I'll admit that, being a bit of a gun enthusiast, I was more than excited to receive MonsterGecko's PistolMouse FPS. The mouse comes in a myseterious, sleek black box that hides its product behind a fold-away cardboard flap. The "gun" is held upright in the box by clear plastic, and a buxom cartoon babe on the inside of the cardboard flap points a PistolMouse FPS at whoever dares to look inside. Gecko has certainly hit the male stereotype perfectly—heck, if a guy couldn't get excited about a mouse shaped like a gun, much less being held by a well-endowed woman, then I don't think you're much of a gamer.
PistolMouse FPS Box
Was I game enough? If my quick stripping of the mouse's packaging was any indication, I was ready to shoot some things.
Wrapped to KillIt's hard to stress how unlike a mouse the PistolMouse FPS felt when I pulled it out of its box. The mouse is surprisingly heavy and very solid, and save for the extended base it could well be a real gun. It's easily confusible with a light-gun, the type of pointing device where you aim directly at the spot on the screen you wish to shoot at. Thankfully, Gecko's included pamphlet was kind enough to let me know that no, this was not a light gun; this mouse was meant to be plopped on my desk and shuffled around like all those other boring pointing devices I have.
The very first manual page has a parental advisory on it. "The PistolMouse FPS is designed for use with video games that often carry a rating of teen or mature." I hope that finally cued it in for the parents that weren't really concerned about buying their child a gun for a mouse. While there was a diagram page for getting acquainted with the grip of the mouse and the buttons, the instructions for setup were mercifully brief.
1. Plug it in.
Ok, ok, I'm going!
Comfortable KillThe mouse is a very slick design. It's modeled off the Glock-19, a compact gun model that you may have seen characters such as Morpheus in "The Matrix" use, and it fit well to my medium sized hand. The gun is made of military-grade ballistics plastic, and its quality is apparent in its heft. The construction feels like nothing but high-quality materials, and gripping the handle with its firm rubber cushions on either side (as opposed to, say, metal or wood on a real gun) give it a very comfortable feel. The whole device is supported by a plastic stand that protrudes from where the gun's magazine would be loaded, and this extends to the muzzle of the gun. The optical sensor is actually in the front of this stand, not at the back of the gun where your hand is, an important point I'll touch on later.
The trigger serves as your left-click, and an akward right mouse-button rests under the trigger guard. The scroll wheel protrudes from the top of the rubber hand rest on both sides of the gun, making the device easily accesible for both right and left-handers.
It's hard to describe how different it is to use the PistolMouse FPS instead of a regular mouse. Despite its weight, it's not tiresome or clumsy to move around, which is due mostly to the mouse's high sensitivity. As the box and manual say, with an 800 dpi resolution, this mouse is quite responsive. You can tone this down a bit for greater accuracy, but you'll likely enjoy the greater ease of movement with it unchanged so you don't have to haul the mouse from one end of your desk to the other. When you do turn the mouse, you don't simply track it to the right or left; instead, you swivel the gun, keeping the base in place. The sensor in the front of the base of the mouse responds to this turn as opposed to sliding left and right (which is still possible, although akward.) This gives the illusion you're really pointing the gun in your favorite games, even if the gun itself rests on your desk. It also gives you a nice, wider wrist motion that keeps your wrists from straining. Occasionally the rubber pads on the bottom of the gun would catch on my flat desk when I made this motion, which was frustrating in the middle of a gaming session.
Overall, the mouse conformed to my hand very well. Using it for extended periods of time, while requiring my right hand to be elevated, was relatively easy. The rubber grips would give firm support through sweating even as the hours racked up, and the solid anodized aluminum trigger was firm and responsive to the touch, resisting slipping. The rubber grips can actually be removed if your hand isn't large enough to wield the PistolMouse, although I had no problem with them. The right-mouse button became a chore to activate, but the scroll wheel was in a good position for my thumb, making me use a part of my hand not often utilized for mousing. The scroll wheel also incorporates the third button of the mouse, and can be activated by pushing in the wheel from either side of the PistolMouse. It was really a whole hand experience, one that was surprisingly ergonomic and felt very satisfying when it worked.
When it worked? Yes, despite an incredibly solid construction and wicked-looking design, the Gecko team may have forgotten what makes a mouse good for gaming.