training aid

MantisX

 If you haven’t heard about the MantisX shooting system, you are missing out. If you are interested in improving your shooting, MantisX could be the help you need. This is the easiest training system I have used. Mantis did send this out for review, and I was pleasantly surprised at what it can do. All you need is a smartphone or tablet and the control module to get started.

 The MantisX is a novel concept in the shooting world. The smart sensor, which attaches to your rail, is only half of the training system. The other half being the app, which I’ll discuss later. At just under 2” long, 1.375” wide, and 1” tall, it doesn’t add much size to the firearm. It also only weighs 1 ounce. So you really don’t even notice it’s on the firearm. The smart sensor comes with a charging cord and a nice little carrying case. I just use my phone’s charger and cord and it works fine. I never use the carrying case since I seem to always have it mounted on a firearm. On the bottom of the sensor is also an on/off button and led to show when it’s on. The smart sensor basically senses tiny amounts of movement in the firearm. Then it relays that, via bluetooth, to the MantixX app. Then all the magic happens.

 I said the app was half of the system, it is probably more like 90%. The MantisX app does so much, that I will likely forget something about it. First up, it has training courses, with the first one being an introduction. The intro course basically take you through how the app works along with some training shots. The other courses are Basic marksmanship and a FBI Qualification course. The FBI course has to be done with live fire, but the others can be done with dry fire.

 The other part of the app is the “train” section. In this Train section it has: Open training, Shot timer, MantixX Benchmark, Timed Benchmark, Surprise Break, Reload in Battery, Reload out of Battery, Reload Tactical, Primary hand only, Support hand only, and Cadence of 0.5, 1.0, & 2.0 seconds. Once you have used these, there is a history tab that keeps track of them. I like the history tab because it lets me see how I am doing over time. It also tracks how many shots you have completed on each “train” tab. The History tab at the bottom of the app will also show total number of shots fired. A really nice bonus to keep track of how many rounds have been fired through a particular gun.

 If you are into competing with your friends, or even people you don’t know, the MantisX has a “groups” tab. In the groups, you can enter a friends name to compete or compare with. The tab also has groups that you can add. All of this helps you to compare how you are doing with others. It can help you improve your skills by making you accountable. But you don’t have to use this feature if you don’t want to.

 Last up is the “settings” tab. It is not all that one would think. In it, it has rifle or pistol selection. Right or Left hand. Live fire, Dry fire, and CO2. I don’t have a CO2 pistol to try it on, but I have used Mantis’ at a shooting event, using the CO2, and it worked fine. There is also a sensor mounting direction and location. I actually mount the sensor on the bottom and backwards on my pistol. With it mounted backwards, I have access to the charging port without having to remove the sensor. When you select rifle or pistol, it has a very long list of manufacturers to choose from. I usually use mine on a Polymer80, so I chose the Glock 19 and it works great. If your firearm doesn’t have a mounting rail, Mantis offers adapters for certain pistols. Of course there are also the normal app settings along with an instruction guide.

 I’ve been using the Mantisx since I received it. Mostly with dry fire practice, but some live fire. I even mounted it to a rifle for testing. Within the sections, for instance in the “Open Training,” The app gives you a list of scores, time between shots, etc. If you swipe left, a round chart comes up with an average score. Around the center circle are red areas. When you touch one of the red areas, it brings up what was possibly wrong during that shot and then how to correct the issue. If you swipe left again, it brings up a graph with trigger press movement and stability. Swipe left again and see an actual movement display for each shot.

 Now that I went through a lot of the functions, here are my thoughts. The MantisX is a really useful training tool. If nothing else, it gets you to dry fire more. I even got my family to try it out. Once in awhile during dry practice, the MantisX didn’t seem to want to pick up every shot. What I thought was weird about it, was that the phone was only a foot away. I just reconnected the sensor and it worked fine. I did notice that during range time, if I was too far away from my phone, it wouldn’t register shots either, so just keep your phone in your pocket and it will work fine. The sensor worked good no matter where, or how, it was mounted. I mounted it at the end of a 15” handguard, as well as right up on the receiver, without any problems. I really like all the charts, graphs, etc in the app. You will need a holster for a light if you want to do draw and fire practice. I really liked how the app accesses what you did wrong. This was especially helpful during live fire when recoil can offer up more challenges.

 If you’re in the market for some sort of training app, I would go check out the MantisX. If nothing else, it is fun to see what is going on with your shooting. At a price of $150, it won’t break the bank either.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

App based firearms training system

Target Market:

Anyone wanting to improve their shooting skills

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Rail mounted sensor

  • USB charging

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Small and lightweight

  • Carrying case

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Adapters for magazines and other firearms without a rail to mount the Mantis X on

What others are saying?:

R.King on Amazon 4/5 stars

It works as advertised - a must have tool for both students and instructors

I think this tool is great for both instructors and students of marksmanship. Not only does it save you plenty of money on ammo, it lets you see exactly how you are pulling the trigger visually. This has helped me alone better understand how my trigger pull has been affecting my shots. I already knew this. However being able to SEE it made a nice difference.

I have yet to try it at the range. I have been dry firing daily trying to improve my trigger control. I will be going this week likely and see how much I have improved.

Pros: Works great, many settings to choose from, visually appealing, visually educational. I plan on using this tool with my students if they are having trouble with trigger control.

Cons: This is a very very small con, as MantisX explains, they are continually updating the software. However, there are times when it does not detect dry fires. However it is NOT a deal breaker at all. Just shoot again. Where it becomes a problem though is when you are doing timed shots. Other than that, I really have nothing bad to say about this product. Also, mine didn't come with a "pelican case." It was just a zipper case. Still good quality.

Suggestion: It would be very helpful if it came with a quick release rail mount or something. It is a little pain in the ass to have to remove it every time I want to carry or holster. Granted, it isn't difficult to remove, more of an inconvenience. However, if you already have a holster cut for tac light or something, this might not be a problem for you.

Link to other reviews:

The Truth About Guns

Price point:

MSRP = $149.99

Retail = $149.99 at MidwayUSA

I need it now! Availability:

MantisX

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Easy set up

  • USB charging

  • Lightweight

  • Diagnostics of shooting

  • Fun

  • Shot number tracking

  • Movement graph

Cons:

  • Sometimes it didn’t want to read shots

Score: 8.5 Great

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Favorite Link:   Axelson Tactical









LaserLyte Trainer 22 LT-LR Review

Laserlyte Trainer 22 LT-LR Training with a 22 caliber pistol or rifle used to be the cheapest way to shoot all day, but these days with ammo availability thats no longer the rule of thumb. While some turn to dry fire practice in the comfort of their own home, there's a limit to knowing precisely if your shots are breaking true at your intended target reference point.

Laser products help achieve precisely that, giving the shooter instantaneous feedback as to where that hypothetical bullet would have gone in relation to your sight picture and trigger press. LaserLyte has produced a number of different caliber laser product that interface directly with your own gun so that you can train with the same controls, weight, and familiarity of your own firearm. The Trainer 22 LT-LR was recently release and is uniquely universal to 22 caliber firearms. Be it 22 lr, 22 short, 22 long, 223 Rem, 22-250 or any other cartridge in the 22 caliber family, the LaserLyte Trainer 22 LT-LR simple installs through the muzzle and into barrels with a minimum length of 1.875" inches. There is a small black plastic arbor on the end of the Trainer that expands when an even smaller screw is tightened, which lets the use firmly install in a barrel with enough friction to prevent it from falling out due to gravity.

I found that for use in a pistol, double action is best to have. That way you don't have to rack the slide and reset the trigger each time, you can just keep pulling that bang switch while pumping up your finger strength in the process.  For my T&E I used a Ruger SR-22, but a revolver or other semi auto with a hammer should work well too. The width of the trainer at its fattest point is about 3/4 of an inch, so depending on your gun of choice it may or may not be wider than the muzzle, thusly interfering with the holstering of the firearm.

The T&E model I received worked during the first day of experimenting but a week or so later when conducting the official review the laser seemed to have some problems. The activation became inconsistent, and then non existent altogether. I did replace the 1x1632 coin battery and it functioned consistently once again, however the brightness of the laser was not enough to activate some LaserLyte Laser Plinking Cans I was testing for another review. I used a different manufacturer's laser boresight to verify the targets functioned properly and that the Trainer was the issue. This is reflected in my rating, which will be updated when the manufacturer gets back to us.

Being 22 caliber, the manufacturer claims it is compatible with multiple 22 caliber platforms, but not specifically any type of model. I found that while it will mount in the barrel of a Ruger MKIII 22lr pistol, a 223 Rem AR-15 Carbine, and a 22-250 bolt action rifle, it will not necessarily activate upon dry firing. The sound and concussion from the trigger/sear/hammer is what makes the laser activate, and the potency of that effect really varies in every firearm. I do believe that longer barrels are a contributor in dampening the sound from reaching the Trainer. Racking the bolt, charging handle, and slide would set off the laser but the dry fire of the trigger in most cases would not. Based on my experience using the firearms I had access to, I would say this product is ideally meant to work best in pistols, even more so in revolvers because the solidarity of the frame would allow the transfer of energy from the hammer to the Trainer most efficiently.

From a design and operation standpoint, the on/off of the Trainer is very minimalistic. You just unscrew slightly to cut the battery off from completing the circuit. This isn't ideal, especially when the exterior of the Trainer has no texture, so big fumbly fingers like mine had difficulty unscrewing the two halves especially if overtightened during use. I had to be extra conscious not to overtighten the Trainer.

Overall I would say that malfunctions aside, this training aid is very useful for dry fire practice indoors, especially when used in combination with a laser compatible electronic target system, like the LaserLyte Reaction Tyme Target (see FI review).

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Simply the easiest way to train without ammo for any of your 22 rimfire pistols.

Target Market: Gun Owners who want to add laser functionality to their dry fire practice, safely and indoors.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product)

  • Compatible with: 22LR, 22WMR, 22 Short, 22 Long, .223 REM with at least a 1.875" barrel
  • Length: 3.0 inches
  • Diameter: .20" Min./ .76 inch Max
  • Battery Life: 10,000 shots
  • Batteries: 1 x 1632 Lithium
  • Activation: Sound of striker or hammer
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  none

What others are saying?:

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at Brownells.com or Amazon.com

Our Rating: UPDATE +-Easy to operate +-Short enough to fit most pocket pistols or snubnose revolvers +-Battery life is high, batteries are hard to find + Tested and confirmed functional in Ruger MKIII Pistol, Ruger SR22 Pistol, Ruger 10/22 rifle, AR15, and Savage 22-250 rifle + Customer Service was very responsive in replacing first malfunctioning laser Trainer with a correctly working model

  • No knurling to assist with unscrewing, which is the only way to preserve batter life.  Overtighten= Bad Time

Score: 8.5 Great* *Score increased after initial defective model was replaced and reevalutated

LaserLyte Laser Plinking Cans Review

LaserLyte Plinking Cans Plinking cans has been the quintessential method of target practice since the dawn of the first firearms. Cowboys would shoot empty bean cans out on the range to hone their skill. Heck, even today there's still something so iconic about setting up empty cans, taking 10 paces, and then trying to knock them down with the speed and accuracy like that of the legends of the Wild West.

With modern ammo prices and range fees, plinkin' ain't cheap! That's why this product from LaserLyte is so exciting. With the Laser Plinking Cans, you can literally plink all day long indoors til your heart's content, without blowing through costly ammo, picking up brass, or putting on pants for that matter!

The Laserlyte Laser Plinking Cans are small, like a classic can of V8. They have a solonoid wired to a receiver, so when the target area gets hit with a laser, a plunger is extended out the bottom about half and inch which will topple the device over. After you knock down all targets, simply push the plungers back in and set them back up. It's easy to see with just the first time knocking one over how fun it is, it rushes over you and puts a smirk on your face.

In testing the Laser Plinking Cans, I found that the receptors are sensitive to more than just a laser. The wrong indoor lighting and even natural light from outdoors will set the can off, resulting in an auditory CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK of the solonoid tripping until you either switch the unit off, or cover the target from light and move it to a darker location. Reading other reviews online I see more users have had the same difficulty. It's an unfortunate flaw of oversensitivity that really detracts from the enjoyment of using them, as you try different corners of the room or switching off lamps and lights desperately trying to keep the cans from "prematurely plinking" themselves. Not to mention that the cans themselves are dark colored, so you may find using these as a low-light scenario training aid more difficult, but a roll of flourescent paper with a hole cut out would be an easy remedy to help put these cans in your sight picture when in a dark room.

Another issue I had is that the set does not come with a laser device. You must buy separately a laser training product (preferably LaserLyte) in order to use these cans effectively by dry firing. For the price tag of over $100 dollars and the seemingly simple design / manufacture of these cans, I would assume including one of their training guns would have been feasible for around the same price point. If you already own an actual gun that you'd like to practice with, you can buy a laser cartridge for it.  The only hangup being if its not a double action firearm, you will have to rack the slide each time, resetting the trigger in between engaging the cans.

Overall, these are a novelty BUT a very enjoyable niche target that will offer safe practice indoors. New or unexperienced shooters should really enjoy using these, especially with a plastic blue gun with a laser trainer installed as it takes some of the intimidation factor out of the equation while still being able to practice the laws of gun safety and the fundamentals of proper shooting technique. As easy as these plinking cans will become a party game to some, it can still be a vital training aid used to teach new shooters or help experienced shooters perform better.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The LaserLyte® Laser Plinking Can Set provides hours of training and entertainment indoors or outdoors without the cost of ammunition or the time spent cleaning up.

Target Market: Both new and experienced shooters with existing Laserlyte products who wish to practice with reactive targets indoors.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product)

  • Weight: 4.25 ounces/.12 kg
  • Length: 3.82 inch/9.7 cm
  • Diameter: 2.00 inch/5.1 cm
  • Battery: 9V       
  • Battery Life: 8,000 Tip Overs
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  none

What others are saying?: “The LaserLyte worked as they advertised. The laser light had to be in a room with ambient light no direct sunlight or any direct light that could hit the can sensor. The pop out plunger would activate continuously. If I try to use the laser light outside it had to be at dusk no sunlight even in the shadows the ambient sunlight with activate the sensor on the can. The laser light would work well in a room that had no light but the outside ambient light through a window with covering or In a garage with soft-light. It did work outside but with very low light, there was no problem using a laser out to 25 yards to activate the sensor on the laser light. I would recommend this product, but be advise to the buyer you will have limitations to the use of this product." Amazon Review

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at Brownells.com or Amazon.com

Our Rating: + Cans are easy to operate / install battery K +-Provides new shooters a safe atmosphere to practice + Gives experienced shooters a fun training aid - Very sensitive to ambient light, can be frustrating to find an adequate place they will work - Can itself is black with dark red graphics and target area is murky red color and hard to adequately see in low light were laser performs best - Would like to see training pistol (blue gun) included

Score: 7.0 Good

Laser Ammo - LaserPET Electronic Target

Laser Ammo - LaserPET Electronic Target This is a great way to practice at home without shooting up your house. It’s pretty simple to use and comes with instructions(who uses them?) Shooting it with the Laser Ammo Sure Strike provides instant feedback if you hit it. It has three modes, all which can be used to improve your overall shooting. Using the hit counter mode you can work on your trigger control and it keeps track of your hits. The shot timer mode is for working on your quick draw/first shot from the holster. Lastly is the magazine change mode in which, you guessed it, you practice fast mag changes. One thing I found this extremely useful for is teaching new shooters proper technique in a safe environment. I’m sure you’re as at home on the range as I am but a new shooter may be more comfortable learning to “shoot” in the safety and comfort of their own house, away from other shooters. Most of all you don’t have to worry about be shot by an overly excited person waving the gun around because “They hit the target!!!” even though I still yell if I get swept by the muzzle. The only issue I had with the timer is that I tossed it on my bed with the tripod attached and folded underneath and it broke it open like a clam shell. It was a nightmare and a half to get it back together with how the buttons fit in it. After I got it back together I threw some super glue on it and it’s been good ever since. Granted, if I had removed the tripod I probably never would have taken it apart. Hopefully you guys will learn from my mistake. laser pet Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points Claim to Fame: Improves drawing, target acquisition, and trigger squeeze.

Target Market: Home defenders, police, military

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 1.8x1.8" laser sensor
  • Bright numeric LED display
  • Buzzer
  • Changeable target cards to modify target area size and shape.
  • Tripod and wall mounts
  • AAA Battery operated
  • Operational Mode: Hit counter - this setting will count the shooter's consecutive hits
  • Operational Mode: Shot timer / Fast draw - this timer will show the accurate time from buzzer to hit
  • Operational Mode: Magazine change - this mode will time the shooter as if they were changing a magazine and subsequently count how many times the shooter can hit the target within 5 seconds
  • Built in timer
  • Input for external sensor

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: It’s only available in one form, regular.

What others are saying?: “...improved my trigger control and accuracy 150%”- amazon.com “Works with LASERLYTE Trainer Pistol Universal.” - midwayusa.com

Price point:  MSRP = $119.95 laser-ammo.com Retail = $112.75 amazon.com

I need it now! Availability: Check your local gun shop or anywhere that has gun stuff. Or if you live by me, I’ll let you borrow it.

Our Rating: + 3 operational modes. + Multiple target inserts. + Standard tripod mount and wall mount. + Collapsible tripod. - Broke when I tossed it on my bed. - Hard to put back together if opened.

Score: 8.585