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Mantis Technology Laser Academy

In the name of full disclosure, Mantis sent me this Laser Academy set free of charge, and asked my thoughts. It is well known that I am a total Mantis Tech fanboy, nerd, and have universally liked every one of their products I have spent my own money on. That said, one of the criticisms I have heard of Mantis's X series dry fire system that I'm forced to admit is that the system DOES NOT monitor nor promote your ability to put hits on your target. The Mantis X series uses a small Bluetooth dongle packed with black magic and voodoo (probably accelerometers) to monitor what you're doing with the firearm during the trigger press. If you jerk your trigger, or heel the firearm, or any other sort of firearm tomfoolery your score will suffer. Pull the trigger dead smooth, you get the high score. Problem is, your sights could be literally on anything. Enter Laser Academy.

Laser academy is a complete departure from Mantis Tech's earlier work, working on the process of training the customer to be a better marksman in a completely different way. Laser Academy isn't so much a product itself as it is a nexus point of several different small pieces and some mobile phone app wizardry. Laser Academy employees a small laser designator in the chamber of your firearm (several available from Mantis itself) that is actuated by your firing pin. The resulting laser paints one of a set of premade (available from Mantis, or downloadable and printable by the end user) paper targets. These targets include QR codes at their corners allowing the Laser Academy app to register them and automatically configure itself for which target you're using, and in the case of specific drills insure you are using the appropriate target. These targets can be affixed to a wall, or inserted into free standing target stands.

The real magic of Laser Academy is in the app. Using the camera of your mobile device, the app looks for the laser generated by your designator, logs the shot, and records where on the target the strike was. In the event you need it, the ability to 'zero' your firearm to offset your sights is also included (helpful for high bore axis situations/optics.) Once you have your targets standing, device chucked up in the phone mount, app loaded, and laser designator in your firearm, you're left in familiar Mantis territory with a spartan yet functional application and a menu of different drills and courses (challenging series of different drills) to engage with. My only gripe, and Mantis's history shows they do continually develop and update their apps, is the lack of the social aspect found in the Laser Academy app, whereas the Mantis app includes the ability to set up shooting groups and chat with people in that group. If you're interested, and have the original MantisX app and an X series, look for a group called mofpodcast you might find some familiar faces in.

For those that want a pure dry fire system that's solely focused on your point of aim/impact, Laser Academy deserves some strong consideration. As a companion piece beside the rest of Mantis's lineup, it drives the shooter towards being a better marksman in a completely different way than MantisX does. If you want or need the enhanced capabilities of live fire, MantisX is for you. Otherwise, Laser Academy is going to stay in my regular training rotation for a very long time and might be the training aid more familiar to newer shooters less concerned about the art of the perfect trigger press, and more concerned with putting the rounds on target.

Phil Rabalais

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