Hellcat & the Mantis X10 Elite Review

By Paul Carlson
Posted in #Gear #Skills
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Hellcat & the Mantis X10 Elite Review

August 31st, 2020

8:21 runtime

It really seems to me that we are in a golden age of Hellcat accessories. There are infinite numbers of ways we can trim out our favorite blaster. While some additions are pure vanity, others are very practical in nature.

In the latter category, the Mantis X10 Elite really stands out for me. It’s an amazing instructional tool. In this review, I take a look at how you can improve your shooting using it.

Mantis X10 Elite and the Springfield Hellcat OSP pistol
The Mantis X10 Elite is a terrific training companion for the Hellcat OSP, shown topped off with a Shield RMSw.

Evaluation Plan

I recently talked with Springfield Armory about doing some testing with the Hellcat 9mm and the Mantis X10 Elite. I spent some time at the range looking at trends in my shooting with my loaner Hellcat and had some interesting observations. I shot some video and thought it was a wrap.

The next day I received a Hellcat OSP and the Shield RMSw waterproof red dot sight for some testing. Although dots have been on pistols for a long time, I think there are still many unanswered questions. This timely mail call got me thinking about what I could learn about red dots with the Hellcat OSP, the Shield red dot and the Mantis.

The next day I headed back to the range.

The Mantis X10 measuring unit attaches to the Hellcat's accessory rail
The Mantis X10 Elite is a great accessory for pistols in both live fire and dry fire. It ships with an adapter that allows use on your shotgun as well.

Hellcats and Mantises, Oh My!

Before I added the Mantis X10 Elite to the rail of the Hellcat OSP, I spent some time getting familiar with the pistol and the Shield RMSw. I drew from the holster a bit. I fired at a distance for accuracy. I shot some fast strings. I was impressed all around with the sight and the pistol. What was most striking though was how easy the dot was to track. When I did my job as a shooter the dot never left the window.

[Have an AR-15? Check out our Mantis Blackbeard Review to see if it is right for dry fire training with your rifle.]

This got me thinking about “my job as a shooter.” What was it that I really needed to do to be able to shoot with speed and precision?

Side view of the Mantis X10 attached to a Hellcat
Despite the small size of the Hellcat OSP, the Mantis X10 Elite easily fits on the rail of the micro-sized pistol.

My anecdotal experience told me that my grip played a big role in how well I could track a dot and shoot, but I never really had a way to prove this other than a timer. That’s where the Mantis X10 Elite comes into play.

What Is the Mantis X10 Elite?

The Mantis line of products uses accelerometers and well-designed apps to help instruct shooters on their performance. The Mantis X10 Elite is the company’s top-of-the-line model that can assist with dry-fire and live-fire data.

The X10 also adds significant features over the X3 that I tested. The two that matter to me are the Holster Draw Analysis feature and the Recoil Meter.

On the range with the Hellcat and Mantis X
Paul has been working hard on becoming a proficient red dot shooter and was excited to see what data the Mantis X10 Elite would share.

The Holster Draw Analysis helps to break down the stages of your draw and allows you to identify areas where efficiency could be increased, resulting in a faster draw and quick hits on the target. Pretty cool.

Even better is the Recoil Meter, which tracks the movement of the gun after the shot breaks. The $249 X10 records the recovery time, the angle of muzzle lift, the direction of recoil and the width of the recoil of each shot. These data points are displayed as a numerical value for each shot and an average of the string, and also in a graphical format that shows the movement relevant to the target.

Mantis X10 Elite program measures the recoil of the Hellcat pistol
The Mantis X10 Elite easily pairs with an app for your smartphone, allowing you to control the unit and view data.

The data is very helpful and gave me significant insight into what I needed to do to ensure I was able to track the RMSw consistently when shooting the Hellcat OSP.

What Measuring Recoil Taught Me

Grip, grip, grip… How I held the Hellcat made a huge difference in my ability to shoot with speed and precision.

For my tests, I varied only one aspect of my grip. I kept my hands positionally the same in all three strings. I only changed the pressure I used to grip the gun.

Paul Carlson shooting the Hellcat and measuring recoil with the Mantis X10 Elite
The Hellcat shoots amazingly flat for such a small 9mm handgun.

For the first 13 rounds, I gripped the gun with a moderate amount of pressure. The result was around a 50 percent ability to track the dot in the RMSw. The angle of the muzzle lift was just about 15°. My support thumb often dropped off the Hellcat in recoil. Not optimal.

For the second string, I gripped the Hellcat like a wet noodle. No surprises here. I wasn’t able to keep the dot in the window on recoil and my support hand was left in the dust, forcing me to regrip the gun between shots. According to the Mantis, the muzzle lift was 25°. Just plain bad.

Finally, I gripped the Hellcat the way I grip any gun — with a crush grip and ample pressure with my thumbs on the side of the slide. I was able to track the 4 MOA dot of the RMS-W 100 percent of the time, with my grip remaining solid for all 13 shots and the Mantis registering a muzzle lift of only 5°.

The lesson? My grip matters. Yours does, too. For an optimal grip and optimal shooting, you need both an outstanding position and a lot of pressure.

With range loads like I was using, the differences in grip pressure are significant. Imagine what the differences would be with high performance +P ammunition like the HoneyBadger ammo from Black Hills.

Bottom line: if you want to improve your shooting, improve your grip!

This screen capture of the Mantis app shows the muzzle rise in recoil at just over 5° for a 13-shot string.

Final Thoughts

The golden age of firearms accessories can be a lot of fun. More importantly, practical accessories like the RMSw and the Mantis can also help us to be better shooters.

Now that my initial review has shown how capable this is, I’m looking forward to spending more time looking at what additional information the Mantis X10 Elite can share with me. The next step is working to see how I can improve further from that information.

If you want to improve your shooting, you might want to take a look and see how the Mantis line of products can assist you in your progress.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson is the owner of Safety Solutions Academy, LLC, a professional defensive shooting instructor, content creator in the firearms industry, and most importantly a husband and a father. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of critical defensive skill courses in more than a dozen states annually. When Paul’s not traveling to teach and work in the firearms industry, you can find him with his family, either on the range or in the mountains.

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