Having quality scopes for your firearms is always important, regardless of how good of a marksman you are, however, the large number of products available on the market can make it difficult to establish which one is better for you. This difficulty is especially apparent when looking at two highly popular models that come from the same manufacturer, such as the Vortex Venom vs. Vortex Viper.
Both look relatively identical, but the two sights cater to different types of individuals. In order to clarify what each can do, we have reviewed and compared them. We have also included a buying guide below in order to help you make an informed decision.
What they have in common
The Venom and the Vortex are unsurprisingly similar in terms of design and durability. Here are the specs of the two sights:
- Weight: 1.1 oz.;
- Size: 48 x 28 x 26 mm.;
- Waterproofing: Partial;
- Night vision: Present, with 10 levels to choose from or an auto mode;
- Battery life: 30,000 hours;
- Lens Cover: ArmorTek@;
- Weight: 1.1 oz.;
- Size: 46 x 27 x 26 mm.;
- Waterproofing: Partial;
- Night vision: Present, with adjustable illumination;
- Battery Life: 30,000 hours;
- Lens Cover: ArmorTek@;
Most of the technical specs of the two sights are identical, with the main differences being the sizes and night vision features. This having been said, these differences can make a lot of difference, especially for professional marksmen.
Before moving onward, it is important to also mention the fact that both models come with unconditional lifetime warranties, as well as mounts, wrenches, protective covers, screwdrivers, and lens cloths. The Venom also comes packaged with mounting screws and a flathead screwdriver instead of a regular one.
While they may seem similar, the devil is in the details, and it is important to take a closer look at each of the scopes to establish who they are for.
The Vortex Venom – A scope that offers the best bang for the buck
Overall, the Vortex Venom is widely considered to provide the most quality for what it costs. The sight is available either 3 Red Dot or 6 Red Dot models, so it is great for both handguns as well as rifles.
The 3 Red Dot Venom works great with high precision rifles, while the 6 Red Dot is better used with handguns. Most of the professionals who have tested the two have appreciated the design of the sights, namely the fact that they offer top load battery access.
The intelligent design enables the user to change the batteries without having to remove the scope. This having been said, the Venom uses CR 1623 batteries, which are relatively more difficult to find than the CR2032 used by the Viper and also slightly larger.
When it comes to night vision, the controls of the Venom are located on the left side, and the user can choose between 10 different brightness settings. However, one of the most popular features of this model is the auto-brightness feature that uses an ambient light sensor in order to set the light intensity.
It is also important to mention the fact that the Venom will fit on a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, without any issues, and all the necessary tools are included with the product.
- 3 MOA or 6 MOA – The Venom comes in two flavors and can be used with both rifles as well as handguns;
- Solid construction – The sight has a durable aluminum housing that can be used in any kind of scenario;
- High-quality lenses – The lenses of the Venom do not scratch easily and offer a clean, wide field of view that is suited for both short-range and long-range scenarios. Furthermore, the power and dot intensity controls allow the shooter to choose between 10 brightness settings;
- Auto mode – The auto-brightness mode offers a lot of flexibility for individuals who go through different lighting conditions in a short span of time. An ambient light sensor detects the amount of light in the area and automatically sets the brightness;
- Top load system – The battery can be replaced without having to unmount the scope;
- High compatibility – The scope can be used with shotguns, rifles, and handguns.
- Great night vision capabilities – The 10 brightness levels offer a lot of user-controlled flexibility for a wide variety of scenarios, and the auto-brightness mode’s adjustments are very responsive to changes in light;
- Included tools – The scope comes with everything that you need in order to install or store the scope;
- Top load design – Changing the battery is done through the top, so once you mount the sight on a firearm, you never have to take it off;
- Will not work with any firearm, right out of the box – The mounting screws have dimensions and patterns that are only compatible with some handguns and rifles;
Who is it for?
The Vortex Venom offers a lot of value, overall. A bit of research is required in order to determine if your firearms are compatible with the scope out of the box; however, you should be able to eventually mount it on any type of gun by using different screws.
It is also important to mention the fact that the partial water resistance feature makes it suitable for both light and heavy rain. Furthermore, the auto-brightness of the night vision system is extremely responsive and makes it easy to go from a low-light environment to complete darkness without having to manually change the settings.
The Vortex Viper – A low-profile, compact scope that is perfect for handguns
The Viper from Vortex does not offer the flexibility of the Venom, in terms of models. Only 6 MOA Dot sights are available, which are designed solely for handguns. This having been said, the scope is well designed and has features that are focused on improving precision while also making it easier to adapt to different environmental conditions without taking your eye off the target.
From a usability point of view, the 6 MOA red dot is great for fast target acquisition at close and medium range. Furthermore, the low form-factor of the scope allows it to co-witness with suppressor-height handgun sights, making it useful for both sharpshooters as well as tactical scenarios.
The build quality of the Viper is somewhat similar to the Venom, in the sense that the scope is made from aluminum, and the lenses are multi-coated to reduce glare and increase their ability to enhance the intensity of the light that passes through them. It is also worth mentioning the fact that the model is partially waterproof, which means that it will work in any weather conditions, as long as it is not submerged.
As with the Venom, the controls of the Viper are located on the left side, but they do not offer the same amount of functionality. The Viper only offers adjustable light settings. There are no preset levels or ambient light sensors to help increase or lower the brightness automatically.
Lastly, the battery life of the Viper is the same as that of the Venom, however, it uses CR2032s, which are harder to find. The sight must also be unmounted in order to replace the batteries.
- Low profile – The Vortex Viper is specifically designed for handguns and other small firearms;
- High compatibility – The low profile of the scope’s design allows it to be used with iron sights, making it easy to attach to any handgun;
- High-quality lens – The lens of the scope is multi-coated using ArmorTek technology which protects it from oil, dirt, and scratches;
- Anodized finish – The scope has a low-glare matte finish that will not affect your aim when standing in direct sunlight;
- High durability – The model is shockproof and is also partially waterproof. O-ring seals prevent water and dust from entering its case, making it great for any type of environment;
- High compatibility with handguns – The Viper works with any type of pistol;
- Included tools – All the tools that are required to mount the scope come with the product;
- Low mount – The fact that the Viper can be installed and used with the regular sights of a handgun makes it easy to mount on the fly;
- Only useful for handguns – The Viper does not offer the same flexibility as the Venom in terms of what types of firearms you can mount it on;
- Partially waterproof – The scope will stop working if you fully submerge it for more than a couple of seconds;
Who is it for?
The Viper is designed exclusively for handguns. The fact that the scope only comes as a 6 MOA dot model can be extremely restrictive for individuals who are looking for a device that they can get used to and move from one weapon to another. The main downside with this scope is the fact that it can only be used for handguns and that you have to detach it from the weapon in order to replace the battery.
Which one to choose?
When it comes to looking at the Vortex Venom vs. Viper, it is important to understand that the durability of the scopes and their reliability are basically identical due to the fact that they are from the same manufacturer. However, each of the two scopes is designed for a different type of individual.
The Venom offers a lot of flexibility for individuals who own both long-range rifles and shotguns as well as handguns. Depending on what kind of weapons you have, it is possible to get a 3 MOA dot or a 6 MOA dot model. On the other hand, the Viper is much more restrictive as it comes only in a 6 MOA dot flavor.
Other than the actual uses of the two scopes, the biggest differences in terms of features are the night vision systems and the battery replacement methods. The Venom’s battery can be replaced without unmounting the scope from the weapon, which is great if you don’t get it as a model that you want to move from one firearm to another. When it comes to the Viper, its low-profile frame did not offer enough space for a top-load system, and you will have to remove it entirely to perform this action.
As far as the night vision systems are concerned, the Venom also comes with an ambient light sensor that automatically changes the brightness levels, making it great if you move in and out of buildings or forested areas. The system on the Viper has to be manually set every time the lighting conditions change, making it much more tedious, especially if you don’t want to take your eyes off the target.
Overall, from a purely functional point of view, the Venom can be more useful for individuals who prefer to use rifles and need sights that will enhance their accuracy at a distance of around 50 feet. Alternatively, if you own only handguns, then the Viper will be more suited to your needs. The scope is easy to attach and can decrease your target acquisition time by a solid 2 seconds.
Regardless of which one you choose, keep in mind that both of them are only water-resistant. They can handle heavy rain and are even able to withstand being submerged in water for a few seconds, but if you leave your weapon in a puddle for several minutes, they may stop working.
Deciding between the two scopes is foremost a matter of looking at the weapons that you own and establishing how you want to use the scope. Furthermore, consider how important it is for you to have a scope that can automatically change the brightness in order to adapt to the environment. Some may prefer to have more control over their night-vision systems, while others will fare better with a hands-off approach.
Looking at the prices of the Vortex Venom vs. Viper, they are largely the same, so you only have to focus on what features matter most to you.