From the moment I saw it, I knew that in the MantisX, Mantis had created a product that every shooter can benefit from, beginner or competition winner. The MantisX gives you information you just can’t get in any other way, and it tells you exactly what is going on in that critical split second before each shot, in dry-fire or live-fire training. This review of the MantisX shooting analysis system will show how this can help you improve your trigger control and grip through the shot.
A few more details:
What’s in the box?:
Very well presented, the MantisX comes inside a zip up case.
A good look round the MantisX – Things to look out for here are:
Actually as far as a product goes, the MantisX unit itself doesn’t have much to look at. It is basically a small black box with built in rail mount, a power button a few lights and a USB charging socket. For this review ‘A good look round’ is one of the smaller sections; here it is.
We have seen the small MantisX unit, and this is only part of the story, as it is essentially just a sensor. It is the output of that sensor and how it is interpreted that is what matters.
Getting started with the MantisX means first installing either the Android or iPhone app from Mantis and the pairing the MantisX unit via bluetooth with your device (phone or tablet).
Of course you need to be fully familiar with your training gun, be it a firearm, airgun, or airsoft gun and its dry-firing setup. The MantisX can be used in dry-fire practice or live-fire practice.
With the MantisX mounted, and paired to the app, you can get started and this involves an initial benchmark (you will want to see where you are, and what improvement you achieve, so don’t miss this out). There are also some settings you might want or need to adjust depending on the gun and dry/live-fire training.
What it is like to use?
And diving into using it. I’ll share something I came across very early on which Mantis support helped me with, and it makes the crucial difference in dry-fire training.
When I was cocking the hammer on my training pistol between shots, it kept picking up this as a really bad shot. I did try deleting these afterwards, but my results were horribly skewed.
My preference for training is dry-fire with manual hammer/trigger reset. If live-fire training with a semi-auto, or using a gas powered airsoft semi-auto, there is no issue, the shot cycle resets the hammer and you don’t have this issue.
Such a simple answer! If the MantisX is held sideways, or if the gun it pointed up or down, the mini shocks it uses to detect a hammer falling are completely ignored, so when cocking the hammer in manual dry-fire, tilt the gun sideways or up/down and you can reset the hammer without a misdetection.
Nothing in the instructions at the time told me this, and when I’d seen it being demonstrated, it was with gas operated semi-auto airsoft guns.
The app has an introductory course to get you started, and then you can move onto the basic marksmanship course. You can go through this basic course entirely dry-fire. The course is split up into a number of challenges so you can work your way up.
It is important to note that the more advanced courses require live-fire, or simulated live-fire, to progress, so once through the basic course it will get noisier.
There is nothing to stop you practicing the basic skills over and over if you want to continue with dry-fire practice.
You don’t just get a score for each shot, the app understands the types of mistakes a shooter can make and based on your results suggests what you might be doing wrong. Something that wasn’t really possible without real lead-slinging before, and even if you did manage to pull the shots back onto target with a nice combination of mistakes, there is no fooling the MantisX.
In the analysis of each shot and your shot history, you get statistics galore, and a load of hugely valuable information you can use to work on your weaknesses.
I particularly like the individual shot analysis where you can see the actual movement of the gun in the split second before the hammer falls to see if you are jerking the trigger, pushing/pulling, changing your grip, or any other problem, or if you settle and break the trigger cleanly.
As you start to tune in to the better results and what made the shot good, you can connect the ‘feel’ of the shot, and the quality of the actual shot. Certainly in all forms of shooting I participate in, be it pellet, shot, arrow, bolt or bullet, there is always a great feel with a great shot; MantisX quantifies that, and also tells you what went wrong when it wasn’t good.
Something to remember is that the shot placement shown by this system is ‘virtual’ and based solely on the quality of the trigger pull and grip, NOT on actual alignment. In reality the strain on ensuring correct sight alignment often introduces issues in the grip or trigger control, so scoring perfectly with the MantisX is not a guarantee you will actually group well.
Having said that, the MantisX is giving you incredible information you could never otherwise see, so coupled with live-fire targets, you can see if that flier was down to your technique or something else.
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.
Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.
Things I like
Compatible with almost any gun with a hammer strike.
Captures detailed information on each shot.
Analysis of shooting performance.
Historical data stored showing progress.
Android and iPhone apps.
Live or dry-fire shot analysis.
Advice and hints based on your actual shot data.
Mount adapters available for non rail equipped guns.
What doesn’t work so well for me
Some courses can’t be completed in dry-fire only.
Difficult to fully remove incorrectly captured ‘shots’ from the history.
The system captures ‘virtual’ shot placement so can be fooled.
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