A compact sight that can do it all? A mini red dot is a great option.
Mini optic popularity has been at a steady increase recently, and there are absolutely a ton of options available on the market today. How do you know which one is right for you? Mini red dots can be just as home on a pistol as they are on a semi-automatic rifle or any number of compact carbines. They also make a great backup when paired with a magnified optics. There’s almost no end to what they can do.
Vortex has been making a name for themselves with their dependable optics, affordable pricing, and high quality. If you’ve decided that a Vortex mini red dot is for you, (and you should!), this article will help narrow down your best model by comparing two Vortex mini red dots – the Razor and the Venom. Both are great sights that may fill the role you need.
Scope Description and Features
The Razor is Vortex’s entry into the high-end mini red dot market. It is compact, lightweight, and has a larger field of view than other Vortex mini red dots. It also features XR Fully Multicoated lenses – these are the highest quality lenses available with multiple anti-reflective coatings which provide the best light transmission and clearest picture.
The Razor is available with either a 3 MOA or 6 MOA red dot and has nine brightness settings. Unlimited eye relief allows the user to mount the sight anywhere on their rifle or hold their pistol at any distance while maintaining a clear sight picture. The Razor is powered by a CR2032 battery via a side-loaded battery tray so the sight can stay in place for battery changes. It has a 6-hour auto shut off feature and battery life ranges from 150 hours to 30,000 hours depending on brightness.
Other Specs include:
- Height: 1.16″ front, 0.49″ rear
- Width: 1.21″
- Length: 1.83″
- Weight: 1.4 oz (without mount)
The Venom is a compact, non-magnified mini-red dot sight. It is available with either a 3 MOA dot that is an excellent option for rifles, while the 6 MOA dot will give your handgun the quick and easy targeting you need. Both options are identical in all other aspects.
The Venom has a shockproof aluminum body construction, a multi-coated lens, and the top-load battery compartment. The on/off and brightness controls are located on the side of the housing, while the MOA adjustments are flush to the body for a more compact footprint. The Venom is powered by a CR1632 battery with a 14-hour auto-shutoff feature, and the battery life lasts between 150 hours to 30,000 hours depending on the setting.
Other Specs include:
- Height: 1.02″ front, 0.41″ rear
- Width: 1.11″
- Length: 1.9″
- Weight: 1.1 oz (without mount)
head to head comparison
- Extremely Clear sight picture
- Wide field of view
- Rear-mounted controls protect against accidental changes
- More expensive than other Vortex red dots
- Rear-mounted controls aren't as quick to adjust
- Suited for rifles and pistols
- Waterproof and Shockproof
- Easy battery changes
- Glass not as clear as the Razor
- Smaller sight picture than the Razor
- CR 1632 battery not as common as the CR 2032
Cost and Value Comparison
As far as features go, these two sights are almost identical. The Razor can typically be found for under $430, while the Venom is a good bit cheaper coming in under $250. There are two main differences between these two sights – the control layout and picture quality.
The controls on the Razor are rear mounted, behind the glass. This keeps the sides of the optic streamlined and protects against accidental changes from bumps or knocks, but it is slower to adjust. The Venom has side mounted controls for easy access, but if you have a rifle on a sling or a pistol in a holster its possible they could get bumped.
The biggest reason for the price difference is the quality of glass between the two optics. While the Venom has a multicoated lens and a very clear picture, the Razor has the finest glass available from Vortex. It has additional anti-reflective coatings that are unique to the Razor to offer the clearest sight picture possible.
The Razor was designed to be the highest quality mini red dot available today. It has unbelievably clear glass that will please anyone using it. The available dot sizes allow for use on an AR-15 for more precise shooting with the 3 MOA dot, or as a close-quarters sight coupled with a long range scope with the 6 MOA dot. The 6 MOA dot is also a great size for pistols, and different mounts are available on the market for installing to a pistol slide.
The Vortex Venom was designed as an affordable do-all mini red dot. It has all the same options as the Razor, though it is not as high quality, but don’t let that detract you from it. The glass isn’t quite as clear, and the sight picture is slightly smaller. It does have the same MOA dot options as the Razor which means it is still a great mini red dot for use on rifles or pistols.
If you need a mini red dot, you can’t go wrong with either one of these choices from Vortex. The Razor will give you the clearest picture with the highest quality construction available. The Venom comes close and is an excellent option if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the Razor.
Both sights are dependable. Like with all Vortex optics these include the VIP Lifetime Warranty to help ease your mind – Vortex stands behind their products 100%.
There are more expensive mini red dot optics available today, though you will find it hard to get the same quality as the Vortex for the same price.
If you’re not sure that a mini red dot is for you, there are many inexpensive models available from companies such as Firefield and XTS in the sub $100 range that will let you try the concept of the mini red dot before committing to a Vortex.
If you are looking for other high-quality optics, there are many available from Trijicon. They have very high-quality mini sights that start past the $350 mark and increase in price from there.