Ultimate Showdown: Vortex Venom vs Viper

Vortex Venom vs Viper: Which one to Choose? [2019 Comparison]

Choosing suitable optics for your gun can be very confusing, especially when you consider the range of pistols and rifles equipped with mini red dots on the market. So, when comparing the Vortex Venom with the Viper, which one should be your ultimate choice? Which one provides the best features for their price? They look relatively similar, so, are there any actual differences? Well, this review will show you their differences, as well as their similarities. You’ll see where they match and when you may prefer one over the other. Vortex Venom vs Viper – let’s see which one’s the clear winner!

Quick Comparison: Venom vs Viper

Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
Model
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
MSRP
$108.86
Battery Life
Up to 150 hours on highest setting
Durability
On Par (96%)
Auto-Brightness
No
Waterproof?
No
Weight
2.1 oz
Dimensions
4.5 x 5.4 x 2.3 inches
Material
Aluminum
Lens Coating
Multi-Coated
More Info
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
Model
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
MSRP
$108.86
Battery Life
Up to 150 hours on highest setting
Durability
On Par (96%)
Auto-Brightness
No
Waterproof?
No
Weight
2.1 oz
Dimensions
4.5 x 5.4 x 2.3 inches
Material
Aluminum
Lens Coating
Multi-Coated
More Info

Differences and Similarities at a Glance

Without going deeply into Viper and Venom’s individual reviews, here are their qualities – similarities and differences included – at a glance. The Venom red dot comes in various designs, giving us plenty of options. It’s suitable for long guns in extreme weather conditions, perfect for “rainy days,” or climates where it may be exposed to fair amounts of shock. 

Since they’re both made by Vortex Optics, the Venom and the Viper are excellent when it comes to performance level and durability. They are often compared with the equally efficient Vortex Razor red dot because of these qualities. Since Venom’s scope is slightly larger than that of the Viper, it may not be as suitable for small guns and is a better choice for larger firearms. 

If you are looking for something smaller, you might want to go for the Viper. If you want a more in-depth review of the Vortex Venom Red Dot – we’ve got that too!

Cost and Value

Vortex Venom red dot profile

The price of both units will depend on the demand and supply of the scope.  At the time of writing this article, the cost of a new Vortex Viper starts at $229.99. The Venom was more expensive at first, but as the demand increased for the Viper, their prices equalized.

You might still find a Viper at a lower price depending on the seller, but the difference is generally no greater than $50. Both units can be bought for less than $250, making it a reasonable investment for buyers on a budget.

One would say that the Viper is a more convenient option since the two almost have the same build, quality, controls, and battery life, and it is smaller However, the decision will still depend on your personal preferences. 

Durability

Vortex Venom unboxing

Both scopes pass with flying colors when it comes to their durability. There’s only a slight, barely noticeable difference that makes the Viper better. To put it into numbers, we scored the Venom red dot at 93% durability and the Viper at 96%.

Of course, we take maintenance into consideration whenever we want to buy something. This won’t be an issue for both scopes because they are equally durable.

Quality

Both the Venom 3 MOA and the Vortex Venom 6 MOA are made of aluminum. They are sturdy and waterproof as well, adding up to their quality and durability. The Viper also has an aluminum case, but it doesn’t have the same waterproof coating as the Venom.

Therefore, both are fairly water-resistant and are capable of dealing with wet weather, but the Venom has the edge. Both units last for a fairly long time in terms of batteries. They are also on par when it comes to visibility. To summarize, both scopes almost have the same quality.

Practical Application

The Venom can be used on various types of guns. When using the Venom, you can easily improve your precision shooting with a rifle because you can choose more than one reticle. If you’re into pistols, large dot sizes are more ideal. The Venom may also be easily mounted on different types of pistols.

The Vortex Viper, on the other hand, is more suitable for smaller weapons such as handguns. It’s smaller and more practical for pistol slides. The Viper can be used for rifles, but we don’t recommend it because it’s only intended for pistols.

Versatility And Usage

closed and open red dot sights

The Venom has a great variety of reticle options. Talk about versatility, right?

For instance, if you install it on a rifle, you can use the small dot for precision shots. If you need the Vortex red dot sight to act as a backup to the scope, you may easily switch to the large dot.

The Viper, however, only has a large dot, making it more appropriate for smaller weapons. The glass on both scopes has several layers of anti-reflective coating for optimal performance. Both units can offer great visibility whether you’re going close-range or long; the Venom, however, provides more versatility.

Feature Comparison: Venom vs Viper

Let’s look at how these sights performed in our reliable scoring system.

FeatureVenomViperCategory Average
Overall Score3.283.453.37
Ergonomics4.74.74.7
Build Quality333
Optics3.533.25
Battery1.52.31.9
Value2.83.12.95
Illumination4.24.64.4

So far, we have learned that the Venom and the Viper have relatively similar characteristics. Still, there are differences that we haven’t covered yet. Here are some feature comparisons that might help you decide between the Vortex Viper Red Dot and the Vortex Venom 3 MOA (or even Vortex Venom 6 MOA);

Battery

The battery is the most decisive factor when comparing any Vortex Optic scope. Both the Venom and the Viper use CR1632 batteries, and they both have auto shut-off features after 14 hours. The two units last as long as 150 hours when at the highest setting, and as long as 30,000 hours when at the lowest. It is the same as comparing the Vortex Venom with the Razor. 

The only difference between the batteries of the two lies in the actual placement. For instance, the battery placement of the Venom is at the top of the scope, which means that you don’t have to unmount and re-zero the unit’s red dot whenever you want to change them, a huge time saver! However, some complained about the poor design of the battery cover, making it difficult to close when replacing the batteries.

The Viper, on the other hand, has its battery at the base of the scope. This means that you have to unmount and re-zero the red dot whenever you need a battery change, taking up a lot of time.

Dot, Lens, and Glass Coating

Vortex Venom 6 moa red dot

When it comes to optics, the lens and the glass coating for both scopes are very similar. So, the difference lies in the dot. 

Red dots are measured using Minutes of Angle (MOA), which indicates the dot size at 100 yards. Needless to say, this defines a gun’s effective shooting range. The higher the MOA, the larger the dot. For dot sizes, the Venom has 3 MOA and 6 MOA, while the Viper only has the 6 MOA option. 

So, like mentioned earlier, the Venom is suitable for both pistols and long guns. While the Viper is more adequate for Glocks and other handguns.

Mounting Height 

Their ability to be mounted very low makes these two units extremely popular. The Vortex Venom is just 0.3 inches higher than the Viper. So for both scopes, there will be little difference between the barrel and your line of sight. However, for AR platforms, you will need riser mounts for both red dot scopes.

Size and Weight

When it comes to size and weight, both units are very similar. Without their mounts, they both weigh 1.1 oz.  Once the mount is added, the Venom becomes 1.6 oz and the Viper weighs 2.1 oz. Though none of the Vortex pistol scopes are exceptionally heavy, the Venom is still the most lightweight option.

As seen in the table above, there is not much difference between the two scopes when it comes to size. As for their viewing windows, the Viper’s is small and wide, while the Venom’s is big and narrow. Thus, they both provide very good visibility.

Windage and Elevation Adjustment

Both scopes have windage dials with 1 MOA of adjustment per click. They both have adjustable internal elevation as well, which limits to 120 MOA. The difference is in how the adjustments are made. Windage and elevation adjustment can be done swiftly on the Venom. It can be very troublesome for the Viper, however. Because of the unit’s design, you will have to loosen two of the locking screws at the rear of the scope and remove the rear sight to make adjustments. 

The Popular Opinion

To sum it all up, most people are impressed by both of these Vortex sights, appreciating their lightweight design, durability, and value for their money. However, while most people love the Venom, there are still complaints about its complicated battery cover. Other than that, it’s a good product, like the Vortex Razor.

Sale
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight - 6 MOA Dot
  • The Viper Red Dot Sight has a super low-profile making it perfect for use with cut-out slides. 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments are super sleek and make sighting in a breeze.
  • The Viper's low height allows it to co-witness with iron sights and the 6 MOA dot is easy to pick up and get you on target fast. Power and illumination controls are easy to access and adjust.
  • The fully multi-coated, ultra-clear lens offers a wide, unobstructed field of view while Armortek coatings protect your lens from oil, dirt, and scratches.

Our Verdict: Venom vs Viper –Which One is the Best?

The Vortex Viper and the Vortex Venom are equally lightweight and compact, which is great for those who dislike carrying a lot of weight. Technically speaking, the quality of the Vortex Venom is a little better than the Viper. But if you want a lower mount or just want to save a few dollars, the Viper works just as well.

Check out the YouTube comparison below for a more “visual” review.

Looking for an equally reliable but affordable red dot? Check out our Holosun 403b review!

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Last update on 2024-07-12 / Images from Amazon Product API