BLUF: The Mantis X10 system is a sensor that you attach to your firearm that you use with a smart phone app that gives you a variety of tools for training and data for diagnosing your trigger pull. It has a number of great features making it well worth the cost, but I also had a few issues with it, mainly the mounting system.
The biggest compliment I can give is that everyone I showed the X10 was absolutely amazed and wanted one.
A rep from the Mantis company contacted us about doing a review of the MantisX system. I was very excited at that opportunity as I had considered buying their product before. Not sure why I didn’t. Probably got distracted by something else I could buy. Their website is https://mantisx.com/
They have several models of the MantisX system. The X2 is $99 and for dry fire with handguns only. The X3 is $169 and covers dryfire and live fire for handguns and rifles. X7 is made for shotguns and is $199. For $249 you can get the X10 that has all the features and capabilities.
I think if you are going to buy one, get the X10. This is one of those cases it would be better to “buy once, cry once”.
Mantis has excellent packaging. From the box to the carrying case with cut foam for the unit. The X10 mounts directly to a M1913 picatinny rail and comes with a clamp mount with shims so it can be attached to a barrel or magazine tube. They package it as the premium product it is.
Minor complaint: You will need to charge the unit using the included micro-USB cable before you use it. This isn’t mention on the quick start guide.
These units can mount directly to a picatinny rail, but they will only mount directly to a picatinny rail. Mantis came up with a very nice mounting system where you have a spring loaded lever that retracts the recoil lug allowing you to slide the X10 onto a rail. You change settings in the app to let it know if the unit is mounted forwards or backwards on the rail, and if it is on the top/bottom/left/or right side of the gun.
I would love to have this mounting system for a flashlight or a bipod. But unfortunately it only works on in-spec rails that you can access one end. I can’t mount it to the top of my B&T APC9K because there is an iron sight on each end. You can not directly mount it to a Glock pistol’s universal rail. You would have to buy an adaptor like the Recover OR19 shown in the picture below.
This is my only major complaint about the Mantis line of products. Normally I would dislike a weaver spec thumbscrew, but in this case, it would have allowed this unit to mount to a wider variety of firearms.
Fortunately there are any number of adapters and accessories that would let you mount this to any firearm. Mantis also sell items like replacement magazine baseplates with a rail section on them. If your gun does not have a rail on it, expect to have to pay another $20 or so dollar to get an adapter. Also, if your rails are out of spec, it can be a real pain to get the Mantis to slide on and off.
But this sensor is just the hardware. It is the software app that you install on your phone that is the heart of the system.
I downloaded the MantisX app my my beat up Galaxy S9 and paired it using Bluetooth to the X10.
Note: You need to have the GPS on to be able to pair successfully. I had numerous issues with connectivity and pairing. I believe this to be caused by my beat up, nearly broken, phone. The Rep at Mantis insisted on replacing the unit I was using. I’ve still had some connectivity issues which leads me to believe it is my phone at fault.
There are a variety of training problems and options for how you use the X10. There are so many different options available to you that I don’t know where to begin describing them. Many only show up depending on the weapon info you have selected. E.G. There are separation options and settings for long arms vs hand guns.
Let me start with what I found most useful. You do some dry fire, or live firing training, then have it give you feedback.
Here are a couple of screenshots from different drills. On the left you can see how it scored me on a day I was doing pretty good. On the middle, you can see that I just did some quick dry fire and was pulling the gun to the left. The rightmost image shows the advice for correcting my deficiency.
They have even put together little training programs to get you started and familiarize you with their app.
I used the recoil meter to compare some of my shotguns in this other article HERE. I found it interesting to see that one of my shotguns had twice the muzzle flip of a different one of mine.
What I find most useful is the trace of the movement of the gun just prior to the shot breaking.
On the left you can see the movement prior to the shot breaking on one of my rifles I was firing off a bipod. On the right you can see how I moved prior to firing a shot from a pistol offhand.
To me the unit is worth the cost just for this feature.
Sadly, the MantisX app does not export this data for you to show off. I suggested that they add this feature. I had to use a screen recorder app to get these .gif files.
I just learned the other day that you can also watch this movement live. You can have the app show you the movement in the run in real time, and also show you if the gun muzzle is tilted up or down or if the gun is canted side to side.
There were a number of features I have not been able to try. For example there is a tool for diagnosing your draw from the holster. However I don’t have a holster that will accommodate the X10 and the necessary Glock adapter. So I did all of my pistol shooting with it using a SIG P320. There are reload drills, drills for high power rifle match style shooting, etc, and a great number of options I did not get the chance to try out.
An example of a minor issues I had. There is a shot timer option. You hit start, your phone beeps, and you fire(or dry fire). If you had the phone on a table, or someone else holding it, I think this would work great. As I was in the middle of a firing range bay, I would have to hit start, then try and pocket the phone and get ready to shoot before the buzzer would go off. I’m slower at pocking a phone than moving a gun. With the connectivity issues I had, sometimes when I pocketed the phone or had anything between line of sight between the phone and the X10 I would lose connection. This wasn’t an issue when I was able to fire from a firing line bench and could set the phone on the bench. As I said before, I think the connection issues are the fault of my busted up old phone.
Ultimately, if someone is a brand new to shooting, they need training. This is not a substitute for training with an instructor. Once someone knows the fundamentals and they are training to fine tune their skills and correct problems, this could be a very useful tool.
People often say, “practice makes perfect”. But only perfect practice makes perfect. If I were to spend an hour a day dry firing while jerking the trigger, it would only reinforce a bad habit and make it harder to shoot well. We need to make sure our practice is using the correct form, so that we can internalize the correct techniques as muscle memory.
I have been taught to watch the movement in the sights as the shot breaks to call where your shot went. I believe this to be a very important skill and very useful in improving your shooting. But sometimes a shot goes wild and I am left wondering, “What the hell happened?”. It is nice having a digital record showing if it was me or something else to blame.
This X10 also makes me want to compare firearms with it. I want to see if my 1911 or my .45 ACP Glock 30 has more muzzle flip. Or the Sig P320 vs Glock. Some guns just feel better to me, but this would let me have numbers I could compare and show off. A Pact timer can show how fast you are shooting a gun, but it can’t record how consistently you shoot with it. This can.
The smart phone app has been updated twice during the time I have been trying out the X10. It is clear that the devs are continuously working to add new features and improve their product.
I think the X10 is well worth the cost as a training aid. But I do hope that they will consider making a model that I could directly attach to my Glocks. Maybe I should also get around to replacing my phone.