Toward the end of last year, I wrote an article on the Mantis Blackbeard auto-resetting trigger system. I had taken some professional training with my Ruger AR-556, but had failed to follow up with any meaningful practice. In case you don't know, you can take the best training in the world, but if you don't practice what you learn in that training, you will quickly lose any skills and benefits you may have gained.
Afterward, I was so impressed with the Mantis rifle dry fire system, I thought to myself, 'Maybe Mantis can help me improve my pistol skills, too.'
Full disclosure: This article won't cover everything about the Mantis X10 Elite and Laser Academy systems. This would be a really long article if I attempted to do that. Instead, I'll use this one to talk about what's included with the Mantis X10 Elite, the function of the system (including the MantisX app), what I hope to gain from integrating them into my training regimen (such as it is), and share some initial thoughts and results.
Mantis X10 Elite
Per the company's website, the X10 is, "(p)art of the second generation of Mantis Shooting Performance Systems."
The Mantis X family includes the X2, X3, and X7 - if you're into improving your skill with a shotgun. The surface improvements the X10 brings to the table include reduced size and weight, and an increase in the battery life and data rate. The X10 also employs a new
quick detach system
So what is the Mantis X10 good for? Plenty, it seems!
The Mantis X10 Elite can be used for both dry fire and live fire training. Since I haven't had a chance to get down to the local range, this article will focus on basic dry fire operation.
Included in the (very nice) zippered case are the Mantis X10 Elite unit, a barrel clamp, rubber spacers, barrel clamp hardware, universal picatinny rail, and USB charging cable.
Not all that functional, but cool nonetheless, is a tasteful Mantis decal. The case will easily fit in a range bag and keep all the contents organized in transit.
First things first; the Mantis X 10 Elite needs to be charged with the included USB cable. I plugged the unit into my laptop and it didn't take long before it displayed the green light that indicates a full charge. Mantis notes achieving a full charge can take up to two hours. This is probably par time from totally dead to fully charged.
Next, I downloaded the MantisX app from the Google Play store (Also available via iTunes). The correct choice in this case is the MantisX - Pistol/Rifle app. You'll probably see the Laser Academy, Shotgun, and Archery versions as well. Download and install was easy, as was connecting the Mantis X10 with the app.
I'm not writing a full-on software user's manual since Mantis already provides solid documentation and instructional videos.
I will say I'm quite impressed with the ease of installation and set up for the MantisX app. The screenshot at right was basically the first one I landed on after logging in. If you don't already have an account, that's an extra task you'll need to complete. However, I had already created my account thanks to my work with the Blackbeard system.
After the login screen, there are one or two informational pop ups, but then you're straight into the meat of the system. The recommendation is to do a few shots (5) with the Open Training application (highlighted in red). Open Training allows you to just shoot and score. But wait, what do you shoot at?
My garage is a mess and wall space in the house is at a premium. Fortunately, since I already have the Mantis Laser Academy, I mounted one of those targets on the included tripod, put it on my kitchen counter, and voila! Instant indoor dry fire range! Honestly, you can stick up a target practically anywhere and use this system. The target is simply a clear point of aim to aid with dry fire mechanics and repeatability.
The MantisX app has a wealth of features, all designed to help us become better, more consistent shooters. My initial results (see Good, Bad, and Ugly below) are a mix of the Open Training and MantisX Benchmark test. I achieved the best results in the Benchmark (I think) because that drill is untimed and urged me to settle down and work on my mechanics.
The power of MantisX is surely in the analysis tools that are built into the MantisX app. The image on the left is a compilation of three analysis screenshots from my first Open Training drill. I can see how many shots I "fired" and my overall score. Red segments around the score circle indicate one or more trends for review.
Every red segment provides a shot analysis. I had five segments to review - one for each shot. Obviously, I was all over the place, with only two segments stacking up. In other words, four different issues I needed to review and address.
The MantisX app works overtime to help me become a better shooter. In the case of the session above, it took the issue it saw multiple times and highlighted it for me. I can unpack valuable feedback in a couple of ways:
First, I can touch on any red segment and pull up an explanation of the issue and review recommended corrective actions. The MantisX app also highlights the most prevalent issue under the graph and I can touch that to open the explanation/correction screen as well.
In my case, the biggest issue of the four was diagnosed as too little trigger finger. The other three issues - remember, those occurred on separate shots - were heeling, pushing, and "slapping" the trigger.
I'm a hot, untactical mess, and should probably take up needlepoint.
Or, I can continue using the Mantis X10 Elite and improve my shooting mechanics through both dry and live fire training!
The Mantis X10 Elite combined with the free MantisX app are like having my own personal trainer on hand 24x7; ready to help me be a better shooter through practice, results analysis, and positive, actionable feedback.
I have barely scratched the surface of what the Mantis X10 Elite can do. For instance, I also took on the daily challenge - in my case, a gloved drill that called for ten shots with any kind of gloves. I used my Mechanix M-Pact gloves, which are a little bulky. My results weren't impressive. A score of 81.8 meant I was - according to the MantisX app - better than only 1% of shooters.
I also followed along with a couple of suggested training courses included with the app. I completed one of them: the introductory course, which familiarized me with the features and functions of the app. The second course - Basic Marksmanship - is taking me through a number of different drills. More courses await, including Advanced and Elite Marksmanship, as well as Basic and Advanced Combat.
I've got a long way to go!
Even in these early stages, I am sold on the value of the Mantis X10 Elite package. And don't forget, I still have the added dry fire benefits of the Mantis Laser Academy to explore.
All that said, I'm fairly certain you can look forward to a series of articles on the Mantis X10 Elite platform and the accompanying MantisX and Laser Academy applications. I realize it's been a couple of months since I published the Blackbeard article, but the best thing about digging into these Mantis solutions is the motivation they generate to explore further and practice more often. After all, for those of us who desire to be better shooters (and that should be everyone who owns a firearm), motivation and practice are the keys that unlock excellence.