Vortex Viper Red Dot: Vortex Optics
- Low Price
- Low Prpfile Design
- Crisp Reticle
- Holds Zero
- Lifetime Warranty
- A little longer than Trijicon RMR
- Lower Battery Life Than RMR
- Bottom Load Battery
Did Vortex Optics & Trijicon Make A Baby?
It seems like more and more people are modifying their handguns these days.
One of the most popular modifications is the addition of micro red dot optics.
In the past if you wanted to add a red dot to your pistol you only had three options.
The Trijicon RMR, which is ridiculously expensive.
The Burris Fastfire 3, which is affordable, but significantly larger than RMR.
The Vortex Venom, which is affordable, but also very large.
Thanks to Vortex Optics you can now have the best of both worlds with the Vortex Viper Red Dot.
The Vortex Viper is small in size, reliable, and affordable.
It’s as if the Trijicon RMR and the Vortex Venom had a love child together.
- 6 MOA reticle
- CR2032 Battery
- Low Profile Design
- Small But Mighty
Thankfully the Vortex Viper a lot smaller than the other affordable red dots on the market.
It’s only 1.8” long which is only .75mm longer than the Trijicon RMR.
Light as a feather.
With the battery installed, the Vortex Viper Red Dot weighs a mere 1.1 OZ.
The World Is No Longer Green
Although reliable, the Trijicon RMR always had a Green Tint on the glass. Which I found to be very annoying.
Thankfully that’s not the case with the Vortex Viper. There’s no funny tint when looking through the lens.
Speaking of the lens, it has an anti-reflective coating to give you even brighter views
This specialized lens coating protects the lens from scratches, oil, and dirt.
Tough as Nails.
The Vortex Viper has a shockproof construction that keeps it safe in case of accidental drops.
In addition to being shockproof, the Vortex Viper is also waterproof.
All of the adjustment holes are sealed with special o-rings to keep water out of the unit.
The Vortex Viper red dot is very simple to operate.
It has 2 Up/Down buttons on the left side.
Pressing either one of these buttons will power on the Vortex Viper.
To turn it off you simply press and hold the down arrow.
The Vortex Viper has 10 different brightness levels that are simply adjusted by the arrows
It Never Forgets
The Viper Red Dot always remembers your last brightness setting and will power on at the most recent brightness setting.
The Vortex Viper Red Dot is powered by an easy to find CR2032 battery.
One of the cons is that the battery is a bottom load design.
Which means the red dot optic will need to be removed to replace the battery.
Vortex Optics Claims that the Vortex Viper has a battery life of 150 hour at its brightest setting and a whopping 30,000 hours at the lowest setting.
For the past 75 days I ran the optic between 85%-100% brightness for 10 hours a day.
Resulting in approximately 750 hours of battery life.Buy Here!
Mounting and Installation
In the box the Vortex Viper comes with a picatinny rail mount.
But I opted to have my Glock slide milled for installation.
I am very satisfied with how low it sits and have been concealed carrying with the Vortex Viper Red Dot for the past 2 months.
Does it hold zero?
I was concerned that the Vortex Viper red dot would lose zero after being removed.
Thankfully that’s not the case.
I have removed the optic multiple times during my test and it never lost zero.
How to zero the Viper Red Dot?
I must admit, prior to this review I didn’t have any experience zeroing a pistol red dot.
I tried to zero the red dot with my Trijicon HD night sights installed and this proved to be very cumbersome.
So I ordered a set of Ameriglo GL-331 night sights and zeroing was much easier.
To zero the Vortex Viper Red dot you must loosen the rear facing set screws 1.5 turns.
Then adjust accordingly.
I have my zero set to where the bottom of the reticle just touches the front sight.
Now the bullet hits wherever the dot is pointing.
It would be nice to have a top load design similar to the Vortex Venom, however,
the guys from Vortex Optics told me that they couldn’t engineer the Viper to have a low-pro design with a top loading battery.
It would be nice if the battery life was as good as the Trijicon RMR,
but then again you are saving $350 with the Vortex Viper.
Realistically you will be carrying with the Vortex Viper at 50% brightness which should give you approximately 15,000 hours of battery life.
The only reason that I carried the Viper Red Dot at 80%-100% brightness was to get a feel for the battery life.
The Vortex Viper Red Dot is 1.8” in length which is only .75mm longer than the Trijicon RMR, but here’s the rub.
Which means that if you get your Glock slide milled in front of the rear sight then it gets very close to the safety plunger. Not close enough to compromise it, but still close.
Which brings me to my next point.
With handguns you have a few different options to mount Red Dot Optics.
The most popular options is getting the slide milled to accept the optic. With this you have 2 options.
Optic in Front of Rear Sight
Like I stated earlier, if you go with this option then the Vortex Viper will come very close to the safety plunger area.
If that makes you uncomfortable then you have another option.
Optic Behind the rear sight
With this option the slide is milled as far back as possible, and the rear dovetail is relocated to be right in front of the optic.
I don’t personally like this option, but it keeps the milling far away from the safety plunger area.
Because pistol red dots are becoming more popular, many companies are manufacturing adapter plates.
However, I wouldn’t suggest carrying your firearm like this.
Glock MOS and Smith & Wesson M&P Core
If you don’t like any of the previous options then perhaps you should consider an optics ready pistol.
The Glock MOS or (Modular Optics System) is an optics ready pistol that allows you to mount a myriad of different optics to the same pistol.
Glock currently makes the MOS system for the Glock 19, Glock 17, and Glock 34.
Another option is the Smith & Wesson Core series. These function similarly to the Glock MOS, but are only available in one size.
I haven’t tested these pistols personally, but a few users have said that the optics don’t sit low enough to co-witness with the red dot
Which brings me to my last point.
Suppressor sights give you the ability to co-witness with your red dot.
God forbid that your red dot quits working when you need to use your pistol, but if it does then the suppressor sights are there just in case.
Also Suppressor sights allow you to zero your red dot much more easily, by placing the reticle on top of the front sight.
Personally I love the Vortex Viper Red Dot. Despite the bottom load battery, lower battery life, and .75mm additional length, it’s amazing.
I love that it’s rugged, waterproof, and low profile.
I feel that the 6 MOA reticle is the perfect size for a defensive pistol.
During my testing I fired over 1800 round through it a carried it every day for 2 months.
In which I had no problems or issues arise.
With that said I will continue to carry the Vortex Viper for a long time coming.