Unless you’ve been living with a lush sponsorship, the ammo shortages of 2020 and 2021 have hit us all hard. But the dry-fire Laser Training Academy by Mantis can allow the individual to continue training and work complex drills regardless on the availability of ammunition. But the Laser Training Academy can be expanded further by bringing in other Mantis devices, such as the MantisX Elite or the Blackbeard AR Dry Fire System.
What’s in the Box?
Inside the Mantis Laster Training Academy are elements that bring the dry fire training program together and include:
Portable Laser Training Academy Kit
- Caliber-Specific Laser Insert: Inserted into the chamber of the firearm, the cartridge includes a rear button pad that when contacted with the hammer of a handgun emits a beam down the length of the barrel. The trigger must be reset each time for the laser to be ready for the next shot.
- Sets of 5×7 and 8×11 Smart Targets: With QR Code specific corners, the targets are used to register the shot as recorded by the phone or smart device. Various targets are included for a variety of drills that test accuracy and speed.
- Mini Tripod: For smartphones and best when traveling or needed in a portable scenario (such as in an office space or room) where a table or desk can be used to support the training event.
- Dowel Rod for Laser Insert Removal: To safely remove the laser insert from the chamber with no risk of marring the interior surfaces of the firearm.
Mid-Sized Tripod: For use in larger, room-sized available training scenarios where floor space can be utilized and the smart device can be mounted in full view of the target area.
Target Stand Holders (x5)
How It Comes Together
When you purchase the Mantis Laster Training Academy a full-access code is provided to the Mantis Laser Academy application, which includes multiple interactive drills, diagnostic applications and data. Some of the available training modes immediately available are:
- Open Shooting (Single Target): This is the basic shooting mode that allows the end-user to track progress over time.
- Shot from Guard/Low-Ready (One Shot): On command, this mode allows end-users to track shot time and accuracy.
- Duel (Single Shot): Done with a partner, on command two individuals can compete for fastest timed shot-on-target.
- Bullseye (Five Shots): An untimed mode with no commands to evaluate accuracy v scoring, and time.
- And more
The Mantis Laster Training Academy is available in a variety of common pistol calibers (such as 9mm) and .223/5.56.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Excellent (5/5): At a cost of $149 for the entire kit, the Mantis Laster Training Academy brings together all elements, targets, and everything needed to turn your favorite indoor space into a full-on dry-fire range. Mantis does sell each of the components separately should you need replacements or want to order more. It’s difficult to find an equal market comparator as many companies may have the laser firing device and targets, such as from LaserLyte, but for similar price lack the app or training programming that gives you such diagnostic feedback. Other companies, like SIRT, have complete mockups of firearms that accomplish the same function but for significantly more. For its price, this makes the Training Academy an excellent price for what is included.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): Setup of the Training Academy was extremely user-friendly with a step-by-step tutorial immediately launching once you download the app. The app itself also walks the user through hardware setup, and several drills intended to build familiarity with the app and functions, such as laser off-set adjustment and timed drills. Additionally, there was audio cues (such as “Shooter Ready” and a timer beep) that helped guide the end-user for commands. Perhaps the only aspects of recommended improvement to Mantis would be first to make the coupon code included in the kit easier to find and enter into the app – it wasn’t intuitive but hidden away in the profile settings, and a pop-up screen immediately following the setup walk-through would be an easy addition to the programming. Secondly, the buttonology in smaller devices (such as on an iPhone) conflicted with the screen space where the tripod mount or phone case was. Larger devices (such as an iPad) had more screen space to alleviate that problem. So perhaps reexamining the layout would be recommended.
- Durability – Average (3/5): Durability-wise, the various elements to the Laser Training Academy held up appropriately (or of average) over time and use, with the paper 5×7 and 8×11 Smart Targets made of thick construction paper wearing in first. The target stands worked best with the smaller 5×7 targets, but failed to correctly hold the larger 8×7 targets because of the overall size and weight of paper. Hanging the 8×7 targets on the walls with tape or putty helped eliminate the folding-over, but doing so also had the most adverse effect on the paper itself. One idea for users to resolve this would be perhaps to laminate the targets to increase durability to the paper. The button on the laser firing device received the bulk of use by being struck from the pistol’s hammer with each shot, but the button’s rubberized pad mitigated much of the contact and would most likely hold up over extensive time and use. Moreover, the laser’s internal components held up well over the evaluation despite multiple slide movements and did not lose calibration/zero, nor fail to emit light at any point. Perhaps the elements with the least durability over time and use (aside from the paper targets) was the tripods, as they were made from a wire frame (mini tripod) or thin aluminum (mid-tripod) and felt frail from the onset. The mid-tripod was particularly difficult as its mast-type design lacked proper stability. As targets were scanned by the app to register, lightly touching the screen’s “START” button would cause the slightest movement and trigger the app to re-register the scan again. Using a larger, robust photography tripod resolved this issue.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally; considered as a whole, the laser firing device, targets, in-app drills and diagnostic data that gave real-time feedback—it’s extremely hard to beat the Laser Academy as a comprehensive dry-fire training package. The core function to the Laser Academy is the app, which was diverse in its selection and ability to blend the hardware with training improvement. However the app is also somewhat glitchy, with the drill’s target scanning sometimes missing shots, or when the screen was touched it registered a shot when none was taken. Otherwise, with the extensive targets and drills (even a training program) there is a lot for pistol work. But where Mantis took it to the next level was the ability to integrate other Mantis products into the Laser Training Academy regimen, such as adding the Blackbeard to your AR and then combining some rifle drills into the same app. Even further, by adding the X10 Elite device to your preferred firearm while doing Laster Academy drills, you could get further in-depth data using the MantisX app with some of the untimed basic drills. However, both the Laser Training Academy app and the MantisX app are completely separate programs with separate drills, and thus there was no means to stream data into the other simultaneously (i.e. run specific MantisX app drills, and have the same data feed into the Laser Training Academy). So as to avoid the confusion of running both apps on the same device simultaneously, it is recommended to run them on separate devices to maintain the training efficiency. This is somewhat beyond the scope of the Laser Training Academy as a singular product, and thus not viewed as a negative aspect to the product, merely its extreme limitation (which is still far more than any other competitor’s product line).
- Weight – Average (3/5): The Portable Laser Training Academy Kit (in 9mm) itself weighed in at 16.6 ounces (to include case and all associated documentation). The actual 9mm laser firing device itself was just a demure 8 grams. While the mid-sized tripod weighed 12.4 ounces, and the five target stand holders 8.3 ounces total. All of these are of an appropriate (or average) weight for the materials used either in hardware or packaging. The important item here is the laser firing device which sits inside the barrel of your preferred firearm. And at such a small weight, its inclusion is hardly felt in the overall weight of the gun, nor off-balances it while conducting drills. Some weight was spared on things like the mid-sized tripod (as opposed to a full-sides photography tripod) by using thinner material, but at an obvious detriment to the item’s durability.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.