Vortex Venom: The Most Rugged, Budget Friendly Red Dot On The Market

Vortex Venom: The Most Rugged, Budget Friendly Red Dot On The Market

Keith CRACKSHOT.TV No Comments

Vortex Venom: The Most Rugged, Budget Friendly Red Dot On The Market

Vortex Venom: The Most Rugged, Budget Friendly Red Dot On The Market
Still a Solid Option all these years later
The Vortex Venom is still a contender and still has its place in the market, even yet all these years after its release. It is a little more outdates than more modern options, but it still isn't a bad choice for competitive shooting and range contexts.
Window Size
Glass Clarity
Emitter Brightness / Reticle
Build Quality
Design and Controls
Battery Life
Reader Rating0 Votes
Solid Build Quality
Descent Glass clarity
Good option for Range and Competitive Shooting usage
Lacks Modern Features
Subpar Battery life by Modern Standards

What is the best pistol red dot on a budget in the Docter/Noblex pattern footprint on a budget?

Even though the Vortex Venom is a pretty old red dot sight at this point, In our opinion the Vortex venom is still one of the best, even if it lacks many of the bells and whistles of newer red dot optics.

In this review video / blog post, we’ll cover all the features of the Vortex Venom and show how it compares against other more modern red dot sights, like the Holosun 507c.

So let’s talk about this classic red dot.

Vortex Venom at the Range
Vortex Venom at the Range

Where to buy?


Vortex Venom


Check the price on Amazon, but shop around, as you may be able to get it cheaper from other retailers.

Aesthetics (3/5)

We’ll start with the least important feature, aesthetics.

First impressions, the branding is a bit loud for my taste. I’m not a big fan of having a billboard on my optic. The aesthetics truthfully are the least important quality about a red dot, but it is the thing you typically notice when evaluating a product. The branding is just a little bit loud for my taste.

Vortex Venom Side View
Vortex Venom Side View

Window Size (4 / 5)

I think the thing I love most about this optic is the wide window, which is why I have it mounted on one of my competition guns, the Canik TP9SFX. The window is not as large as on competitive priced competition targeted optics, like the Sightron SRS-2. However, it is still a very respectable window size and more than adequate for dynamic pistol competition shooting.

Vortex Venom Large Window Size
Vortex Venom Large Window Size

Glass Clarity (4.5 / 5)

The glass is quite clear and it makes for a very nice sight picture ideal for competitive shooting. It doesn’t seem to fog up or get gunked up by gunpowder as much as other pistol red dots I’ve used. It’s also very easy to clean with a microfiber cloth.

Emitter Brightness / Reticle (3.5 / 5)

The 3MOA dot is crisp and bright on highest settings in most environments, but I have had some trouble with it on the brightest Florida days (which is apparent in the above video). I actually have very little trouble with it and despite some red dots being difficult to use because I have an astigmatism. On some red dots I’ll see almost like a dash instead of a dot, on the venom I see a dot. It just works well with my eyes.

Build Quality (4 / 5)

As far as build quality goes the optic feels durable and sturdy. I have had this for well over a year and a half and haven’t had any issues with mine yet. It’s lasted longer than many of the other brand red dots I’ve tried in terms of longevity from just shooting, although I’ve never used it for every day carry.

The optic is not as rugged as other options that are more built for concealed carry, but the Venom is still an excellent option.

Vortex Venom Mounted on Canik TP9SFX
Vortex Venom Mounted on Canik TP9SFX

Warranty (5 / 5)

When you buy vortex products, you’re buying their warranty. Their warranty department has an incredible reputation. I’ve actually never had to warranty any of their products to date, so I don’t have first hand experience, but the general concensus across many people I’ve talked with is that Vortex customer service is excellent.

Design and Controls (4.5 / 5)

The design and controls on the venom are simple. The push buttons are high quality and the dials for windage and elevation are tactile.  The battery cap being located on the top is great and super convenient, this is extra important because of one of the only cons and gripes I have with this red dot which I’ll go into in a moment.

The profile of the optic is also fairly low, which is important if you have it mounted using an adapter plate like I have on my Canik. Because of this, I’m able to zero the optic even though the adapter plate sits somewhat high.

On a pistol it makes a lot of sense to keep the height over bore as small as possible since you’re typically shooting at very short ranges compared to a rifle and you don’t have to contend with a stock, so I prefer a lower height over bore on my pistol optics.

Price (4 / 5)

The price point is descent and competitive. At the MSRP of $250, I do think the price is a little steep as compared to more modern optics that have more features than the Vortex Venom.

However, if you can get the venom on sale, it still is a good value. I occasionally see it go on sale for under $200, or even $149 sometimes. At this price point it is a steal.

Bonus Pic Rail :

The dot is also one of the few dots that i know of that comes out of box with a weaver / pic mount which is a consideration if you’re trying to mount this to something with a rail.



Features (3/5)

My main issue with the venom, and where it honestly shows its age versus more modern red dots, is the lack of features. Most specifically, I’m disappointed by the lack of a shake awake feature.

The venom like many other dots will turn off automatically via a timer, which is better than “always on”, but less intutive than shake awake.

Battery Life (3/5)

This is problematic as the battery life isn’t that great on these. Vortex rates them between 150 hours on highest setting up to 3k hours on lowest brightness, which is subpar by today’s standards for red dot optics.

I’ve found that if I don’t explicitly turn the red dot off, after a few months and a few range trips I have to replace the battery, more often than most other optics I own.

Not the Best Concealed Carry Option

Not having a shake awake feature is a deal breaker for me in regards to considering it for every day carry mainly because of the risk that the battery may be dead in the unfortunate event that I would ever have to use the firearm in a self defense situation.


That said, the optic is great for range use and certainly a good option for competitive shooting given its durability, which is why I run it regularly on my competition gun.

Overall the vortex venom is a solid choice, you could do much worse at the price point. If you’re looking for an optic for competitive shooting under $250 this is a good option to consider.

If you’re looking for an optic for every day carry with this same price point, you may want to give holosun a look.

There are tons of red dot options out there with more coming out every year. If you’re interested, check out some of my other videos for more detailed reviews on other products.


Vortex Venom


Check the price on Amazon, but shop around, as you may be able to get it cheaper from other retailers.

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