December 14, 2022
By Ben LaLonde
Growing up, I was told repeatedly that you should never dry-fire your firearms. The biggest fear was causing irreparable damage to the gun. Modern materials and manufacturing allow for better built, more reliable firearms that can take the “abuse” of dry-firing. After diving into the world of competition shooting a few years ago, I learned to appreciate the value dry-fire brings to the table.
Before I go further, I should preface this article with a word of warning. Never dry-fire a rimfire gun. Due to their design, the firing pin can come into unwanted contact with the breach of the chamber. This will lead to premature wear, and in many cases, damage to your chamber, firing pin, or both. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at a few benefits that come from dry fire practice.
Pistol Dry-Fire Benefits
Dry-firing gives you the opportunity, with a safe and unloaded gun, to practice and perfect weapon manipulations. Trigger press, drawing from concealment, magazine changes and faster target acquisition are just a few things you can practice in the comfort of your own home. When I first started dry-firing my competition pistol, I had no more than my gun, holster and a cheap paper target taped to the wall. These were enough to get my hands on the gun every single day. I started slow, and as my movements became more fluid, I picked up the pace. This routine allowed me to adapt when I got my first carry pistol. I was able to practice drawing from holster positions I hadn’t tried before. It helped me see where my weaknesses were and gave me muscle memory training without even firing a single round.
Fast forward to today, my dry-fire regimen isn’t what it once was, but with the Laser Academy Training Kit from MantisX, I’m able to get the most out of even the shortest of sessions. MantisX offers a host of products that help shooters train when they’re not at the range. I first heard about them a few years ago when their rail-mounted sensors were hitting the market. The sensors track the user’s input into the firing process, then the device and app analyze the data and give the shooter instant feedback on how they can improve.
The Laser Academy gives you both physical and interactive app-based training options to incorporate into your dry-fire regimen. The training kit comes with everything you need to turn your house into an indoor dry-fire range. Full sets of paper targets feature smart-device technology that interfaces with the Laser Academy app. The kit comes with different methods for mounting the targets, whether table-top with the metal bases, or wall mounted with the included sheets of tacky adhesive. The targets range in design from scaled IPSC and IDPA targets, to Bullseye and even dartboard-style targets.
MantisX Laser Academy Kit
When you purchase the full Laser Academy training kit, it includes a caliber-specific laser cartridge that drops into the chamber of your firearm of choice. You choose one of many options of the most common pistol calibers on the market. When you pull your trigger, the firing pin strikes the rubber switch at the back and gives you a momentary laser flash on your target. If the laser doesn’t align perfectly with your sights, don’t stress it! You can calibrate the laser impacts in the app so it accounts for the offset. With both my 9mm SIG Sauer P226 and Glock 19, I found almost perfect sight alignment when about 10 to 15 feet away.
Also included in the standard kit are tripods and a phone clamp to hold your phone when using the Laser Academy app. Speaking of the app, if you download the free version, it comes with four training modes. The complete Laser Academy Training Kit comes with an all-access code to use the app to its fullest extent. Whether doing single-shot, single-target drills or using multiple targets, you select the training program you want to use. There is even an option to shoot against others also using their own laser cartridge. Along with the smart targets is the “Control Target.” When it is in place, you can start and stop training sessions entirely hands-free by dry-firing the laser cartridge on the control target.
Plain standalone shooting, coming up from low ready, drawing from the holster and more provides seemingly endless training styles, and more programs will be added as Mantis develops them. The Laser Academy can be used in conjunction with their X series of data sensors as well as the Blackbeard and all-new BlackbeardX trigger-resetting devices for AR rifles and pistols.
After using the Laser Academy for a few weeks and running it through its paces, I found that it does bring my dry-fire training to the next level. While there was nothing wrong with the repetitive actions I was used to, the Laser Academy has improved my training. It gives me set objectives and tracks the number of rounds fired. I can save my results and compare them over time to see how my mechanics as a shooter progress. If you find yourself bored with basic dry-fire repetition, take a look at the Laser Academy from MantisX to crank things up and push yourself further.