Over the past year, my dry-fire practice has evolved. I was doing slow, deliberate holster draws and pistol presentations, working on building solid fundamentals. I recorded myself and watched the videos back so that I could analyze my technique. Was it efficient? Was it proper? Was it smooth? After a couple months, I added the shot timer and practiced building speed. Again, recording my draw and presentation to ensure that everything looked solid. I worked magazine changes, stoppage clearing, and sight picture, and did countless reps with my red dot sight to help me acquire the dot faster. The one part of my dry-fire that I wished I had was target feedback. How were all my skills and reps actually panning out in shot placement?
Enter the Mantis Laser Academy. The Mantis Laser Academy is a dry-fire laser training system, built around smart targets that support automatic detection and scoring, using the Laser Academy app and the camera on a smartphone. The app provides drills that are built to enhance shooting performance in both marksmanship and speed. It records sessions and stores them for historical reference and analysis.
Although I consider myself to be pretty techy, the Laser Academy app was really easy to download and access. I taped a provided target to the wall about four yards away, and the camera on my phone through the app picked it up right away. I dropped the laser cartridge into the barrel (caliber specific) of my Walther PDP, and then I was good to go. When the firing pin hit the cartridge, it displayed a brief laser light on the target, which my dog thought was awesome! The app recorded those displays and gave feedback based on my drill performance.
I have struggled with getting my camera into the tripod and positioned appropriately in front of the target, so that it captures all of my shots. Sometimes in a 5-round drill I have to place 10 shots. The down side of this is that my times are not very stellar, but it does push me to go faster and I do double the reps! I should probably spend more time troubleshooting (Mantis has great tech support), but it just creates more strength and more speed.
So, is it translating to improvement in live-fire? In my most recent ASI pistol match, I placed 11th out of 50 shooters (technically 9th because the top 2 shooters shot every stage twice). Our match comprised a lot of new shooters, so I wasn’t surprised to rank higher than mid-pack, but I was happy to see that I placed above several good IDPA competitors.
While I will still include non-techy dry-fire in my practice sessions, having the Mantis was a really fun way to get in more reps. It has a duel mode, where it records two targets on the screen, and I can’t wait to try that! I just need someone to come over and duel me! Any takers?
You can get your own Mantis Training Academy from AG & AG. All of the Mantis products are impressive and helpful for your dry-fire practice: