The story is told of a man with a leaky roof. One rainy day, his wife said to him, “The roof is leaking. Why don’t you fix it?” The man replied, “I can’t. It’s raining.” The next day dawned sunny and clear. The man’s wife said to him, “The weather is nice today. Why don’t you fix the roof?” The man replied, “I don’t need to. It’s not leaking.”
Many firearm owners now find themselves in a similar position to the man with the leaky roof. For a number of years, ammunition was plentiful and inexpensive. They said, “Why do I need to stock up on ammo? I can pick some up any time I need it.” Then 2020 happened. Now they are saying, “I can’t stock up on ammo. There isn’t any available.”
Even those who stocked up on ammunition are often now being cautious about tapping into their stockpiles. After all, who knows when they will be able to replenish the ammo they use? As a result, many firearm owners have reduced the amount of live-fire training in which they engage.
Every cloud has a silver lining. When firearm owners were able to engage in frequent life fire training, they too often neglected dry fire training. Now that live-fire training is more problematic, there is the opportunity to engage in more extensive dry fire training.
The problem with dry fire training is that it is usually about as exciting as watching paint dry. A while back I tested a product that makes dry fire training more interesting and effective. It is the Mantis X2 Dry Fire Shooting Performance System. Here is how it all came about:
I had previously tested the Mantis X10 Elite Shooting Performance System. I submitted my review to SurvivalBlog, and sent a copy to Mantis as a courtesy. Mr. Rawles published my review, on February 11, 2020.
In the meantime, Austin from Mantis responded to my message. He mentioned that Mantis was launching a dry-fire-only model, the X2, that would sell for $99. That is significantly less expensive than the $249 price tag on the X10. Austin asked if I would like more information. I responded positively. Four days later, I received a package in the mail.
Opening the Package
Like the X10, the X2 is well packaged for shipment. A sturdy shipping box contains a sturdy package box. The package box contains a simple three-step quick start guide, and a foam cutout containing a sturdy case. A foam cutout in the case contains the sensor, and a net pocket in the lid of the case contains the charging cable. Did I mention that everything is sturdy?
The sensor looks almost identical to the X10, and is also, like the X10, made in the USA.
A Bump in the Road
I quickly attached the sensor to my handgun, and then opened the MantisX app on my Android tablet.
A system update on the tablet interrupted my testing for ten minutes. When the update was finished, the X2 would not function properly. For an hour or so, I tried to figure out the problem without success. Finally, at 8:49 PM I sent an email to Mantis asking for tech support. By 9:56 pm, I had received a response with some helpful suggestions. By that time, I did not want to work on the project more that day, so I put the matter aside.
A couple of days later, I was ready to try again. I attached the sensor to my handgun, opened the app, turned on the sensor, and connected. Everything worked great! Turning the tablet off and back on again after the system upgrade seemed to resolve the problems the upgrade had introduced.
Mantis products rate each shot on a scale from one to one hundred based upon the amount of movement during trigger pull. I started out by dry firing a group of ten shots double-action using the open training drill. My average score was 96.4, which seemed a trifle high. I then fired a series of eight groups of ten shots each comparing the X2 with the X10 in the following order: X2, X10, X10, X2, X2, X10, X10, X2. I finished with an average score of 94.03 with the X10 and 94.95 for the X2. That may indicate that this particular X2 unit is very slightly more forgiving than this particular X10 unit, but that the differences are so small as to be almost insignificant.
The Friend Test
I next wanted to get some impressions of the X2 from someone who had never used a Mantis product before. I loaned the unit to some friends to play with for a couple of weeks. If you have previously read some of my other articles on SurvivalBlog, you may have seen references to “Glock 17″ and “Annie Oakley”.
Glock 17 and Annie, in addition to being highly valued members of our church’s Safety and Security Team and all-around great people, are both more highly trained and more experienced marksmen than I am. I eagerly looked forward to hearing their thoughts. The photo at left shows Glock 17’s live-fire test target, following his dry-fie practice with the Mantis X2.
Here is what Glock 17 had to share:
Let me start by saying, I was a little skeptical about the MantisX system doing anything for me. I felt that it was a little gimmicky at best.
My first thought after receiving the Mantis X2 Dry Fire only was, “Wow, they spent a lot on all this packaging”. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but, I’m sure the cost was high.
Safety first: I made sure no rounds were in the chamber. I then put the Mantis X2 on my Glock 17. After a few minutes, I had it installed on the gun and the app downloaded. Note: Great job on ease of install and download.
After a few test shots and looking at the results, I settled down and started to squeeze the trigger the best I could.
I started out with scores in the low to mid 80’s and after 10 or 20 minutes and a slight modification to my stance, I was shooting in the low to mid 90’s with an occasional 98 to 99. I’m sure I would continue to see increased scores with continued use.
I then took a trip to the local range for some live fire practice. Using what I had learned from the Mantis X2 I was able to also see a noticeable increase in my live fire accuracy. Thanks, MantisX.
I plan to look into purchasing one of these in the near future as I believe this is a very useful tool.
Lesson learned: Once again I’m reminded to never judge a book by the cover.
Annie had the following thoughts:
I loved the Mantis X2. It is the first time I have ever tried anything like it. I love that I immediately see what I am doing wrong. I started out with scores in the 70s but quickly got into the 90s. I wish I had more time to spend using it, but it was a busy week for me. I’m going to ask for one for my birthday.
At the conclusion of my own testing, which is related below, I gave the test unit to Glock 17 and Annie to share, as a token of my appreciation for their help.
My Further Testing
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I tested the X2 in a series of seven different sessions. The battery died in the second range session, so I got a chance to practice recharging it using the charger from my tablet. I do not know how many hours the sensor was run prior to charging, since I am not sure how many hours Glock and Annie used it. I do know that it charged quickly, and did not need to be charged again during my final five sessions.
My average scores increased slightly over the course of the seven sessions, though they had gotten good enough from my previous use of the X10 that my primary goal was maintenance rather than improvement.
Live Fire Results
The key question is, “Will dry fire training with the Mantis X2 help my live fire accuracy?” Based on my experience, the answer would be a definite “Yes”. Prior to training with the X10, I was able to put about 30% of my shots within two inches of the point of aim from 15 yards using my Walther P99. After training with the X10, this number increased to about 60%. Continued training with the X2 raised the number to more than 75% at the range session following that training.
Fringe Benefit: Backstrap Testing
My Walther P99 came with three different backstraps. I knew that the largest backstrap was less comfortable than the other two, but could never quite decide which of the other two I preferred. The X2 gave me a convenient and inexpensive tool for comparing the effectiveness of the two backstraps.
I removed the roll pin that secures the backstrap, and fired a series of eight ten-shot groups with each of the two backstraps according to the following pattern with “S” representing the smallest backstrap, and “M” representing the medium backstrap: S, M, M, S, S, M, M, S, M, S, S, M, M, S, S, M.
I scored an average of 93.4 using the small backstrap, and 93.23 using the medium backstrap. This suggests that the two backstraps work pretty much the same for me, although the smallest backstrap may give a very slight advantage.
I was surprised by these results, since I have somewhat large hands (my glove size is extra large).
Drills and Courses
The X2 includes a series of 16 different drills and two courses.
The drills are Open Training, Shot Timer, Benchmark, Timed Benchmark, Compressed Surprise Break, Primary Hand Only, Support Hand Only, Reload (In Battery, Out of Battery, and Tactical), Cadence Drills (Two Second, One Second, and Half Second), and Hostage Taker (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced).
The courses are MantisX Introduction and Basic Marksmanship.
Comparing the X2 and the X10
The Mantis X10 Elite Shooting Performance System is the Cadillac of the Mantis family. It can be used with both live fire and dry fire. It can be used with handguns, rifles, shotguns, and archery. It can be configured for recoil analysis, holster-draw analysis, multi-target analysis, shooting on the move, rapid-fire, and moving targets.
The X2 is the Chevy Aveo of the Mantis family. The Aveo doesn’t have things like heated leather seats, but if you are commuting back and forth to work, it will get you there just as reliably as the Cadillac. If you want an effective dry fire training tool with a handgun or rifle, the X2 will be just as helpful as the X10 at less than half the cost.
If you would like more information about the Mantis X2 or any of the other Mantis X training systems, or if you would like to order, you can go to mantisx.com.
When dry firing, make sure that you really are firing dry. Double-check to make sure that the item in your chamber is a snap cap and not a live round. You should have NO loaded magazines or ammo in the training area. Be aware of what is behind your target just in case that snap cap was a live round after all.
Mantis provided me with a free sample of their X2 Dry Fire Shooting Performance System for testing and evaluation. I tried diligently not to allow this to influence the results of my testing. I believe that my testing method was objective, and that the results are accurate,