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Vortex Venom Problems: Red Dot Sight Issues You Should Know

Vortex Venom Problems

The Vortex Venom is a popular red dot sight that can be mounted on various guns. 

But does popularity really speak for quality? Of course, nothing is ever perfect. 

I used to think my Vortex Venom was one of my best sights; turns out, it can be just as faulty as the next brand.

Here are some of the Vortex Venom problems that have been sent in that you must be aware of.

About Vortex Optics

Founded in 1986, Vortex Optics is a trusted optics manufacturer headquartered in Barneveld, Wisconsin. 

Vortex Optics is a company that prides itself in being American-owned and veteran-owned.

What once started out as a small, family-owned business has grown into a team of more than 300 American team members. 

In January of 2022, all their hard work paid off. 

Vortex was awarded a contract with the US military to produce approximately 250,000 Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control systems over the next 10 years.

If you’re interested in a Vortex scope, I recommend the Viper HS-T 4-16×44, which I reviewed here!

About the Vortex Venom

The Vortex Venom is one of the most popular red dot sights from Vortex Optics.

It’s a mini red dot that I love to use on my small handguns, like pistols or Glock. It also works well as a backup for range scopes. 

As a red dot sight, I find it very similar to the Viper model in terms of usage and features.

The main difference between the Vortex Venom and the Vortex Viper would be that the Venom is slightly larger than the Viper.

If I were to compare it to red dot from another company like Burris’ Fastfire 3, it also offers similar features.

The Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight is also available in 3 and 6 MOA (Minute of Angle) versions. 

Both versions have unlimited eye relief, thus allowing shooting with both eyes open.

Some of the Vortex Venom’s features include:

  • Durable aluminum housing
  • Wide field of view
  • 10 brightness levels
  • Adjustable windage/elevation
  • Auto brightness
  • Top loading battery compartment
  • 30,000 hours of battery life at the lowest setting

Upon purchase, the Vortex Venom unit comes in a nicely packed box, complete with everything you need to mount it on a compatible plate.

For controls, it has a pair of up and down arrows that power the Venom on and off and control the brightness.

It can easily be zeroed in using the MOA screw, and adjustments can be done easily like any other scope.

Windage and elevation adjustment can be done using the dial.

Vortex Venom Problems You Should Know Before Buying

The Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight has enjoyed mostly positive online reviews from satisfied customers.

However, a bunch of other problems has also been reported with this sight.

Battery Life

There have been multiple complaints about the unit’s low battery life.

Despite online retailers claiming that this red dot sight has a 30,000-hour battery life, there have been reports of the battery actually only lasting for 3 days.

Mine lasted a considerable amount of time so far, but I can’t have it dying on me just because the battery life is not as long as they claim.

Red Dot

As red dot sights, you would expect that the Venom would strongly emphasize the red dot.

However, there have been complaints of the dot not actually being a dot! Rather, the “dots” would actually be thin bright lines. 

I know it can leave a bad taste in the mouth if the red dot you wanted doesn’t actually make use of a dot.

This problem seems to be common enough to warrant a spot in the troubleshooting section of the Vortex site.

When dealing with this, I recommend going on the website to check if something is wrong with your eyes.

Try looking into your front sight optics with and without your glasses. 

Sometimes, wearing reading glasses can be detrimental to the usage of the dot, just like in the experience of one dear customer, who said:

“I could see a line in my sight. Not a dot…Finally, knowing I was seeing things, I had a sudden realization. I had been moving around my house, working the sight, examining it up close ..with my reading glasses on. Off came the reading glasses. There was the dot. It had been there all along.” – Anonymous

Another review on Amazon says this:

“If the dot is fuzzy, it’s not the red dot that is the issue. It’s your eyes. My dot looked like a huge blob, but I found out that it’s because I have astigmatism. If you get contact lenses, it will help, and your dot will work perfectly. Glasses don’t really help too much unless they are corrective lenses for astigmatism. Keep that in mind if you plan on buying this but also keep in mind only prism-type optics will work without correction. How do you test it? Take a picture of your red dot. I’ll bet it’s a perfect circle.” – Anonymous

The other way to solve this issue is by taking a picture of the dot with your phone.

Compare the image in your phone to the image you see in your optic when you point your gun to shoot.

If the image differs, it’s time to call Vortex because that’s a defective unit.

Battery Cap/Compartment

This issue was one that I encountered, unfortunately.

There are complaints about the battery compartment being too small for the battery.

This makes it hard to get the battery compartment to lie flat and really “bite” the threads, making it near impossible to avoid cross-threading.

Plus, it makes it difficult to install the battery altogether. I spent too much time trying than I should have.

Additionally, it can be hard to reinstall the battery cap.

Windage and Elevation Adjustment

There have been some reported issues with adjustment on this sight.

Specifically, it involves the malfunction of horizontal and vertical adjustment screws.

Additionally, the windage and elevation dial doesn’t have adjustment screws with clicks or dents, making it difficult to tell whether or not it holds zero.


While the Venom allows you to get a solid mount on the slide with no milling needed, it does make you lose your rear sight.

Why? Because the area where the rear sight should be is where you install the Dovetail bracket of your Venom unit.

Additionally, you can’t use the front sight to aim if the red dot sight fails for any reason.


There have been reports from some customers that the Vortex Venom only worked for a short while. For some, this sight worked for as little as just a couple of days!

This is mainly an issue when you get your sights from an online retailer.

You aren’t sure about the quality, and you may not have the opportunity to test the sights within 30 days of getting them from an online site or retailer.

Thus, you may not know that the sight is defective until it’s past the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Turning Itself Off/Not Staying On

Some customers have complained about this Vortex sight shutting itself off for no reason. How frustrating.

This problem can be fixed by tightening the battery cover screw.

I suggest keeping a little silicone grease on the battery cover threads as it helps keep it tight.

It is worth noting, however, that the unit shuts itself off immediately in ambient light.

If you are having problems with your optic, check what lighting conditions you’re in.

Viewing Screen

The viewing screen on the Vortex Venom is quite tight. It’s smaller than most other mini red dot sights on the market.

It does make it difficult for me to locate the dot on the sight when you need to fire quickly.


Sighting on this red dot sight isn’t exactly accurate.

There have been reports of the bullet not landing on the actual point of impact of the target according to the red dot on the sight.

This may be the case even when the dot seems centered.

I know sighting is a bit of trial and error, but I wouldn’t recommend this sight for target practice, unless you aren’t planning to hit anything you point at.

The best way to figure out how to use this sight is by bringing it to the range and locking in the dot’s location in the front sight picture.

Adjust to the actual center of the sight picture shown.

Overall Value

The Venom isn’t the priciest sight offered by Vortex, but it also isn’t the cheapest of all red dot sights.

For the overall quality of this red dot sight, many argue that it isn’t worth the price tag.

Since price is usually a subjective factor, I suggest checking the prices from different retailers and judging for yourself.

Not USA-Made

If you wish to be patriotic and support our country, the Venom is unfortunately not the sight for you.

While this isn’t much of an issue for me in terms of quality, the Vortex Venom red dot sight isn’t the best choice if you want to support the local economy.

Despite Vortex being an American-owned company, the Vortex Venom is manufactured overseas.

Vortex Venom Red Dot Customer Reviews

Now that I’ve gone through the specific problems of the Venom red dot, let’s look at the general reception of this red dot sight.

This Vortex sight has more than 4000 global ratings on Amazon at the time of writing with roughly 80% giving it a 5-star rating.

Some of the positive reviews on this red dot sight claim that:

“Mounted this red dot sight to my Mark IV. It was really easy to zero. I put probably 400 rounds through the gun on the first day using it. Great quality!” – Anonymous

“6 moa dot is easy to see in the sun. Has great features and does not wash out. Have mounted on a Walther Q5 Match and works great. After learning how to shoot with a red dot, accuracy has greatly improved!” – Anonymous

“Mounted this on my pistol, and it’s great! I shot the center of the target thanks to this!” – Anonymous

Thus, on initial review, it may seem like this is a really good sight.

On the other hand, 11% are 4-star reviews, with 4% being 1 star.

While this seems like a small amount, there are some scathing reviews, such as this one from one displeased customer:

“Red dot on this sight shuts off when using. Fired about 90 rounds on a Springfield XDM when the dot shut off. Turned the sight back on, and it shut off after a couple of rounds. Tightened battery cover, fired a few rounds and shut off again. Went through this same cycle for another 50 rounds and gave up. Tried to replace the battery and a silver plate fell out. Sent the sight back for repair, received back a couple of weeks later, opened the box, tried to turn the unit on, no red dot.

Replaced the battery with a new battery, and it turned on the first time, mounted on my pistol, and it wouldn’t turn on. Loosened the battery cover screw, and it turned on. 

The next day getting ready to go to range, the sight didn’t turn on. 

Sent it back to Vortex for repair. I hope that they send a new one, not too pleased with the first repair.” – Anonymous

Another unhappy customer called it a “crap product” with the following remarks:

“Horrible experience !!! Having watched vids on this item,,, I thought I knew what I was in for. My mistake !!! The battery is too big for the compartment, and it was impossible to thread the cap on without cross-threading. I took my time with this long process. After 45 minutes, I was just happy to finally get it to do ANYTHING. I don’t think I was doing anything wrong.” – Anonymous

So, all in all, while it may have mostly good reviews, the bad reviews are REALLY bad.

Some Tips on Using The Venom Red Dot Sight

There are definitely a fair amount of problems reported with this sight.

If you are encountering any of these issues on your unit, here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • The appearance of the red dot may be affected by your vision.
  • You may need some practice shooting with the angle of your hands on the range.
  • This sight allows you to shoot with both eyes open.
    • Focus on the target shooting system.
    • This can be used even in blazing light.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Vortex Venom Better than the Viper?

I would say both are great-quality optics, but it depends on what you are for and with.

On one hand, the Venom is better for rifles, while the Viper is more suitable for pistols and handguns.

Both are similar in terms of size, durability, and performance, so it’s just a matter of preference.

How Long Does the Vortex Venom Battery Last?

On its highest setting, the Venom has a battery life of 150 hours. Meanwhile, it lasts 30,000 hours on its lowest settings.

Keep in mind that if you shoot in low-light, you’ll have to increase the settings, which will drain the battery quicker.

Does the Vortex Venom Work on a Shotgun?

Yes! The Vortex Venom is a good choice for your shotguns!

Red dots on your shotgun provides you with fast target acquisition and a wide field of view to assist you in your hunts.

Does the Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight Have an Auto Shut Off?

The Venom has an auto-shut off feature where it will automatically shut off after 14 hours.

You can turn this feature on and off, depending on if you want to turn it on and off manually or automatically.

Final Thoughts: Is the Vortex Venom Still Worth It?

Vortex is a TRUSTED weapons optics company.

The Vortex Venom red dot sight is decent for those who want a compact red dot sight that can be used with both eyes open.

It has many basic features for a red dot sight, such as unlimited eye relief, windage/elevation adjustment dial, and a wide field of view.

However, this isn’t recommended for those looking for high-performance red dot sights, especially if you want a single shot group when shooting.

If you are more serious about shooting, there are better red dots on the market which are better.

I also have a list of Vortex’s best scope optics to choose from!


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