Category Archives: Other Nifty Stuff

MantisX Handgun Training Doohickey Initial Impressions

When I received an email offering a product called MantisX for review, I said to myself, “what the heck is a MantisX?” Now I know, and I’m excited for what MantisX portends.

This video is not a full review of all features and details regarding the MantisX handgun training system, but it does cover the basic operation of the unit and my initial impressions.

Garmin Tracking Unit – GTU-10

I often venture “off the beaten path” alone, and while this is fun and rewarding, it’s not the safest thing in the world. I let people know where I’m going and when I’ll be back, and have various signaling and communication devices with me, but there’s nothing quite like having your location monitored at all times.

I don’t think I need to explain GPS technology to anyone. It seems that everything has a GPS in it nowadays, and we’ve come a long way from the bulky units I first started using about 15 years ago, or even my beat-up 6 year old Garmin ETrex. Take, for example, the Garmin GTU-10, which Dark Mountain Research/BestSurvivalShop loaned to me for a recent hiking trip. It’s slightly larger than a cigarette lighter and weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, it didn’t tell me where I was, but it gave some people back home the ability to track my exact location at all times.

Hey look! There are you.

It comes with a nifty little case, attached to which is a small carabiner. I clipped this carabiner to my belt loop, and, quite frankly, forgot that the GTU 10 was there. It was so small and light that it had absolutely no effect on anything I did, and it occupied a space that I normally wouldn’t have attached anything to, which is nice when I only have a few pockets or holders for various items.

There’s only one button – power – and one indicator light. It tells you that it’s on and has a signal, then the light goes out to save battery power. Although the device has no “help me” button, it does notify the people who have authority to track it if it’s been turned off. We worked out a system – if the device was turned off and on three times in five minutes, I was in trouble. Luckily, I didn’t need to use this feature.

On the way home, I threw the GTU-10 in the trunk of my car to see if it’d still be able to transmit my location – it did (Luckily for me, it doesn’t track speeds).

The GTU-10 has some other nifty features that I didn’t use, such as the “geofence” – draw a line on the map, or a box, and the system will alert you if the unit crosses that area. With this, you could keep an eye on your kids, or dog, or…well, pretty much anything. Garmin mentions tracking luggage with this device – for people who travel with firearms, this relatively inexpensive device could be a good insurance policy against the expensive loss of a firearm or two.

Battery life, according to Garmin, is between one day and one month, depending on how you use it. It had no problems on my two-day trip, and frankly, I don’t know how you could run the battery down in a day – it’s not like this thing has a color screen that you can watch Dexter on. It has a specific task to accomplish, and it does that very well.

Thanks again to Kino at Dark Mountain Research for the loan.

Turning a Wheelchair into a “Light Armed Vehicle”

A number of the firearms you have seen reviewed on this blog, such as the SCARs, the FNAR, and the FNX-9, among others, were loaned to me by my friend “ferris2son,” as he is known on various firearms forums as well as this blog. He’s wheelchair-bound, but wasn’t willing to give up on shooting, so he came up with the idea to mount a rifle to his wheelchair. Using some barstock and a KZ Gooseneck mount, he’s able to attach just about any rifle that has a bottom picatinny rail, such as the Sig 556 you see in this video.

This was all well and good, but he still needed assistance when it came to pulling the trigger. Enter the Be Adaptive 12v trigger device, which attaches to the rifle and allows him to pull the trigger by “sipping” from a straw-like attachment on the device. Depending on how hard or with what cadence he sips on the straw, it apparently has a tendency to “double tap” – but I doubt that this is really much of a problem.

Although there was a minor malfunction in that the Troy rear sight wasn’t attached properly and thus fell off, the system appears to work very well. I think the next step is some sort of robotic reloading device, so that he can shoot mag after mag without assistance.

Multitasker Tube

I really like the Mulititasker Series 2, as you can see in this review. There were a few things I wasn’t enamored with, but overall, it’s a very high quality and useful tool. The Tube is a reduced form factor AR-specific tool, which I review here. I am not really sold on many of the Tube’s tool attachments, or its large case, but do think it would be nice to have in certain situations. If I had to pick just one of the Multitasker tools to buy, though, it would not be the Tube.

ToolsAviation/PowerPax Battery Caddies

I’ve come across a number of items that never really appealed to me – such as this “Battery Caddy” - before I actually used them. When I received two examples as a gift (during the AR15.com Christmas Exchange), I thought, “What are these for? Holding batteries? What’s wrong with just having them in a box?” Then, as I said, I started using them, and found them to be very practical devices.

They’re injection molded polymer, and the 4xCR123 and 4xAA examples that I own weigh less than an ounce “unloaded”. As you can see, they’ll hold a variety of standard and rechargeable batteries – above, from left to right, Surefire CR123, TrustFire 16340, Tenergy RCR123A, and Tenergy CR123s fit just fine. Batteries are easy to remove with just a firm push of a thumb or finger, but I’ve never had one fall out or even partially slide out inadvertently. I’ve found them to be an excellent alternative to other battery holders, which are often flimsy and have lids that aren’t very secure – while I haven’t intentionally abused one, I’ve accidentally dropped both examples on hard surfaces without any negative effects to speak of.

The battery terminals are protected, even if you don’t slide them in the “right” way. As you can see, they’re available in a tan color, as well as OD green, red, yellow, orange, black, clear, and “Moonshine” – glow in the dark.

$4.95 seemed a little pricey to me at first, but it’s pretty reasonable for what you get, now that I’ve used them for a while. It’s nice to just grab a “pack” or two for a long trip, rather than having half a dozen batteries rolling around inside a suitcase or backpack.