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Review: Vortex Venom LPVO SFP 1-6X24 Rifle Scope

Vortex has released their new LPVO by way of the Venom SFP 1-6×24. It uses an AR-BDC3 illuminated reticle to make sure you can see where you are aiming any time of the day or night. The Vortex Venom LPVO has some great features. It has true 1x magnification with the ability to hit and stay on target. The red illuminated reticle is easy to see and keep adjusted. Vortex also added an “off” position between each brightness setting, another feature I like. This allows you to go straight to the illumination you want with one turn of the dial.

Vortex Venom SFP 1-6x24 LPVO
Vortex Venom SFP 1-6×24 LPVO [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Out of the box you, get two flip caps, a two inch sunshade, custom tool, CR2032 battery, lens cloth, and product manual. Actually, you get two product manuals to be exact: one for the Venom and one for the AR-BDC3 reticle. What you do not get is a mounting bracket or scope rings, so make sure to pick those up when you purchase the Venom. I used the Vortex low-height PRO series riflescope rings to mount the Venom on my AR-15. You can also use the 30mm Sport Cantilever Mount if you want a little higher setup.

Vortex Venom LPVO

From my time with the Venom, this appears to be a great quality optic for the price. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, the low-glare matte black anodized 30mm tube is gas-purged and O-ring sealed. According to the company, the Venom can withstand the “highest levels of impact.” I like testing optics so I put this one through the ringer, which I’ll talk more about below. Adjustment turrets are ¼ MOA increments with 25 MOA travel per rotation. After removing the caps, you can easily turn the turrets by hand, so no tools needed to zero it.

Windage and elevation turrets on the Vortex Venom.
The turrets are easy to adjust with 1/4 MOA increments. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Parallax setting is 100 yards with a 3.7-inch eye relief. A fast-focus eyepiece allows you to adjust focus quickly with an included throw lever if you want to use it. As I mentioned above, the Venom also uses the AR-BDC3 reticle with six brightness settings powered by a CR2032 battery. The illuminated portion of the reticle is a half-circle with a small center dot. Under that are non-illuminated elevation and windage hash marks for 300 to 600 yards.

Testing the Vortex Venom LPVO

Like I do with most other optics, I test them to see if what the manufacturer puts on the box is accurate. According to Vortex, the Venom is water rated for IPX 7 with an operating temperature between -4 to 140°F. A durable optic should withstand any daily abuse from being mounted to a rifle. Because of this, I try to keep my testing realistic instead of seeing what crazy things I could do before it breaks. Not that other tests are uninteresting or bad, but I want to simulate what I call “normal” abuse.

Water Test

For this series of tests, I started with water. I didn’t do a complete IPX7 test, but I did drop it in the bathtub for 30 minutes. The point is to demonstrate it will survive dropping my gun in water, not taking it for a swim. After 30 minutes, I dried the Venom off and inspected it. From what I can tell, the turret covers kept water out of the turrets. I took the battery cover off and didn’t find any moisture around the battery. There was no water in the tube and everything appeared to be functioning properly.

Freeze and Heat Tests

I then placed the optic in my freezer and left it overnight. My freezer is set to 6°F; so not quite as cold as the rating, but close enough. It warmed up some before I got it mounted and out to shoot, but I couldn’t tell any difference on the range. After that, I placed the Venom on a cookie sheet and left it in the oven until the surface temperature on the optic was over 140°F. I decided to leave it longer to make sure the interior components were hot as well.

Heat testing the scope
For the heat test, I placed the Venom in the oven until the surface of the optic was 154°F. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

The Venom was showing just over 154°F by the time I took it out of the oven. It took a minute to remount the optic while it was hot, but, once on the rifle, I went outside to the range. Quite often, I have optics that shoot to the right or left when hot. This one, however, was still on target with no change. So far so good, but there was still one more test to perform.

Drop Test

Again, I don’t go to the extreme with most products I review. I want to see how this optic holds up to impact from a distance I would accidentally drop it from. For this, I held the optic shoulder height out to my side and dropped it onto several surfaces. I started with the wood floor in my house and dropped it twice. This didn’t even scratch it, so I headed outside for a harder surface.

Drop testing the scope
When I dropped the Venom on concrete, the lens cover flipped open and was damaged, but the optic was not. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

I then used my brick porch and dropped it several times from shoulder height. Other than scuffing up the lens cover bottoms and a turret cover, everything stayed intact. On the last drop, the front lens cover popped open and almost come off, but it protected the optic. Once mounted back on my rifle, I had to adjust the optic’s elevation by one inch but the windage was fine. This isn’t bad for a direct drop onto brick from five plus feet.

Why an LPVO?

When low power variable optics (LPVOs) first came out, they appeared to be the future of the optics world. But after a while, people started going back to red dots or using flip-to-side magnifiers. Currently though, the US Marine Corps has started using LPVOs as standard issue. They call it the SCO (squad common optic) or, to the rest of us, the Trijicon VCOG. People take note of what the military is doing because the military tests and uses more firearms and equipment than anyone else.

Scope reticle
The illumined reticle on the Vortex Venom is easy to see with a half-circle shape. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

After testing and review, the military decided LPVOs give Marines an upper hand. This makes sense for someone who wants a versatile rifle applicable to a variety of settings. However, there are cheaper options unless you can — or want — to pay the $2,000 for a VCOG. In that case, Vortex makes a great product and backs it up with an unconditional lifetime warranty.

On the Range With the Vortex Venom LPVO

I have the Venom mounted to an AR-15 shooting 55 grain 5.56 PMC X-Tac ammunition. For sight-in, I started with a bore sight at 20 yards. After that, I moved to 50 yards and sighted the LPVO in with about four shots. From there, I kept a good group out to 100 yards. Despite multiple removals for testing, the Venom was less than one inch off from where it started. With one click of the elevation turret, it was zeroed.

Vortex Venom 1-6x24 LPVO
On the range with the Vortex Venom 1-6×24 LPVO. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Since it was a particularly bright day, I used the illumination reticle. With the sixth setting, you easily see the reticle on a bright day. On the first setting, you can’t see much of the red illumination, but the first few settings would work for night use. Target acquisition isn’t as fast on an LPVO as a typical red dot. However, it was much better than past experience with other LPVOs. With the Venom zoomed in all the way (x6), it was easy to hit targets at 100 yards.

What are my thoughts?

I like the Venom riflescope. Before LPVOs, one had to choose an optic for CQB or long distance. This LPVO is a perfect solution for both and retails for $299, which is a heck of a deal. It feels solid, the XD glass is crystal clear, and the red illumination helps for both day and night use. This optic would be perfect on an AR-15 for self-defense or even hunting. This could easily be the best LPVO on the market in this price range. Matching the quality with a different brand would require spending much more money.

Any time I write about Vortex, I also have to mention their customer service. I think this is just as important to others as well. A company is only as good as their customer service and Vortex is among the best I’ve encountered. When doing reviews, I call them on a regular basis. There is no special phone number or contact for me to call and I don’t get their product from them. Instead, I call the same number as every other customer (1-800-486-7839) and someone answers very quickly. I also email them at [email protected] and receive a reply the same day or even within the hour.

Vortex offers an unconditional lifetime warranty on all their products regardless of when or where you got it. If something is wrong, they will make it right. Unfortunately, this type of customer service is becoming rare. They make great products at an affordable price, but it’s their warranty and customer service that really set them apart. If you are looking for a new optic, make sure you check out the new Venom SFP 1-6×24 riflescope, currently available at GMW for $299.99.

#Review #Vortex #Venom #LPVO #SFP #16X24 #Rifle #Scope

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