*Republished with permission from Hooks & Ammo

As always – video first

When I started designing the pistol (Red Dot Glock Build ) that I wanted to have built for competitions I had a few things in mind, the biggest being I really wanted a red dot. I just had to research and I just didn’t want to spend more money not knowing if I was actually going to like it or not. Although I have used red dots on rifles I was new to putting one on a pistol so I decided to go with the cheaper red dot that still has very good reviews. 

The Vortex Venom has been my jumping off point into the red dot pistol sight world. So far everything about it has been positive, although there was, and still is a learning curve. I feel that I have managed to master the sight enough to finally start becoming truly proficient with it. So far it is been a joy to use this gun and competition and I’m getting more excited for each weekend that I get to compete. My first steel challenge was a great experience with a ton of good teachers who walked me through each stage. I think because of that I felt a little more confident and was able to relax a little which allowed me to shoot better and really learn the acquire the red dot from the holster. Some of the highlights are in the video below.

I spent hours dry firing and drawing from the holster learning to index the dot with my eye so I did not spend time searching for the dot during shooting. Finding the dot usually is the biggest challenge to many people as they transition from irons to dots and has been the largest volume of issues and complaints that I have seen. It is just a different skill set and as such takes practice and trigger time. I have been using the G Sight Laser Training Cartridge to work on dot acquisition.

I normally leave the dot on all day during competitions and have yet to change the battery although I do keep a spare in my range bag for when it inevitably craps out mid-match. The Vortex website states 

“Up to 150 hours of use at the highest setting. Use at lower settings can allow up to 30,000 hours. While we do not have number published per setting, it would fall between those  two numbers.” 

A rough estimate means I would change my battery after every 20-25 matches if I was running the highest setting all day. Really not a bad ratio. The batteries are cheap and it is easy to do so for peace of mind so you may as well make it part of your normal maintenance on your gun.

The battery replacement leads me to one of the biggest reasons I decided to go with the Vortex Venom, I can change the battery without removing the unit from the slide. In many of the other red dots the battery compartment is under the red dot and you’re going to have to take down the slide, remove the unit to replace the battery and then reinstall the red dot. Although this probably won’t change your point of aim very much they can be affected enough to have a consequence on your score in a tight competition or on stages with longer range targets. It also makes changing a battery mid-match or midday a pain in the butt. The Vortex is just better engineered and a smarter design in that regard. Not a deal breaker for some but it was one of the big reasons I leaned toward the Vortex for use in competition.

My first day out at the range confirmed that the Vortex red dot is bright and clear and after 20 minutes of fine tuning with the included tool I was driving tacks. The best pistol group I’ve ever shot was using this gun – I put five shots through one hole.

So far the only downside I have had with this sight is when using it in extremely bright sunlight facing a very reflective background. In this case, it was some kind of clay that was almost white. Even then the dot was not totally washed out and I could still find the dot and hit the targets, however it was definitely a little harder to acquire on the draw. This is an indoor shot or the dot on the highest setting. The dot IS NOT that big normally, the camera has trouble focusing on the dot. Normally its a very clear solid red dot with none of the fade you see in the picture, I just wanted to provide an example of the view.

To be honest I need to play the settings a little bit to see if it’s possible to bring the brightness up even more for that kind of situation but I do believe I had it turned up as far as possible. This is not a normal occurrence as it was a single stage in a competition with white dirt as the background due to the composition of the soil. Every other stage that day in the bright sunlight it was extremely easy to find the dot so I don’t feel that this is actually a real issue more like a one-off problem. 

With that all said I do sometimes wish the dot was a little brighter but that’s usually only when shooting with darker lensed glasses. Using lighter lenses in your shooting glasses can alleviate the problem but then you have to worry about eye fatigue over the course of a long day. So its a trade off for me. I know many people don’t use the same shade shooting glasses, or use yellow or clear and they will be fine. I could switch glasses between shot strings but that’s one more thing to remember and it’s honestly not that big of an issue, just worth noting.

As my first step into the red dot pistol world, I think the vortex venom was a good choice. It may not be the most top-of-the-line or most expensive or out of every single option but for me, it works for what I wanted to do. I can recommend this red dot to everyone if you’re a new shooter looking to get in the red dot world this is a great starting point if you’re someone that already has red dots it is just looking for one more option this is also a great choice.

It really comes down to preference there are a number of pistol red dots on the market but the main three that I have seen at matches and the range are Vortex, Trijicon or Leupold. I would go to a store that carries all of them and look through them and see which fits your needs most but I can without hesitation recommend the Vortex Venom. 

Below are just some more images of the setup.


*Review courtesy of Hooks & Ammo