Vortex Venom Mini Red Dot Review

Vortex Venom mini red dot sight

Vortex Venom mini red dot sight

The Vortex Venom is a mini red dot in the style of the Burris Fastfire and Docter Optic. It is a tiny reflex sight that comes in either 6 or 3 MOA dot reticles. The one that Vortex provided to me is 3 MOA. The base mount pattern is of the Docter Optic style.  In general appearance, it’s quite similar to other mini red dot sights but it does have a few features that set it apart. One is that the battery compartment is on the top of the sight. Of course, that allows the battery to be changed without removing the sight from the mount and possibly disturbing your zero. The cover for the battery compartment has a slot that can accommodate a case rim.

It has an auto brightness adjusting feature, which is normally something I’m not very fond of. Auto brightness features usually have two significant flaws. One is when you aim from a dark area such as inside a house or under a shaded firing line out into a brightly sunlit area. The other is in near total darkness using a bright weapon light. In both those circumstances, the reticle can be washed out because the light sensors are seeing a low level of light and accordingly adjust the brightness of the reticle down, but the area you are looking at is bright. The Venom handles auto adjustment well, though. While using the auto brightness feature, I found the reticle to be visible and useful in both situations. In other, more normal light conditions, the reticle adjusted quickly and was always an appropriate level of brightness. In auto mode, the sight will shut off automatically after 14 hours.

But the Venom also allows you to adjust brightness manually. If you hold the UP arrow for a few seconds, the reticle will flash and you can manually set brightness. Another feature that I’m fond of is that, if you turn the sight off, when you turn it back on it will be at the same brightness.

Vortex claims that the sight is waterproof, though they don’t specify to what depth or how long. I can vouch for the fact that it is perfectly capable of surviving a few minutes at the bottom of a 55 gallon drum full of muddy rainwater, though.

Splash!

Splash!

 

The manufacturer also claims a battery life of 30,000 which is a little under 3.4 years so I wasn’t quite able to test for this review. But I did leave it on a lot and did not notice any change in brightness. The reticle is crisp and round without any flaring. At full brightness, and while aiming against a white wall lit by direct sunlight, the reticle is clearly visible, though not quite as bright as an Aimpoint Comp ML2 in the same conditions.

Vortex claims that it is “parallax free” but that is a relative statement, since no sight is entirely parallax free. With the sight sitting motionless on my kitchen counter, I could move my head around and the reticle did not move relative to a sign 50 yards away, until it got near the edge of the lens. By rough estimate, I’d say that an area equivalent to about 2/3 the diameter of the sight is the area without any noticeable parallax. With the dot at the very edge of the lens, though, the down range shift was probably about 10″ – 12″.

Please note that the negatives noted here are fairly minor. I work hard to find something positive to say about products I review, no matter how bad, as well as something negative, no matter how good the product is. I feel that helps maintain my objectivity. The bottom line is that the sight is reasonably priced ($230 on Optics Planet), assembled with care, lives up to claims, and has some nice features which distinguish it from its peers.



Andrew

Andrew is a combat veteran of OEF and has performed hundreds of ballistic tests for his YouTube channel, The Chopping Block (https://www.youtube.com/user/chopinbloc). He is an avid firearm collector and competitor and lives with his family in Arizona. If you have any questions, you may email him at choppingblocktests@gmail.com


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  • Jared Vynn

    But what’s the price? Why is it the price is always left out? $229 on optics planet currently.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38835c6a613e51c9efc6c8db0dca38ea29e8bb00694af7465975477b6340ca1e.png

    • Chop Block

      Because prices change and I don’t have time to go back and edit the article after the fact.

      • Jared Vynn

        Prices can change, but usually MSRP or list price stays the same, and you could always add in a quick disclaimer that at the time of writing it was X price.

        It’s just frustrating to see so many articles and reviews (from many authors, not singling just you out) that fail to answer one of the biggest questions consumers ask, but I do appreciate the plethora of articles from you today.

        • Leonardo Padrino

          Primary arms has them for 180ish every so often. I keep getting to the party late.

        • Chop Block

          Okay, but when people start criticizing because the price I listed wasn’t the lowest possible, I’m blaming you.

          😉

          • Martin T

            No worries you could state there ubiquitous “subject to change” language to cya

          • Jared Vynn

            Fair enough.

      • Flounder

        MSRP at the date of publication is all that is expected. These articles are dated.

  • Drew Coleman

    Hmm. I wonder if this could mount to an ACOG.

    • Chop Block

      It comes with a Picatinny mount and there are ACOG mounts that will fit the base lug pattern, too.

  • JASON B

    The sight is compared with mini red dots such as Burris FastFire and Docter in the opening. But the Trijicon RMR is not mentioned. Is that on purpose? It would be so nice to be able to buy a mini red dot that is comparable to the RMR for less than half the price. How do you think this red dot would fare against the Trijicon? I am currently running a couple of RMRs on two of my carry guns. I have been tempted to try out one of these Vortex mini’s, but fear I will wind up not being happy with it and just having to buy another RMR. The whole buy once, cry once thing.

    • Chop Block

      I believe that Trijicon has a patent on the fiber illuminates reticle concept. The RMR is likely sturdier.

      • RogUinta

        There are at least two types of Trijicon RMRs. There’s the battery-powered LED red dot version, which is the one that was on sale at Cabela’s. There is also the non-powered Tritium/fiber optic version.

        Because I have bad astigmatisms the LED version has all kinds of bad dot “flare”. And because I live in the desert, the non-powered one washes out against my sight picture.

        SIgh…hopefully eventually someone will invent a feather-weight prism sight I can stick on my pistol.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          Maybe they will, but I wouldn’t wait on it. Prism sights seem to be on the back burner for most companies.

    • Grant

      Cabela’s had the RMR RM06 on sale for $350, you might want to check if they are still available. I think they are clearing them out because version 2 is coming. The specs weren’t much different though, so still a good price.

    • US85MC

      My eyes are at the point I need a red dot to maintain accuracy. I have three carry pistols and started with a battery powered RMR on a M&P9 with outstanding results. However, it was cost prohibitive to add RMRs to my Glock 23 and CZ-75D Compact so after doing my internet research I picked up a Vortex Venom for $205 and mounted it to my Glock. The Venom may not be as rugged as the RMR it is as rugged as I need it and has a larger optic field of view and other features outlined in the article that are advantageous. It worked so well I bought another one for my CZ. After hundreds of rounds through all three pistols they have proven easy to zero and worked well under all lighting conditions. Very pleased with both the RMR and Venom sights. However, with the Venom at less than half the cost of the RMR, it is hard to go wrong with the Venom.

    • RazorHawk

      Yeah, the Trijicon RMR is the rolls royce of the mini reflex sight world, excellent quality, the standard by which all others are judged.

      They probably ommitted it cause it is so expensive.

  • USMC03Vet

    Where is the rest of the review?

    • Swarf

      “Mini” was supposed to come after “red dot” in the title.

  • Heartbreaker

    I have one on a .357 magnum revolver and it’s held up for 200 rounds so far. I like it.

  • Lee Enfield

    I want auto-off, motion detect on, and a 65MOA circle and 2MOA dot, lifetimew warranty for $200. Maybe Holosun some day.

    • RazorHawk

      So something like an EOtech?

    • SGT Fish

      I would like to see one that turns off when you holster it. Id love to carry one but motion detect wouldn’t save me any battery life when I or my vehicle is moving around all day

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      If by “someday” you mean “in the next few months”, then the Holosun 507C is exactly what you are describing, 65 circle w/ 2 MoA dot and everything.

    • EdgyTrumpet

      Shield mini sight?

  • it’s just Boris

    I have one. Battery died after a few days of first turn-on. Not continuous use, just between first mounting and pulling out out of the safe a couple of days later. When I replaced it (yes I was careful, yes I used the right replacement battery) the cap started popping out. Won’t seal, won’t stay put, so battery contact isn’t made up and the sight doesn’t power up unless I hold the cap down with my finger. So, basically useless out of the box.

    I really should contact Vortex about this but got so disgusted I just put it back on the shelf and haven’t thought about it again until now. (Life happened, got busy, etc.)

    • iksnilol

      Just tape the cap down?

    • DangerousClown

      Vortex will probably just replace the whole unit. They have some of the best customer service in the industry.

  • Patrick

    I just bought one a few weeks ago and mounted it on my Grand Power X-Calibur. It has been a phenomenally effective aid in increasing accuracy – especially with my ageing eyes. I also own a Jpoint and the original Tasco Optima 2000 Micro Red dot. I’m happy to see the technology advancing.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b987b9577a4316fc0d9a169427ccbbb7c5d5413861ed41872fba33550dd63ee7.png

    • Dave

      I’ve been thinking of getting a X-Cal myself and was wondering about MRDS mounting options, who makes that plate in your pic?

      • Patrick

        EGW makes mounts for the Colt Gold Cup that fit the Eliason sight cut in the slide. As far as I know, this compatibility isn’t documented anywhere.

  • Ron

    I have one of these on a PPQ Match. The threads to the battery cap are very fine and the cap is hard to screw on without fear of cross threading it. The metal ring around the sight glass has a sharp edge, I found out the hard way while clearing malfunctions during a competition. Other than those two things I have no complaints.