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Training is a Lot Easier with Some New Tools from Mantis X

Any excuse not to train has just gone out the door with some unique training aids from Mantis X.

Training is a Lot Easier with Some New Tools from Mantis X

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It’s easy to make excuses on why you can’t train. “It’s too cold. I don’t have ammo. The range is too far away,” or worse, “I’m good enough.” With Mantis training products, the only legitimate excuse you’ll have left is that you’re just plain lazy. Whether it’s at home or on the range, with a handgun, AR, rifle, or shotgun, Mantis’s training products will keep your skills sharp or make them better. Mantis became known for their MantisX, a rail-mounted precision motion sensor and app that analyzes shooting grip and trigger press while providing real-time, accurate feedback. It was designed by shooters who loved data, and it shows throughout their app. The motion sensor tracks the firearm’s movement on all axes to reveal your true movement while handling a firearm. When Mantis launched MantisX, they knew they had a good product and put it into the hands of well-respected firearms trainers who would either sing its praises or dismiss it as a toy. If these professionals found the shooting device beneficial, it would legitimize it to shooting enthusiasts. It was a smart move; many quickly saw that the real-time feedback put shooters on the fast track to resolving their shooting problems. Mantis has since increased MantisX’s capabilities and introduced other training tools that work in conjunction with MantisX to provide the most robust training tools for dry and live fire.

The X Series

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The MantisX series is currently available in four models and provides analysis for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The X2 is the basic model and is limited to dry-fire training, the X3 adds live-fire analysis, while the X10 Elite is full-featured and includes shotgun and archery feedback. The last model, the X7, is limited to competitive shotgun shooters. It doesn’t provide handgun or rifle analysis. Of the models above, I recommend splurging on the X10 Elite because it will provide the most comprehensive feedback a shooter would need for improving the critical components of their shooting skills. The app will show you if you are anticipating recoil, pushing the trigger to the side, have a weak grip, or are taking a long time to find your sights. Just as important, the app provides tips on how to correct your problem. The X10 includes access to recoil management data which is beneficial to handguns, rifles, and shotguns. I used it to provide recoil data on a muzzlebrake review, and it helped me improve my body position to manage recoil better.

One of the issues every shooter struggles with is balancing speed with accuracy. The Mantis app includes a shot timer and a good chunk of drills designed to improve your first-round hits and follow up shots on single and multiple targets. What’s valuable about the MantisX versus using a shot timer alone is that the Mantis app reveals how consistent or inconsistent the mechanics of your shooting are from one shot to the next. For example, when running the timed drills on multiple targets, my hits were in the vital zones, but the shot placement was too scattered for my taste. The Mantis app showed me my grip pressure was sometimes pushing the pistol low and left. My grip scores reflected this. My scores started at the high-80s and degraded to mid-60s toward the last shots. Having instant feedback helped me make corrections on the spot. The great benefit is that it will work on handguns, rifles, and shotguns and with dry fire, air guns, and live fire. Since there is an extreme ammo shortage, I mount the X10 on my airsoft guns to sharpen my handgun and AR skills. The Mantis X2, X3, and X10 mount to a rail, but for firearms without rails, Mantis offers several mounting solutions. Check their website for the various options.

Blackbeard

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Blackbeard’s two components replace the preexisting BCG and charging handle in your AR-15 and work in accordance with the Laser Academy app.

Dry-fire training with an AR-15 gets futile quickly, since resetting the trigger requires manually cycling the bolt. Mantis resolves this hurdle with Blackbeard, an AR-15 automatic trigger resetting system. The Blackbeard system consists of two components: a trigger reset and a magazine-shaped battery. Both are red, so there will be no mistake whether the Blackbeard is installed or not. The system is intuitive to install. Replace your AR-15’s BCG and charging handle with the red BCG and swap out the magazine. Mantis claims that a fully charged battery will reset the system 100,000 times. I typically like to test claims, but I’ll take their word on this. The look and feel of the system is robust. The Blackbeard BCG and magazine weigh 14 ounces, while a standard BCG weighs 13 ounces. The installation requires no modifications.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pressed the trigger. I was concerned that the Blackbeard would neuter the feel of my Rise Armament trigger. Happily, the trigger press felt exactly as it should with trigger resets producing an audible click. There are two unusual things about using the Blackbeard. One is hearing the motor spin to physically reset the trigger and the other is not feeling the hammer slam forward. Neither of these are a cause for concern. It just initially feels and sounds weird. Upon inspection, I noticed that the hammer travels only a little past where the sear disengages and is stopped by the reset plunger. When the plunger is hit, it pushes the hammer down and resets the trigger.

The reset is quick, too, which allows you to fire off a fast series of shots. There are several models available: one with no laser, a red laser, green laser, or infrared laser. Each trigger press also activates the laser so you can spot your hits, or if you are using the Laser Academy app, it will show your hits. Included in the laser kit is access to Mantis’s Laser Academy app which greatly extends the usefulness and entertainment of dry fire training. I tested the green laser model using the Laser Academy app and practiced fundamentals and multiple target engagement. It is so much more engaging than just dry-fire alone. Seeing the hits and having the speed and accuracy recorded are valuable to honing your skills.

Laser Academy Training Kit

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This kit includes a complete package of tools, making its use easy and effective right out of the box.

Dry-fire training can easily become boring without some accountability or capability to measure progress. Mantis’ Laser Academy Training Portable Kit solves the boredom issue by offering a complete laser training package. The kit includes a single Pink Rhino laser training cartridge of your choice, 5x7-inch Laser Academy Smart Targets, a mini tripod, a smartphone holder, a wooden dowel, and full access to their Laser Academy. It comes in a nice semi-hard carrying case with cut outs for each component for tidy organization of the set. I have used several laser training apps, and the Laser Academy is one of the easiest to use right out of the box. One of the reasons is that the app automatically detects the Smart Targets, and there’s no need to set up the targets manually in the app before shooting. There are 14 targets included in the kit, and each target has a unique identification code printed on the target that makes the app automatically map the target with their specific scoring and non-scoring zones.

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The hardest part of the setup is pointing the mobile device’s camera, which is easy too. Once you have the targets hung and the camera pointed at the targets, you are ready to begin a shooting drill. The app also gives you the option to use and set up your own targets. The targets are printed on a heavy 14pt card stock for long life and rigidity. They include the following targets: hostage, bullseye, head shot, silhouette, IDPA, IPSC, dartboard, torso, number/shape hunt, dot drill, and FBI qualification. There’s also a target that can be used as a virtual button to stop, start, clear, and close a drill. With this target, you don’t have to be near the phone to control a session. The Laser Academy is a free app available for iOS and Android devices and comes with several drills. The full access code that’s included with the kit unlocks a bevy of Pro Drills. This is a $50 value. The Pro Drills are what make this app worthwhile. Aside from basic single and multiple targets shooting drills that report speed and accuracy, there are drills beneficial for personal defense like shooting from holster, holster with par time, compressed low ready position, and close contact. Two of the Pro sessions allow dueling simultaneously with a shooting buddy. There are two targets that are duplicated for this purpose. The kit includes a tacky strip that sticks the targets to the wall without leaving a residue, marking the wall, or removing the paint. A Standard Kit is also available and includes everything the Portable Kit has as well as a large tripod and a complete set of 8- by 11-inch Smart Targets.

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The app’s extensive analytics provide feedback and tips on correcting shooter error.

We all have a training devil and angel sitting on our shoulders. The devil tells us we are good enough and don’t need training, while the angel reminds us that complacency and lack of training paves the way to Hell. Mantis products and their respective apps are the excuse killer. From improving your live fire shooting to making dry fire entertaining and informative, you can’t help but become a better shooter with Mantis products at your side.




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