While browsing the Internet recently, I stumbled across a pistol accessory that caught my attention—MantisX. According to company literature, this training aid from Mantis ($149) seemed like a powerhouse of a system—basically a personal shooting instructor that fits into your pocket and only relies on a free smartphone application. I was curious from the outset to see if this simple little device—that mounts with one tension screw to a pistol, rifle or shotgun’s accessory rail—was capable of meeting the company’s claims of instructor-like feedback.
The product arrived in a clear Pelican 1010 waterproof case. I had hoped the unit would be rendered in metal, but instead, a robust plastic housing contains a single button, light and micro USB charging port. Following the instructions, I plugged the required data into the MantisX software application on my iPhone and began my training exercises.
Admittedly, I was skeptical about the device’s capability, but after just a few magazines of 230-gr. ball ammunition through my Springfield XD 45 Compact Service pistol, I was already discovering a few errors in my shooting form. The device operates via an internal accelerometer, and records motions during the shot process. Interestingly, I discovered movement during my trigger press, along with follow-through and heeling issues, all thanks in part to the application’s charted movements. Handily, the program features a learning tool, which detects shot placement and identifies poor techniques so that the shooter can correct them. To further test the unit’s capability, I force-fed the system poor shooting techniques and, sure enough, it calculated each of my forced errors accurately. I was impressed.
After a few range sessions, I began to see improvements in my shooting and in the scores presented by MantisX. For folks looking for personal instruction, and even those like myself with years of experience, the MantisX system appears to be a valuable tool. All told, I was very pleased with MantisX and its capabilities, striking down my reservations regarding “smart” trainers. I also learned of a few issues I must overcome with the XD 45 I used for testing. I believe with the help of a few inexpensive upgrades and grip work, I should see much higher scores from my digital instructor.