Per­fect Prac­tice

Hon­ing your skills with the Mantisx, an app-based train­ing pro­gram

Firepower - - CONTENTS - TEXT & IM­AGES BY JOHN SCOTT

It’s easy to un­der­stand why shoot­ing a pis­tol can be one of the most dif­fi­cult skills to mas­ter. It may seem sim­ple, but as most shoot­ers can at­test, get­ting it right takes plenty of train­ing, tech­nique and prac­tice—not to men­tion ammo. Also, if you’ve ever taken a long break from shoot­ing your pis­tol, it isn’t un­com­mon for your skills to be rusty when you come back to it.

For most of us, pis­tol shoot­ing is not like rid­ing a bike. You can’t step away from it and ex­pect to be as good at it as when you left off. The skills re­quired for ac­cu­rate pis­tol shoot­ing are eas­ily per­ish­able and re­quire con­stant prac­tice to keep sharp.

While we gen­er­ally rec­om­mend shoot­ers take as many train­ing cour­ses as their bud­get and time per­mit, we un­der­stand that classes can be ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially when tak­ing into ac­count am­mu­ni­tion costs. Classes can also be dif­fi­cult to fit into the busy sched­ules of our lives too. So how can one hone his or her pis­tol shoot­ing skills, re­ceive solid ad­vice on what to im­prove, and save money while do­ing it?

The Mantisx Firearms Train­ing Sys­tem prom­ises to do just that. It is an in­ter­ac­tive train­ing sys­tem that links your gun with a smart phone app via a rail-mounted sen­sor to help di­ag­nose and cor­rect shoot­ing mis­takes. Mantisx is the name of the app and its Blue­tooth sen­sor unit is called the Man­tis.

The Man­tis is a USB recharge­able unit that at­taches to your firearm’s Pi­catinny rail in the same man­ner as many flash­lights or lasers. Although it can be used on a ri­fle, our time with it taught us that it re­ally ex­cels when em­ployed on a hand­gun. If rail space is at a pre­mium, Man­tis can also be at­tached in re­verse and still func­tion prop­erly.

The Sys­tem

The Mantisx sys­tem comes in a sleek, gloss black, pocket-sized Pel­i­can hard­case that also houses a USB charg­ing ca­ble and in­for­ma­tive in­struc­tion sheet. The Man­tis sen­sor unit at­taches to your firearm’s rail with the use of a flat­head cross-bolt screw, much like many other rail-mounted ac­ces­sories. The Mantisx app is avail­able as a free down­load for both Ap­ple IOS and Google An­droid pow­ered smart phones.

The Mantisx app is re­ally the star of the sys­tem. It not only pro­vides sim­ple feed­back such as how much and in what di­rec­tion you moved away from your sighted po­si­tion af­ter break­ing your shot, it also gives you tips on how to im­prove your shot, much like a live in­struc­tor would. An­a­lyz­ing a group of shots or even mul­ti­ple groups of shots pro­vide you with hard data on how you can im­prove your shoot­ing skills.

Man­tis does this through some sleek, yet sim­ple graph­i­cal in­ter­faces. The menus are easy to nav­i­gate and its sim­plic­ity of use scores high with our staff. It has ev­ery­thing you need, noth­ing you don’t.

The sys­tem can be used for both live fire as well as dry fire, which makes it a great train­ing tool to use most any­where and any­time, in­clud­ing at the shoot­ing range or in the com­fort of your home. It even has a mode that is sen­si­tive enough for Co2-pow­ered air­soft guns in case that’s your pre­ferred method of train­ing.

“The skills re­quired for ac­cu­rate pis­tol shoot­ing are eas­ily per­ish­able and re­quire con­stant prac­tice to keep sharp.”

Our Re­sults

“Be­cause this is an app­based prod­uct, up­dates by the man­u­fac­turer are eas­ily im­ple­mented to ben­e­fit the end user. Con­sis­tent app up­dates will keep Mantisx fresh and up to date, which we like very much.”

We used the Mantisx sys­tem at a live-fire range and at home with dry-fire prac­tice, as well as mounted to a Co2-pow­ered air­soft pis­tol, and can re­port that the sys­tem worked for us as in­tended. Its hon­est re­port­ing of how we were shoot­ing was re­fresh­ing to see, es­pe­cially with the dry­fire and CO2 modes.

Dry fire is great prac­tice, but un­like live fire, dry fire prac­tice does not leave marks on your tar­gets, which can make it hard to see what you may be do­ing wrong. With Mantisx, you can “see” where your shots would have landed, which is im­mensely help­ful. Based on the rec­om­men­da­tions the app gave us, we did see a marked im­prove­ment in our shot groups even af­ter the first few groups.

We’ve seen early feed­back on the sys­tem that men­tions that its soft­ware wasn’t ready yet for re­li­able dry-fire use, but in our case the dry-fire func­tion worked flaw­lessly. Be­cause this is an app-based prod­uct, up­dates by the man­u­fac­turer are eas­ily im­ple­mented to ben­e­fit the end user. Con­sis­tent app up­dates will keep Mantisx fresh and up to date, which we like very much.

Con­clu­sion

We’re a bit old fash­ioned in that we don’t tend to be early adopters of the lat­est whizbang elec­tronic de­vices. But we sur­prised our­selves when we took a lik­ing to the Mantisx sys­tem very quickly. Quickly as in af­ter our first string of fire.

That said, we’d say it’s not a com­plete re­place­ment for good old-fash­ioned train­ing, as one-on-one train­ing with live in­struc­tor can teach you much more than the Mantisx can cover. But it does def­i­nitely give you an edge in get­ting ex­tra train­ing in on some key shoot­ing fun­da­men­tals.

The Mantisx Firearms Train­ing Sys­tem prom­ises to coach you to im­proved shoot­ing while sav­ing you money on am­mu­ni­tion. When used prop­erly, the Mantisx sys­tem can give you more mean­ing­ful trig­ger time, es­pe­cially when fac­tor­ing in its dry-fire func­tion. At a rea­son­able $150 re­tail price, we’d say that it cer­tainly does ac­com­plish its stated goals. In be­tween live train­ing ses­sions, we’ll be train­ing with Mantisx.

The Mantisx sys­tem comes in a sleek, gloss black, pocket-sized Pel­i­can hard­case that also houses a USB charg­ing ca­ble and in­for­ma­tive in­struc­tion sheet.

The Man­tis is a USB recharge­able unit that at­taches to your firearm’s Pi­catinny rail in the same man­ner as many flash­lights or lasers.

One great ad­van­tage to this sys­tem is that while un­der­tak­ing dry-fire shoot­ing ex­er­cises, the Mantisx sys­tem al­lows you to “see” where your shots would have landed.

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