Before we get into to this, let me preface this by stating that I am a responsible law-abiding gun owner and believer in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. I will be talking about guns and gun accessories in this article and if these topics will offend you please stop reading now and check out some of my other articles.
Today we are going to be taking a look at the MantisX Firearms Training System. Right about now you might be asking yourself what does the MantisX Firearms Training System have to do with IoT? Well, that’s simple the MantisX is a Bluetooth connected sensor system that uses its sensor data communicated to your mobile device to aid in training shooters of all experience levels. Throughout this review we are going to talk about how the MantisX works, shot detection, the size, weight, and performance of the MantisX as well as the MantisX app and available accessories.
- Live fire shot detection is very accurate
- The app is very well designed
- Accessories are available to use the ManitisX on various firearms
- Dry fire shot detection could use some work to eliminate false shot detection from racking the slide
- The App should display battery life of the MantisX
As mentioned the MantisX is a small sensor-driven, Bluetooth connected shot trainer that mounts to any accessory rail on a firearm. The sensors inside of the MantisX detect muzzle movement just before, during and after each shot that it registers and assigns a score to each one as well as tells you what it thinks is the cause of the movement. Sounds a little hard to believe right? I was skeptical at first but as I used the MantisX I learned so much about my shooting technique that I do not know how I would have done so without it. I have never considered myself a great shooter, I mean I could hit a target and get okay groupings but I was by no means an expert. After using the MantisX, I am still not an expert but I did gather enough data to increase the accuracy and repeatability of my shooting.
Getting the MantisX up and running is pretty simple, this should be evident by the small instruction card that comes with it. You simply mount the ManitisX to your firearms accessory rail, turn it on, download the MantisX app on your smart device and connect hit connect. You should be up and running in a matter of minutes. Now you might be wondering at this point, what if my firearm does not have an accessory rail? Well, you have some options here, Mantis has a lot of accessories available for the MantisX including many “MagRail” adapters that replace the magazine baseplate on many popular firearms magazines or this is also a good excuse to purchase a new firearm! In any case, you should still be up and running in a matter of minutes.
I was planning on using the MantisX on my full-sized 1911 which does not have an accessory rail so I decided to go with the Wilson Combat 1911 47D MagRail Adapter and mount the MantisX to that. This worked well and required me to make no modification to my firearm which I liked. The downside to this is that you are stuck with using one magazine which any shooter will tell you can make for a long range trip. You could purchase multiple MagRail adapters but that would still require you to move the MantisX on reloads so that is not really an option. I did know this going in and it is not the fault of Mantis that I was using the MantisX on a firearm without an accessory rail so I can not knock them for it but it did, however, limit some of the predefined drills I could do in the Mantis app as some require reloads. I big positive about going the MagRail route, however, is that most holsters that will accommodate your firearm will most likely not accommodate your firearm with an accessory mounted on them, using the MagRail however you can train and complete the exercises in the Mantis app that require firing from a draw.
The first exercises I did with the MantisX are what most people probably will do and were dry fire. Now it is important to note that in the settings menu of the MantisX you need to set it properly to live fire, dry fire or co2 or it will not even come close to picking up your shots accurately. It is very nice to see these options as I assume they change the sensitivity of the sensors in the MantisX. I was surprised right away that while I was dry-firing the MantisX was actually picking up my shots accurately and I also found that hey I am not a bad shooter as my scores were decent. I do need to mention however that I did experience some false trigger pull readings while racking my slide but they were few and far between so whatever algorithms Mantis is using inside the MantisX or the app, they are working as intended.
Next, I headed out to the range and switched to live fire. Remember after dry fire training when I said: “hey I am not a bad shooter as my scores were decent?” Well, forget that because things changed quickly in live fire mode. This is where I was really sold on the MantisX, it was picking up every shot and telling me what I was doing wrong. I could easily see repeatable patterns of mistakes and when I corrected those mistakes I could see the mistakes that those corrections were causing.
Using the MantisX you have access to a lot of real-time data about what you are doing right and wrong, but you also have historical data that you can plot over time to see where your shooting is going and what steps you need to make to correct issues. the MantisX app does a great job of not only displaying the information that it gathers from the MantisX but also telling you what you may be doing wrong and giving you pointers on how to correct it. As you will surely know if you are a regular reader, I love data and think you can never have too much of it and I also spend way to much time extrapolating that data. Well, in this case, Mantis is doing all of that extrapolation for me and because of the way that data is presented all I have to do is analyze and adjust accordingly. How do we get more connected device companies to take a similar approach to data?
Now when I had originally ordered the MantisX I was concerned that I would be putting this big bulky accessory on my firearm and it would screw up my shooting. I had read several reviews that claimed the opposite and that the MantisX was small and light but when I received the MantisX and got it out of the package I was still shocked by just how small, light and unimpressive looking it was. This was actually pretty impressive to me because it showed just how much thought went into the design of the MantisX which is another lesson connected device manufacturers could learn from Mantis. Add to the design the fact that the ManstisX is USB rechargeable and averages roughly five hours of battery life and you have yourself a small but impressive device.
The MantisX is getting the first and probably the last five-star rating that I will give out for a while. Like a 100 score in MantisX, a five-star rating is next to impossible but in this case very well worth it. The Mantis team has put forth an amazing product that can help shooters of all skill levels and made it connected which speaks to two of my passions, connectivity, and firearms. The MantisX delivers on every promise that it makes and is only getting better as time goes on through app updates and added training programs in the mantis app. If you are a shooter of any skill level and want to get better as well as adding another connected device to your collection then I would highly recommend the MantisX.
Anyone using the MantisX Firearms Training System? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.