I’ve been keeping my eye out on the MantisX system since I saw it come out. I even went as far as emailing the company asking to see if review units were available for writers back in Feb 2018. I didn’t have an article planned at that point but I wanted to get my ducks in a row. My number came up recently, I was commissioned to write an article for Athlon Outdoors talking about training and more specifically, making your range time count. I quickly emailed the guys over at Mantis Tech to see if they were still willing to send out a T&E unit for me.
While the Athlon article will be using the MantisX as a piece in an overall story, after playing with it for a week I decided they needed their own full length review. Yep, it’s that good. Thankfully here at Range Hot I can give the MantisX whatever space I think it needs to convey how good it is.
If you have no clue what I’ve been talking about up to this point, take a minute and watch the video below. It’s a quick introduction to the product.
Opening the package I was greeted with clean packaging. Slipping off the sleeve and opening the box you end up with a simple quick start guide and a zippered case holding the unit along with a few accessories.
As you can see above, in the case there is a USB cable to charge the unit, a logo sticker, the unit itself, and a mounting screw. My unit came with a regular screw installed in the unit but I swapped it for an easy on/off thumbscrew. Speaking of mounting, what does it look like mounted to a pistol? Glad you asked, I mounted the unit to the rail of my custom Mod 1 Firearms CZ P10C (also in an upcoming Athlon Outdoors magazine).
Once mounted a simple press of the button on the underside is all that’s needed for it to power up, as indicated by the glowing green light.
That’s pretty much all there is on the hardware side, the rest of the magic happens in the MantisX app available in your phone’s app store. I’m using the system on an iPhone X. Here’s what you see when first opening the app, a simple touch of connect is all that’s needed.
Once you connect it’ll do a self calibration by having you set your pistol down on a still surface. After that’s out of the way, you’ll be walked through a tutorial to get you going. It’s easy and intuitive. The screenshot below is an example of the challenges the app gives you and it’s also the main training screen where you can pick your type of drills you want to practice.
MantisX Home Screen
If you select open training, that’s the standard open ended freestyle training. You’ll see the screen below when selected. This is the screen you choose your options before starting the drill. The button labeled dry is where you can toggle between dry fire, live fire, or CO2 pistol use. The hand icon is to tell the system what hand you are shooting from. The hand information is used for shot coaching, which we’ll get to in a minute. The last icon of forward or backward is referring to how you have the unit mounted on the pistol.
While shooting you’ll see a screen such as the one below, it is your HUD showing all your shots as you take them and ranking each one as you go.
One shot in and I’m doing pretty good! 94.3/100. You can see the slice of red at 1 o’clock, this shows there the movement happened during that shot. If I had a poor shot instead of it saying “good shot” in the lower left, it’d try to help by giving me a possible cause of my poor shot.
I got pretty lucky on this string, after 10 shots I was still in the 90’s. You can see all the red slices around the inner circle. If you touch any one of those you’ll see some coaching tips from the app.
Here’s an example of when I was possibly tightening my fingers during the trigger press. There’s a visual explanation along with a nice text tip.
Here’s another example when I may have been anticipating recoil. I believe this one even had a nice little video showing what I was doing wrong.
After you finish your shot string you can look at your after action review. The top line graph shows your shot scores, while the lower graph shows the movement of the gun pre and post trigger pull. This helps identify your improvement opportunities.
If that’s not enough, you can even see a video replay of each shot, it’ll show you the movement the gun went in. It is even color coded so you know what is before and after the trigger press.
Here’s the options screen, did I mention you can also use this on a rifle? Yep, it’s a versatile piece of kit for sure.
Up to this point I’ve only been dry fire practicing in my garage. Here’s a shot of my setup.
It is really simple actually, I have a RE Factor Essentials Target up on a cabinet in my garage, but you can do it anywhere by simply pointing at a spot on the wall. I’ve been loving the Essentials targets, and by using them, I’m making measurable gains in my pistol shooting. Expect to see a full review of the RE Factor training targets in a future article!
I’m only a week into my use of the MantisX, but so far I feel I’m getting more benefit compared to regular dry fire. With the app I can measure performance over time and it also gives me instant feedback. If I were just dry firing without the app I wouldn’t know exactly why that press didn’t feel quite right. I’m excited to bring it to the range with me for live fire training. I’ll post another article chronicling that experience.
If you want to get your own they are available on Amazon by clicking here.