Review: The Mantis BlackbeardX


MSRP: $319

The BlackbeardX installed on an M4-style AR-15 (Photo: Annette Doerr)

I’m a huge fan of dryfire to keep my skills sharp when I can’t make it to the range, so when I got the offer to review MantisX new BlackbeardX for the AR platform, I jumped at the chance. Being a new owner of an M4 meant it was the perfect time to get to know the rifle before I even took it to the range.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll remember that I’ve reviewed two other Mantis products in the past, and to say I’m a huge fan of the company would be an understatement. Mantis products truly do transform your shooting – from the comfort of your home.

You can read my other reviews for the original Mantis, as well as the Mantis Training Academy here:

Original Mantis:

Mantis Training Academy:

While both the original Mantis and the Mantis Training Academy are for use with pistols, the Mantis BlackbeardX was designed for rifles on the AR platform. The auto-resetting trigger function allows you to dry-fire literally thousands of laser rounds through your AR rifle in the comfort of your own home, all while the computer system analyzes every small nuance of your shooting. It tracks your movement before, during and after each shot – and gives you detailed feedback on not only what you’re doing, but techniques on how to correct any errors the software analysis finds.

BlackbeardX – How it Works

Like other Mantis products, the BlackbeardX analyzes your motion across several dimensions, giving you instant feedback on your trigger pull, on-target delay, travel time etc.

The BlackbeardX uses Bluetooth technology to connect to the MantisX app on your phone or iPad. The app features several drills for you to work through, and while you’re having fun, the software is busy analyzing each and every shot. It doesn’t just show you where your bullet would have hit your target, it shows you precise feedback about each shot, then averages your sequence and gives you an overall score between 1 and 100. It’s very humbling!

What does it score? Each drill you work through analyzes three factors in your shooting:

  1. Your on-target delay score: Letting you know exactly how long you delayed firing once you got on the target. According to Mantis, most shooters delay longer than they need to. Once you know you’re doing it, you can work on speeding up your shots getting faster and faster on target for your first and follow up shots.
  • Over-travel: The BlackbeardX is smart enough to tell when you transition from one target to your next but go past it and have to come back to align properly. That’s over-travel, and you’ll be able to see exactly what you did on the app, whether you want to or not! But you will because that’s how we improve our accuracy and speed, by getting to the target and on it faster.
  • Transition path: A straight line is the fastest way to transition from target to target. The BlackbeardX analyzes your movement and path, to check deviation. If you efficiently transition to your next target, your score will be high, if you deviate, it will decrease.

The scores from these metrics will combine to give you an overall score. In the app, you can check the separate entities to know where you have room for improvement.

The software holds historical data, so you can literally watch your shooting improve each time you dryfire with the BlackbeardX. It’s fun to look back to when you started and see the improvement you’ve made during your sessions.

It WILL make you a better shooter.

You WILL watch your accuracy and speed improve.

You WILL save time by not driving to the range, you can use the BlackbeardX from the comfort of your own home, regardless of weather conditions.

You WILL save a ton of money in ammunition.

I found the Mantis BlackbeardX to be a ton of fun to work with. Being new to the AR platform, using the BlackbeardX has transformed my modern sporting rifle shooting in a very short period of time. The components are fairly easy to install, although I did have some issues with my detent pin, but that’s on me and my inexperience with the new AR. The unit charges quickly and the charge lasts seemingly forever, certainly enough for several sessions with my rifle.

Bottom line: he BlackbeardX WILL improve your rifle shooting.

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