Welcome to the first official Industry Spotlight article from Obsidian Concepts. The goal of the spotlight article is to give you the reader an inside look into the companies we know and love.
What does an Industry Spotlight entail? Great question to ask. We explore the history of the company. What was the motivation that lead to that company creating their products or services. Give some insight into the interior of the company and design philosophy behind their products. Talk about their product lineup and new products on the horizon for upcoming year. Finally, wrapping it up with value that the company brings to us the consumer and the overall firearms industry.
Inaugural Industry Spotlight Article
The company chosen for the inaugural spotlight article is Mantis Tech. The company behind the MantisX: Dry Fire and Live Fire Training systems. Mantis Tech provides a training system that has revolutionized firearms training and taken shot analysis to the next level. (That is a claim I don’t make lightly either. When you read more about the extraordinary technology within the Mantis you will agree.) The MantisX is a device that attaches to your pistol, rifle, shotgun, and compound bow to give you instant statistically data on how well you executed that trigger pull or draw of a bow. Data that can be analyzed to help you harness the John Wick inside of us all.
Getting To Know The Company
Over the past month I have had the pleasure to talk with Austin Allgaier, the Marketing Director and one the founders of the Mantis Tech. During our conversations I was able to learn about creation of the MantisX training system. What was the inspiration behind designing and building the MantisX. We discussed the company and it’s future growth. What products are coming to market in 2020. Also, what they want consumers to think when the hear the MantisX name.
The discussions Austin and I had illuminated me to the creativity and innovation that is within the training system itself. It is a company of people who seek to provide the consumer a lineup of products to help them become better shooters.
Now, since we have covered the introduction into the Spotlight Series. Let’s get down and dirty and learn more about history, products, and future of MantisX training systems.
History Of The MantisX Training System
The Mantis is the brainchild of a group of friends from Illinois trying to solve a problem. Necessity is widely considered the mother of all innovation and the MantisX is no expectation.
Back To The Future
To understand the origins of the Mantis we have to jump back six years to a group of friends shooting at their local range. Back in 2014 Austin and the other founders were frustrated with their own shooting performance during a range visit. That frustration came from having no practical data or training method on how to improve as shooters. That frustration lead to creativity on how to solve this conundrum.
In a email from Austin he discussed the difficulty of getting accurate reliable feedback from a person who is observing you as shooter. Austin discusses the challenges of reliable observation stating, “There is a lot of subjectivity, and we realized that so much happens so quickly during the shot process that it is impossible for the human eye to really detect what is happening. Our bodies tend to try and recreate the story of what happened, but we wanted to be able to look at quantitative data to understand exactly what happened.”
Shooting with no way forward is frustrating for any shooter of any skill level. Instead of continuing to shoot with no training method or data they chose to solve the problem in front of them. The lack of practical data was the catalyst that lead a group of friends to create the MantisX training system. When creating the Mantis Austin and the other founders potentially knew they had an idea that would revolutionize the market. They were creating a training aid that would become the training aid to rule them all. A market that many companies have looked to create in the past with varying levels of success.
Austin and the other founders of Mantis Tech sought to design a training system that could be used during dry fire and live fire sessions. A training system would be able to show empirical data on what the shooter was doing right or wrong. Also, giving feedback to the shooter on how to correct and improve their shooting performance.
The MantisX went through many design iterations before settling into its first generation design. The first prototype training system was a cellphone rubber banded to a handgun. Yes, a cellphone people. You read correctly. You have to start somewhere and this was uncharted territory for them. They continued to work on the prototype until the MantisX was born. The first MantisX went out to consumers at very end of 2015.
The Launch And Success Of The MantisX
From the very end of 2015 and onward the MantisX training system has continued to grow in popularity and so has the company. The eyes of the industry caught-on to the innovation that the Mantis Tech was bringing to the industry and firearm community. In issue number twenty-four of Recoil Magazine they did an preview article about the MantisX training system in the spring of 2016. (Here is link to that article.) The Recoil article detailed the technology inside the MantisX training device and how it was poised to change game when it came to firearms training. Since then, other big mainstream firearm magazines and blogs have sung the praises of the MantisX. Such as The Firearm Blog, Range 360, and America’s 1st Freedom.
“The MantisX is the most reliable, nitpicking range partner you can have.”Recoil Magazine
Austin and the founders have a product that was fulfilling a necessity and giving shooters the ability to diagnose their shortcomings with a roadmap to improvement. The MantisX training system would continue grow in notoriety and ￼ brand recognition letting you know it was here for the long haul.
Military Adopting The MantisX Training System
The company reach hasn’t only been upon the civilian market. The U.S. military had reached out to Mantis Tech about their training systems. Currently, in Quantico the MantisX is being used by The Marines Corps for dry fire training for their Officer marksmanship courses. The Marine Corps is satisfied with early results that Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island are purchasing a order to be used during Phase Two at the rifle range for dry fire purposes. If Marine Corps Officers and Gunners see this as a tool to increase Marine Corps marksmanship it means that this system is has tremendous value to it.
“I’ve seen my targets improve after just the short time I’ve been using the system. The MantisX will improve your shooting.”Range 360
With continuing growth and brand recognition in the civilian market and inquiries by the United States military. The early adoption from The United States Marine Corps for training purposes. It is easy to see the value of the MantisX training system.
The creation of the MantisX started out of the mother of all innovation…necessity. A group of friends were frustrated with no tangible way to assess their shooting ability and accuracy. What started from a cellphone rubber banned to a pistol eventually through several iterations turned into the first MantisX training system. A product that is helping shooters of all skill and ability levels to unleash their inner John Wick. That is the origin story behind Mantis Tech and the group of friends that started a training revolution.
Now, let’s find out a little bit more about this innovative company.
A Look Inside Mantis Tech As A Company
A Veil Of Secrecy
When it comes to finding out details about the company Austin was scarce with information. A lot of the information I asked for was G-14 classified. So, essentially above my pay grade. I completely understand that logic. You can’t give away the keys to the castle to the average Joe writing an article. So, I will tell you about what I did learn about the company and share that information with you.
Mantis Tech is located in Oswego, IL. Oswego is about a 55-minute drive-away from the heart of downtown Chicago, according to google maps. The company headquarters resides in a 7,000 square foot facility. In that facility all the design, engineering, manufacturing, and shipping takes place there.
Within that 7,000 square foot facility is a dry fire testing area where the R&D team can conduct automated testing. About twenty minutes from the Mantis Tech facilitates is the live fire indoor range they also use for further testing. The outdoor range that the Mantis R&D team uses is about forty-five minutes away from the 7,000 square foot headquarters.
Company Start-up & Growth
The company was started back in 2014 with Austin Allgaier and the four other founders, making five. The other founders of Mantis Tech seek anonymity. That is why they haven’t been named here in this article. But, know they are integral to the foundation of the Mantis Tech and the company’s growth. I respect that. For them it’s about the love of the game not about the recognition. Respect.
As, of 2020 Mantis has grown its staff to twenty-five employees, a mix of full time and part time positions. About half of the Mantis team works remotely, in various locations across the nation.
Mantis Tech as a company does work within their community but, wished to keep that work private and internal to the company. I inquired further about any charities or organizations Mantis champions. I was informed they wished to keep that work private and internal to the company also. Austin assured me that Mantis does a lot within their local communities,charities, and organizations. How every you decide to give back Mantis thank you. Again, I understand the want for privacy and not doing it for a pat on the back.
A glimpse behind the door
That is a inside look at Mantis Tech as a company. Details where limited because it was G-14 classified. Hopefully, as we build a rapport with each other I can gain some security clearance so I can learn a little more.
Next, we are going to roll into products from Mantis Tech and what is coming in 2020.
MantisX Technology, Product Lineup, And What’s New For 2020
Alright, ladies and gents it’s time for that deep dive into the MantisX technology and products.
How does the MantisX Training System work?
The Mantis is a two-part firearm diagnostic training system. First, you have the Mantis unit which consists of a wireless rail mounted sensor. Second, you have an iOS and Android companion app that collects and evaluates all the data on your smartphone or tablet. The MantisX can be mount to any Picatinny compatible rail on a pistol, rifle, or shotgun. The data collected from the MantisX is transmitted to the MantisX app. The app gives you practical data on the accuracy of your trigger pull or the lack thereof.
Technology within the MantisX
Some high tech wizardry happens within the MantisX to give shooters this wealth of data. Let’s explore the internals to understand a little more about how the Mantis training system works.
The Mantis uses an Inertial Measurement Unit or an IMU for short. The Mantis uses a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes to collect thousands of data points of an individual trigger pull. Those raw data points are transferred via Bluetooth over to the MantisX app. From there the MantisX software interprets that data and transforms it into practical feedback for the shooter.
How does MantisX display the shooters data?
That data is transformed into quantitative data for the shooter on the MantisX app. First, the app gives you a score from 0-100% This is your grade on your latest trigger pull. The Mantis Tech refers to this as Direction and Magnitude. The MantisX uses its IMU technology to track the movement of your barrel during the pull of the trigger. Shots are then grouped accordingly to similar movement patterns.
Shot By Shot Tracking
Second, the MantisX app tracks your shot by shot analysis. Think of it like an NBA shot analysis they put up during halftime for teams and players. It gives you the ability to track each shot individually and catch trends so you can make adjustments as a shooter.
Finally, the MantisX app offers a detail trace of the firearm’s barrel movement before the break of the trigger and after. The blue represents the shooter’s holding and sighting. Yellow represents your trigger pull. Red represents your shot break and recoil pattern. The X on the diagram represents where the shot landed on the target.
The MantisX app also features several training modes, courses, and groups so you can train with friends. The app also includes a shot timer, audio feedback, and other custom settings. The MantisX training system allows you to train how you want when you want. Giving you the power to harness your inner John Wick
MantisX Family Of Products
Back in late 2015, when the MantisX was originally released there was only one version of the training system—the MantisX. That MantisX is the original gangsta that started it all. Now, Mantis Tech offers four different versions of the MantisX training systems. The four versions of the Mantis training system you have are: Mantis X2, X3, X7, and X10 Elite. The O.G. Mantis has been retired and the closest iteration to it is the Mantis X3.
Four Versions Of The MantisX Training System
All the four of the Mantis systems aren’t created equal. Different versions have different additional features that the previous version doesn’t have. What that allows you to do as a consumer is to pick the one that best fits your needs as a shooter. Below, I will give a quick rundown of each version of the Mantis training system.
The first on the list is the MantisX2. The X2 is only used for dry fire with an MSRP of $99. Below is a brief product description from Mantis.
The Mantis X2 is the most powerful training aid for dry fire only practice. There is nothing at this price point that will give you this level of feedback for dry fire.
Collecting thousands of data points per second, the X2 analyzes your shooting in real-time. For both pistols and rifles, the X2 works with dry fire on your actual firearm.
The second on our list is the MantisX3. The X3 is the closest to the O.G. MantisX. The Mantis X3 can be used for both dry fire and live fire training applications. The X3 comes in with a price tag of $169. Below is a brief product description.
The Mantis X3 is the next evolution of the breakthrough MantisX. Key features of the X3:
• 40% smaller
• 50% lighter
• 3x the battery life
• 4x the data rate
Collecting thousands of data points per second, the X3 analyzes your shooting in real-time. For both pistols and rifles, the X3 works with dry fire, live fire, airsoft/CO2, and simulated weapons systems.
The Mantis X7 is for the competitive shotgun shooters. The X7 comes in with a price tag of $199. For those competitive shotgun shooters here is your tool. Below is a brief product description.
The Mantis X7 is the most powerful shotgun sports analyzer. Ever.
Collecting thousands of data points per second, the X7 analyzes your shooting in real-time. The X7 works with dry fire and live fire.
Mantis X10 Elite
The Mantis X10 Elite is the beast of the family. Packing in all the features of the pervious versions and adding archery. Whatever your training needs are Mantis X10 Elite has you covered. The X10 Elite retails at $249. Yes, it’s the most expensive but, it gives you everything at a great price point. Below is a brief product description of the X10 Elite.
The MantisX10 is the next revolution of the breakthrough MantisX. In addition to everything the X3 and X7 do, key features of the X10 will include:
• Recoil analysis
• Holster Draw Analysis
• Dynamic Shooting(rapid fire, multi-target, and shooting on the move)
• Software support for all shooting sports(pistol, rifle, shotgun, and archery)
Collecting thousands of data points per second, the X10 analyzes your shooting in real-time. For pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The X10 works with dry fire, live fire, airsoft/CO2, and simulated weapons systems.
The question becomes, “What are you looking for as a shooter with the Mantis?” Whatever your needs maybe as a shooter the MantisX training system has you covered.
Research and Development
Mantis has the great selection of Mantis training systems out. Mantis Tech hasn’t kicked up their feet and been chillin’. The Mantis R&D team has been hard at work refining the Mantis training system and bring new products to market. Let’s check out what Mantis Tech has cooking in the pot.
The R&D team at Mantis Tech are hard at work completing the final touches for a new training aid for your rifle. I personally believe this training aid is amazing and a lot of consumers will be interested in it. It is simple called Blackbeard. Now, the burning question is, “What is Blackbeard?”
Blackbeard is a auto-resetting trigger system for your AR-15 platform. Eliminating the need to rack your bolt to reset your trigger after every dry fire shot. Sexy? Right!? I’m just gonna say it, “Game changer. This system is a game changer when it comes to dry fire training with a rifle.” That’s the bottom line when it comes down to it.
The Blackbeard doesn’t replace your trigger. There is no modification of your existing trigger to allow it to reset. You remove your bolt carrier group. Insert the Blackbeard bolt carrier group. Join your upper and lower back together. Insert the companion magazine that comes with Blackbeard BCG and now you have a auto-resetting training aid in your AR-15 platform.
Blackbeard is available in Q2 of 2020 and will retail for $199. Below is a complete product description from the MantisX website.
You want to be able to do dry fire practice with your AR-15 without having to charge in between shots. An auto-resetting trigger sounds like the perfect thing.
This is not a drop-in trigger kit that you can swap with your trigger. This is not a modification to your existing trigger. This is a drop-in Bolt Carrier Group + magazine that works with your existing trigger. It has the same weight, break, and reset. Your dry fire practice just became 100x more effective and engaging.
Using electromechanical wizardry, BlackBeard allows you to take up to 10 dry fire shots per second, quickly resetting the hammer between each shot. The ultimate AR trigger reset machine.
Installation takes less than a minute. Break open your AR, remove the bolt carrier group, drop in Blackbeard, close your baby up, and put the magazine in place to provide the power. It’s a 20 second change-out. Dry fire away, counting how much money you’re saving with every sweet trigger break and reset that you hear.
Mantis X8 Archery
The Mantis X8 is an archery focused Mantis training aid. In the same vein of the Mantis X7 which was designed specifically for the competitive shotgun shooters. The Mantis X8 gives you real-time data for archers. The Mantis X8 can be used on compound, recurve, and longbows. The price for the Mantis X8 hasn’t been revealed yet. So, hunters and archers stay tuned.
Below are the details we have on the Mantis X8 archery.
NEVER MISS AGAIN
The formula? Stability + Consistency.
When performance is measured, performance improves. The Mantis X8 is a data-driven approach to mastery.
At it’s core, the X8 is a precision IMU (accelerometer + gyroscope + magnetometer) that analyzes movement patterns. The X8 analyzes thousands of data points per second, sending the data to an app that provides real-time feedback on your shooting performance.
The Mantis X8 is designed to answer questions that were previously unanswerable: what about that shot was different? How consistent am I? My body and mind say one thing, but what actually happened?
The data does not lie. And now we finally have access to unprecedented data.
The X8 may change the way you shoot. It certainly will change the way you understand your shooting.
Always Moving Forward
At, the end of the day Mantis Tech doesn’t just continue to improve their existing products. The company continues to innovate and push firearms training further. Prime examples are their forthcoming Blackbeard and Mantis X8 training systems. Innovation, creativity, and problem solving are key traits of Mantis Tech as a company. I am excited to see what Mantis brings to the table in the years ahead.
Mantis Tech has a lot to offer as a company within the firearms industry. The final piece of this spotlight article I want to discuss is the impact that Mantis Tech and their training system has upon the industry. Join me on my final thoughts a la Jerry Springer.
Impact On The Industry
Mantis Tech is a small company with a powerful product. The MantisX is a product that speaks for itself. You don’t need to go shill for it. The MantisX does the work for you. All you have to do is experience the system for yourself to see the benefits. Making believers out of the skeptics. This product just simply works and the access to the wealth of information it gives to shooters and firearms instructors is a game changer.
Mantis did what all successful business do. They saw a problem and solved it. Mantis Tech created a solution to the age old question, “How can I improve as a shooter?” Austin and the other founders created a training system that would help themselves and other shooters become more accurate and proficient shooters.
As, the Mantis brand continues to grow within the community this company will continue to grow also. During that growth Mantis Tech will become a staple in the firearm training community. What Mantis offers to shooters and instructors has revolutionized the whole game.
The MantisX training system empowers the shooter and instructors alike. It gives shooters the knowledge they need to keep themselves accountable. It gives instructors an instant assessment tool for shooters taking their course. Allowing the instructor to diagnose problem areas and to fix them quickly.
The original MantisX revolutionized the game when it was released at the very end of 2015. Since the release of the original MantisX the company has grown and evolved. Creating four different versions of the MantisX training system. Refining the design of the sensor and creating engaging and powerful app. Mantis Tech hasn’t rested on the success of the MantisX but, continued to expand their product lineup. The introduction of Blackbeard and Mantis X8 archery system will only solidify the growth I spoke of a moment ago. While also increasing their brand and market share.
Mantis Tech importance to the industry is powerful and palpable. It may not seem like it now but it is. The MantisX is the premier training system on the market. Just based on the wealth of practical data it gives shooters and instructors. The amount of technology comprised within the MantisX and the data it collects on a shooter is breathtaking. The system gives you quantitative data that let’s you assess your strength and weakness as a shooter like never before. The MantisX can be mounted to pistol, rifle, shotgun, or bow. It’s small and portable and easy to use. You don’t have to buy any extra accessories. It’s just attach, download, and train. That is all you need. The impact of upon the industry is powerful and will only continue to grow because it gives shooters the tools to improve their accuracy and proficiency as a shooter at their fingertips. This type of accessibility can’t be ignored by individuals or the industry.
If you want to learn more about MantisX training system and the MantisX series of products check out MantisX.com.
Thanks For Reading
If you I you enjoyed this post, hit that like button, share it a friend, and subscribe. If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or comments. Please feel free to drop a comment below. Be Humble. Be Savage. Train until only savagery remains and have a great day everyone.