The best dry fire training systems to save on ammo


When we tested the Mantis Blackbeard Trigger Reset System, it was a high-performing item for anyone looking to get more rifle practice without spending a ton of money. A system that replaces the bolt carrier group and magazine of most AR-15 rifles, the Blackbeard allows the user to not alter the trigger pull of their weapon, and have visual feedback of where the “round” goes. The system consists of the bolt carrier replacement, which can house an adjustable laser and which also contains a motor that resets your trigger, as well as a battery pack that fits into the magazine well of the rifle like a normal magazine. To complement this, the Blackbeard can be used with the Mantis Laser Academy app, which allows for virtual target scoring for drills and games. Overall, for rifle training, it’s hard to outdo the Mantis Blackbeard, especially for indoor close-quarter training situations.

The Mantis Blackbeard excels in close-quarters rifle training, operating as a simple drop-in kit to give you realistic trigger reset. The biggest advantage to this is that it’s totally safe, due to making your rifle completely inoperable when properly installed, which means that you can theoretically use this for force-on-force or live hostage rescue. It’s also totally platform agnostic as long as you use an AR platform rifle, meaning you can use it with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 or a military issue M4 with no extra steps. The biggest advantage, however, is that it lets you keep your trigger pull, meaning that if you’re like my friend, you can drop this into your super-expensive Radian Model 1 or LMT MARS (he has both) and appreciate the improved trigger pull that both bring with dry fire and with live fire. In my own testing, the Blackbeard greatly assisted with trigger control training, getting into a good rhythm of pressing and releasing the trigger, preventing short stroking.

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The Blackbeard has no recoil or force feedback, and basically just functions as a trigger reset device and laser projector. This isn’t like the CoolFire on our list that actually provides force feedback, or the SIRT pistol, so you won’t get that simulated recoil impulse. Another thing is that even if you do use the app, it doesn’t track things like weapon or trigger control, so you won’t get the same input that you get with the Mantis X on this list. Finally, the app that you need to get training metrics from, Mantis Laser Academy, is extremely temperamental. It costs a fair chunk of money, doesn’t work in daylight, requires a tripod to use, and needs extensive setup to work properly, making this a decidedly indoor dry fire training system.

The Mantis Blackbeard is a laser trainer and trigger reset system that converts any rifle into a training rifle, and for those purposes, it’s nearly perfect. Allowing shooters to conduct dry fire training with their actual trigger pull, and without requiring them to manually reset the hammer, is extremely helpful, and the issues with not tracking motion and trigger control can be solved by adding a Mantis X device to the rifle to work in conjunction, although that lowers the value proposition significantly.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>