Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System & the Hellcat

By Paul Carlson
Posted in #Gear #Skills
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Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System & the Hellcat

March 18th, 2020

11:46 runtime

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. Secondly, it doesn’t provide much feedback.

But, today I review a superior shooting performance system that includes training options for both dry fire and live fire. It is called the Mantis X3.

Mantis X3 training system with Springfield Hellcat
The Mantis X3 mounts on the rail of your handgun. It can be used to gather data during dry fire, for CO2 use or even during live fire.

Improve Your Shooting

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.

Close up of the side of the Hellcat being shot with Mantis X unit attached
The Mantis X3 is compact enough to fit on the short section of rail on the Springfield Armory Hellcat.

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)?

That’s where the Mantis X3 comes in to improve your dry firing and lead to improved accuracy on the range.

Mantis X3 Solution

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 dry fire system products. They all make dry-fire practice more tolerable and they provide feedback to the shooter.

Package and contents of the Mantis X3
The Mantis X3 comes in a padded zippered carrying case that protects the unit from damage, but also allows you to keep it handy in your range bag.

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 with the X3 shooting performance system.

And this is all done through a cool attachment to your gun and a well-designed app for your phone. Mantis X is platform agnostic: it has an app for both iOS and Android operating systems.

Paul Carlson demonstrating how the Mantis X3 attaches to the Springfield Hellcat's accessory rail
Pressing a button on the bottom of the Mantis X3 turns the unit on and readies it for pairing with your phone.

Even Better: Live Fire Training

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.

The Mantis X3 pairs with an app on your phone. Data is collected and kept in a history based on the gun used, your hand dominance, type of fire and the manner in which the Mantis is mounted.

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…

Mantis X3

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 explanation of what it all means.

Training on the range with the Mantis X3 and the Hellcat pistol
The Mantis is small and lightweight and shouldn’t have any impact on your shooting except to alert you to your mistakes.

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.

The app history can display your overall shot pattern showing tendencies in your shooting.

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.

Mantis Mounting Options

The standard Mantis X sensor can be mounted on any Picatinny rail. This works well for many pistols and rifles. If you have a handgun without a rail, magazine basepad adapters are also available. These allow you to work with standard Hellcat holsters.

For all other firearms, there are several universal-style adapters that attach to the barrel.  This may be your best best with something like a traditional bolt-action rifle, competition pistol or a revolver. Pricing on these run from about $15-25.

[If you need a dry fire training system for your AR-15 rifle, check out this review of the Mantis Blackbeard.]

The Mantis is able to detect minor movements in the gun. It displays the movement before the trigger is pressed, while the trigger is being pressed and after the shot breaks.

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.

The Mantis showed me a different picture.

I only have a couple hundred rounds under my belt in this Mantis X3 review, 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.

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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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