Is it Bad to Dry Fire a Gun? Exploring Pros and Cons

Is it bad to dry fire a gun? This question often sparks debate among firearms owners and enthusiasts. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the concept of dry firing, its potential risks, and benefits.

We’ll delve into the intricacies of dry firing practice and how it affects various types of firearms. Additionally, we’ll discuss best practices for safe and effective dry fire training.

Furthermore, you can expect answers to specific questions such as “Is it bad to dry fire a Glock?” or “Why is it bad to use snap caps?”. Finally, we’ll provide guidance on the safest, easiest, and most effective way to dry fire with your actual carry gun.

By understanding the nuances surrounding this topic, you can make informed decisions about whether or not incorporating dry firing into your routine is right for you.

Table of Contents:

1. What is Dry Firing?

Dry firing refers to the practice of pulling the trigger on a firearm without any ammunition in the chamber or magazine. This practice of firing without ammo is commonly used by those aiming to improve their skills faster than what’s possible with live fire.  Dry fire is also the best option to learn and train real-world skills that are too dangerous to do with live firearms, like 360 degree training, engaging threats in crowded environments, and training in areas that are not safe for live fire. By practicing dry fire drills, individuals can work on almost every live fire skill…including recoil management.

Many modern firearms are designed to withstand dry firing without causing damage; however, certain types of guns may be more susceptible to wear or even potential harm when repeatedly dry fired. For example, rimfire weapons like (most) .22 caliber rifles and pistols can experience increased stress on their firing pins due to the absence of a cartridge case absorbing some of that force during normal operation (source). It’s essential for gun owners to research whether their specific firearm model is safe for regular dry fire practice by looking in their owner’s manual or calling the manufacturer and asking.

To mitigate potential risks associated with dry firing, many shooters opt for using snap caps, which are dummy rounds made from plastic or metal that provide an additional layer of protection by cushioning the impact of the firing pin on the face of the slide.  Snap caps are good for this, but they create problems as well that we’ll cover.

Potential Risks of Dry Firing

Dry firing a gun, while offering numerous benefits for training and practice, can also pose certain risks if not done correctly or with the appropriate precautions. Some potential risks associated with dry firing include:

  • Damage to the firearm: Repeatedly dry firing some firearms, particularly rimfire guns like .22 caliber rifles and pistols, may cause damage to the firing pin or other internal components due to the lack of cushioning provided by a live round.  1911 firing pins can become elongated if they’re not supported and the rear face of the chamber has been known to break and fly out of the muzzle along with the firing pin after very high volume dry fire without a snap cap or other surface for the firing pin to strike.
  • Negligent discharge: If proper safety measures are not followed during dry fire practice, there is an increased risk of accidental discharge when handling a loaded weapon later on. Always ensure that your firearm is unloaded before beginning any dry fire exercises.  Best pratices for dry fire include using an inert training platform, airsoft, or a chamber block like Dry Fire Cord if using a firearm capable of firing live ammunition.

To mitigate these risks, it’s important for firearms owners to follow best practices when engaging in dry fire training and choose appropriate tools designed specifically for this purpose (such as Dry Fire Cord). In addition, always consult your firearm manufacturer’s guidelines regarding safe handling procedures and whether their specific model is suitable for regular dry firing without causing damage.

3. Benefits of Dry Firing

Dry firing a gun offers numerous benefits for both novice and experienced shooters alike. By practicing this technique, you can improve your shooting skills without the need for live ammunition or range time. Some key advantages include:

  • Trigger control: Dry firing helps develop proper trigger control by allowing you to focus on pressing the trigger smoothly and consistently without anticipating recoil or noise from live rounds. When done correctly, this leads to improved accuracy when using live ammunition.  Most dry fire is taught and done in a way where skills learned in dry fire do not transfer over to live fire.
  • Sight alignment: Practicing dry fire drills allows you to work on maintaining sight alignment throughout the entire trigger pull process, which is crucial for accurate shooting. You can find various resources on the blog here that provide tips on improving sight alignment during dry fire practice.
  • Muscle memory: Muscles don’t have memory and “muscle memory” doesn’t exist, but it’s a term everyone knows.  Repeatedly performing dry fire exercises helps automate skills, making it easier to maintain proper form and technique when shooting in stressful situations.
  • Economical training method: Since no ammunition is used during dry firing sessions, it serves as an affordable way to train regularly while conserving valuable resources like ammo and range fees.  Even with free ammo and your own range, you’ll learn skills quicker and with less effort with dry fire.

In addition to these benefits, many firearms instructors recommend incorporating dry fire practice into regular training routines due to its effectiveness in building fundamental shooting skills. For example, renowned competitive shooters like Julie Golob, Max Michel, and Jerry Miculek have all shared their insights aobut how they use dry fire techniques during their own training.

Best Practices for Dry Firing

Dry firing can be a safe and effective training method when done correctly. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your dry fire practice while minimizing potential risks, follow these best practices:

  1. Use an inert or less-lethal platform.  Whenever possible use an inert training platform like a Dry Fire Pistol, an airsoft replica of your firearm, or a T4E trainer instead of an actual firearm capable of firing live rounds.
  2. Block the chamber.  If you use a platform capable of firing live rounds, render it incapable of chambering live rounds by using Dry Fire Cord with a semi-auto or snap caps with a revolver.
  3. If you’re using a platform capable of firing live rounds, always treat it as if it is loaded. It’s crucial to maintain proper firearm safety habits. This includes keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to perform a dry fire rep and always pointing the gun in an appropriate direction.
  4. Double-check that your firearm is unloaded. Before beginning any dry fire session, visually and physically inspect the chamber to confirm there is no live ammunition present. Ideally, block it with something that can’t be ejected out by racking the slide.  Remove all magazines or speed loaders from the area where you’ll be practicing.

Is it Bad to Dry Fire a Glock?

Many firearms owners wonder if it’s safe to dry fire their Glocks, and the answer is generally yes. Unlike some other firearms, Glocks are designed with dry firing in mind. Their robust construction and striker-fired mechanism make them well-suited for this type of practice.

However, even though Glocks are built to withstand dry firing, it’s still essential to follow proper safety precautions while practicing:

  • Use a chamber block, like Dry Fire Cord.
  • Maintain muzzle discipline: Always point your firearm in the direction you intend to point it, including during dry fire practice.
  • Carefully inspect your firearm: Ensure that there is no live ammunition present before beginning a session of dry firing.  Block the chamber.
  • Familiarize yourself with your gun: Understanding how your specific model functions will help you avoid unintentional discharges or malfunctions during both live and simulated training exercises.

While dry firing with a chamber block is generally safe for Glocks, it’s important to note that not all firearms are created equal. Some guns, particularly those with rimfire cartridges, can be damaged by dry firing. In these cases, it’s best to use dummy ammunition or snap caps to cushion the firing pin and prevent damage.

What About Snap Caps?

Snap caps are dummy ammunition that are often used for dry firing practice. While snap caps can be useful for certain types of firearms, they are not the best way to do dry fire practice with most firearms. In fact, using snap caps and racking the slide between dry fire reps can create separate neural pathways for dry firing and live firing, which may cause you to waste the majority of your time that you spend dry firing.

To avoid this issue, consider alternative options like the Dry Fire Cord. The Dry Fire Cord offers several advantages over traditional snap cap usage by blocking the chamber while providing a visible indicator that it’s blocked. Additionally, this method allows Glock users access to a reciprocating trigger without needing manual slide racking between reps – ensuring more realistic multi-shot dry fire training sessions.


Dry firing is a safe and effective way to improve your shooting skills. While there are some exceptions, most modern firearms are designed to withstand dry firing without any damage to the firing pin. If you are unsure whether or not your firearm can be safely dry fired, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a qualified gunsmith.

Is it Bad to Dry Fire Other Semi-Auto Pistols?

It is a useful training technique for improving accuracy, trigger control, and muscle memory. However, many gun owners wonder if it is bad to dry fire a gun. The answer is, it depends on the firearm.

Most modern firearms, including pistols, rifles, and shotguns, can be safely dry fired without causing any damage to the gun. However, there are some exceptions, particularly with older firearms or those with certain types of firing pins.

If you are unsure whether your firearm can be safely dry fired, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a gunsmith.

One way to minimize the risk of damage when dry firing is to use dummy ammunition or snap caps. These are inert cartridges that can be loaded into the firearm and will absorb the impact of the firing pin, preventing it from striking the chamber.

Another option is to use a dedicated dry fire training tool, such as a Dry Fire Pistol.  These provide a safe and effective way to practice dry firing with an inert version of your actual carry gun, without the risk of accidental discharge or damage to the firearm.

Whether you choose to dry fire with an inert training gun, airsoft, or your actual firearm with the chamber blocked, it is important to follow basic safety rules. Always ensure that the gun is unloaded and pointed in an appropriate direction. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and be aware of your surroundings.

In conclusion, dry firing can be a valuable training technique for improving shooting skills, but it is important to do so safely and responsibly. If you are unsure whether your firearm can be safely dry fired, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a gunsmith. Consider using dummy ammunition or a dedicated training tool to minimize the risk of damage to your firearm.


In conclusion, dry firing is a technique used by firearms owners to improve their shooting skills. While there are potential risks associated with dry firing, such as damaging the firing pin or chamber, there are also benefits such as improving trigger control and accuracy. To ensure safe and effective dry firing, it’s important to follow best practices like using snap caps or dummy rounds.

If you’re looking to further your dry fire training, Dry Fire Training Cards offers a comprehensive system of drills and exercises to help you become an expert shooter. Don’t let the question “Is it bad to dry fire a gun?” hold you back from improving your skills.

Take action now: Visit Dry Fire Training Cards today and start your journey towards becoming a better shooter!

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