Training tool review, MantisX — Because being fast on the draw is great, but if you can’t hit anything, what’s the point?
In the wonderful world of self-defense, you need to have a solid understanding of what you’re doing with your chosen weapon. Whether a knife or a firearm, you need to be able to use this tool to your advantage if your life is ever in danger.
I want to state right here, that a tool like the one I’m about to discuss should never replace a qualified instructor, but be used in conjunction with him/her.
Many tools are available to help you be better prepared, should the time ever come when you need to draw your weapon. And, there are even some things you can do for free, in the comfort of your own home. One such thing, is dry-firing.
I recommend dry-firing to everyone and do it myself. But it, alone, does have limitations.
While dry firing your gun is a great thing to do for trigger time, the amount of information you receive from it is limited. While it is true that you can put a penny or an empty casing on top of your front sight, only so much is learned from this method.
Personally, I have trained this way, and it does help you work on trigger control. Where it lacks, however, is giving you an idea of where your shots land on target, helping you figure out why you can’t hit your target.
In other words, if my front sight travels too far from the target, it measures that. The sensors in the device track the direction it travels, and lists likely reasons why your shot would have been high and to the right. Or, low and to the left.
Then, it displays how you might be able to fix it on the screen of your phone:
How well does it work?
I was successfully able to throw the device off multiple times, with it registering that I was doing something wrong. It didn’t, however, always state the exact thing I was purposefully doing wrong, but it did most of the time.
So, while it isn’t 100% accurate all the time, it did always pick up that I was doing something wrong which should force the shooter to concentrate more on all aspects of shooting mechanics.
How does it work?
There is a bluetooth-enabled device that you attach to your accessory rail equipped firearm. The device actually collects data based on your dry and live firing, and sends the information to an application on your phone.
From there, you can see what you’re doing wrong, each time you squeeze the trigger.
Too little trigger finger? It’ll let you know. Too tight of a grip? It’s got your back. Pushing the gun to one side? Yeah, it’s got you there too.
In short, it’ll tell you all you’re doing wrong, sort of like an instructor would do, and help you become a better shooter because of it. Again, it isn’t meant to replace an instructor.
Another plus, is that I was actually able to track my progress during the course of time I used it. It’s beneficial because even though I thought I fixed an issue, like having too tight of a grip, I found that old habits don’t leave all that easily.
I still grip my pistol too tight when squeezing the trigger.
So, how did I do with my time using the MantisX?
To start, as stated a minute ago, I have a death grip on my gun. I found out that I over-grip it a majority of the time–more than any other shooting error.
I’ve got big, strong hands, and I just feel the need to manhandle everything I touch, and, for whatever reason, my gun is no different. So I now make a mental note to not grip so hard. It’s an uphill battle for me, because it’s an old habit, but it’s getting better.
Now, I do want to say here that it isn’t perfect, as no technology is. But, having the chance to learn something from a piece of gear that actually turned me into a better shooter, is worth the $150 price tag the MantisX costs.
Its biggest advantage, in my opinion, is that I’m actually forced to want to squeeze the trigger better. I would find that during my live-fire exercises, I’d just be going through the motions.
When I have the Mantis attached, I get feedback, and want to shoot as close to 100 as I possibly can. It’s almost like a competitive nature kicks in, and I’m competing with it.
Therefore I find myself dry-firing more and because of that and what I’m learning with the application, I’m improving at the range. It really is helping.
Here is a short video of me demonstrating it for you in dry-fire mode outside in my backyard:
I see this tool being used by people like myself who just want to become more proficient and accurate with their self-defense weapon of choice, as well as instructors looking for another tool to use in the classroom.
So, how do you use it?
First, you buy the device. Then, once you get it in the mail, you download the application available in the Android and Apple marketplaces.
Then, make sure you follow the directions that come in the box. Connect the device to your phone via bluetooth, and choose your settings:
After that, just hit the train button on the app, and you’re ready to go.
Now, I always try to list negatives on everything I review. This one is no different. There are a few features I’d like to see added at some point in the future.
I switched guns a few times, and it never registered a different gun. I moved from my XD to a 1911 with an accessory rail on it. It kept tracking as if I was using the same gun. Not that big of a deal, but something I’d like to see change in the future.
Overall, I think this is a great product that is designed to do one thing: Help you become more proficient with your self-defense weapon of choice. If you’re ever attacked, being able to shoot accurately is paramount.
The MantisX helps you achieve that. You can learn more about them, here.
What did you think about my MantisX review? Let me know in the comments below.