MantisX Firearm Training Device

January 18, 2018

Guns, Product Review, Shooting Skills

Most of the firearm instruction that I do is in the classroom setting for the Utah Concealed Firearm course, but I do some instruction on the range with live fire as well. A tool that I was given to test out has enhanced my training and instruction over the last several months. Whether in the classroom or on the range, the MantisX is a firearm attachment that helps diagnose your shooting habits. It has built-in sensors to detect the movement of the gun in order to determine how well you are presenting the gun and pressing the trigger. Think…smart version of the traditional shooting diagnostic chart, enhanced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions…I was immediately impressed when the MantisX showed up in a mini Pelican case. Not only does it look good but it makes it easy to keep it secure and is easily transported in your range bag.  The MantisX came with the device itself as well as a micro-USB charging cord in the case. It is a standard USB charging cord that can be plugged into a computer or USB power brick to charge. The mobile app that accompanies the device is available on Android or iOS and the MantisX device itself is currently priced at $150 and can be ordered here.

With the MantisX you have a digital target so you know how well you are performing your shooting mechanics. So instead of just building muscle memory without the paper target to reinforce your performance, or purchasing a much more expensive laser training pistol, the MantisX will allow you to know how well you are shooting with your dry-fire practice. When diagnosing problems and tendencies of shooters, I generally try not to analyze every single shot. I like to look for patterns over a larger quantity of shots so I don’t over-analyze and over-correct minimal or non-existent problems. With the MantisX you can see details about each individual shot as well as patterns from groups of shots, giving you the best of both worlds. This allows you to instantly correct problems you notice, or you can watch for the patterns as they play out to determine issues you might be having. The benefit of the MantisX lies in the versatility. For many of us, we don’t have the time or budget to send hundreds of rounds downrange every month to improve our shot. We can still improve, but it takes dry-fire practice and a better use of your live fire training. And when you add in detailed feedback it helps you identify areas to work on and track progress.

It’s important to understand what the MantisX does well and what it does not do. The intended purpose of the device is to help you diagnose your actual shot. Essentially this diagnoses certain issues with your grip and your trigger pull. This does NOT determine if you will hit what you are intending on shooting at, as it isn’t sighted in and aligned with the gun. It does detect movement of the gun so it tracks if the gun moves immediately before, or during the trigger press. As the trigger press is one of the most important aspects of your shot, it’s important to be able to press the trigger without moving the gun and disturbing your sights and/or alignment of the gun. If you can’t pull the trigger without moving the gun then it doesn’t matter if your sights are on target or not as your gun will move when the shot breaks anyways. So this will help you improve your trigger press and grip which will help you build a solid shooting base, and then you can go to the range and confirm sight picture and sight alignment to make sure you are hitting what you are aiming at. Working the MantisX into your training program can definitely be a solid approach to improving your shooting ability.

As previously mentioned, the MantisX sensor is constantly gathering data regarding the movement of the gun and sending that data to your phone for analysis. The core part of the algorithm though is detecting the shot. This made dry-fire an engineering challenge because there isn’t a loud bang when the shot is fired. Overcoming this engineering challenge was critical, in my opinion, to making this a great firearm training tool. Adding in dry-fire practice enhances the usability of the device exponentially.

The biggest complaint that I have with the MantisX is the lack of ability to detect rapid fire shots. It can only detect about one shot every 1-2 seconds. In a self-defense firearm use, we typically will fire multiple shot series of 2-6 shots in rapid succession. We often have differences in our follow up shots that are different than our first shot so in order to know if we are firing consistently through the sequence of all of the shots we need to be able to determine those differences. Currently, the MantisX is not capable of this because of the inability to detect shots in rapid succession. However, I believe that their software will improve and be able to shorten that time between shots and allow us to see how we handle recoil and how well we are handling our follow-up shots.

Overall my experience with the MantisX has been very positive. Both with the hardware and the software. Aside from some missed shots, the recognition seemed accurate and helpful. I will point out that avoiding false positives (the device saying there was a shot when there wasn’t) was made a priority over avoiding missed shots. They would rather have every recorded shot accurately depict a real shot instead of missing fewer shots but having some recorded shots that weren’t actually shots. I’ve had the occasional dry-fire session where I had more shots missed than I would normally expect, but this was rare, only happening a time or two probably because of a poor connection or low battery. Typically few shots are missed in a dry-fire session, if any.

I’ve been using the device for almost 6 months and have seen several updates with improvements to the app in that time. And from what I’ve seen from the company there’s definitely more to come. (Looks like they’ll be making some announcements next week at SHOT Show 2018 of some improvements and enhancements that they have been working on).

**Note: If your firearm doesn’t have a rail, you can check out the rail adapters that are offered by MantisX so you can get the training benefits as well. See options here.

About 

Rob is the Founder, Editor, and writer for You Can Carry. He became interested in concealed carry, self-defense, and emergency/personal preparation as he got married and had his first kid. His new-found desire to protect his family and keep them safe led him to getting a concealed firearm permit from the state of Utah, which began an increasing love for firearms and concealed carry. He is a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit Instructor. Connect with Rob on Google+

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