Skip to comments.Seeking FReeper Opinion: Is It Safe To 'Dry Fire' Firearms?
Posted on 05/10/2011 8:26:46 PM PDT by KoRn
FR has to be one of the better places I know to ask a question regarding firearms. I was just looking for a definitive answer - Is it safe to 'dry fire' a firearm without doing any harm to the gun?
All throughout my growing up, I was told that dry firing a gun was a big 'no - no', with people saying that it would damage the gun. After doing some reading here and there, I've found that this may not be the case, and it's perfectly fine to dry fire a gun without worry. As anyone would expect, I found nothing but contradictory information searching Google, with some folks saying dry firing is ok, and others not.
I recently purchased a Ruger LCR .357 Mag, and in the owner's manual, it read that it was ok to dry fire the pistol.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Snap caps are your friend.
Dry firing is okay for center fire firearms.
Avoid dry firing rim fire firearms.
It’s safe to dry-fire with one exception: when you’re in a gunfight.
My NRA instructor said to “dry fire” all you can. Practice, practice, practice.
This is very dependent on what type of gun it is. When in doubt, see post #3.
Yes and use snap caps.
THIS is the correct answer
I’m pretty sure I have to dry fire my .22 after re-assembly, or it would be stored with a spring compressed. Its rimfire....I have no idea if this hurts it, so I don’t do it often...but I don’t see a way around it.
The answer is that it depends largely on the age and style of the gun.
You don't want to be dry-snapping rim-fire guns (mostly 22's) for obvious reasons.
In the case of normal center-fire weapons, you have to consider advances in metallurgy over the last century.
Military surplus weapons like Mausers made prior to WW-II can be hurt by dry-snapping, particularly the firing pins can be hurt. I don't know exactly where the dividing line is but anything modern, say, made after 1980 or thereabouts, is not going to be hurt by dry snapping.
Sure it is, but what fun is that?
Even a 22 isn’t going to be hurt by dry snapping it after cleaning to decock the hammer...
If it’s a centerfire with hammer, generally won’t hurt the firearm. If it uses a firing pin (.380 semi, etc), don’t do it. You can damage the firing pin.
If Ruger says it is Ok for the LCR then it is OK for the LCR.
I would not make a habit of it because many older guns can have brittle firing pins that will break from dry firing.
In general, you can dry-fire center-fire firearms without harm, but you should not dry-fire rim-fire arms without a snap cap or spent piece of brass under the firing pin. If you dry fire a rimfire gun enough, you will either peen out the face of the pin, or possibly break the firing pin.
That said, using snap caps in all firearms to dry fire is ultimately preferred.
PROBABLY won’t hurt, but... (and it’s a big but) why take a chance? Use a snap cap - that’s what they’re for.
You know, you can go to your friendly gun store and buy plastic .38/.357 rounds to put in your gun.
That is the better answer, best not get in the habit of dry firing arms.
People that I have known a long time that do it, eventually will do it to one they shouldn’t have. As it happens, it tends to be a new weapon or a friends that they damage.
It is kind of like the difference between a mfg rule and the shooters bible.
Mfg: Never point a loaded fire arm at another person
Shooters Bible: Always treat a fire arm as loaded
Technically or what is good practice.....that is what you need to know.
What used to happen with older weapons was that the firing pin would eventually elongate and could end up going through primers. Again it won’t happen with decent modern weapons.
Definitely depends on the gun. My Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum specifically says in the manual that dry firing causes no damage.
Wanna break the firing pin in your C96 Mauser?
Dry fire it. I know.
Star Model B’s? Same thing
CZ 52’s? same.
Don’t ask me how I know.
I about crapped when I broke the pin on a C96 Mauser.
Where will I find parts?
Whew!!!... Numrich came through.
Actually, there are two eras of Mauser metallurgy to worry about. Prior to WWII, springs and pins could be excessively brittle. After about 1942, I don’t trust the heat treating in the receiver or bolt. The slave labor in the Nazi war machine was either very sloppy about heat treating, or they were using defective heat treating as a lovely future “gift” to their Nazi hosts. I’ve seen some Mauser receivers be dead soft and some be so hard it is a wonder they didn’t shatter.
Many thanks to all for your replies!
All of my firearms are of new/modern design and fire centerfire rounds. As far as design, my oldest ‘type’ rifle is probably the PTR91(HK91 Clone). Given the info, all of mine can be safely dry fired, but I my look into getting some of those ‘snap caps’ just to be on the safe side.
Thanks again for your timely replies!
Beautiful gun. I will add it to my wish list.
Same was true for their armor plate
Same was true for their armor plate
Snap caps are cheap insurance against a broken firing pin.
I have dry fired many different handguns with an without snap caps an some were never damaged without them an some were.
I prefer to use em for that reason alone.
Enjoy...stay safe !
The PTR91 is way cool.
If you get one of those Sterlings that are on the market now, be advised that dry firing them can break the firing pin.
KoRo, read this post.
Snap caps are a good idea to protect firing pins.
Dry firing won’t harm your handgun.
Dry firing is a good way to practice for muscle memory purposes.
HOWEVER, never dry fire willy-nilly, such as when you are sitting around watching TV. Always concentrate on what you are doing when a weapon is involved. To do otherwise would be to condition your body to nonchalantly pull the trigger.
NEVER pull the trigger of a gun, loaded or not, unless you are fully committed to the task.
I’m sure you already knew that.
Germany ran out of manpower. Japan didn’t belong in WW-II in the first place, but Hitler had a dozen ways to win WW-II and two or three ways to lose it and found the two or three ways. Simplest path for him to win was not to invade Russia. Russians I’ve spoken with who were alive at the time have said the place would have fallen apart on its own in another four or five years and Germany could picked up the pieces for free. Not invading Russia would also have solved the manpower problem.
You can get snap caps, a dummy carrtidge with a shock absorbing insert in the primer pocket for most common rounds, or make your own.
It causes less wear on the weapon than live fire by orders of magnitude.
Been a gunsmith for decades and there is no general rule. Some makes and models will not be damaged and others will the first time time you do it. If you ask about specific models, I will be happy to let you know whether or not they are OK to dry fire.
In general, there is no need to remove tension on a hammer spring by dry firing it. In my experience, it takes many years for a spring to take a set from being compressed and on those guns which may be damaded by dry firing, the spring you are attempting to save costs a fraction of the damage caused by dry firing.
On a rimfire the concern is more about hammering a notch at the edge of the chamber.
As a rule, I do not dry fire any gun.
Use a spent case, or buy a rubber round. They are available, and made specifically for dry firing.
I do remember that just about every weapon in the Army had a ‘functions check’, after assembly, which involved dry fire. All firing pin style....and out of the dozens of things which would go wrong with these weapons, a damaged pin was never one of them.
My dad always told me something tantamount to the end of the world would occur if I did so I never have.
Pulled the trigger on an empty clip, once.
The Beretta 9mm and the world are both still here.
[Yes, I have nothing useful to add]
What did it say about dry firing in the manual that came with your gun? What? You didn’t read the manual? You can download it from the gunmaker’s website.
JUST USE A EMTY SHELL, PARTICULARLY FOR RIM FIRE
Was that gun stainless when you bought it or was it blued?
The reason I ask is I have something similar that was blued and had a minor touch of rust on it, so I stripped it, and now it looks stainless, but I need to keep it wrapped in a well-oiled cloth.
I tried to re-blue it but was never happy with the results.
With you being an experienced Gunsmith and asking for specific models, I’ll go ahead an lay out a list of my limited arsenal:
Saiga 12 - 12 Gauge Semiauto (factory, as of right now /cry )
PTR91 - 7.62x51 (.308 Win - Good for long distance calls, but enough of this one, and my shoulder hates me)
DPMS AR15 - 5.56 (most fun gun to shoot)
HK USP45 Tactical - 45ACP (kicks ass!)
Beretta 92FS - 9mm (best all around)
Bersa Semiauto - .380 (not sure with the specifics on this one, as it’s my wife’s
Springfield Armory XD40 - .40ACP (what I reach for in home defense)
Mossberg 500 - 12 Gauge (never fails)
Ruger LCR - .357 Mag (can carry it literally anywhere)
There’s still a couple of rifles I’d like to add on to what I have. My objective is to have a well rounded collection where I’d have a ‘tool’ for any scenario that may arise if the S ever HTF. I’d still like to get a good bolt gun, in a .300 Win Mag or 30-06. I’d also like to get a good semi auto .22 rifle. Of course, if I ever get the disposable income to drop several grand on a rifle, I’d be delighted to get a hold of a Barrett .50 cal before .gov bans them.
Thanks for your help!
I wouldn’t hesitate to dry fire the 91, The AR, HK, Beretta, XD or Ruger. The Saiga, Mossberg and especially the Bersa, may break firing pins when dry firing or burrs may develop which could cause the firing pin to jam in the forward position, potentially leading to an accidental discharge when the bolt slams forward.
As others have suggested above, snap caps are a way to be sure no damage occurs.
Awesome! Thanks for the great info!
I’ll look into getting some snap caps for those firearms you mentioned. I think dry firing is good practice for testing trigger pull. Just didn’t want to hurt anything. Would a spent casing be sufficient in the place of the snap caps?
Use Snap Caps. Can be used as a tool to teach you good skills without live fire and doesn’t allow the firing pin to be thrown beyond it intended length.
But, other than that, you can dry fire. I just prefer not to.
Oh man! Drop that thing off to a smith and let him fix it.
I suppose it must depend on the gun. I broke the firing ping of a shotgun by dry-firing it. I’d advise against it unless you have specific knowledge to the contrary for the gun in question.
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