Whether you’re buying an optic for a rifle or pistol the Trijicon RMR is the gold standard for a miniature red dot sight.
It’s 2X more expensive than the Vortex Viper, and it much more durable and rugged for combat use. The Viper on the other hand is a very smaller and lightweight at half of the price.
If you’re looking for durability please go with the Trijicon RMR Type 2 and skip this article. If you’re looking for an entry-level optic for plinking go with the Vortex VIPER without spending all of your money.
In this review, we will take a look at Trijicon RMR VS Vortex Viper, two very different price point optics and they’re also very popular.
At the end of it, you will learn their features and performance that make sense to your shooting applications.
Trijicon RMR VS Vortex Viper Comparison Chart
Related Content: Best Red Dot Sights For Handguns
Practical Applications – Plinking, Personal Defense & Competition
Image Referenced TREX ARMS
The Trijicon RMR is the go-to optic for anything combat-related, which means it’s also for casual range use too. For an average price of $550, it’s a very expensive red dot sight, but it lasts way longer and survives more physical abuse on your most loved gun setup.
It works for pistol, rifle, and shotgun!
Image Referenced USMC
Generally, the Trijicon RMR can be mounted on a rifle as an offset backup sight or it can be used on optic ready handguns. It can also be used as a piggyback red dot sight on a magnified optic like the Trijicon ACOG for a faster transition between long-range and short-range engagements.
The Trijicon RMR is picked up by USSOCOM as the official handgun reflex sight.
The Vortex Viper is great for 22LR, 9mm and other 3 gun style pistol caliber carbines and handguns. You can use it on rifles as well but definitely not heavy recoil shotguns long term.
The VIPER is also a good choice for backup 45-degree red dot sight if you own multiple rifles. It will be more cost-effective if you go with the VIPER than buying multiple Trijicon RMRs.
Check Out More: Best Micro Red Dot Sights Under $400
The Vortex Viper is great for the price for what it can do, and its one of the most affordable and high performing micro-optic on the market. It comes with mounting plates for popular handguns like Glock 19, FN 509 Tactical, Smith and Wesson M&P and many more. You can also mount it on a rifle as a backup sight.
- The Viper Red Dot Sight has a super low-profile making it perfect for handguns with cut-out slides.
- The Viper's low height allows it to co-witness with iron sights and the 6 MOA dot is easy to pick up and get you on target fast. Power and illumination controls are easy for shooters to access and...
- The fully multi-coated, ultra-clear lens offers a wide, unobstructed field of view while Armortek coatings protect your lens from oil, dirt, and scratches.
- 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments move the dot to your point of aim.
- 3.25 MOA ADJUSTABLE LED RMR: Features an automatic brightness mode and easy push buttons for eight adjustable brightness settings including 2 NV and 1 super bright
- DEPENDABLE ELECTRONIC DESIGN: Ruggedized Battery contacts and electronics ensure performance and survivability in harsh environments
- UNIQUE PATENTED HOUSING SHAPE: Military-grade aluminum alloy forged housing shape diverts force of impact away from the lens, greatly increasing its durability
- BATTERY CONSERVATION MODE: Automatically adjusts aiming dot to ambient lighting conditions after 16.5 hours
Weight & Construction – Trijicon RMR Is The Toughest Player
The Trijicon RMR is made with the industry’s toughest material 7075 T6 aluminum. The RMR stands for Ruggedized Miniature Reflex, which means the profile of the optic is optimized to absorb sharp physical impacts and divert point stress away from the lens to significantly increase durability.
The Type 2 LED and the adjustable LED version have upgraded its electronics to be more durable when used on pistol slides in order to handle repeated recoil better.
Both optics are very light, but the Trijicon RMR is the lightest for only 1.2 oz.
Vortex VIPER Comes With More Mounting Accessories
When you buy the RMR Type 2, it has identical physical dimensions and mounting footprint to that of RMR Type 1. The package comes in a nice pelican case like a box with:
- Trijicon RMR
- Owner’s manual
- 1 CR2032 battery
and NOTHING ELSE.
The Vortex VIPER comes with the followings:
- VIPER red dot sight
- Rubber lens cover
- Weaver base mount
- 1 CR2032 Battery
- Torque wrench
- Cleaning cloth
Windage and Elevation Adjustment Control
Both optics have recessed windage and elevation MOA adjustments, which means the control is protected against any environmental influence. Nothing will bump into the sight and cause it to change the adjustment at all.
I like the Trijicon RMR because you can use a flat-edged object like a knife, a shell casing, a penny to adjust the MOA versus having to use the Allen wrench while adjusting the Vortex VIPER.
For that feature alone, the Trijicon RMR is the winner!
Sizes Comparison – Trijicon RMR Is Slightly Larger In Length & Width
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is 1.78″ in length and the Vortex Viper is 1.8″ in length So they are about the same size.
However, the RMR has about 1.18″ in height, and the VIPER only has 0.71″ in height, so the RMR appears much larger and it’s easier to pick up the dot inside the lens than the VIPER.
For combat-related pistol slide manipulation, it’s better to use the size of the RMR for better slide contact for clearing malfunction, and charge the slide against hard surfaces.
How to tell the differences between RMR Type 1 and Type 2
The size of the RMR type 1 and type 2 are the size, the only way to see the difference is the battery compartment.
The RMR Type 2 has two battery retainer springs instead of just one, which helps holding the battery tighter without losing contact in order the make sure the sight stays on no matter what.
Left is Type 1, Right is Type 2
Image Referenced Instagram
The Trijicon RMR has a true color and multi-coated lens that creates a wide-band light transmission for minimal change in target area color. The lens is squarish and it takes practice to find the dot when used on a pistol. For rifle use, this .08″ X .63″ size window is big and compact enough for anything close quarter.
The Vortex Viper red dot has a 1X24mm circular lens size, it’s slightly smaller than the Trijicon RMR. The lens frame itself isn’t forged to the degree that the RMR is. You cannot seriously rough handle this optic on a pistol like you would with the RMR.
Battery Life Comparison
Both optics use just one CR2032 battery. As far as the battery life goes, the Type 2 Trijicon RMR automatically dims the dot when not in use or in the dark storage. It’s kinda like auto shut off feature but not quite.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 RM06 and RM07 last 4 years at brightness setting number 4. At setting 8, the battery lasts just 25 days.
The Vortex VIPER has 30,000 hrs of battery life on the lowest setting, and on max brightness setting, it lasts just 150 hours.
It’s a choice you have to make, and from personal experience, it is all about how easy and quickly can you replace the battery.
Both Optics Battery Replacements Require Sight Removal
The battery access from both sights isn’t the most convenient when replacing the battery, which requires you to completely remove the sight to do it.
There is a newer version of the RMR called the Trijicon SRO with top-loading battery access. If you want to check it out please click on the post link below:
Read More: Trijicon SRO Review
MOA Dot Size
The Vortex Viper red dot sight and the Trijicon RMR offer a 6 MOA red dot sight, this is very optimal for close-range shooting.
1 – 2 MOA size dot is much finer for long-distance shooting.
The Trijicon RMR comes in 1 MOA, 3.25 MOA, and 6.5 MOA models. So you have a little more choice with the Trijicon than with the Viper sight.
The adjustable LED Trijicon RMR has buttons on both sides of the housing unit. The controls are ruggedized and protected well, and each click is very responsive and positive.
The Vortex Viper has 10 brightness settings to cycle through, and its button is very positive for great user experience.
If the VIPER has been used or touched for about 16 hours, it will automatically shut off to conserve battery. I believe all red dot sight in the future will incorporate auto shut off feature to lengthen the battery life.
When compared with the Trijicon RMR I noticed no difference when shooting close-range targets with a 9mm Glock 17. But since I was using a 1 MOA Trijicon RMR I was able to aim well at a 100-yard target with more precision than the Viper’s 6 MOA size dot.
Accuracy-wise, the Viper’s 6 MOA size dot is too big for targets at distance.
Besides that, they have rugged construction to withstand recoil and impact to maintain accuracy.
For long-range pistol users please go with a 1 MOA size Trijicon RMR. 6 MOA dot is recommended if you do mostly close quarter shooting.
Learn More Here: How To Shoot Pistol Red Dot Guide
Image Referenced AR15.com
The Vortex Viper red dot sight is much lighter and less expensive. It’s great if you’re looking for the second or the third red dot sight for your other guns in the closet.
Buying RMR for each of your guns can get very expensive, and for a single RMR, you buy two Vortex VIPERs.
Vortex Viper is a great red dot sight for beginners, it works well and its the best compact red dot for the money.
If mil-spec durability is what you won’t go with the Trijicon RMR type 2.
The Vortex Viper has a very competitive price when you’re looking at the Trijicon RMR.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is stronger and better than its original model, the battery lasts longer than the Viper by 30,000 hrs. 30,000 hrs isn’t too bad for the Viper, but if you want the best go with Trijicon RMR.
Its construction is tougher than the Viper and it’s overall a warfighter’s choice accessory. For that reason, if I have to trust my life on the optic I picked, then I had to go with the Trijicon RMR.
If getting an affordable and high performing red dot sight is important to you, then pick the Vortex Viper.