Saturday, January 30, 2021

Mantis X10 Elite

Back in July, GunDude Jay gave me a Mantis X10 Elite for my birthday. 

I had recently invested in a couple of DryFireMags to use in classes to teach trigger reset. While it doesn't give an exact trigger reset, it's a great way to teach the concept to newer shooters. When I wasn't using the mags in class, I was using them at home for dry fire practice. They are great for what they are and I don't regret investing in them at all.

However, the Mantis ... Wow. If you follow our Instagram or Facebook page, you've likely seen several posts about the Mantis. To say I love the product would be an understatement. I never much thought of myself as a data girl, but it turns out I'm incredibly competitive with myself and comparing my scores from one shot to another is addictive.

I did find, after owning both the DryFireMags and the Mantis, that you can buy a DryFireMag with an integrated Mantis. However, since I already own each individually, I'm not going to drop the money to buy an integrated one.

Back when I first started shooting, I was diligent about dry fire practice. Sort of. I was really working on my draw stroke, and finishing with one shot. I can't say that I did any focused dry fire practice for more than a shot or two. If I found I was flinching, I might stick a dime up on my slide and do a few trigger presses, but that was about it.

This Mantis has been a game changer. I immediately put it on my M&P 2.0 and tried it out. Five "shots" in and I was in love. Included in the X10 Elite is a course to help familiarize you with the system, and three courses to increase accuracy. I whipped through the introduction course and couldn't wait to get more. The Basic Marksmanship and the Advanced Marksmanship went pretty quickly - just a couple of days for Basic and a week or so for Advanced. The Compressed Surprise Break is my nemesis.

The system quickly found my weaknesses (hello, Compressed Surprise Break). I can be accurate, or I can be fast, but so far, I can't be both. My goal is to work on combining the two. When I get in a hurry, I tend to slap the trigger. When I'm trying for accuracy, I slow down way too much. It can take me seconds to press the trigger.

I did manage to fight my way through my mental block with the Compressed Surprise Break and earn my Advanced Marksmanship patch.

I'm currently working on the Elite Marksmanship badge, and I tell you, if I could stop over-thinking everything, I would have finished it already. But, I'm female and over-thinking is what we do.

The feedback from the system can be brutal, but it's completely objective. I can choose to pay attention to the data, or I can continue to suck. I thought I was doing pretty well with my dry fire, so I decided to take my show on the road and see how I did live fire. Boy, was that a hard pill to swallow.

I definitely had stuff to work on with live fire, and the Mantis showed me in black and white where I was screwing up.

However, there are moments like this (dry fire at home):

To say using the Mantis for dry fire practice is addictive would be an understatement. I've "shot" 3,017 rounds, which is a huge ammo savings. The fact that I can use my Mantis for both dry and live fire, on my pistols, rifles, and shotgun makes me love it even more.

My Glock 43x doesn't have an accessory rail, and to be honest, the stick-on accessory rail that came with the kit was crap, so I bought a Recover Tactical accessory rail that went on to my Glock in seconds. It holds the Mantis nicely, though I had to have a friend mold a holster to accommodate the rail and mounted Mantis.

Since the 43x is my EDC and I only had one OWB holster for it, I eventually used my teaching money to purchase a second 43x for practice purposes. I can now carry my EDC 43x in all of my 'normal' holsters, and practice with the other one. All I can say is thank goodness for the students who are willing to pay to take classes so I can buy 'training aids'.

In talking to someone who also has the Mantis, I found that I could buy baseplates for my magazines that I could attach the Mantis to without having to have special holsters for drawing practice. Since I am 100% drinking the Mantis Tech kool-aid, I bought a baseplate for the 43x and for my M&P 2.0. Now I can practice my draw stroke from any of my holsters with either gun.

I have seen the Blackbeard for the AR system on Active Self Protection's FB page and went looking for that. I desperately need more practice with my AR, but hate cycling the bolt every time. I was pretty excited about the Blackbeard system until I saw the price. I need to teach a few more classes before I can throw out another $199.00 plus shipping and tax. However ... I found the TRT Tap Rack system for a 9mm for only $8.99. Guess what went into my cart?

With the ammo shortage what it is, I cannot recommend the Mantis system enough. You can purchase the MantisX 10 Elite for way less than a case of ammo and it will pay for itself is around 400 'shots'.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

New Year: Time to tune up the gear!

 Greetings Gundivas,  Happy New Year!

Its a new year.  2020 has turned 21 and is probably on its way to start a wild year of blackout binge drinking. (Not like it hasn't already been doing that)

Since that is not my cup of tea, I decided to shake off the cabin fever and take a couple of my target rifles out to tune them up and verify all is well.  You should do this if your firearm hasn't been used in a long while or if you change something (mount a new scope, change triggers, etc)

It was a good day.  Both rifles are doing great by the end of the session.  One was spot on with no adjustments needed, the other was off.  It was 3 inches low and required fine tuning.  This is why you need to verify your gear before you hit the field.

First up was the Remington 700 LTR.

- Stock Remington 700 LTR (medium weight barrel)

- .308 Winchester

- 20 inch barrel

- KRG X-ray Chassis

- Burris XTR II 4-20 Scope

- Thunderbeast Ultra 7 Silencer

- Shooting Federal Gold Metal Match 175 grain

The Remington was still on and required no additional adjustment.  It pulled a little low.  I think this was bad trigger control on my part than the rifle itself.  The Remington is good to go to the next match or class.  All groups were inch and better.


Next up is the Tikka T3X.

- Stock Tikka T3X CTR (medium weight barrel)

- 6.5 Creedmoor

- 20 inch barrel

- KRG Bravo Chassis

- Steiner T5Xi 3-15 Scope

- Thunderbeast Ultra 9 Silencer

- Shooting Hornady 143 ELD-X Precision Hunter

As you can see, the Tikka started out 3 inches low at 100 yards and needed a little fine tuning.  I'm not sure what caused the zero to shift.  Maybe switching from the Ultra 7 to Ultra 9 silencer did it.  Or I  did something the last time before I put it into the safe.  I don't know.  All groups were inch and better. (After adjustment)



This is why you verify your gear before you hit the field.  

Let's make 2021 a great year.  Get out there, verify your gear is good to go and let's go shooting.  (If we can find ammunition)

-Gundude Mez

January 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021

Challenge Yourself

I didn't realize until it was posted on Facebook that my best friend had taken the above photo of me shooting his Stacatto (formerly STI) C2 9mm 2011 at a range of about 55 yards. We were out at his property for the first get together since too long before COVID came along and ruined everyone's year shooting a little bit of everything. He brought along his brace of very nice 2011s (3 Stacattos and a Chambers Custom), and I brought along some .22s and my Glock 30. We had been shooting mostly at 10-20 yards just knocking the rust and cobwebs loose. Somewhere along the way, he decided to walk things back a good bit. I decided "Why not?" I had never, to my recollection, attempted serious target shooting with a handgun at ranges beyond 25 yards. 

Much to my surprise, I was ringing the green, half sized, steel silhouette target without any real trouble at all with both my Glock and his Stacatto. To be honest, getting hits with a commander sized 9mm 2011 can be done more consistently and easier than with a compact .45 ACP Glock, but it CAN BE DONE! Even though I have had access to ranges longer than 25 yards for many years, it had never occurred to me to practice at distances longer than that. I mean, I've read articles about it. It just never dawned on me to give it a try for myself. 

So, why would anyone in their right mind want to try and shoot a handgun at that distance or further? Well....1) 'cause 'Merica dang it, 2) as far as 55 yards sounds, it's still close enough to be "in imminent danger and in fear of your life" in the self defense context should someone point a weapon in your direction with intent to do you harm, 3) handgun hunting is a thing or so I am told, 4) the math.

I think shooting on public ranges (indoor or outdoor) tends to ingrain certain limitations on our perceptions about what is/is not possible with a certain firearm. So, this year, I intend to make a concerted effort to step outside my comfort zone and stretch the boundaries of my thinking and abilities when it comes to firearms. I may never have a chance to drop a deer at 600 yards with a ,44 Magnum (as Elmer Keith claimed to have done), but it'd be nice to be able to say that I COULD make that shot if it presented itself. 

What are your goals for the new year (besides finding ammo)?