What You Can Learn By Training at Home with Technology
OK, picture this. You have ten minutes of uninterrupted time at home. No chores. No kids (if applicable). No work. What would you rather do?
A. Watch TV.
B. Argue on Facebook because someone on the internet is wrong.
C. Polish your eyeballs with sandpaper.
D. Practice dry firing, holster draws, and magazine changes.
If you answered D, then you’re in minority company. Yeah, I know. We should all do that more regularly, but then again we should floss our teeth twice a day and change the air conditioning filters monthly.
Part of the reason that we don’t practice as faithfully as we should is that it’s boring. It’s boring because there is no feedback. Enter technology.
I’ve been tinkering with a training system called MantisX, and it changes everything. Here’s the unscientific description. It’s a small rechargeable rail-mounted thing not much bigger than one of those clickers that unlock your car doors. It’s got extremely sensitive motion detectors inside which detect any gun movement before, during, and after a shot. Then it sends that information via Bluetooth to its companion smartphone app. There, the results are analyzed in real time to tell you the details of your shot. Oh, and it works in dry fire mode by detecting the hammer or striker impact. It also works on the range with live ammunition. If you want to get fancy at home, you can mount it on a CO2 BB or pellet pistol (with or without projectiles) to get some recoil introduced into your training.
Here’s what that boils down to. This thing is designed to train you to press the trigger smoothly without moving the gun. It does so by monitoring your motions and those of the gun, recording that information, showing it to you along with corrective tips, then stores it for progress tracking. That’s it.
Once the capability to measure is there, the app can do all sorts of cool things like set up drills. For example, the Compressed Surprise Break drill has you fire a single shot as quickly as you can. If you focus on quality and a high (low movement) score, you’ll soon find that your speed improves as does your accuracy. Other drills include reloading a fresh magazine and firing a shot, either from in battery or slide lock. There are plenty more, and if you like, you can connect the app with shooting buddies online to add some accountability to your training.
The best part is that it’s engaging, so you’ll want to use it. Getting instant feedback makes all the difference and seeing your progress keeps you motivated to practice.
Tom McHale is a committed learning junkie always seeking a new subject victim. As a lifelong student of whatever grabs his attention on any particular day, he thrives on beating rabbit trails into submission. In between his time as a high-tech marketing executive, restaurant owner, and hamster cosmetology practitioner, he’s published seven books and nearly 1,500 articles about guns, shooting, and the American way.