Vortex Venom vs Viper: How the two sights compare

Venom and Viper are both amazing products with distinct features. While they share similarities, they have noticeable differences.

Viper is slightly heavier with a mount but more compact than Venom. While Venom’s objective lens is slightly bigger than Viper’s, both red dot sights give you a magnification power of 1x.

Optics quality is excellent in the two sights, as lenses are fully covered with multiple coatings. Anodizing of chassis adds to anti-reflective properties, resistance and durability.

There are two options for reticle size with Venom: 3-MOA and 6-MOA. Viper has only one option: 6-MOA.

Furthermore, your firearm needs to have a rail with slots (holes) to mount Venom. On the other hand, Viper clamps on weaver or picatinny rails with cutout slides (grooves).

Vortex built Viper with handguns and shotguns in mind. Venom was built for carbines, pistols with suppressor iron sights, shotguns and handguns.

However, packages of both sights come with a riser, so you can increase mounting height to AR15 pistol and rifle’s level.

Changing batteries is easier with Venom than Viper, as the compartment is on top of the chassis. While both have an auto shutoff feature, Venom has both auto and manual brightness modes while Viper has only manual mode.

Lock screws in Viper hold the elevation and windage settings in place. There are no lock screws in Venom.

Read our Vortex Venom vs Viper comparison to learn more about the key similarities and differences between the two sights.

Comparison between Venom and Viper

Comparison between Venom and Viper

Vortex Viper Red Dot

Vortex Venom Red Dot

Weighs 1.1-ounces without a mount and 2.1-ounces with a mount

Weighs 1.1-ounces without a mount and 1.6-ounces with a mount

Length is 1.8-inches. Slightly heavier than Venom. 

Length is 1.9-inches. Slightly lighter than Viper

Slightly shorter; hence, more compact than Venom

Slightly longer; hence, less compact than Viper

Size of objective lens is 24mm and 1x magnification power

Size of objective lens is 26.5mm and 1x magnification power

Images are slightly less bright, crispy and clear than Venom

Images are slightly brighter, crispier and clearer than Viper

Red dot reticle powered by a common CR2032 battery

Red dot reticle powered by a rare CR1632 battery

Battery power lasts for 150 hours at highest brightness and 30,000 hours at lower settings. Viper turns off itself 14 hours of nonuse

Battery power lasts for 150 hours at highest brightness and 30,000 hours at lower settings. Venom turns off itself after 14 hours of idleness

Provides you with 10 levels of manual brightness settings.

Provides you with 10 levels of both manual and automatic modes brightness settings.

Single option for reticle size: 6-MOA

Two options for reticle size: 6-MOA and 3-MOA

Suitable for handguns and shotguns

Suitable for handguns, shotguns, AR15 rifles and pistols with suppressor iron sights

Maximum clicks for windage corrections: 100-MOA

Maximum clicks for windage corrections: 100-MOA

Maximum clicks for elevation corrections: 130-MOA

Maximum clicks for elevation corrections: 130-MOA

Mounting requires firearms to have a picatinny or weaver style rail with grooves (cutout slides)

Mounting requires firearms to have rails with slots

Multi-coated optics maximize light transfer

Multi-coated optics maximize light transfer

Frame surface engineered to resist shocks and impacts

Frame surface engineered to resist shocks and impacts

Differences and Similarities between Vortex Venom and Viper

While both Venom and Viper are the lightest and most compact red dot sights you’ll ever come across on the market, they differ slightly in their lengths and weights after mounting.

Just as Venom weighs 1.1-ounces (31.19 g), so is Viper. But when you add a ring mount or a mounting platform to Venom, it weighs 1.6-ounces (45.36 g).

Viper is 0.5-ounces (14.18 g) heavier than Venom with a mount, weighing 2.1-ounces (59.54 g). 

Differences and Similarities between Vortex Venom and Viper

And so, Venom is slightly lighter than Viper. If every ounce counts, you should take into serious consideration such a slight difference.

When it comes to length, Viper measures 1.8-inches (4.5cm) across while Venom measures 1.9-inches (4.75cm).

Thus, Viper is more compact than Venom with a small margin of 0.1-inches (0.25cm). And this gives Vortex Viper a slight advantage over Venom in terms of handling and balancing.

Both Venom and Viper retail at the same price. However, what’s most striking in their differences is the diameter of the objective lens.

Venom’s objective lens is slightly larger than Viper’s. Measuring 26.5mm, Venom’s diameter is 2.5mm larger than Viper’s 24mm.

And because both give you a magnification power of 1x, Venom’s bigger size than Viper’s gives you a slightly crispier, brighter and clearer images.

Nevertheless, using both red dots, you can aim or hold down your sight with both eyes wide open, giving you an unmatched awareness of the surrounding.

Like any other red dot, both sights give you an unlimited eye relief. All you need to see the red dot reticle and paint your target. That makes for a very easy and fast target acquisition.

Powering the brightness of Venom’s dot reticle is a single CR1632 battery. On the other hand, Viper powers the reticle’s illumination through a CR2032 battery. Despite differences in their model, both batteries give you the same lifetime.

When you use the highest brightness setting, both batteries can last not more than 150 hours. Using a lower brightness setting prolongs the battery life to a generous 30,000 hours.

More than that, both sights switch off themselves after 14 hours of nonuse.

Nonetheless, the key difference between Venom and Viper is in where the battery compartment lies and scarcity.

You can easily come across a CR2032 battery – not so with CR1632 battery, which is rare to find. Where Venom beats Viper is when changing batteries. Difficulty in changing batteries causes vortex viper red dot problems.

Venom’s battery compartment is located on top of the sight while Viper’s on the bottom. Therefore, when you want to change battery, it’s easier with Venom than Viper, because you don’t have to dismount the sight.

Even though both sights provide you 10 levels of brightness settings, Venom has two modes: manual and automatic. Viper has only manual.

Talking of adjusting the brightness setting manually, both Venom and Viper have two power buttons: one with an arrow facing upward and the other downward. To switch on Venom, you need to press and hold either power button for a couple of seconds.

However, pressing and holding the any power button until the reticle flashes twice, activates the manual mode in Venom.

To switch back to automatic setting, you need to press and hold either power button until the reticle flashes thrice. Things are different with Viper. All you need to do is switch on the Viper by pressing either power button once.

Therefore, while Venom gives you a wide range of options when it comes to adjusting reticle brightness, Viper’s simplicity gives it an edge.

For situations which require split-second reaction, you can switch on Viper faster and easier. Delays contribute to vortex venom problems in dire situations.

Vortex built Viper with handguns or shotguns is mind. Thus, the sight comes with a single option for a reticle size: 6-MOA. Venom gives you two options: 3-MOA and 6-MOA.

With Vortex Venom, you can mount both carbines like AR15 and handguns or shotguns, something which you can’t find with Viper.

On top of it all, both Venom and Viper have arrow buttons for windage and elevation corrections on the side and top of the sight, respectively. Thankfully, no annoying bikini style turret caps in both.

Differences begin to show up, however, when you want to make corrections. Viper requires you to loosen two lock screws, which lock the dials of the arrow buttons in position, by turning them 1½ times before you start making corrections.

Lock screws are absent in Venom. So, you don’t have to worry about dials getting loose, disrupting settings you made during sighting in.

Moving the point-of-impact of a bullet when making corrections for bullet drops and wind drifts during sighting in by 1.05-inches at 100-yards gives you 1-MOA in both sights.

One MOA is equivalent to 1 click.

With Venom, it’ll take you a maximum of 130 clicks (130-MOA) and 100 clicks (100-MOA) for bullet drop and wind drifts, respectively. With Viper, it’ll take you a maximum of 120 clicks (120-MOA) for both bullet drop and wind drift corrections.

Venom and Viper differ in mounting platforms. Venom requires your firearm to have a rail with slots (holes). Viper requires a picatinny or a weaver style rail with grooves (cutouts).

Not just that, Venom’s ring mount gives a length of 18mm between the optics center and the rail surface. And that makes it suitable for mounting onto the rails of shotguns and handguns.

You’ll need a shim, a spacer or a riser to bring the height to an AR15 rifle’s level: absolute and 1/3 co-witness. While Vortex designed the Viper for shotguns and handguns, the package comes with a riser to increase the mounting to AR15 rifle’s level.

Not to mention, both sights come with a protective cover.

Frame of either sight is made of aluminum, which Vortex anodized to give it a matte black look. With such a finish, you won’t run a danger of selling your position to a target. Nor would glares and reflections irritate your eyes.

Protecting the frame and the optics is a layer of ArmoTek to enable toughness and resistance against abrasion, dirt and oil.

Both frames aren’t modular, but single pieces to maximize compactness and resistance to shocks and impacts.

You won’t be surprised to learn that both sights can handle recoil very well, as the manufacturer has machined the frame’s surface to be irregular.

Multiple layers of coatings on optics of either sight maximize light transfer.

How to Mount Vortex Venom?

How to Mount Vortex Venom

Venom comes with a low mount (18mm), which is compatible with a rail with slots (holes). Therefore, you can’t fit the sight on a grooved base or a rail with slide cutouts. If your firearm doesn’t have a slotted rail, you’d need to purchase it from dealers.

The low mount is suitable for handguns and shotguns but the package comes with a riser, which you can use to increase the height to the level of AR15 rifles and pistols.

Follow the following steps when clamping the sight onto a slotted rail:

  • Use the available screws to clamp the low mount to the frame of the sight.
  • On the slotted rail of your firearm, clamp the sight, placing the recoil lug firmly into the slots.
  • Check whether you inserted the clamp fully into the slots and whether it’s attached to the exterior of the rail.
  • Push down the sight and slide it forward along the rail toward the bore of your firearm.
  • Fasten the clamp screw firmly on the rail using a flattop screwdriver or a coin.

How to Zero Vortex Venom

Zeroing enables you to determine you needs: cartridge and maximum range, before you embark on shooting or hunting.

When you know exactly what you want, you won’t waste money on a firearm, which gives you extra ranges. Zeroing also enables you to make the most out of your cartridge.

We recommend you choose a short-range distance at first. A zero distance of between 25- and 50-yards is suitable.

How to Zero Vortex Venom

Bore Sight First

But before you embark on zeroing, you need to look through the bore of the barrel of your firearm. When bore sighting, follow the steps below:

  • Extract the bolt from your rifle for a clear view.
  • Look through the barrel.
  • Center the bullseye inside the barrel.

Zero Your Sight at the Range

Once you finish bore sighting, it’s time to zero your sight at the range.

  • Place a shot once or twice at the target.
  • Examine the groupings to determine how far off the bullseye the bullets have landed.
  • Fire three shots this time.
  • Examine the groupings, and measure how far off the bullseye the center of the groupings is located. Make corrections for windage and elevation as necessary based on the center of the groupings (See below).
  • Again, fire three shots and examine how far the center of the grouping is located from the bullseye. Repeat the procedure when unsatisfied.

How to Make Corrections for Windage and Elevation

One MOA is equivalent to 1.05-inches at 100-yards. If you chose 25-yards as a sight in distance, then you require to hear 1-click to move the point-of-impact of the bullet by ¼-inches. Or, ½-inches at 50-yards, 0.3-inches at 30-yards, etc.

And so, if the bullet landed at a 25-yard target 4-inches to the left of the bullseye, that’s a result of wind drifts.

On one side of the frame, there is a dial for windage adjustment. Rotate the dial down (clockwise) to until you hear 16 clicks to move the point-of-impact 4-inches to the right.

How to Aim Vortex Venom

If you mounted and zeroed your sight correctly, aiming or holding down your sight shouldn’t be a problem. 

As long as you’re able to see the red dot reticle, you can acquire targets easily and fast.

How to Aim Vortex Venom

Be careful, though.

Red dots offer you an unlimited eye relief, but this doesn’t mean you place your eye too close to the ocular lens lest recoil shocks and impacts hit your face, leading to injuries. Look for a comfortable distance of your eyes from the eyepieces.

We recommend you place your eye at least 4-inches away from the ocular lens when aiming.

Conclusion

Venom and Viper are both the lightest and most compact red dot sights available on the market. Built to withstand heavy recoil, Vortex anodized the aluminum chassis.

More than that, anodizing on both sights has a matte black finish, which removes flares and reflections, which irritate and obstruct your vision.

The anti-glare finish on the chassis construction also provides you with stealth abilities.

ArmorTek layer on the both chassis contributes to toughness and resistance against shocks and impacts of hitting, dropping or recoil.

O-ring seals prevent water, oil and dirt from damaging the optics and internal components.

Contributing to optical quality are multiple coatings, which cover the lenses completely to maximize on the available light.

While Viper is slightly heavier than Venom when you add a mount, it’s more compact, as its length is shorter.

Viper uses a most common battery – CR2032. Venom uses a rare form of battery – CR1632.

However, when it comes to changing batteries, it’s easier with Venom than Viper, as battery compartment is on top. No need to dismount the sight.

Both sights have an auto shutoff feature after 14 hours. But Venom has both auto and manual modes for brightness settings.

Viper has lock screws which you need to loosen before you start making corrections for wind drifts and bullet drops. Venom has none.

And so, depending on your needs and preferences, choose either sight, as they cost more or less the same.

Steve Coffman
 

Steve is a shooter and an excellent hunter. He spend most of the times of his life with firearms and hunting. He has very good knowledge in hunting Gears and Rifles.

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