Vortex Venom vs. Viper Red Dot Sight Comparison
A red dot sight is something you want as reliable and simple as possible. At the same time, the red dot of your choice has to deliver instant target acquisition with superior accuracy – after all, that’s what you buy a red dot sight for, in the first place.
Let’s compare two best sellers by one of the most renowned tactical optics manufacturer – Vortex. Specifically, we’ll take two red dots from nearly the same price category: Vortex Venom red dot and Vortex Viper red dot and compare their features, specs, and capabilities. Let’s go.
Both Vortex Venom and Vortex Viper look sleek and professional. The design is minimalistic and low profile. This is either good or bad depending on how you are going to use the red dot, but the first impression when you take these red dots is absolutely positive.
As for specifications, they are quite similar too. Vortex Venom is 3 MOA or 6 MOA collimator red dot sight with no magnification. It offers dot size adjustment in increments of 1 MOA, and unlimited eye relief.
Vortex Viper offers 6 MOA red dot collimator sight, no magnification either. With its unlimited eye relief, the sight is extremely convenient for quick acquisition of the target without the need to force your face against the sight.
Both sights are low profile, where Viper is slightly more compact. Vortex apparently targets pistol users in marketing of this red dot, but in our experience the difference in dimensions is not decisive, so you can effortlessly mount both Viper and Venom on pistols and rifles of your choice. However, make sure to read through the “Mounting” section below.
Thanks to the rugged housing, and multi-coated lenses, Vortex Venom and Viper are both equally welcome in any hunting activities, at a shooting range, or on mission. The eye sights are marketed as rigid, reliable, and allowing for instant target acquisition and range switching.
Now, let’s see how these red dot sights compare against each other.
It's a tie. Both Venom and Viper red dots have almost identical weights: 1.05 oz and 1.03 oz respectively. Not a big deal.
Also, both sights have similar low profile and rugged construction and are made of high quality aluminum to withstand any shocks you are willing to expose them to.
What’s about durability? Let’s see.
The housing of the Venom red dot sight is built from a superior anodized aluminum. This and the fact that its lenses have fully multi-layer ArmorTek coating makes the model one of the most enduring red dot sights on the market. It is compact, super light-weight, and durable as an anvil.
Vortex Viper is not inferior to Venom from the point of durability. It is water and moisture proof, dust proof and shock proof as well. Thanks to aluminum housing with extra scratch resistant finish, Viper is going to stay in your inventory for a long, long time.
The result seems to be a tie again. Personally, we would prefer Venom, however, because of its rubberized protective cover and the O-ring feature that prevents any unwanted substances to get into the sight and jeopardize your aiming. On the other hand, the O-ring seal is only necessary because of the accessible battery cover on top of the housing. Viper lacks the battery cover, so it does not need the O-ring sealing either.
Overall, both red dot sights demonstrate excellent real-world durability.
When it comes to aiming through a sight, a clear glass is a must.
And Venom seems to deliver exactly what you would expect from a first-class red dot. Thanks to fully multi-coated lenses and the patented ArmorTek scratch resistant coating, the Venom’s lens exterior is protected from dust, moisture and debris guaranteeing crystal-clear view even in non-ideal conditions. Aiming with Venom is a breeze! During our tests we’ve managed to instantly acquire target, and always saw the surroundings in the sight as clear as possible and at any eye-distance thanks to friendly eye relief.
As for Viper, it is 100% on par with its cousin. The ArmorTek coating is here too for ultra clear image in the sight. Vortex Viper mounted on a pistol gives outstanding balance between fast target acquisition and aiming comfort thanks to unlimited eye relief.
Result: both red dots deliver fantastic image clarity. It is really hard to pick one leader here.
Viper offers a balanced red dot 6 MOA reticle, which is the optimal size for both close and mid ranges. The brightness of the dot is easily controlled by side arrow buttons. The buttons are easily pressed, but miss-clicks are impossible. This means you can adjust the dot brightness in literally a few seconds from level 1 (the dimmest) to level 10 (the brightest). Overall, we didn’t notice any problems seeing the dot and aiming even at bright daylight.
Venom is also superior. However, with Venom you can select between 3 MOA and 6 MOA models which offers you a bit of adjustability to your specific requirements. The brightness level of the red dot spot is also adjustable. Plus, there is the auto mode where brightness adapts to the environment lighting conditions.
Result: Venom wins for being more flexible. Although, under no conditions we could name Viper a loser here.
We’ve got a tie. Constructively, both Venom and Viper red dots have unlimited eye relief, which means you can easily aim and acquire the target without forcing your cheek to the weapon until you get welts. Yes, Viper has somewhat lower profile, but according to specs it is only 0.1 inch difference, so we would not take this into account anyway.
At the same time, the low profile of red dots makes it harder to use them with rifles, such as AR-15. You will need to apply some riser mount to put the sight at proper height. With pistols, we didn’t experience any issues (see also the “Mounting” section).
Venom is powered by a CR1632 battery. The battery is accessible through a removable battery cover on top of the housing. This is really handy, because you can re-power the red dot without unmounting it from the weapon. The battery life is up to 3000 hours with the lowest brightness setting, and several hundreds hours on higher dot brightness.
Viper uses CR2032 tablet, which can power the red dot for whooping 30,000 hours on the lower brightness setting. The battery slot is accessible through the bottom of the housing, which means you have to unmount the sight to replace the battery. Apparently, this is not as convenient as the option Venom offers. On the other hand, with 30k hours available you won’t be replacing the battery too often.
Let’s call it a tie. Venom offer better everyday convenience, while Viper has better battery life. Depending on actual application and usage conditions, you prefer one over another.
On Vortex Venom red dot sight the windage and elevation knobs are accessible: windage dial is on the right side, while the elevation dial is on top. You will be amazed how fast you can zero the sight! The adjustment step is 1 MOA and the adjustment range is 100 MOA for windage and 130 MOA for elevation.
Vortex Viper red dot also features convenient and easily accessible knobs for windage and elevation adjustment. However, for Viper, there are also two lock screws that must be loosened before you can actually adjust. These lock screws are on the back side of the sight, which is not particularly the easiest accessible place when the sight is mounted on top of your pistol. Also, the requirement to have a tool with you to adjust elevation or windage may be inconvenient at times. On the plus side, such additional locks in theory should preserve the zero of the red dot sight. However, during our test session both Venom and Viper did hold the zero without demur.
Both red dot sights come with a standard mount that installs on Weaver or Picatinny rail. Of course, your firearm must be equipped with a slotted base rail, otherwise you may need to purchase one separately.
The mounting procedure is easy and quick. First, you attach the Venom to the low rail mount with screws, and then attach it to the rail. After proper mounting, the Venom sat well and remained accurate even after 100 rounds we test-fired.
Viper features the same mounting kit: the base and the simple low rail mount to screw the base to. Note that the included generic mount is not suitable for rifles as it will not allow you to utilize the unlimited eye relief of Viper in full.
Result: a tie.
Overall results and conclusion
We have tested and compared two red dot sights: Vortex Venom and Vortex Viper. Comparison did not reveal any game-changing differences. Both red dots are extremely durable, accurate, and both offer ultra clear lenses for instant acquisition of targets at your typical 25-50 yards ranges. As for maintenance and utility capabilities, there is some slight advantage of Venom over Viper. Venom is more versatile thanks to choice between 3 MOA and 6 MOA models, offers easier battery change and does not force you to have a screwdriver with you to adjust elevation.