By: Tom Claycomb
As an outdoor writer, I get to test literally hundreds of items each year. Some good, some not so good. But once every blue moon I run across an item that blows my socks off. The Mantis X10 Elite Shooting Performance System did just that. My fear is that I cannot do it justice in this article.
To cover what all it can do, how to use it, how to operate it, and all of its possible functions would be a 5,000-word article. In this article, I’m going to focus on how it will help improve your shooting.
I’ve owned a pistol since the 7thgrade. You’d think I’d be a good shot but… I’m not. There are a lot of good training classes around the country, and I’d suggest for you to take one. But like any skill, if you don’t consistently practice, you will lose your edge.
The above is true for any skill. I used to rodeo a lot. The thing I hated the most was getting hurt. If you took a bad stomping and broke a few bones, the doctor would tell you to set out for six weeks. But after four weeks, you’d tape everything up and jump back on a horse or bull. But the first 6-8 horses or bulls you got on, your timing would be off, I don’t care how good you were.
The same is true with shooting. No matter how much training you’ve had or how good you WERE, if you don’t keep practicing, you lose your edge. A lot of us don’t live within five-minutes of a range, and even if you do, ammo has been non-existent and is now expensive. And if you practice dry firing, you can develop bad habits and not even know it. Remember the old Vince Lombardi saying. “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” That’s where the Mantis X10 Elite system comes in.
The Mantis X10 Elite system is unique in that you can use it for live firing or dry firing. It works on pistols, rifles, shotguns, and bows (obviously, don’t dry fire a bow though). There’s no other device on the market that comes close to doing all that the Mantis does.
Upon receiving mine, my daughter’s boyfriend and I set it up, which was simple. Download an app on your phone, turn on the device, and you’re good to go. You have to do a setup, which hand are you shooting with? Dry fire or live fire, etc. and then pick which mode you want to use (more on the modes below).
After shooting five shots, it gives you a score. You can swipe over to see how it grades you. The blue line tracks your movement before the shot, the pre-squeeze travel. The yellow line shows your movement right at the time that you’re pushing the trigger wall. Theoretically, the blue doesn’t matter if you stabilize before the squeeze, but the yellow is super, super important. And the red line shows movement after the shot. When dry firing, you have to rack your pistol for each shot so you will see movement on the red.
Tim is the resident expert on Mantis at Stockpile Defense, a local gun store. All of their employees are super good tactical shooters on a level wayyyy above me, so I trust what they say. Tim said the first thing- you have to do is trust the system. If it says you’re pulling to the right, then you are. If it says you’re jerking the trigger, then you are. Elise at Mantis said it more bluntly: “The system doesn’t lie.”
I’ll never reach Tim’s level, but if he uses the Mantis every night to practice dry firing at home, then I’m going to also. That sold me. Sure, you can dry fire at home without a Mantis. Again, remember Vince Lombardi’s old saying. You can dry fire all day setting in your hot tub and convince yourself that you’re the best, but unless you have a true way to measure yourself, you’ll develop bad habits and be deceiving yourself. Using a Mantis will prevent that.
It will show you subtle problems. Like if you’re using the old push/pull hold, your off hand will slightly pull your pistol that way. Looking at the lines, it will tell you what you are doing wrong. You’ll shoot a five-shot group, and it will analyze each shot. It lets you know what you need to work on.
The Mantis slides onto your rail. My wife just bought a Sig Sauer 365, and the end of the rail is closed. Mantis includes some tape so you can attach it to the bottom of the magazine. What I’d suggest is to designate an old mag as your practice mag. If your pistol doesn’t have a rail, instead of taping it to a mag, I grabbed Katy another mag and put a Mantis Mag Rail baseplate on bottom of the mag so it is firmly attached. I also put a dummy round in the mag, so the slide doesn’t lock open every shot since you have to rack it when dry firing. (Before you install the MagRail onto a magazine, sand the top of the collar down to a slope. Look at the angle on a 15-round Sig magazine and mimic that angle or the mag won’t lock in.)
I do a lot with Umarex airguns, and I was amused to find that I could put the Mantis on my Umarex TDP 45 CO2 BB pistol. And granted, you could practice getting a good squeegee, holding still before, during, and after the shot on my airgun, but I think it’d be smart to practice on the gun you’re going to carry.
The Mantis is great because you can use it while dry firing, but you also need to go out periodically and live fire to make sure your skills transfer to reality. So, if you want to become a better shot, you really need to check out the Mantis X10 Elite system. You won’t be disappointed, whether you’re a hunter, a tactical shooter, or interested in self-protection.
Before we close, I want to cover a few last aspects. If you’re a serious shooter, then you can the Mantis system on a more advanced level. It has five levels:
There are several challenges in each level. You can compete in groups, or it has timed firing so you can see how you do in timed shooting situations.
Wow, I’m out of ink and barely got started.
Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.