SHOT 2017: First look at the MantisX firearms training system
A wireless transmitter is connected to the handgun, and accelerometers inside the unit precisely measure the movement of the handgun as the trigger is pulled
One of the great challenges faced by firearms instructors is the requirement to help students learn the fundamentals of marksmanship, the most important of which is trigger control. An error in sight alignment or sight picture can certainly cause a shot to miss its intended target, but the most significant contributor to poor accuracy is an error in trigger manipulation.
Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult aspect of poor technique to diagnose and correct. Trigger control errors can be so subtle as to escape notice by both the shooter and the instructor. The recoil of a fired cartridge and the resultant muzzle flip can make it difficult to identify exactly what's going on, before all the clues are erased.
A problem solved
To help address this problem, Mantis introduced the MantisX Firearms Training System. In the MantisX system, a wireless transmitter is connected to the handgun, and accelerometers inside the unit precisely measure the movement of the handgun as the trigger is pulled. When the snap of a dry-fired striker or hammer, or the ignition of a live cartridge is detected by the unit, it sends information via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android compatible device. That information allows the user to chart and analyze the movement of the firearm in the half-second prior to ignition and the movement after ignition as well.
The software application scores the quality of the trigger press and allows the user to analyze it in detail in a variety of formats. One screen shows the numerical score assigned to the shot with a higher number indicating less deviation during the trigger press. Another screen displays the squiggly path of the gun's movement in color-coded, quarter-second increments immediately prior to the shot. This allows the shooter to see exactly how the gun moved as the trigger was being pulled.
In a different screen, all of the shots fired in the session are compiled and displayed on a bullseye-type pie chart. This display allows the shooter to identify trends over the course of a firing session. When a trend is noted, the software suggests a cause for the error that was made repeatedly. The application provides links on a chart and directs the shooter to tutorial pages that suggest corrective actions to remedy any mistakes.
The MantisX attachment will fit any Picatinny-style equipment rail on a handgun. Adapters for unique rail patterns (such as HK) will permit the use of the attachment on those guns. Although they're not ready for consumers yet, Mantis is working on magazine baseplate adapters that will allow the use of the unit on handguns that lack an equipment rail altogether. These magazine baseplate attachments will also facilitate the use of the MantisX from a holster that isn't set up to accommodate rail attachments (such as rail-mounted lasers or weapon lights).
The MantisX attachment is charged via an included USB cable, and the manufacturer suggests that the battery should last for about eight hours of continuous use before it needs to be recharged.
The MantisX works with live fire, dry fire, airsoft and CO2, which opens up some excellent possibilities for training on and off the range. The package sells for $150 and can be purchased via their website.
I plan on getting one of these units for more extensive testing to see how it performs. I hope it will prove to be a durable and reliable system, because it's a unique idea that could prove to be an extremely valuable training aid.