The Vortex Viper and the Vortex Venom are the two most popular red dots from Vortex, but which one is better? Today we’re going to discuss these two red dots and figure out which one is the best choice for you and what you should think about when making that decision.
I’ve owned these two red dots for quite a while, and they’re some of my favorites, but today we’re going to be pitting them against one another.
We’re going to go over what sets these two apart, how they’re alike, and how they’re different. They each excel in different areas, but they have enough overlap in their mission that we’ll be able to declare one an official winner.
Also Read: 4 Best Red Dot For Ruger Mark IV in 2022
Let’s start by going over their most important features, and then we’ll compare them.
Vortex Venom vs Vortex Viper Comparison
|Vortex Venom||Vortex Viper|
|Dot Size||3 MOA or 6 MOA||6 MOA|
|Adjustment Graduation||1 MOA||1 MOA|
|Max Elevation Adjustment||130 MOA||120 MOA|
|Max Windage Adjustment||100 MOA||120 MOA|
|Length||1.9 inches||1.81 inches|
|Width||1.11 inches||1.06 inches|
|Height||1.02 inches||1.02 inches|
|Base Height||0.41 inches||0.33 inches|
|Weight||1.1 ounces||1.03 ounces|
|Battery Type||CR 1632||CR 2032|
|Battery Life||Up to 30,000 hours||Up to 30,000 hours|
|Brightness Settings||10 settings||10 settings|
Also Read: 3 MOA vs 6 MOA Reticle
Vortex Venom Vs. Vortex Viper Feature Comparison
Now that you know the basics of each sight and what kind of features to expect, let’s take a deeper dive into what areas really set these two sights apart and how to choose.
Glass Clarity and Color Accuracy
First up, your immediate impression of any optic, other than the weight and feel in the hand, is going to be the clarity of the glass and how things look when you actually, well, look through it.
In our case here, things are mostly a tie. Vortex uses, as far as we humble testers are made aware, the exact same lens coatings on both of these dots, so you get all the same scratch, smudge, oil, and water resistance on them both.
In terms of color accuracy, both have a mild blue-ish tint to them, but that’s pretty much the standard across the board with any optic like these because of the anti-glare and anti-reflectivity of the lens coatings.
No winner yet, but these are both definitely very strong optics.
When it comes to the size of the dot itself, you have a few things to consider. Both of these dots come in a pistol-standard 6 MOA, which is great for any kind of close-in shooting at less than 50 yards.
This is a standard size for combat/defensive pistols, as well as for offset rifle sights on guns that have a primary optic like an LPVO. A 6 MOA dot will cover about a 3-inch circle at 50 yards and about a 6-inch circle at 100 yards.
This makes it harder to use for precision shooting but perfect for defensive and close-range shooting.
If you’re looking for a more precise dot for longer range shooting or just more precise shooting, then the rifle-focused Venom red dot has you covered as it also comes in a 3 MOA variant. This makes the Venom a little more versatile, in our opinion, even if the 3 MOA dot is a little slower.
The smaller dot is definitely better for placing your shots, but it will be a little bit harder to acquire, especially mounted on a slide, which is why the 6 MOA dot is preferred for semi-auto pistols. For a hunting revolver, shotgun, or rifle, the 3 MOA dot will serve you better.
For this one, we’re going to give the win to the Venom just because it is technically more versatile when comparing product line to product line.
Brightness settings are important for getting any red dot optic to a useable level of brightness without being too bright in low light or too dim in direct sun. Using the correct setting will also help you squeeze out more battery life.
Both the Viper and the Venom have 10 different brightness settings to choose from, and adjustments are simple and intuitive. The Venom gets a leg up here though as it also has an auto-brightness feature that can help keep you from having to stop and adjust things too often.
This is especially useful if you’re running it on something like a home defense gun where your lighting might change suddenly when you turn lights on or something like that. Don’t underestimate how hard it can be to see a red dot when there are bright fluorescents above you.
Because of the auto-brightness adjust, we have to give this one to the Venom, even though both of these excellent red dots have the same number of settings, and neither one has a night vision-specific setting range. Though they do have settings that will work with most night vision.
Battery Life & Replacement
In terms of battery life, these two dots are very similar, but with one key difference. The Venom uses a CR1632 battery, and the Viper uses the CR2032. Both are cheap and easy to find at any pharmacy or on Amazon.
Each one will run for up to 30,000 hours on low settings and will give you a minimum of 150 hours on the absolute highest setting, which is pretty outstanding for the price of the battery.
Swapping the battery on the Venom is easy and doesn’t require you to remove it because of the handy top-loading design, but you will have to yank the optic off your gun to swap the battery in the Viper, not the end of the world, but something to think about.
The one area where we have a clear winner comes down to those brightness settings again. The auto-brightness on the Venom means you’ll most likely get about 30% extra battery life just because you’ll always be on the minimum brightness and won’t have to switch manually.
Most folks will just leave their dot on a setting that’s higher than necessary in order to not have to mess with it, but with auto brightness adjustments, you won’t have to worry about it.
That, coupled with the fact that the Venom is top-loading, makes it the winner here.
Windage & Elevation Adjustment
In terms of windage and elevation adjustment, we have another victory for the Venom, but it’s a very narrow one this time.
The Venom has 130 MOA of elevation adjustment and 100 MOA of windage adjustment, while the Viper has 120 MOA on both. Now, are you ever going to need that much elevation or windage adjustment on a red dot? No. There’s a 0% chance that you’re going to run out of either.
That said, the Venom having more elevation adjustment is the more useful option, especially for rifle shooters, so we’re going to give it the win, with the caveat that this area really doesn’t make much difference either way.
The Venom is more of an AR-focused dot, so it makes a little more sense than it would have more elevation adjustment, but it’s so close that we don’t think it matters much. Both dots use a 1 MOA adjustment gradient too, so we can’t draw a line there either.
When it comes to accessories, you get pretty much the same stuff out of the box no matter which one you go with.
Each sight comes with the corresponding batteries, mounting screws and corresponding Allen key, a soft cover to protect from scratches, a microfiber lens cloth, a Picatinny mount, and a windage/elevation adjustment tool.
Basically, everything you could want is included right out of the box, which means you’re good to go without having to buy any extra bits and pieces. The exception will be if you’re mounting either of these optics on a rifle, in which case you’ll almost certainly need a special riser.
A riser will help you get your cheek weld where it needs to be, but they’re very cheap, so don’t worry too much about them. When it comes to our comparison, there’s really no winner here, so let’s move on to our final category and then the verdict.
In terms of cost, it’s a bit of a toss-up as both of these dots have an MSRP of $349.99 and a street price of around $250, so there’s not really much to compare here. Both of them provide absolutely excellent value for the money, and both are covered by Vortex’s lifetime warranty.
That warranty covers any defect in the sight, including accidental damage, so you can be sure that Vortex will stand behind their product and support your investment (as long as you don’t lose it, let it be stolen, or do something intentionally damaging to it).
So we don’t really have a winner here; let’s take it to the final verdict.
At the end of the day, these two dots are great at what they’re designed to do. The Viper is an excellent pistol dot, and the Venom is well-loved by many professional rifle shooters. So how do we choose the best one?
For comparison’s sake, we have to give the edge to Venom. It’s a little more versatile and can be used for more precise shooting. It just has more to offer if you’re only going to go with one or the other.
In a perfect world, though, the Viper would live on your pistol and the Venom on your rifle. That’s how you’ll get the most out of these two outstanding red dots. Both have their areas of expertise, and that’s how we recommend you use these red dots at the end of the day.
Also Read: What Is MOA on a Scope?
Frequently Asked Questions
No, but while the footprints are different, they do share the same bolt pattern for mounting, so there are some mounting plates that work for both.
It does and will turn off automatically after around 10 hours.
The 3 MOA is better for rifles and crossbows, and the 6 MOA is better for defensive/combat pistols and shotguns.