There was a time when people looked at innovations such as scopes with suspicion. A similar thing was with red dot sights (RDS) mounted on rifles and shotguns. But today, more and more gun owners are putting one on their pistol in expectation of having an immediate improvement in accuracy at a distance.
There is, of course, a learning curve, and depending on the time you spent practicing and your dedication, you’ll get to choose the most appropriate red dot for your shooting style and needs.
And since you're here, obviously, you're one of the gun enthusiasts who's undecided between the two of today's most popular mini red dots: Vortex Venom and Trijicon RMR. To help you decide, we provide in this review everything you need to know about these two.
TL;DR: Vortex Venom vs Trijicon RMR
Ten brightness settings
Really low mounting height
Battery compartment located on the top of the sight
One of the toughest red dot sights on the market
150 MOA adjustment range for elevation and windage
Battery rated to run more than four years continuously
CR1632 batteries aren't so standard
There are some durability and reliability issues
Smaller viewing window
Battery compartment is under the sight body
First time buyers and people who want to use it for recreational and target practicing shooting.
People who seriously consider their personal and home protection and want the best performance.
Relevant Specs: Vortex Venom vs Trijicon RMR
1.2 oz. (w/ battery)
8 day+2 NV settings
Dimensions (Length x Width x Height)
1.9 x 1.1 x 1.0 in.
1.8 x 1.2 x 1.0 in.
Sight Window Dimensions
1.04 x .63 in.
.87 x .63 in.
3 MOA, 6 MOA
3.25 MOA, 6.5 MOA
Elevation/Windage Adjustment Resolution
Elevation/Windage Adjustment Range
130 MOA/100 MOA
Night Vision Capable?
Weight: The best platforms for the red dot sights are short and compact carbines or handguns so that the over weight would be an aggravating factor. Both RDS come in within the allowable weight, but the Venom is somewhat lighter.
Battery Type: The Vortex Venom uses one CR1632 battery that powers the sight for up to three years (30,000 hours), while the Trijicon RMR uses a CR2032 battery that can last for up to four years. Of course, these values only apply when devices are on the lowest brightness setting, while the higher brightness settings would limit battery life drastically to a couple of weeks.
Also, the battery used in Venom sight isn’t as popular as the standard CR2302 in RMR.
Brightness Settings/Colors: The Vortex Venom features ten brightness settings as well as an auto-brightness function, and auto-shutoff feature, which activates after 14 hours.
With the Trijicon RMR, you get 8 daylight brightness settings and 2-night vision settings. The RMR also has an auto-brightness adjustment feature.
Dimensions: The two models are closely sized—with dimensions that make them both suitable for mounting on handguns.
However, these tough Trijicon miniature reflex sights have an edge with very robust casings made from a military-grade aluminum alloy.
Sight Window Dimensions: While designed for the most rugged and tactical situations, Trijicon’s RMR has a slightly reduced size of the viewing window in order to keep minimal overall dimensions.
On the other side, Venom features a larger viewing window that makes for a wide and practically unobstructed field of view.
MOA Option(s): For both reflex sights, you can opt for different-sized dots of your choice. Trijicon RMR is available in several types with 3.25, 6.5, 7.0, 9.0, and 13.0 MOA red or amber dots.
Vortex Venom comes with two MOA options; VMD-3103 model has a 3 MOA dot and the VMD-3106 comes with a 6 MOA bright red dot.
Windage/Elevation Adjustment Resolution: Unlike fine adjustment capability found in high-power scopes for benchrest, target, or varmint, red dot reflex sights have coarser adjustment intervals of 1/2 MOA or so.
The Venom and the RMR Type 2 both feature adjustable elevation and windage dials with 1 MOA adjustment per click.
Windage/Elevation Adjustment Range: Since the two main benefits of red dot sights are accuracy and speed, they usually offer a wide elevation and windage adjustment range.
The Vortex Venom provides you with 130 MOA of elevation adjustment and 100 MOA for windage adjustment, while on Trijicon RMR, you get 150 MOA of total travel for both elevation and windage adjustment.
Night Vision Capability: The Vortex Venom sports 10 brightness settings in manual mode or auto mode, but without night vision capability. On the other side, the Trijicon RMR is intended for military and law enforcement applications, hence, it has 8 daylight brightness settings and 2-night vision settings designed for use with night vision devices.
Auto On/Off: Both models include the manually adjusted brightness option. They also boast an automatic brightness adjustment feature, which is extremely handy when you are transitioning fire from indoors to outdoors, or from dark to light locations.
The Venom red dot will power down after 14 hours to save battery life, while a Trijicon RMR is always on and doesn’t incorporate an auto-shutdown function. However, when the RMR is stored, the auto-adjust dims the brightness to save power, and due to the multi-year battery life, there is no need to worry about auto-on.
Waterproof: While there are no IP rating tests for RMR sights, Trijicon claims that these red dots are waterproof down to 66 feet for an hour with an optional sealing plate.
The Vortex company states the Venom is waterproof as it is O-ring sealed to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating optics.
Key Differences Between Vortex Venom and Trijicon RMR
Making decisions between such competitors is pretty easy and straightforward.
If your main criteria in selecting red dot optics is the price, then go for Vortex Venom. And if you are looking for the top performance and budget isn't your problem, the winner is Trijicon RMR.
But in case you're still undecided which one to go for, below is a quick rundown of the advantages of each red dot.
Advantages of Vortex Venom
Apart from being a bang for the buck, here are the advantages of Vortex Venom over Trijicon RMR:
- The Vortex Venom has a great lens clarity and choice of dot sizes.
- Venom red dot allows wider field of view than RMR.
- The Vortex Venom provides you 10 brightness settings.
- The Vortex Venom boasts a 14-hour auto-shutdown feature.
- Venom has multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
- It sports an ArmorTek, a scratch-resistant lens coating.
- The Vortex Venom comes with a low mount and protective rain cover.
- The Venom comes with a top-loading battery replacement option.
- It is a straightforward reflex sight that comes at an affordable price.
Advantages of Trijicon RMR
Having a second thought if Trijicon RMR will be worth your money? Here's why this red dot is a good investment:
- Trijicon RMR has a long track record for durability.
- It has more rugged protection around the lens than Venom.
- The RMR red dot is compatible with night vision devices.
- The RMR uses one standard CR2032 battery, which is more common on the market.
- With the upgraded electronics, the RMR offers an unsurpassed battery life with a magnificent 4 years of continuous use.
- The RMR features the windage and elevation turrets that are recessed into the unit housing.
- With an optional sealing plate, this Trijicon provides an absolute waterproofing feature.
- The buttons are located in more convenient positions.
- You have the biggest selection of custom slides already milled for Trijicon RMR sights.
Use-Case Comparison: Vortex Venom vs Trijicon RMR
Before we dive deeper into this section, we need to clarify that Vortex Venom and Trijicon RMR are developed for different types of users compared.
Trijicon has a reputation for its tough and battle-proven optics, purpose-built for military and law enforcement operators. In comparison, the Vortex Venom can aid an armed citizen or competitor in getting a precise shot on target.
As its name implies, Trijicon's Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR) sight features a housing made of forged aluminum used on the ACOG and entire construction, which is sturdy enough for duty use.
Therefore, when it comes to the price tag, RMRs are at a premium, whereas the Vortex Venom costs almost half while still providing a solid and reliable sight for sportsmen or recreative shooters.
Using the fancy electronic stuff on your home defense firearm isn't as common as for other applications. A typical example is the praised Vortex Venom which lacks real-world use by thousands of users. Although Venom's glass quality is almost on par with RMR's, and has a slightly wider field of view, it is only durable enough for non-home-defense applications.
Most gun authors recommend for home defense usage scenarios a battle-proven sight like Trijicon RMR. The company's new technology introduced a quality electronic piece of gear with the most robust casing of all the pistol red dots out there, purpose-built for military and law enforcement personnel, as well as civilians who carry handguns every day for self-defense and home defense.
Red dot sights are not only great for older shooters with vision issues but also extremely useful for recreational means, including target shooting and hunting, mainly aiming at moving targets. Reflex sights, in particular, increase rapid target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy, making shots down range and on target faster.
While the Vortex Venom may not be the most top-of-the-line RDS, it is sure to meet all levels of target shooters' expectations, enabling them to acquire a crisp and fast sight picture.
On the other hand, a dedicated shooter or gun enthusiasts with a sheer budget may want a red dot packed with extra features or one that is the gold standard for pistol microdots. In that case, the Trijicon RMR presents itself as the best choice. Considering track records, the RMR might be overkill for casual target shooting, but it's probably a good idea if you want to master the reflex sight.
The competitors in various shooting disciplines have been using red dot sights on pistols for quite some time. Being compact and light, Vortex Venom earns numerous praises from competitive shooters as well as hunters around the globe. With 1x magnification and unlimited eye relief for rapid target acquisition, Venom is the top choice that won't break the bank.
The sight housing is made from single aluminum piece and sealed to be completely waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof.
With a wide, 1.04 x .63 inches window, elevation adjustment of 130 MOA and windage adjustment going up to 100 MOA, there's no wonder why the Vortex Venom was chosen by the six percent of 2020 United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Carry Optics competitors.
The Trijicon RMR is a highly popular pistol red dot sight due to the really low mounting height, optimized for slide ride pistols. This one of the best-selling handgun sights has an adjustable LED system that automatically adjusts the reticle to available light conditions.
Trusted for its ruggedness, Trijicon RMR comes in an extremely wide protective housing which makes the sight a bit bulky and restricts your field of view most of the time.
Considering battery life and optical specifications, both red dots are an excellent choice for competitions, and the decision is only up to you and your ambitions.
CCW / Concealed Carry
Much like the case for home defense, concealed carry requires you to carefully choose weapons and appropriate reflex sight.
Both Venom and RMR reflex sights are concealable and rugged enough for EDC. But still, many handgun owners who joined the red dot pistol world started off with the Vortex Venom because of its affordability and lifetime warranty.
While Vortex Venom is reasonably robust and low-cost, there are some complaints about its durability, making them a poor choice for CCW or EDC. Without a doubt, Trijicon still has an edge when it comes to ruggedness.
As you know, civilians prefer service-proven firearms and equipment, so most conceal carry people today consider Trijicon RMR as a perfect red dot sight for self-defense handguns and their EDC.
At only 1.2 ounces, the Trijicon RMR is tiny but heavy-duty, capable of handling the recoil from high-powered rifles or pistol slides easily.
Final Thoughts: Vortex Venom vs Trijicon RMR
Given the potentially life-threatening nature of concealed carry and home defense scenarios, it’s advisable to have the best and most reliable equipment on-duty. So if you have the budget, you’ll want to reach deeper and pick up an RMR.
If your build is just for plinking, general range use, practice, or even competitions, the Venom will suffice and serve you well. It is more than capable and competes very closely with the RMR in almost every category.
Plus, this will keep your RMR in pristine shape (if you have one of each for multiple weapons) for when you need it most.
So, to sum it up:
Home Defense: Vortex Venom | Trijicon RMR
Target Shooting: Vortex Venom | Trijicon RMR
Competitions: Vortex Venom | Trijicon RMR
CCW / Concealed Carry: Vortex Venom | Trijicon RMR
People Also Ask
Still have questions? Shoot it! We'll answer them below and do our best to help you get out of the dilemma on which red dot is for you.
Is the Trijicon RMR Worth It?
As an improved version, the second generation RMR models feature upgraded electronics to overcome the semi-common flickering problem seen in the previous Type 1’s.
Will a Trijicon RMR Fit on a Hellcat?
No, the Trijicon RMR will not fit the Hellcat. Though it may fit the Hellcat OSP with some modifications to the slide, Trijicon has recently announced a similar design to the original RMR sight that will fit the Springfield Armory Hellcat.
This miniature version of the RMR is called RMRcc and it will fit the Hellcat OSP with a proper mounting plate from Trijicon.
Is Trijicon RMR Always On?
It is always on, it auto-adjusts brightness settings. If being stored, the low light lowers the brightness to have very little battery drain. The battery is supposed to last a year and Trijicon recommends changing the battery annually.
What Does Trijicon RMR Stand For?
Trijicon designation RMR stands for Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sight. Although you can put this Trijicon reflex sight on a carbine or a shotgun, with a unit measuring only 1.7 inches in length and weighing 1.2 ounces (with the battery), it is obviously designed for use handguns.
How to Turn on Trijicon RMR
When you put in one CR2032 battery, the RMR turns on immediately, and since it has multi-year battery life, there is no need to worry about auto-on.
What Is an RMR Cut?
An RMR Cut is a term used to describe holsters adapted to pistols with mounted RMR reflex sights on them. Some holster manufacturers cut the top of their Kydex holsters back to allow a handgun with an RMR mounted on it to be still able to slide all the way into the holster.