Last year was a doozy. It seemed that overnight, not only were individual rights disappearing, but so were guns and ammo. Finding 9mm was and still is nearly impossible. When you do find ammo, even steel-cased FMJ is still going for 50 cents per round. We’re all aware that dry fire is a valuable tool for staying familiar with your platform, but there are also options that can give you more value with every press of the trigger. The Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System is one of those options.
The Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System
The Mantis X3 is more than just another laser cartridge that you put in your gun. The Mantis system uses a rail-mounted sensor that tracks the movement of the muzzle before, during, and after each trigger press. The sensor speaks wirelessly to the MantisX app. The app gives you a readout of this data in a few different ways and scores each shot with a maximum of 100 points.
The app also comes preloaded with drills and training courses to give users a wider breadth of training opportunities. These range from timed accuracy to hostage rescue drills. Recently, there have been daily challenges added to the app. Today’s happens to be working on type one malfunction.
Training courses that are available range from an introduction to the system to Advanced Marksmanship. Occasionally, Mantis will update the app with new courses like the Gecko45 Mall Ninja course. Upon completion of each course, Mantis will actually send you a physical patch in the mail as a reward.
The Mantis X3 In Use
For accuracy shooting, the rail-mounted sensor is fine. However, I like to get as much training out of my dry fire time as possible. For me, this means drawing from a holster. Unfortunately, attaching the sensor to the rail of my firearm means it won’t fit in my holster. To remedy this, Mantis offers adapters that replace the baseplate of your magazine. I attached the sensor to the base of my Glock 19 ETS magazine since they don’t work anyway and have been relegated to malfunction training. This allows me to work with my existing gear.
The X3 version also works with live fire!
Mantis Laser Academy
Mantis also has a separate app called Laser Academy. It uses a cartridge that drops into your chamber and “fires” a laser at a target. Using the app and tripod, you line up your phone with the target and the camera picks up where the laser hits on the target. I think this gives you a lot more capabilities and instant feedback, but it’s a paid subscription. I have no problem with that, but the one I was sent didn’t come with the full subscription, so I don’t want to give any inaccurate information or misguided opinions. Let’s just focus on the main MantisX system.
Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System: The Pros and Cons
I’m going to be honest. I’ve had this system since the beginning of the year and I still don’t know how I feel about it. I see the system being incredibly useful, but I also see some issues. I’ve been shooting for a while now but my wife is relatively new to shooting. We both used the X3 and have some opinions.
I see dry fire as an essential part of training. We all know that shooting is a perishable skill and that we need to practice frequently. However, I get lazy. After working two different jobs, coming home to write, and wrangling a two-year-old, I often reach for a beer instead of my pistol. Mantis has helped change this for me. The biggest pro I’ve seen with the Mantis X3 is that it makes dry firing more fun. It feels like a game, which makes me more likely to use it. Especially with built-in goals, it feels like unlocking achievements on Goat Simulator.
When I first started getting serious about training, dry fire was instrumental in getting rid of my flinching. My wife, being a new shooter, is still struggling with this. She really enjoys using the Mantis as a way to hone her skills at home.
Dry fire is a lot of fun with Mantis and you use it every night to earn your badges. It helped me see my progress at the range.
Another huge bonus is the ability to track your progress. You can look back at your stats chronologically and see where you’ve improved.
The biggest pro of the MantisX system can lead to the biggest con. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to win. What I saw happening as I tried to unlock my badges was that I was gaming the system. Since the sensor is measuring the movement of the gun, I found myself sacrificing the fundamentals to get a higher score. I started to develop some bad habits as a result. None of them affected me on the range, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
When you set up your sensor, you have to choose an orientation. When it’s used on the magazine baseplate, the assumption is that the gun will remain vertical. However, when I shoot one-handed, I tend to cant the gun inward slightly. I had a hard time getting the sensor to pick up those shots. That meant that instead of taking 10 shots to complete a drill, it was sometimes double that. When my wrists were straighter, this was less of an issue, but having injured both wrists, it was difficult to accomplish.
I think that if the Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System gets you to dry fire more, it is absolutely worth the $169.99 MSRP. Keeping your skills sharp is important, especially if you carry daily. The one-time investment can help you keep you ready while saving hundreds of dollars in ammunition. There’s no substitute for live-fire training, but we can get pretty close. The cons are pretty easy to avoid if you hold yourself accountable and don’t cheat. I’m really happy that they introduced the daily challenges. It keeps things interesting enough to keep you training. I’m looking forward to the introduction of more classes. Keep training and stay sharp!
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