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View Full Version : Dry Firing - When is it good, when is it bad?


bgoldber
11-26-2012, 9:32 AM
As the post title suggests, I'm trying to get a feel for when it is a not so good idea to Dry Fire a weapon. Not necessarily for any personal reason, but I don't like the idea of causing unnecessary wear to anything.

Can you give any specific examples of what type of damage can be caused by dry firing and how that impacts the weapon overall? Are certain types of guns (i.e. Revolvers, striker fired, rimfire, etc.) prone to damage or is it simply weapon specific?

I hope this becomes an enlightening conversation.

Mr310
11-26-2012, 9:52 AM
Are we talking with or without a snap cap? I wouldn't dry fire anything without one personally, but you need to worry about doing it with rimfires and older center fire revolvers and 1911s especially, or so I've heard.

skyscraper
11-26-2012, 9:58 AM
^^Modern 1911's can be dry fired without issue.

fouber
11-26-2012, 9:58 AM
Uses snap caps when dry firing.

speedrrracer
11-26-2012, 10:04 AM
System specific...use snap caps and dry fire as much as you can

skyscraper
11-26-2012, 10:05 AM
I dry fire my glocks and 1911's for practice all the time. It's not an issue.

I just wouldn't dry fire someone else's gun without asking.

Saym14
11-26-2012, 10:17 AM
it wont harm center fires. I know folks who litterally do it thousadns of times on a a gun. its great and cheap practice.

far from tactical
11-26-2012, 10:45 AM
Just use snap caps and you should be good

reckoner
11-26-2012, 11:00 AM
With rimfires, it's very much model-specific whether or not you can dry fire without damaging the breech face.

For example, it's perfectly safe to dry fire my 10/22 and Beretta Neos, but I can't dry fire my M&P 22, and I basically ruined a Henry Survival .22 with dry fire.

Snap caps can help with dry firing rimfires, at least for the 3 or so dry fires you can get in before the snap cap is destroyed.

InGrAM
11-26-2012, 11:09 AM
Rule of thumb is "centerfire + dry fire = OK", "rimfire + dry fire = Not OK"

I wouldn't worry about dry firing any handgun other than .22's and percussion revolvers.

If you are worried about wear then use snap caps, but they are not needed in most center-fire firearms. I dry fire many of my firearms constantly, it is good sight and trigger control practice. Well worth any sort of nonexistent wear you might cause to the firearm.

Dakine_surf
11-26-2012, 11:21 AM
While I agree about .22's with some it is ok. As someone stated it is very much model specific, such as the Ruger MkIII and I believe most of the MKII's as well. They have a pin that blocks the firing pin from striking the breech face. IIRC the MKI's did not have this feature.

Fishslayer
11-26-2012, 11:43 AM
Dry firing with most .22 rimfires is a no no. They can peen the chamber edge.

Some models of the Ruger P series .45s can destroy their firing pins when dry fired without a mag in the well. The fix? Riger put a paragraph in the manual saying not to dry fire without a mag in the well. :facepalm:

drifter2be
11-26-2012, 11:49 AM
it wont harm center fires. I know folks who litterally do it thousadns of times on a a gun. its great and cheap practice.

That's a pretty big generalization. Certain guns, like several KelTec center fire pistols, use the extractor screw as a firing pin stop, after several dry fires the end of the screw gets battered and needs to be replaced...if it doesn't strip the threads out of the slide when being removed and force an entire slide replacement.

Don't be a cheap ***, buy a couple snap caps and not take the risk that something could get damaged. That's my motto and why I have several snap caps in every caliber I shoot.

bgoldber
11-26-2012, 12:51 PM
The only gun I've ever had anyone tell me not to dry fire was a browning hi-power. I have some snap-caps for my 9mm, and I don't really dry fire my revolvers.

BamBam-31
11-26-2012, 2:12 PM
That's a pretty big generalization. Certain guns, like several KelTec center fire pistols, use the extractor screw as a firing pin stop, after several dry fires the end of the screw gets battered and needs to be replaced...if it doesn't strip the threads out of the slide when being removed and force an entire slide replacement.

Don't be a cheap ***, buy a couple snap caps and not take the risk that something could get damaged. That's my motto and why I have several snap caps in every caliber I shoot.

Most modern pistols can handle thousands of dry fires without breaking. Snap caps are cheap insurance, but there's no insurance for cheaply made guns.

Bug Splat
11-26-2012, 3:04 PM
I see no reason not to invest in snap caps. I dry fire my pistols A LOT, 50k a year maybe on some of them. I have broken firing pins and firing pin bars on pistols that say its perfectly fine to dryfire. I doubt they were expecting someone like me who dry fires a lot. I don't care what a manufacturer says, I will always use some type of snap cap on any gun. Its super easy to make your own from used casings if you don't want to spend the few bucks.

MalC
11-26-2012, 3:13 PM
Will an empty brass case (w/ spent primer) provide the same protection as a snap cap? If so, how much could you dry fire on a single case?

stix213
11-26-2012, 3:17 PM
If the manufacturer says not to dry fire, then I wouldn't dry fire. Any firearm that you're thinking of dry firing, I'd do an internet search to see if there are recommendations against that for that gun.

For example, my Keltec PF-9 is not supposed to be dry fired because it can cause a specific problem.

JMP
11-26-2012, 3:21 PM
It is ALWAYS good, as long as it doesn't damage the weapon (like rimfire).

Bug Splat
11-26-2012, 3:35 PM
Will an empty brass case (w/ spent primer) provide the same protection as a snap cap? If so, how much could you dry fire on a single case?

No, the primer is already crushed and will provide little to no protection. Take a spent case, pop out the primer, cut a small chunk of hard rubber and fit it in the hole, cut flush and you are done. I have cut out small rubber pieces from the handle of hammers, the side of a mallet or any other rubber tool I have in the garage that can stand a primer size piece cut out of it. I like to paint my homemade snap-caps with a red or green sharpie so I can clearly see what it is while in the chamber. You never want to get used to pulling the trigger at home with a brass colored case in the chamber so its a good idea to paint them something different.

IVC
11-26-2012, 4:58 PM
Dry firing is always model specific, much like the question of whether you can carry "cocked and locked." Two guns might look very similar, but it's the internal details that will make all the difference.

Rimfires are more likely *not to* handle dry fire well, since the firing pin can hit the breach face if not internally restrained. Centerfires are more likely to be good to go since the firing pin is aligned with the center of the barrel and must be stopped at some point internally, without hitting the frame.

All said, some older revolvers with firing pin on the hammer should not be dry fired even though they are centerfire - the hammer can fall apart. Some well known rimfires, e.g., S&W 41 should not be dry fired because the pin will hit the frame. On the other hand, most of the modern guns can be dry fired as much as you want. The best way to decide is to read the manual. If it says it's okay, go for it.

CrippledPidgeon
11-26-2012, 6:50 PM
Technically dry firing is going to accelerate wear on the internals of any gun.

I've dry fired all of my handguns more than I've actually fired live ammo through them. And yes, that wears the internals, but on the other hand, I'm far more familiar with those firearms than if I hadn't.

You don't want to dry fire rimfires because the rim and primer get squished between the firing pin and the rear of the chamber. Without the cartridge there, you risk the firing pin smashing against the steel barrel, denting and eventually breaking the tip of the firing pin.

Horton Fenty
11-26-2012, 7:12 PM
Wish I would of invented snap caps.

Mac Attack
11-26-2012, 7:21 PM
I dry fire quite often with everything but my .22's. Back in the 90's I made my own snap caps by taking a deprimed case and filling the primer pocket with shoe Goo. I actually read about it from one of the gun rags I subscribed to back then. Now a days its easier to just buy some snap caps.

Caribouriver
11-26-2012, 9:01 PM
Yellow drywall (#6x3/4"?) screw anchors have worked well for me as .22 LR "snap caps". Can anyone else verify this before I pass it on as truth?

enzo357
11-26-2012, 9:22 PM
Good info here. I dry fire all the time with my 1911s and Glocks. Never use snap caps other than practicing malfunction and reload drills. Guns seem fine.

INFAMOUS762X39
11-26-2012, 9:49 PM
For my 1911, I use a tiny but thick buna O-Ring seated behind firing pin. Works Fantastic.

For my Glock, eh it's a Glock. I dry fire it a lot to master the striker-fired trigger pull.

Rorge Retson
11-26-2012, 11:32 PM
I had the same question. I bought A-Zoom snap-caps for all of my guns/calibers, and then never had to make a post like this. ;)

Travis590A1
11-27-2012, 1:31 AM
My Rugers all say in the manual, "dry firing does not harm your firearm as long as magazine is inserted" which is due to the mag disconnect. My Glock says the same excluding the mag disconnect. In fact for all glocks you must ensure the firing pin is under zero tension. (You would have to dry fire it)