. And words such as “crisp” and “great” dot don’t really mean much when you have no benchmarks. I’ll be comparing the Vortex Venom with other mini red dot sights in similar price range, so you know what’s the best option for your money.
Read on to find out why the Vortex Venom, even though impressive, isn’t a perfect red dot sight.
Meet the Benchmarks
The Vortex Venom costs about $230 (at the time of this writing). And I’ll be comparing it with :
- Vortex Viper – 6 MOA : $180 (at the time of this writing)
- Burris Fastfire III – 3 MOA : $250, 8 MOA : $210 (at the time of this writing)
These are 2 popular options in the market with similar price point and should give you a realistic feel of how good the Vortex Venom really is.
Comparisons of Dot and Glass for these 3 optics
Before getting to the comparison part, let’s familiarize ourselves with the Vortex Venom first. The Vortex Venom has 26.4 x 16mm glass. And you can pick between 3 and 6 MOA dot (mutually exclusive). Vortex Venom has 10 brightness settings which can be adjusted manually or through its auto-brightness feature.
Next, to determine the Vortex Venom’s performance, I lined it up alongside the Vortex Viper and the Burris FastFire III.
Dot Choice options
- Vortex Venom : 3 and 6 MOA
- Vortex Viper : 6 MOA only
- Burris FastFire 3 : 3 and 8 MOA
Comparing head to head, I found that there are no perceivable difference between the three in terms of dot clarity, dot sharpness, glass and lens coatings.
Battery : A decisive factor
One of the factor to discard the Vortex Viper is its battery compartment design. Viper’s battery compartment is located at the base and you have to unmount the red dot to change batteries. Thus you may have the hassle of re-zeroing every time your battery runs out.
This is not the case with the other two, as their battery compartments are located at the top and batteries can be replaced without removing the optics.
A negative note on the Vortex Venom is its poor battery cover design. Many people complain about how hard it is to replace battery each time. The main problem is that the threads are very fine and could cross-thread or strip them easily. Some people even took 30 minutes to 1 hour replacing batteries. But this is not a big issue as you can send it to Vortex to have them fix the problem.
Battery type and consumption
|Vortex Venom||Vortex Viper||Burris Fastfire III|
|Battery Life||150 hours (highest brightness)
30,000 hours (lowest brightness)
|150 hours (highest brightness)
30,000 hours (lowest brightness)
|5,000 hours (medium brightness)|
|Auto-Off Feature||Automatic shut off after 14 hours||Automatic shut off after 14 hours||Automatic shut off after 8 hours|
One nice feature of the FastFire 3 is that when battery life is running lower than 4 hours, a light dot will begin to blink twice every 5 seconds.
Brightness Settings and Auto-Brightness Feature
All 3 red dots are bright enough on sunny days and I have not experienced any washing out.
Vortex Venom and Viper have 10 brightness settings which you can use to adjust to your environment. The difference is that the Venom has Auto brightness feature while the Viper doesn’t. This feature comes in handy while using the red dot in places with lots of shadows and/or different lightings. It’s also useful when you go out to the range for a whole day.
The controls for both Venom and Viper have “Up” and “Down” arrow to control their brightness. If you want to use the Auto-brightness settings on the Vortex Venom, press and hold “Up” arrow until the dot flashes three times. To stop using Auto-brightness, press and hold “Up” arrow until the dot flashes two times.
On Burris FastFire 3, you also have Auto-brightness but there are only 3 manual brightness settings, High, Medium and Low.
To control you have only one power button that toggle in a cycle between “Auto brightness”, High, Medium, Low and Power off.
This seems like a good concept as the control is very simple. However, Auto-brightness settings sometimes give too dim light for my preference. And I can’t manually fine-tuned it well enough for varying environment.
To sum up, the Vortex Venom controls are better in my opinion since you can either use Auto-brightness or manually adjust to your preference.
Weight and Size
All 3 red dots are very light and compact.
- Vortex Venom : Weight = 1.1 oz (without mount), 1.6 oz (with mount)
- Vortex Viper : Weight = 1.1 oz (without mount), 2.1 oz (with mount)
- Burris FastFire 3 : Weight = 0.9 oz (without mount), 1.5 oz (with mount)
Burris FastFire 3 is the lightest.
Viewing glass of the Venom is the widest of the 3.
- Vortex Venom – 26.4 x 16mm (WxH)
- Vortex Viper – 24.1 x 18 mm (WxH)
- Burris FastFire 3 – 21 x 15 mm (WxH)
Vortex Venom gives you the biggest field of view which is a good thing. However, on some models, the width of the Venom could slightly exceeds the width of your handgun. The FastFire 3 would give you a more streamlined build, if you’re concerned with that aspect.
In terms of low-profile mounting, all 3 can be mounted very low. The Vortex Viper can be mounted the lowest, but the difference should be negligible for most users (1.3mm lower than Venom).
Durability and warranty
The Vortex Venom is durable enough for non home-defense or occupational applications. Again, if you’re into serious use, consider getting a higher end red dot.
I personally have a great run with the Vortex Venom and have no durability issues with the red dot. Furthermore, the Vortex Venom housing construction is more rugged than the Burris FastFire 3, judging from other users feedback where they broke the red dot with enough direct impact.
That said, most mini red dots including the Venom are not supposed to be as rugged as a full tube style such as those of Aimpoint PRO. So a full direct impact is not advised.
But the Vortex Lifetime warranty helps mitigate this issue as you can rely on their unconditional warranty. Note that Burris FastFire 3 also has fully transferable lifetime warranty which is on the same level as Vortex’s
Price fluctuates due to demand and supply. But at the time of this writing :
Venom (both 3 and 6 MOA) – $230
Viper – $180
Burris FastFire 3 : 3 MOA – $210, 8 MOA – $250
Hear What Others have to Say about Vortex Venom
My verdict on the Vortex Venom
Compared to the Vortex Viper and the Burris Fastfire III (similarly priced optics), the Vortex Venom is the best red dot of the three in my opinion. Their dot clarity, glass and lens coatings are pretty much the same, but due to battery compartment and brightness settings, Vortex Venom is a solid winner.
|✓ Lightweight and Compact||✗ Not SHTF rugged|
|✓ Can choose between 3 and 6 MOA||✗ A number of battery cover defect|
|✓ Sharp and bright dot|
|✓ Auto brightness settings|
|✓ Batteries can be changed without unmounting the sight|
|✓ Superb lifetime warranty from Vortex|
1. Burris FastFire 3
- 3 and 8 MOA dot option
- Smaller, more compact and more lightweight
- Simpler control
- auto brightness
- Comparable warranty
2. Trijicon RMR Type 2
|Trijicon RMR Type 2, 3.25 MOA||Trijicon RMR Type 2, 6.5 MOA|
- Military grade, more rugged and reliable
- More expensive
- 5 years warranty