The Vortex Razor red dot review comes as a result of its growing popularity among many firearms enthusiasts. Vortex has established itself as one of the most well know red dot manufacturers thanks to the years of research and dedication towards making the best optics possible. This made us wonder how Vortex Razor red dot sight will compare to the best red dot sight options might be considering.
The advancements in optics technology have resulted in red dot sights becoming lighter, more compact, and have a clearer sight picture. The open-frame design does not sacrifice any durability while providing a less obstructed peripheral vision. Because of all the improvements, not only are the open-frame red dots becoming increasingly more popular as shotgun or rifle sights but also allow for a fully practical addition on a handgun.
Once we have gone over all the details of what makes the Razor so popular, we’ll put it against the Vortex Viper and Venom, as well as arguably the best red dot ever made, the Trijicon RMR. Through reading this review, you’ll learn more about each of these models in detail, and form a clearer picture of not only what you really need to look for in a red dot, but also which one might be the best for you.
Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight Review
Dimensions & Weight
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Razor is just how compact it is. Measuring at 1.83 inches long, 1.21 inches wide, 1.16 inches tall on the lens size, and 0.49 inches in the rear, you can see why this red dot can easily fit on even a more compact handgun. You might not believe it at first, but the Vortex Razor red dot sight weighs just 1.3 ounces! To put it in perspective, Razor roughly weighs as much as six 9mm rounds or just over two .45 ACP rounds.
Vortex Razor Red Dot sight establishes its optical prowess through a series of proprietary technology and features. The XR coatings aim to maximize light transmission and mitigate reflection issues through multiple layers on every air-to-glass surface. Unlimited Eye Relief provides a clear sight picture at any distance from the sight, making it suitable for most conventional weapons.
Parallax is a natural and unavoidable issue with optics, where the dot will change its position ever so slightly as you look through the lens at different angles. However, high-end red dots such as Vortex Razor are parallax-free, meaning this occurrence has been brought to an unnoticeable level.
Depending on the usage scenario, you can choose between the Vortex Razor red dot 3 MOA, or 6 MOA option. The minutes of angle, or MOA for short, represents the spread pattern of shots at 100 yards, with 1 MOA being 1 inch in diameter.
For shotgun or handgun use, the 6 MOA option represents a better choice. Given that the typical target distance is at most 50 yards when shooting one of these weapons, the reticle size will not play any part in your accuracy. On the other hand, a larger reticle is easier to see, making the targeting acquisition process quicker. As your eyes are significantly further from the red dot on a handgun than on a rifle, having the larger reticle will prove to be very beneficial.
If on the other hand, you’re looking for a carbine or rifle sight, the 3 MOA reticle will be a better option thanks to the inherent potential for more accurate fire. Because of the small dimensions and weight, it has become increasingly more popular to mount red dots like the Vortex Razor as a secondary, canted sight. With a magnified scope on the top rail, the user can switch to the red dot sight with a quick motion and achieve superior versatility.
With the Vortex Razor red dot sight, you’re getting nine brightness settings for a crisp and bright reticle no matter the weather conditions or the time of day. Windage and elevation are fully adjustable using the provided hex wrench at 1 MOA per click, with a maximum elevation adjustment of 170 MOA, and 114 MOA for windage. Included in the box are a Picatinny mount and another hex wrench for easy installation.
The battery life of the Vortex Razor red dot sight varies drastically depending on the brightness setting it’s used on. On the lower settings, Razor can achieve up to 30,000 hours of battery life, which is truly impressive, but on the highest setting, it is cut to just 150 hours. The upside is that the side-load battery tray allows for quick battery replacement while the sight is still on the weapon.
The ArmorTek proprietary coating protects the exterior of the lens from scratching or accumulating oil or dirt. The matte anodized finish keeps corrosion away and mitigates glare for easier targeting and better camouflage. This completely waterproof and shockproof single-piece unit is definitely built up to the highest quality standard.
One of the main arguments against getting an open-frame red dot like the Vortex Razor is the prejudice about their durability. While this does make some sense on the surface level, in reality, the differences are not substantial enough to make an impact on your purchase decision.
If this was really the case, they would not be widely popular with military and law enforcement agencies, who are without a doubt the most demanding consumers. Besides, having a lifetime warranty means you’ll never have to worry about this red dot failing on you.
Vortex Razor vs Viper vs Venom
Now that we have taken a good look at the Vortex Razor red dot sight, we need to compare it to the remaining two options from Vortex Optics, the Viper and Venom. The most obvious difference between these models is the price tag. Razor is considerably more expensive with an MSRP of $499.99, compared to the $349.99 for the Viper or Venom. As both of the competitors are great models in their own right, we will focus on discerning if Razor brings enough to justify a higher price.
Dimensions & Weight
The difference in weight is negligible, with the Razor being 0.27/0.2 ounces heavier. Despite the appearance, the Razor is only slightly larger in the frame, which will make no practical difference. The mounting options remain the same, either directly or through the included mount, although the Viper and Venom have weaver mount compatibility, unlike the Razor.
Lens & Reticle
The Razor takes this category thanks to the proprietary XR coating, which is not used on the other models. While each of the models is fully multi-coated, parallax-free, and with unlimited eye relief, the subtle differences in materials give the Razor its edge.
The reticle options are the same between the Razor and the Venom, a choice between 3 MOA and 6 MOA dot. With the Viper, you’re stuck with the 6 MOA dot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking for a pistol sight. On paper, these reticles are the same, but the clarity and visibility of the Razor’s red dot can be superior at times thanks to the better coating.
Both the Viper and Venom have one more brightness setting over the Razer, with Venom getting ahead thanks to the automatic brightness feature. Maximum windage and elevation adjustments are different between each of the models, with the Razer having a range of 170/114 MOA, Viper 120/120 MOA, and Venom 130/100 MOA. In practice, you’ll hardly reach any of those limits, but in special cases, the Razer’s higher elevation adjustment limit might prove useful.
The battery life is identical across all models, lasting up to 150 hours on the brightest setting, or up to 30,000 hours on one of the lower settings. What matters is that the Razor has an easier method of replacing the battery, compared to the Venom’s top cover. The Viper requires you to remove the unit off the mount, which is definitely a drawback compared to the other two models.
As these models share the same Vortex technologies that make them extremely durable, you won’t find any differences in build quality. ArmorTek, matte anodized finish, and single-piece chassis characterize these red dot sights. The Viper and Venom are water and shockproof just like the Razer and come with the same lifetime warranty policy.
The fact that Vortex continues to produce all three models tells us that each of them has traits worth taking into consideration. In case you’re buying your first high-end red dot, the Vortex Venom is the best choice. You will get the most bang for your buck, and a versatile red dot sight suitable for not only handguns but also shotguns and rifles.
The Viper’s main selling point is how low it can sit on a handgun. As it’s nearly flush with the slide, it provides a more optimal aiming position that a regular shooter will definitely appreciate. The Razor is a great sight in its own right, but the difference in price makes it hard to recommend over the competitors. Still, if it ended up being your favorite, do not hesitate to get it!
Vortex Razor vs Trijicon RMR
It’s time to put the Vortex Razor red dot against the legendary Trijicon RMR Type 2. The Razor has a lot to compete against, as the RMR represents the official USSOCOM handgun reflex sight, but as you will see through the following sections, Razor manages to hold its own. If you have read through the comparison between the Vortex models, and either Venom or Viper caught your eye, you can take the information from that segment and easily make a comparison with the Trijicon RMR.
The main benefit of the Trijicon RMR Type 2 is the sheer number of customization options. Not only does it come in three base models, but the combined variants also amount to nearly a hundred options. While this is very appealing to the experienced shooter who wants to get the perfect sight, it can also be intimidating and confusing for the average user. Not only that but even the cheapest options without any mounting accessories are more expensive than the Razor.
Dimensions & Weight
These two sights are virtually identical in dimensions and weight, as the Trijicon RMR Type 2 is just 0.1 ounces lighter than the Vortex Razor (1.3 oz.), and just a fraction of an inch smaller. Both companies offer a nice variety of mounting accessories, although the RMR has more options, which are also bundled with the sight. Overall, you’re not going to notice any difference in this aspect between the two competitors.
Lens & Reticle
The clarity of sight picture is so high that we couldn’t discern which one is better. The Vortex uses its XR coating, while RMR gets a wide-band light transmission and true colors from its own proprietary multi-coating. However, the reticle options are a different discussion.
If you were impressed by the 3 MOA or 6 MOA red dot of the Vortex Razor, wait until you see what Trijicon has to offer:
- The RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED model is available with a 1.0 MOA, 3.25 MOA, or 6.5 MOA red dot.
- The RMR Type 2 LED model can be bought with a 3.25 MOA or 6.5 MOA red dot.
- The RMR Type 2 Dual-Illuminated model gives you a choice between 7.0 MOA dot, 9.0 MOA dot, 12.9 MOA triangle, and 13.0 MOA dot, in either amber or green color.
Trijicon gives you a lot more to consider, but unless you’re looking for the very crisp 1.0 MOA to practice your marksmanship, the 3.25 MOA or 6.5 MOA dots of the LED models will be your likely choice. If the benefits of the Dual-illuminated model are appealing to you, then its range of dot sizes is also worth considering, especially the 9.0 MOA dot which has been chosen by U.S. Marine Corps for use in both SDO and MDO optics programs.
Compared to the Razer, Trijicon RMR Type 2 models provide more in terms of brightness options. The adjustable LED model provides six standard brightness settings and two for night-vision use which can be manually adjusted or left in automatic mode. This is the direct competitor to Razer, and in my opinion, a clear winner.
For those who want pure functionality, the RMR Type 2 LED is the right choice, as there’s no fiddling with brightness controls and instead, it’s always in automatic mode. Lastly, the Dual-Illuminated model collects ambient light to adjust the brightness of the dot or uses the tritium in low or no light conditions. The windage and elevation adjustments are just as easy to control as on the Razer, with no need for special tools.
The clever marketing of the Trijicon’s battery life didn’t fool us, as we discerned that the adjustable LED has a battery life of over 35,000 hours on setting 4 of 8, the automatic-only has up to 17,500 hours of typical use. With no data about the highest settings, and as they’re all using the same battery, it’s safe to assume that these models have a similar battery life to the Razer.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 Dual Illuminated model has been left separate from the rest, and for a good reason. This model does not use batteries at all, and instead provides a bright dot trough either fiber optics or tritium-phosphor lamp. This system is set to operate for at least 15 years, as that is how long the warranty on the tritium lamp is.
There’s not much that needs to be said about the durability of the RMR Type 2, as its extensive use by military and law enforcement agencies is the best proof of quality you can get. The unique design of the housing diverts the impact force away from the lens, greatly increasing its durability. The lens is multi-coated for protection against scratching, while the whole unit can be submerged up to 66 feet without any effects.
The part where the Vortex Razor gets an upper hand is the warranty policy. We’ve looked at the fine print, and Venom does have an unlimited, fully transferable warranty for any problems caused by manufacture. Trijicon on the other hand offers a limited lifetime warranty, which is in fact just five years on the electronics of the LED and Adjustable LED model, and 15 years on the tritium lamp of the Dual-Illuminated model.
Both the Vortex Razor red dot sight and Trijicon RMR Type 2 are excellent options and it’s going to be difficult to select the clear winner. While Vortex has worked hard on establishing itself as a high-quality optics manufacturer, Trijicon is already there, with several government contracts to back it up.
The Razor has a better value for money proposition, but the night-vision compatibility, automatic brightness mode, or even battery-free variant of the RMR matters. The one issue I have with the Trijicon is the limited warranty compared to the lifetime, VIP warranty of the Razor. While the RMR Type 2 is not expected to fail ever, having that peace of mind is really important to some customers, myself included.
Compared to its competition, the Razer does not impress enough to beat the Venom or Viper, nor is cheap enough to compete with the features of the Trijicon RMR Type 2. However, when comparing all models, the Vortex Venom red dot sight is the one that easily comes up on top.
The main strengths of the Venom are the brightness options with automatic mode and decent battery life that can be changed without taking the sight off the rail. We’ve established that it’s the winner of the Vortex lineup, but what makes it rise above the RMR Type 2 is the price tag.
The price difference between Razor and RMR wasn’t enough to sway us either way, but with the Venom, it’s not the case. The Adjustable LED RMR starts at $700, which is twice the price of the Venom, but that is not the end. The Venom includes a Weaver/Picatinny mount in the packaging for free, while the mounting options of the RMR will set you back around $100.
If you’re a professional with a need to carry arms, a competitive shooter, or a very invested gun enthusiast, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 is the best of the best, which is what you’ll ultimately want. For anyone else, especially with any regard to budget, the Venom will be the red dot of choice thanks to its balance of features, quality, and price.