Over the years there has been hype and nonsense about training aids, tips and tricks. Last year at SHOT I got to check out the MantisX system. The system itself is fairly straight forward: Attach a VERY sensitive sensor to the rail on your pistol, and shoot. The sensor then sends data to either a tablet, or mobile device for you to peruse as you shoot and then breakdown what you need to improve upon. The cool part though? All your data and tips are real time instantaneous. No shooting a laser at a target and then compiling data. REAL TIME. Now, I know what you're thinking. I'm already a great shot, I don't need to know how I'm shooting. WRONG, Bucko. Trust me. I'm nowhere near Jerry Miculek (probably not even 1/100th of the way there), and I learned a WHOLE lot more about how I was shooting.
There are multiple ways the sensor tracks your shots, without actually tracking where they go. The first screen has a basic picture that shows you the direction of movement at the time the trigger breaks and the amount of movement as well. The smaller the movement, the smaller the indication on the screen. On top of that it also rates the "quality" of the shot (0-100). An information "I" Icon on the screen will take you to a breakdown visually and verbally of how that last shot went. The next screen shows you the amount of time taken while taking up the trigger slack, and then as the trigger breaks. Our fourth and final screen is a visual representation of movement during the trigger pull process. This has a line which is color coded to various stages of the trigger pull.
All this can take some time getting used to understanding (I'm at least 8 hours in and I'm still figuring EVERYTHING), but this system is a no nonsense way of sensing what the shooter is doing wrong. No guessing, no hovering instructor, no bs or drama. The only downside to this as I see it, is it's pretty distracting (in a good way) while I'm shooting. I constantly found myself almost instantly making the gun "safe", setting it down, and grabbing the phone to check out what I had done.
The system itself can be pricey for new shooters. Running right now at $149.99, some will look at it and argue they don't need the expense. Instructors on the other hand, who have a slightly larger budget for training tools, should be buying these like crazy. This little gem will be in my range kit when I have that new friend that asks, "Can you teach me how to shoot?" Without question, this is a very useful tool and innovation for the shooting/training worlds.
JVWAR Resident Gunsmith