Vortex Viper vs. Venom Red Dot Sights: Which Is Better?

This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Full Disclosure Here.

The Vortex Venom and Vortex Viper are two very similar red dot sights, but they’re not identical. So which is better? Well, that depends on what you’re doing. 

The Venom is more intended for use with an AR platform, while the Viper is more intended for pistols. Each is great for its intended purpose.

But why trust me in the first place? Well, I’ve been a gun owner all my life and writing about them professionally for the last five years. Plus, I just love a Vortex Optic.

In this guide, I’ll go over the differences between these two red dots, then give you a rundown of each red dot individually. Then we’ll compare them feature by feature and go over some FAQs about these red dots. 

But first, let’s start with a table comparing the most important features.

Vortex Venom vs Vortex Viper Comparison


Vortex Venom

Vortex Viper

Mount Type



Dot Color



Dot Size

3 MOA or 6 MOA


Adjustment Graduation



Max Elevation Adjustment

130 MOA

120 MOA

Max Windage Adjustment

100 MOA

120 MOA


1.9 inches

1.81 inches


1.11 inches

1.06 inches


1.02 inches

1.02 inches

Base Height

0.41 inches

0.33 inches


1.1 ounces

1.03 ounces




Lens Coatings



Battery Type

CR 1632

CR 2032

Battery Life

Up to 30,000 hours

Up to 30,000 hours







Brightness Settings

10 settings

10 settings

Auto Brightness



Differences Between Vortex Venom and Viper

There are a number of differences between the Vortex Venom and the Vortex Viper. The most important is that Vortex designed the Venom for an AR setup, while the Viper is intended for a pistol. 

As part of this, the Viper is slightly smaller with a shorter base. This allows the Viper to more easily fit on a pistol slide and allows for easy co-witness with pistol sights. On the other hand, the smaller size makes it harder to switch out the battery since the compartment is very tight.

Similarly, the Viper also must be removed from the gun altogether to replace the battery, since battery compartment access is on the bottom of the unit. 

And speaking of batteries, the Vortex Venom uses a CR1632 battery, while the Viper uses a CR2032. 

Another major difference is that only the Vortex Venom has an auto-brightness mode.

Finally, the Venom is available in a model with a 3 MOA red dot and a model with a 6 MOA red dot, while the Viper only comes in a 6 MOA option.

Overview: Vortex Venom

Check Price on Amazon

Buy on Optics Planet

The Vortex Venom is available in two different models, one with a 3 MOA dot and one with a 6 MOA dot. Other than the difference in dot size, the two models are identical. 

Both have 10 brightness settings. The Vortex Venom also has an auto brightness mode that automatically selects the brightness setting based on the amount of ambient light available.

The Venom uses a CR1632 battery. On the highest brightness setting, the Venom provides up to 150 hours of battery life. On lower settings, you can get up to 30,000 hours. 

As far as size, the Vortex Venom is pretty petite. It’s 1.02” tall, 1.9” long, and 1.11” wide. The base is 0.41” tall. The unit weighs 1.1 ounces.

The Venom has fully-multicoated wide-field lenses to give you a clear, open picture. It also allows you a wide range of adjustments for both windage and elevation. You get 130 MOA of elevation adjustment and 100 MOA of windage adjustment. The adjustment graduation is one MOA. 

Related Article: 21 Best Red Dot Sights for the Money

The Vortex Venom is also ruggedly built. It has an aluminum housing with a single-piece chassis and a matte anodized finish. It’s waterproof and shockproof. The lenses themselves have ArmorTek coating, which protects them from oil, dirt, and scratches.

The Vortex Venom’s MSRP is $349.99, but at the time of writing, it’s available for $249 on Amazon. It comes with Vortex’s lifetime warranty.

As far as accessories, the Venom comes with a Weaver/Picatinny mount, a T-15 Torx wrench, a rain cover, a lens cloth, mounting screws, a CR1632 battery, and a screwdriver.

Overview: Vortex Viper

Check Price on Amazon

Buy on Optics Planet

The Vortex Viper has a 6 MOA red dot.

It has 10 brightness settings and uses a CR2032 battery. It gets up to 150 hours of battery life on the highest setting, and up to 30,000 hours on the lower settings.

It’s very compact, measuring 1.02” tall, 1.81” long, and 1.06” wide. The base is 0.33” tall, which is perfect for co-witnessing with iron sights. The whole sight weighs 1.03 ounces.

The Viper features a 1 MOA adjustment graduation, with a 120 MOA adjustment range for both windage and elevation.

The lenses are fully multi-coated, plus they have an ArmorTek coating to protect them from scratches, dirt, and oil.

The aluminum frame features a single-piece chassis and a matte anodized finish. This red dot sight is also waterproof and shockproof. 

It comes with a Weaver/Picatinny mount, a T-10 Torx wrench, a CR 2032 battery, mounting screws, a lens cloth, a flathead wrench, and a protective cover.

The Vortex Viper has a $349.99 MSRP, but as I write this, it’s listed on Amazon for $249. It’s protected by Vortex’s lifetime warranty.

Feature by Feature Comparison

Now that you’ve gotten the rundown on each of these sights, the Vortex Viper and the Vortex Venom, let’s compare these two sights one feature at a time. 


Both the Venom and the Viper are available with a 6 MOA red dot. Only the Venom, however, is also available with a 3 MOA red dot.

A smaller red dot allows you to shoot smaller targets or at longer ranges without obscuring the target. The trade-off is that target acquisition tends to be a bit slower. Larger dots are generally preferred for handgun sights, while smaller dots are a more popular choice for longer-range rifles. 

With this knowledge, it makes sense that the Venom has both 3 MOA and 6 MOA options since ARs can be used for close-range or mid-distance. Since the Viper is intended for pistols, a smaller dot option isn’t really necessary.


The Vortex Venom uses a CR1632 battery, while the Viper uses a CR2032.

CR2032 batteries are a bit cheaper and easier to find at a local grocery or drug store than CR1632 batteries, but both are readily available on Amazon and the cost for CR1632 batteries isn’t that much higher.

Both red dots give you up to 150 hours of battery life on the highest brightness setting and up to 30,000 hours of battery life on lower settings.

To swap out the battery on the Viper, you have to remove it from the pistol since access to the battery compartment is on the bottom of the sight. The Venom, on the other hand, has a battery compartment that’s accessed from the top, so the battery can be swapped with the sight still on your rifle. 


The two sights are about the same size, with the Vortex Viper being just slightly smaller and more lightweight. That makes sense since the Viper is going on a smaller pistol rather than a larger AR.

Both are 1.02” tall, but the Viper is a bit shorter in length, measuring 1.81 inches long compared to 1.9 inches. The Viper is also a little bit narrower, 1.06 inches wide as opposed to 1.11 inches. 

Related Article: 10 Best Red Dot Magnifiers

The base of the Viper is also a little shorter since it positions the Viper to co-witness with pistol sights. The Viper’s base is 0.33 inches tall while the Venom’s base is 0.41 inches. 

Finally, the Viper is about .07 ounces lighter than the Venom. 

Unfortunately, the Viper’s smaller size makes it harder to change the battery. The compartment is a little tight, so you have to work a little bit to get the battery lined up properly. It’s not too bad though and you’ll get the hang of it.

Brightness Settings

Both the Venom and the Viper have 10 brightness settings. Only the Venom, however, has auto-brightness, which means that the sight automatically detects the amount of ambient light available and selects the optimal brightness setting for that level of light. 

Neither is night vision compatible. If you’d like a night vision compatible red dot from Vortex, you’ll want to look at the Vortex Sparc AR red dot or Vortex Crossfire red dot. Both of these sights are designed for use with a variety of long guns. 

Windage & Elevation Adjustment

The windage and elevation adjustment ranges of these two sights are also different. 

The Vortex Venom has 130 MOA of elevation adjustment and 100 MOA of windage adjustment. In contrast, the Viper has only 120 MOA of elevation adjustment, but also 120 MOA of windage adjustment.

Since the Venom is intended for an AR rather than a pistol, and therefore for longer ranges, it needs more elevation adjustment to counteract bullet drop over longer distances. It’s less clear why Vortex opted to give the Viper more windage adjustment, but either way, both sights have an ample range of adjustment.

Both red dots feature an adjustment graduation of 1 MOA.


Both sights come with the same basic set of accessories, including a battery, mounting screws, a cover, a lens cloth, a Weaver/Picatinny mount, and wrenches for mounting the scope and adjusting windage and elevation.

However, it’s worth noting that you’ll probably need to get an additional riser mount to use the Venom red dot sight with an AR, or else it will be too low to be usable. Vortex makes a riser mount for the Venom that will do the trick.


Both the Venom and the Viper have the same MSRP, $349.99. Of course, MSRP is a good bit higher than the actual retail price. Retail price, at least on Amazon, is also the same for these two sights. Both are currently listed for $249, about $100 cheaper than MSRP. 

That said, those costs don’t include the Venom Mount Riser that you will likely need to use the Venom sight with an AR. That adds about an extra $100. 

In addition, both the Viper and the Venom come with Vortex’s VIP lifetime warranty, which covers your sight not only if it’s defective, but also if it becomes accidentally damaged. In fact, just about the only situations that the VIP warranty doesn’t cover are loss, theft, or intentional damage.


Now let’s talk about some common questions that people have about the Vortex Viper and the Vortex Venom.

Do the Vortex Venom and Viper Have the Same Mount?

Yes! Both the Vortex Venom and the Vortex Viper come with a Picatinny/Weaver-style mount. Despite the differences in the footprints of the two sights, they can use the same mount. They have the same screw pattern for attaching to the mount or directly to the gun. 

This makes it easier for you to find new mounts for changing the positioning of your Viper or Venom sight, and easier to find third-party manufactured mounts that will work with your Viper or Venom red dot.

This is especially handy to know since you’ll likely need to be a separate riser for your Venom sight to be able to use the red dot sight with your AR. Otherwise, the red dot is positioned too low. 

Is the Vortex Viper Shake Awake?

No, the Vortex Viper does not feature Shake Awake. To turn the unit on, you need to press either of the arrows on the side of the red dot. In fact, none of the Vortex red dots, to my knowledge, feature shake awake technology.

Does the Vortex Venom Have Shake Awake?

No, the Vortex Venom does not feature Shake Awake either. Like the Viper, the Venom must be turned on by pressing either of the arrows on the side of the unit. As I’ve already said, based on my research, no Vortex red dot features shake awake.

Final Verdict

Now you should have a good understanding of the differences between the Vortex Viper red dot sight and the Vortex Venom red dot sight.

Ordinarily, in posts like this, we like to identify a clear winner. However, in this case, we can’t really do that. Each of these sights is better for its intended purpose. For a pistol, the Viper clearly has the advantage, but it can’t match the Venom for use on an AR. 

The Venom’s larger elevation adjustment range, multiple dot size options, and auto brightness function make it wells suited for an AR. Meanwhile, the Viper’s smaller size, shorter base, and 6 MOA dot make it ideal for pistols. 

Looking for more info about red dots? Then check out our list of the best red dot sights or our list of the best reflex sights for even more options. Or, to get some zoom out of your red dot, check out the best red dot magnifiers.

Leave a Comment