Vortex Viper Vs. Venom? That's not an unreasonable question to hear potential red dot gun sight buyers asking at the gun shop counter. As a matter of fact, considering the growing popularity of red dot sights and the reputation Vortex Optics has built, it's very reasonable indeed.
Red Dot Sights vs. Conventional Gun Sights
Red dot sights work by projecting a dot of colored light onto a glass "window" on top of the sight. The shooter looks through the window when aiming and simply aligns the dot with the target. This sighting setup allows you to keep both eyes open and is extremely fast to get on-target.
Vortex Optics is a well-known manufacturer of a wide range of quality optical products. Their product range includes binoculars, spotting scopes and optical gun sights such as the Venom and Viper sights featured here. Vortex Optics has been in operation since 2004 and is currently in Barneveld, Wisconsin.
Important Considerations When Choosing Red Dot Optics
Before you make a choice in the Vortex Venom vs. Viper race, here are a couple of points to consider when buying red dot sights.
Frame type: window or tube
Red dot sights are generally available in two different formats, namely tube, and open window types. Both types are similar in most respects technically, and in most cases, a choice between the two is personal preference. Both the sights featured in our Vortex Venom vs. Viper face-off are open window types.
Essentially, the only real difference between the two sight types is their respective fields of view. Being physically similar to traditional rifle scopes, tube type sights tend to create a sense of a restricted field of view. The almost totally unrestricted field of view of the open frame type of sight makes for super-fast target acquisition.
Most red dot sights employ a light-emitting diode, or LED, as the light source for the dot aiming point. LEDs are not as power-hungry as other sight illumination components and generally feature impressive battery life figures. Of course, if your sight battery runs out, it becomes a high-tech hood ornament, so battery life is essential.
Red dot battery life generally depends on the type of battery and the brightness setting chosen by the user. A general rule of thumb is around 300 hours on the brightest settings and up to 5,000 hours at low settings. Many sights include auto power-off features which are handy for extending your battery life.
Physical sight dimensions
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Sometimes, particularly when you mount these sights on handguns, you may find the size of the sight to be an issue. Potential buyers should carefully consider the relationship between their specific situation and the size of the sights they are considering. For example, an optical sight may not be suitable for some concealed carry applications.
Buyers should also consider the relationship between the sight dimensions and the firearm they intend to mount it on. For instance, a higher sight window allows for use on suppressed weapons and for sight co-witnessing. Co-witnessing means you can use both the sights red dot and the standard gun sights at the same time.
Reticle size and type
Reticle size is a term used to describe the size of the dot, crosshairs or aiming point of optical sights. This characteristic of optical sights is an important consideration as it can affect both ease of use and accuracy. While a larger dot may be easier to see and be quicker to get on target, it can reduce accuracy.
Reticle sizes are in units known as minutes of angle or MOA. One MOA means that the dot on your sight will cover one inch on your target at 100 yards. The reticle size tradeoff is bigger dots are easier to see but don't allow for pin-point accuracy at longer distances.
Red dot gun sights feature several reticle designs which range in complexity from simple dots to traditional cross-hairs. Some sights may include multiple reticle settings which are convenient but add to the overall size of the sight. Multiple reticle colors are also available with red and green being the most common.
The bottom line on reticle choice is essentially a combination of application specifics and personal preference. Smaller reticles are a little harder to see but offer better accuracy at longer ranges. Complex reticles are largely a question of preference, and a green reticle may not be suitable for dense brush hunting.
This list of points is not exhaustive but should serve as a general overview for those unfamiliar with these sights. Fortunately, most reputable retailers are happy to give solid, accurate advice when you do get around to buying a sight.
Now let's look at the Vortex Viper vs. Venom product comparison.
The Vortex Viper vs. Venom Showdown: Specifications
The Vortex Viper and Venom red dot sights are very similar products in most respects. They do, however, differ enough for each to fill specific positions in the red dot sight market. In our Vortex Viper vs. Venom comparison, we will take a look at what makes these two products stand out.
The Vortex Viper is a low profile sight particularly well suited to handguns with cutout slides. Here are some of its features considered in the Vortex Viper vs. Venom showdown.
The Viper is a typical open frame red dot sight. The multi-coated sight window is generously sized at 0.95 inches wide and 0.71 inches high. The height of the sight window makes the Viper well suited to co-witnessing existing handgun iron sights. The multiple anti-glare coatings ensure that the sight window transmits the maximum amount of light with almost no glare.
A standard coin type CR 2032 battery is in the Viper red dot sight. Battery life for the Viper is 150 hours on the highest power settings and 30,000 hours on the lowest settings. That is a very respectable three and a half years of battery life.
One inconvenient feature of the Viper is the battery compartment access. To change a battery, the sight has to removed from the weapon and tools used to open the compartment. This gripe may seem academic but, compared to the easy battery access on the Venom, it does raise an eyebrow.
The viper red dot sight is ideally sized for use on smaller shoulder arms and handguns. The sight is 1.81 inches in length, 1.06 inches wide and 1.02 inches high. The frame at the LED projector is a svelte 0.33 inches high, and the sight weighs in at just over an ounce.
Reticle size and type
Only one reticle option is available for the Vortex Viper. The daylight bright red dot reticle is easy to use against most backgrounds and in most ambient light conditions. The reticle size is six MOA, which is a little big for precision shooting but ideal short-range fast shooting.
What's in the box
The Vortex Viper ships standard with:
- Weaver / Picatinny mount
- T-10 Torx wrench
- CR 2032 battery
- Lens cloth
- Flathead wrench
Vortex Viper Summary
Overall, the Vortex Viper scores highly as a shorter range, snap shooting option for handguns, shotguns, and carbines. Solid construction and intelligent design make the Viper simple to use and easy to transition to from other sights.
Reticle brightness buttons are large enough to use with gloves and are on the left side of the frame. The 1 MOA windage and elevation settings are on the top and right rear of the frame. Locking screws for both settings are on the rear of the frame below the LED projector.
In addition to being a well designed red dot sight, the Viper is also rugged and durable. The sight is shock and waterproof and features an additional scratch-resistant finish on its glass and metal surfaces.
The sight window is wide and coated with multiple anti-glare layers making for glare-free and fast target acquisition. In addition, co-witnessing of standard iron sights is clear and instinctive due to the sights low profile.
As is the case with most sights of this type, the Vortex Viper is parallax free with no eye relief. Simply put, your head position and distance from the sight doesn't affect the sights point of impact when aiming.
Overall, the sight scores well in the Vortex Viper vs. Venom face-off. It is rugged, simple to use and is an excellent example of the red dot genre in general. The standard Vortex VIP warranty covers the product.
The Viper can be purchased through the Vortex dealer network or from Amazon. The sight scores an average of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars in Vortex customer reviews and 4.3 out of 5.0 stars in Amazon reviews.
Now let's continue the Vortex Viper vs. Venom showdown by taking a look at the Vortex Venom.
Vortex's Venom red dot sight is another of the companies low profile, open frame red dot sights. It has a similar feature set to its Viper sibling with a couple of noteworthy exceptions.
The Venom is also an open frame sight typical of low profile red dot optics. Its sight window is slightly wider and shorter than the Viper sight measuring 1.04 inches wide and 0.63 inches high. The frame is a sturdy one-piece unit coated with a durable anodized finish.
The CR 1632 coin battery that powers the Venom is a bit of a surprise. While every bit as effective as the CR 2032 battery, it's not as common and could be challenging to replace. Battery life is the same as the Viper at 150 and 30,000 hours on the highest and lowest settings, respectively.
A convenient and useful additional feature of the Venom sight is the top-loading battery compartment. Unlike the Viper, you won't have to remove the Venom from the weapon to change batteries.
Reticle size and type
The Vortex Venom is also well suited for use on handguns with cutout slides. It is slightly bigger than the Viper measuring in at 1.90 inches long, 1.11 inches wide and 1.02 inches high. It is also slightly higher across the LED housing at 0.44 inches and weighs 1.10 ounces.
The reticle found in the Venom is one of the significant differences between it and the Viper. At three MOA it is smaller than the six MOA dot in the Viper making it more accurate at long ranges. The smaller dot size will make the sight slower to get on target, but not by much.
Another of the noteworthy differences between the Venom and Viper sights is the automatic brightness control feature on the Venom. An ambient light sensor at the front of the sight can automatically control the illumination settings to suit prevailing conditions. This is a great feature for shooters who like fuss and fumble-free sight operation.
What's in the box
The Vortex Venom ships standard with:
- Weaver / Picatinny mount
- T-15 Torx wrench
- Rain cover
- Lens cloth
- Mounting screws
- CR 1632 battery
Vortex Venom summary
So, how does the Venom stack up in our Vortex Viper vs. Venom showdown? Truth be told, there's not a whole to separate the two runners. Both sights are similar in overall design and feature set with only a couple of niche defining differences.
The Vortex Venom is larger, albeit only slightly so, with a fractionally bigger sight window. It is as well constructed as the Viper, and the controls are equally user-friendly. All setting controls are similar on the venom with the exception of the windage and elevation locks which aren't included.
You can adjust windage and elevation on the Venom in one MOA increments, and the controls are sleek and flush-mounted. It's easy to remove the battery compartment cover with a coin or screwdriver.
The Venom shares the metal and glass finishes found on the Viper, making it an equally durable and rugged product. Its shock and waterproof ratings are also the same as those featured on the Viper sight. In addition, the Vortex Venom is parallax free and has no eye relief issues.
A smaller reticle makes the venom a tad slower when it comes to target acquisition and transition. It does, however, allow for a significant increase in the sights accuracy potential at longer ranges. The addition of auto-adjusting reticle illumination also enhances the Venom's positive standing and slight Vortex Viper vs. Venom race lead.
The venom can also be purchased through the Vortex dealer network or from Amazon. Vortex customers rate the Venom at an average of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars. Amazon reviews see the Venom earning an average of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars.
Summary of Our Vortex Viper vs. Venom Showdown
When these products are considered side-by-side, the term Vortex Viper vs. Venom showdown is perhaps not the best description of the exercise. Both sights are similar in most generic areas with their features placing them high in the overall red dot sight rankings. The real differences between the two products are largely academic and serve only to define their specific niche applications.
In short, both sights are well made, well designed, and backed by an established company of good repute. Both are open frame, low profile red dot sights suitable for use on handguns, shotguns, and rifles.
The difference in reticle size affects both products at opposite ends of the application scale. The Vortex Viper is more suited to short-range, quick target acquisition applications, and less suited to long-range accuracy. The Venom, on the other hand, is capable of better long-range accuracy but may be slower to get on target.
These realities make the Viper suitable for handgun, shotgun, and short-range rifle, carbine or submachinegun use. The Venom, by comparison, is similarly suited but may include assault rifle use due to its increased accuracy capabilities.
The Venom red dot sight includes an auto-brightness setting which is useful for maximizing battery life. Should the battery run out, changing the Venom's battery is far easier than the Viper.
Vortex Optics ships both sights with a sensible selection of accessories and covers both products with a comprehensive warranty.
The final chapter
To wrap the Vortex Viper vs. Venom comparison up let's summarize these two products with this simple statement.
Vortex's Viper and Venom red dot sights are both outstanding, representative products which fill their respective roles very well. Although similar in general terms, their respective features cover a lot of red dot sight real-estate in fine style.
Hopefully, our Vortex Viper vs. Venom face-off will help you make informed choices regarding these, or other, red dot sights.
Happy trails and may your shots fly straight and true.
Please use the comments section below If you have had any experience with these products, or have related insights you'd like to share.
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