Both Vortex Venom and Vortex Viper are super lightweight, compact micro red dots which can be fitted upon almost any handguns and long guns with appropriate rails. Their price are pretty close and their names have very similar meaning, causing a lot of people to wonder which optic should one get.
The truth is, even though their names are very similar, they have very different designs and features.
In this article, I’ll help you spot the stark differences between these 2, so that you don’t regret buying the inferior optic and end up disappointed, saying “I should have known”.
For most people, get Vortex Venom because it’s a better designed red dot. Get Vortex Viper only if you’re very serious about low mount and want that lower 1.3mm advantage, or you really want to save that $50.
If you want battle-proven red dot for Home Defense or occupational use, you better stick with Aimpoint, Trijicon and EOTech. But for range gun or hunting gun, most people don’t need those super high reliability and can afford to save some money. That said, many Chinese low end red dots are too low quality and unreliable that you’re better off purchasing better brands like Vortex Optics.
Another great thing about Vortex is its warranty, especially for red dot sights. Very few brands would offer Transferable Lifetime Warranty for red dot sights. To compare, even Aimpoint offers 10 years warranty for civilian use. And Leupold offer only 2 years on its DeltaPoint Pro red dot sight. So both Vortex have the warranty advantage.
PROS and CONS breakdown
|Vortex Venom||Vortex Viper|
The 6 MOA Option Makes 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, Viper is for handguns while Venom is more for long guns.
But this is no longer true as you can also get 6 MOA with the Vortex Venom.
Let’s dive down to the details
Optics Showdown : Venom VS Viper
Similar glass and dot crispness
Glass and lens coating are practically the same for both optics. The differences are :
Venom – You can choose between 3 and 6 MOA dot (but not both in 1 optic), making the Venom more versatile. 3 MOA is smaller and harder to see for handguns, but if you have good eyesight or you put it on your long gun, you will still maintain 3 MOA accuracy and can shoot at longer range.
Viper – Only 6 MOA option.
Viper : Need to unmount to replace battery
About battery type and capacity, both red dots use CR1632 to power and have 14-hour auto-shutdown feature. Both can be used up to 150 hours at highest setting and up to 30,000 hours on lowest setting.
But the main difference lies in battery compartment location.
Venom – Battery compartment is located at the top of the optic, meaning that you don’t have to unmount and re-zero the red dot every time you change batteries.
Auto-brightness adjustment feature is added to Vortex Venom. It functions pretty well and I particularly like it when 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.
One complain of the Venom is that it’s battery cover is poorly design and is quite difficult to close the cover when the battery is present.
Viper – Battery compartment is located at the base and you need to unmount and possibly re-zero your red dot every time you change batteries.
This Viper’s poor battery placement has turned off many people.
Viper mounts 1.3mm lower
One of the selling point for both red dots is the ability to mount very low, reducing the discrepancy between your line of sight and barrel.
Both optics can be mounted very low and is low enough for many users. But Vortex Viper can be mounted lower for 1.3 millimetres.
Note : For AR platform, you need riser mounts for both optics.
Same weight and size, Venom has wider, smaller glass
|Weight (oz)||1.1 oz (without mount), 1.6 oz (with mount)||1.1 oz (without mount), 2.1 oz (with mount)|
|Viewing window||26.4 x 16mm (WxH), slightly wider but smaller||24.1 x 18 mm (WxH), slightly narrower but bigger|
Venom : Easier-to-adjust turrets
Both optics are 1 MOA per click. The differences are :
Venom – Elevation and windage adjustment can be easily adjusted.
Venom’s max internal elevation adjustment is 130 MOA, while the Viper has only 120 MOA. That said, since you are unlikely to be shooting long range, 120 MOA should be more than enough for most applications.
Viper – In order to adjust, you first need to loosen 2 locking screws on the rear of the optics. However, due to some handgun design, there might not be enough space to insert your L-wrench in between your rear sight and your optics. And thus you may also need to remove your rear sight to adjust your elevation and windage.
That’s quite a pain, and is exacerbated by the fact that you may need to re-zero your Vortex Viper every time you change your battery! So if possible, make sure that you have enough space between your Viper’s locking screw and your rear sights.
Viper : $50 Cheaper
Price fluctuates due to demand and supply. But at the time of this writing :
Venom (both 3 and 6 MOA) – $229
Viper – $179
Vortex Viper is currently cheaper by $50, but I personally don’t think it would be worth the trouble of re-zeroing every time.
Conclusion : Go Venom
|Vortex Venom||Vortex Viper|
|MOA options||3 MOA, 6 MOA||6 MOA|
|Dot, Glass and Lens Coating||On par||On par|
|Battery compartment||Top, no need to re-zero after changing batteries||Bottom, may need to re-zero after changing batteries|
|Battery type and capacity||On par||On par|
|Mounting Height||Very Low||Lower by 1.3mm|
|Weight (with mount)||1.6 oz||2.1 oz|
|Elevation and Windage adjustment||Easier||Need to loosen 2 unlocking screw, and maybe rear sights on some guns|
|Price||More expensive||$50 cheaper|
|Durability||On par||On par|
|Warranty||Vortex Lifetime Warranty||Vortex Lifetime Warranty|
For most people, get the Vortex Venom because it’s a better designed red dot. Get Vortex Viper only if you’re very serious about low mount and want that lower 1.3mm advantage, or you really want to save that $50.