I have never really been much of a fan of dry fire. First off, it isn’t much fun for me. Click. Rack. Click. Rack. (Want to see my solution? Then check out the video above.)
Maybe worse than the boredom is the idea that dry fire provides zero feedback. That’s not really a fair assessment, but unless you know what’s up and are paying close attention you might not get as much from it as you should.
Watching the sights, understanding what they are doing, and why they are doing it is the responsibility of the shooter. Then you have to remember all that feedback that you supposedly got during your dry-fire session.
I’m not saying dry fire isn’t a good tool for developing shooting skills. It actually is as long as you are conscientious about what you are doing. But how can you make this easier (and more fun)?
You just have to love capitalism. Why? It’s so smart it knows how not fun dry firing is and it wants to fix it with all kinds of products. Options include lasers, CO2-operated trainers, and that uber-cool accelerometer thingy found in the Mantis products. They all make dry-fire practice more tolerable and they provide feedback to the shooter.
However, the Mantis system takes it to another level. The shooter can now dry fire, see how they did, look back at their progress and make a plan to get better. And this is all done through a cool attachment to your gun and a well-designed app for your phone.
So, what could take this beyond even just improving your dry-firing practice? It’s recoil. It’s live fire. While CO2 can simulate recoil, it still is not the same as the excitement and noise of actually firing rounds. Real recoil changes shooting. When we know the gun is going to respond when we press the trigger, it changes how we behave — even when we don’t think it does. So, making recoil part of the training equation makes a lot of sense.
Now when it comes to live fire, targets can give feedback, but it’s up to the shooter to record, compile and analyze the results. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a record keeper. And my personal range data secretary? Well…
The Mantis X3 is a game-changer. Yup, it records dry-fire data. It also works with your favorite CO2 trainer. Best of all, it can also monitor your live fire. Yeah, before you press the trigger, while you press the trigger, even after you press the trigger. It takes all the data and compiles it for you with an attempt to tell you what it all means.
The result is a system that not only can help you practice before you head out to the range, it also can help you improve while you are out there. Check out the video at the top of the page to see what I learned about my shooting in just 15 minutes with a Mantis X3 mounted on a Hellcat.
For those not familiar with the Mantis family of products, the $169 MSRP Mantis X3 is the “mid-level” Mantis and is designed to attach to any strip of Picatinny rail. The $99 Mantis X2 is a dry fire-only version. The X3 has all the features of the X2 and works with both dry fire and live fire. The Mantis X10 Elite is the top of the line model which adds the ability to track recoil, work your draw stroke and use the unit with your bow. In addition, an X7 is available for shotgunners.
Each of the Mantis units is made from a sturdy polymer and, when paired with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, it provides a significant amount of data to help you improve your shooting. The Mantis can be mounted on any Picatinny rail. Magazine basepad adapters are also available for many handguns as well as a universal based adapter that attaches with adhesive.
The Target Lies
I’m a decent shooter. Not super talented or anything, but I can hold my own. Typically, the target shows me what I want to see. Lots of hits. There are patterns. I could pay attention to them, but why? They were hits. However, the Mantis showed me a different picture.
I only have a couple hundred rounds under my belt with the Mantis, but I have lots of plans for how I can use it to understand more about my shooting. Maybe the Mantis might help you find some truth as well. I certainly did.
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!