As responsible gun owners, especially those of us who regularly carry firearms, we do our best to maintain proficiency. We have all heard that shooting is a perishable skill, and may have even experienced losing a step or two ourselves when taking a hiatus from the range. Regardless of whether you live at the range or only find yourself going there occasionally, the MantisX is a unique training system designed to improve your marksmanship.
About the MantisX
The MantisX comes inside of a Pelican 1010 case with a micro-USB charging cable (charging block not included). The MantisX is a small adapter that can be attached to the rail system of your pistol or rifle. It can be used for dry-fire, live-fire, CO2, and yes, even airsoft. Once calibrated to your firearm of choice, the MantisX tracks the movement of your barrel across three stages: your sight alignment prior to your shot, the arc of movement during your trigger squeeze, and your management of recoil after your shot. Navigating through all the settings and features can be confusing at first, but after a few training sessions, it becomes incredibly simple.
Writing in detail about every single feature would make this an incredibly lengthy review, so just know that everything about the MantisX is designed with the intention of improving your marksmanship. The app records many details and will do everything from mapping your arc of movement, measuring the time between shots, and maintaining a recent history of your past training sessions. The MantisX offers several different drills to train with, and though I experimented with all of these programs to conduct a thorough review, I found the open training and reload drills to be the most useful.
The reload drills are simple, and mimic standard reload drills that can be performed with an ordinary shot timer. However, the one advantage that the MantisX offers over a shot timer is the ability to run dry-fire drills and still see how accurate your shot would have been.
The open training feature is the one you will most likely find yourself using. Open training offers the most detailed information about your shots. One feature I found particularly useful was the Bullseye mode, which can be turned on in the settings menu. When Bullseye mode is turned on, the MantisX zooms in on your arc of movement which provides a more detailed illustration. Your movement will also be recorded over a longer time, three seconds prior to your shot, and one second after your shot.
Minor issues with the MantisX
As accurate as the MantisX can be, it is not entirely without fault. One minor issue I experienced during both dry-fire and live-fire practice is that the MantisX will sometimes register a shot when you chamber a round. This issue can be mitigated by chambering your round prior to pushing start on the app, or you can delete your erroneous shots after you finish shooting your set.
The other, and more frustrating issue, is when the MantisX does not record your actual shots. I frequently fire sets of five rounds, but sometimes find myself with only four recorded shots on the MantisX app. Though not often, this was a recurring issue I had during both dry-fire and live-fire training. As bothersome as this was when I first started using the MantisX, I found it to be less of an issue as time went on. For my dry-fire runs, I just dry-fire a sixth time, and for my live-fire runs, I simply just analyze the actual shot group I have on paper.
- Compatible with most firearms
- Many features that actually improve your shooting
- Especially helpful for dry-fire training
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Minor issues with recording shots
I am in consensus with the majority of others who believe money is better spent at the range than on fancy gadgets, but that’s not to say the MantisX is another gimmick in the firearms industry. While it is true that your best training is going to come from firing live rounds onto paper, the MantisX is a great training system, especially for your dry-fire training. The MantisX is currently listed for $149 on its official page, a bit steep, but the manufacturer offers a 45-day money back guarantee. If you have the money to spend, I absolutely consider the MantisX to be a worthy (and addictive) investment.
If you have any experience using the MantisX or similar training apps, let us know what you think!
Author – Matt Shin is a former U.S. Army infantryman having served as a radio telephone operator, automatic rifleman, and fire team leader. Matt now resides in California where he is back in school studying sociology. In his newfound spare time he enjoys exploring the outdoors, camping, backpacking, shooting, and sports.