To hell with ammo prices as of late. They are slowly slipping downwards but still remain higher than all of 2016 to 2019 prices. Yet, training can’t cease. You work so hard to build those skills just to see them slowly decrease over time. Dry fire can help, but it can only go so far. The Mantis Blackbeard promises to take your dry fire a step further.
Mantis Blackbeard, You Say
Dry fire is critical to skill development, but it doesn’t go very far beyond training for pure accuracy. How do you keep yourself current in your ability to transition between targets? Track your red dot (or other reticles.) Or work speed into your training? Well, with traditional dry fire, that tends to be tough to accomplish.
The Blackbeard from Mantis is a simple device that’s a two-piece system. The first is a drop-in bolt replacement complete with a built-in, nonfunctioning charging handle. The second part is a’ magazine’ that slides into the magwell. Both pieces are bright red and incredibly distinctive from genuine parts. Both are made entirely from polymer, and it’s impossible to mistake the real thing for the Mantis Blackbeard and vice versa.
Safety is a big deal, and seeing a weapon equipped with the Mantis instantly is essential before you start dry firing. So we know it’s safe, but what the hell does it all matter? Is it just a safety device? No, I’ve teased you long enough. The Blackbeard combines a drop-in laser system with a tool that automatically resets your trigger.
The ‘magazine’ is actually a battery that connects to the bolt to power the system from 10,000 trigger pulls per charge. When combined, you have what promises to be the most efficient dry fire training system on the market.
How The Blackbeard Works
The worst part about dry firing isn’t just the action of racking your rifle over and over to take a single ‘shot’ and experience the trigger break. It’s a hassle and makes dry fire slow and often tedious. I always say you get about 15 minutes of good practice before your mind wanders. The Blackbeard bolt and bolt solve that problem.
The electric bolt has a device that automatically resets the trigger for you—no need to try and grab the fake charging handle to charge the dang thing. Just pull the trigger, and the device will automatically reset the trigger for you. You hear a cool noise, almost like a Transformer, and boom, your trigger is reset.
This isn’t a big slow affair that takes a minute to reset properly. It’s rapid and takes no time at all. The Blackbeard can reset the trigger about ten times in a second. So you can crank the trigger over and over and won’t outrun the device. Whenever you pull that trigger, the bolt doesn’t just auto-reset the trigger.
It also ‘fires’ or, I guess, emits a laser. Each trigger pull gives you a sweet red beam to track where you are hitting, just like a laser cartridge or SIRT gun.
Setting Up the Mantis Blackbeard
The Blackbeard is a pure drop-in system. Pop-out the bolt, drop in the Mantis. I will say it’s a tight fit. I have to really squeeze the lower and upper together to push in the rear takedown pin. The battery/magazine is also a tight fit. It glides in smoothly but won’t just fall out. That tight fit is valuable. Lord forbid you to hit the magazine release and send your battery crashing to the floor.
I set my Mantis Blackbeard up with my Colt/BMC gun, with the RMT Nomad trigger. The Nomad trigger is a light, drop-in trigger system that’s brilliant for live-fire shooting. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked with the Blackbeard without issue. The hammer is smaller, the trigger pull is light, and it’s not precisely Mil-Spec. Yet, it functioned without issue.
The trigger pull doesn’t change even a little. You don’t have to tune anything either. Your trigger pull for the Blackbeard is the same as your trigger pull with regular dry fire or live fire. Every time I pulled the trigger, the gun went bang. Or well, the weapon made the transformer noise anyway.
Getting On Target
Each time I pulled the trigger, the tiny red laser hit the target, reset the trigger and let me roll once more. As you’d imagine, the Blackbeard allows you to adjust the laser to match your sights or optic. An optional mode keeps the laser on and makes it easy to adjust to your optic. The adjustments for windage and elevation are accessible from the ejection port, so it’s super easy to adjust to your optic.
Because it’s so easy to adjust, and you can move it between weapons easily enough. Also, you can adjust the laser to represent mechanical offset and training for super close-range shooting or just adjust it to your optic’s point of aim.
Much to my wife’s chagrin, I set up a few targets and practiced running drills. I ran failure to stop drills, VTAC 1-5 drills, modified El Presidente drills (no reload), and simple snap drills. I practiced pieing corners and taking shots, I practiced switching shoulders and taking shots, and I worked a number of skills I couldn’t do without going live.
The Blackbeard made it fun, and I could do it in the comfort of my home. I could listen to music, not wear pants, etc. The only thing I wanted to train and really couldn’t was reloading. You can’t lock the bolt or work the charging handle either. So you’re stuck with live fire or non-Mantis dry firing.
Moans and Gripes
I have a few moans and gripes. First, my charging port was installed incorrectly. I had to pop the device apart and reconfigure it to allow charging. Second, man, it takes a long time to fully charge. Other than that, it’s tough to be made at the system. The Blackbeard works extremely well and makes training easy and fun.
All the Other Stuff
The Blackbeard offers you red, green, or IR laser options. I’d suggest going red, especially if you want to use laser targets that are on the market. I’m using it with a free cell phone app to identify threats, and Mantis offers the Laser Training Academy that will also work with the Blackbeard.
Ultimately, the Mantis Blackbeard is one of the best training tools currently on the market. It’s super simple to use and a ton of fun to use. My two kiddos even got interested in the Blackbeard and had a ton of fun with the system. The Mantis Blackbeard has become a must-have as far as I’m concerned. It will pay for itself in no time, with the cost of ammo being what it is.
Now can they make a reciprocating pistol slide that does the same…?
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