If you have some experience dry firing your firearms you know that some guns make for an easy session and others have some extra steps that pull you out of your normal shooting routine. One such platform is the popular Modern Sporting Rifle style rifle, as-is you must reset the trigger through pulling the charging handle, not exactly good for your shooting habits.
Mantis took the first step to making this process better by introducing the Blackbeard Auto-Resetting Trigger System for the AR-15 in 2020. Blackbeard is a single, molded unit that replaces the charging handle and bolt carrier group and has a 20 round magazine for a power bank that gives your AR-15 an auto-resetting trigger. This eliminated all those extra motions and training scars and allowed the user to practice with their gun, trigger, scope and every other customization added to the rifle. The Mantis Blackbeard made leaps and bounds in AR-15 dryfire practice, so much so in fact that it received the NRA Golden Bullseye Award in 2022 for Accessory of the year, but we weren't done with Blackbeard yet.
At Mantis we are all about improvement and while we had just won a prestigious award we were not ready to rest on our laurels and immediately set to work on the next generation of Blackbeard. This led us to combine our flagship product MantisX with Blackbeard, making way for the king of AR-15 dryfire, BlackbeardX. Now, just a year later we have added another popular rifle to our BlackbeardX lineup, the MCX by SIG Sauer.
The BlackbeardX, for both AR-15 and MCX, use the same system design as the original except we have exchanged the magazine for a standard 30 round size and added the MantisX technology to it. MantisX may be our flagship product but it is always improving and this is no exception. BlackbeardX connects to our existing MantisX Pistol/Rifle app, just like all MantisX devices, but it also unlocks our BBX Dynamic drills. These drills give you an in-depth dynamic shooting analysis that shows your efficiency in high-speed, multi-target engagement, your economy of motion across multiple dimensions, and real-time feedback on where and how you can improve your dynamic shooting.
There are nearly a dozen dynamic drills and slew of analysis tools as well as courses but stay tuned for more as the MantisX Pistol/Rifle app is updated regularly with new drills, courses, and features. As always there is no subscription, if we add anything to the app you get it immediately for free. In case you're wondering this goes for all of our apps, we want training to be affordable and easily accessible so we never charge to update our apps. We will leave you to explore the drills but allow us to show you what we have to offer with our in-depth dynamic shooting analysis.
Understanding BlackbeardX Scores
Each of the dynamic shooting drills gives you an Efficiency score between 0 and 100 based on a combination of three factors. Each of those three factors are also scored, both individually for each shot and as an average score for that factor. You want to score as high as you can across all factors. The three factors are transition path, over-travel, and on-target delay.
Transition Path Score
The most efficient path between two targets is a straight line so this score will decrease as you deviate from that straight line path. A shooter may think they are moving smoothly but in shooting the smallest of movements can make a big difference, now there is a way to measure that path and make adjustments. The more efficient the path is the more effective the shooting will be. Everything relating to the transition path score is shown in blue in the BBX drills in the app.
Multi-target transitions are often accompanied by moving the gun past or through a target before coming back to take the shot. This often happens when the shooter uses the gun and sights to search for the next target, instead you want your eyes to transition independent of the sights to the target and then bring the gun over to the target. If we do this we are less likely to overtravel as we already know where the target is. As you get better at this it will seem like you are using the gun, but you are not, your eyes are just enough ahead to see the target and allow your sights to land exactly where you are looking. To help with this BlackbeardX will quantify the over-travel movement into a score and in the trace view you can actually watch the path of the rifle and see what that over-travel path was. Everything relating to the over-travel score is shown in yellow in the BBX drills in the app.
On-target Delay Score
Most shooters delay on target for longer than they need to, this means while you are on target your mind has not yet decided to shoot. So this metric tells you exactly how long your delay was, and how much faster you could go with the same level of accuracy. Many of us wait for that perfectly still sight picture and that costs time, so now that you have a metric for it you can work to improve it and actually see if you are. Everything relating to the on-target delay score is shown in orange in the BBX drills in the app.
BlackbeardX uses these factors to give you an overall Efficiency score for each shot and the average of the session, but you can see the individual scores for each shot in each factor and the session average for each factor as well. We also show this in a trace view which allows you to play each shot from beginning to end with a breakdown for each factor by color. The way BlackbeardX combines these metrics with a visualization of your shooting scenario gives the shooter clarity and understanding they never had access to before.
We know there is already a lot being analyzed in our dynamic scoring system but we wanted to give you some helpful tools to supplement the scoring factors, so we have a few additional features to share with you.
When using BlackbeardX you can compare your session to previous sessions or those of other shooters. Every dimension is comparatively scored, with overlaid visualizations to easier distill strengths/weaknesses and consistencies/inconsistencies. In the list view of your session the app colorizes each score highlighting if it was better (green) or worse (red) in your current session to the compared session, while in the trace view you can see a split screen comparison shot for shot for each scoring factor. These comparison views allow you to break down your shooting technique and work on the places that need it most, all while tracking your progress. For example, if you compare two sessions of shooting the Box Drill you might notice your transition within one target is efficient but when transitioning to a second target there is some overtravel. Being able to see these inconsistencies allows you to pinpoint weaknesses in your technique and really hone in on correcting it.
One of the scoring factors is the transition path but that doesn’t show the whole story so we’ve added a heat trace to the transition path. There is a fire icon on the trace view that allows you to enable heat trace so you will be able to see any changes in speed that may be impacting your movements and inversely how your movement may be impacting your speed changes. So not only can you optimize the pathway from one target to another you can see if speed is a factor in the smoothness of the transition path, the distance of over-travel and if it caused an on-target delay. Ideally, the heat trace would show the first half as fast in red and the second half as slowing down in blue as the target comes into your sight picture.
Swipe to the left to see the phase times view which shows a detailed shot by shot breakdown of how long you stayed on target post shot, how much time was spent transitioning, and how much time you spent on target pre-shot, any delay of shooting once on target, as well as the splits. To attempt to minimize the time spent in each phase, use the average column to see your progress in improving the overall quality of your dynamic shots.
The BBX drills each have their own settings section where you can set the allowable/acceptable on-target delay, start buzzer delay, shot count, repeats, ready position, and par time. This gives you the ability to push and push until you find your breaking point, then back off the requirements and keep pressing forward to fight for that next step of improvement. We all plateau when learning skills and knowing just where that line is allows you to keep pushing up against it until you breakthrough and that is how you squeeze every ounce of improvement you can out of your practice session.
Already own a Blackbeard system?
Now you may be thinking “I already own a MantisX and Blackbeard, can’t I just use them together and get the same results?”. While you can and should use a standard Blackbeard with any dry fire MantisX system it won’t have the extra dynamic drills and features discussed here. The BlackbeardX magazine power bank has more power packed into it than you’d think and is also what gives the system the ability to perform in-depth dynamic shooting analysis.
Don’t worry if you already have a Blackbeard system though, we’ve got you covered. You can purchase the BlackbeardX magazine on its own and pair it with your original Blackbeard bolt carrier group unit or contact us about our trade-in program.
We’re excited about the all new BlackbeardX for the SIG MCX and so is the rest of the shooting industry. Take a look at what people are saying. You can get your BlackbeardX here and the MantisX Pistol/Rifle app in the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store.