Is Dry Firing Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know


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What is Dry Fire 

Dry fire practice is the act of activating the firing mechanism of the firearm without ammunition. This is done with the gun unloaded to simulate the trigger pull for practice. Many people use this practice to improve their trigger control and accuracy while saving money on ammo, range fees and targets. Dry firing your firearm can be a controversial subject, but in most cases it is safe and recommended to help improve your skills with the firearm. We will go over how to figure out if dry fire is right for your gun.

Safety First!

When looking to dry fire always remove all live ammunition, magazines, and loaded guns from the room or area you are training in. If you have a bookshelf with books on it  or a solid wood beam you can always use that as the backstop for your target. 

Eliminate all distractions during your dry fire training. If you leave the room to do something else, always check your firearm and make sure it is clear and no ammo is in the room before you continue with your dry fire training. The gun was out of your sight so we resort back to making sure that the firearm is unloaded and in a safe condition. 

Rimfire vs Centerfire 

When determining whether your firearm can be dry fired or not, it is important to look at the type of cartridge you are using in your firearm. A rimfire cartridge will have the primer compound within the rim of the cartridge. So the firing pin will have to strike the edge of the cartridge for the primer to ignite the gunpowder. Because of the way the rimfire functions it is easier for your firearm to be damaged during dry fire practice with a rimfire cartridge. An example of this caliber would be a .22lr caliber firearm. Always look at the manual to see if you are able to dry fire with your firearm.

One way to dry fire with your rim fire is to add snap caps into your firearm. That way the firing pin can hit the plastic of the snap cap instead of the metal of the firearm. 

Centerfire cartridges have the primer in the center of the cartridge. So when the striker or hammer hits the primer it is going into the center of the cartridge and has no risk of hitting the hard metal side of the chamber. Some examples of this type of cartridge are 9mm and .45 ACP. 

Pink Rhino Dry Fire Training Laser Cartridge  by Mantis Outside of a Handgun Chamber

If you are still hesitant to dry fire with your firearm, you can add in snap caps or a Pink Rhino Laser Cartridge. The advantage to the laser cartridge is the ability to rack the slide without the laser being ejected. The TRT- Tap Rack Trainer can be placed in your magazine to stop the slide from locking back at empty.

Type of Primer

The type of primer does help you identify whether you can dry fire with your firearm. It’s a great place to start. Again, if you still have questions, check your user manual! 

The Goals of Dry Fire

Why dry fire? We dry fire because we want to increase our skill level with our firearms. By going through the motions and pulling the trigger on your firearm, while it is on target, you will be able to improve your stability during the trigger press. 

By training without recoil you will be able to see the micro movements you make while you pull the trigger. The firearm will shoot wherever you have the muzzle pointed at the end of the trigger press or at the trigger break. It is important to work on your muscle stability and your sight picture hold so you can stay on target with quicker trigger presses overtime.

Sometimes we also have fluctuation in ammo cost and range pricing. If you don’t want to spend an astronomical amount on ammo you can get some of your training done during dry fire practice. Range fees can also cost a significant amount depending on where you are shooting. Some range fees are charged by the hour. So you can make your live fire sessions count by practicing the fundamentals at home with dry fire practice.

And there is also the limitation of time. Do you have enough time to pack your bags head to the range and shoot every week? Dry firing allows you to get your training in without wasting a ton of extra time in travel and setup.

Some ranges also have limitations to how you can train. Some don’t allow holster draws, which can be quite a limitation if you plan on training for conceal carry. So having the ability to dry fire at home can help alleviate some of the training gaps you may have with your range. 

Holster Draw with Left Handed Holster

How can you get the most out of Dry Fire?

Have a plan. Know what your goals are with dry fire practice and then find drills that will help you achieve that goal. If you want your holster draws to be faster, do holster draw drills at home. If you want your transitions to be faster practice transitioning from one target to the next at home. But have a plan and execute it.

Mantis X10 can help you track all of your training sessions and your progress overtime. It also has a variety of drills that you can work on specifically so that you don’t have to come up with a plan entirely from scratch. Start with the drill explanation and overview and then build on the drill from there. For example the Holster Draw Analysis is a simple one draw stroke at a time drill. But you can make it a little bit more complicated by sitting down before the buzzer beeps and standing then drawing on the beep.  

Laser Academy has a Pink Rhino Laser Cartridge that goes into the firearm and an app that will help track your groupings on target. This tool is a dry fire only tool and is known for bringing the range home to you. Mainly because it tracks your groupings like your target would if you were shooting live ammo at it. When you train with a Pink Rhino in the chamber, it stops the firearm from loading a round into the chamber. This can be used as a secondary method for safety in your training area! 

Sig Sauer MCX BlackbeardX

If you are training with an AR-15 or a Sig MCX the best option for dry fire practice is using one of our BlackbeardX systems. The BlackbeardX can be used by taking your bolt carrier group (BCG) out of your firearm and sliding ours into it. The magazine is the battery pack and with both pieces in your gun, you can dry fire like you live fire! BlackbeardX resets your trigger with the same trigger weight, break, and reset of the trigger in your firearm! This device helps avoid training scars from charging the handle to manually reset your trigger and is safe for your firearm! 

Rebecca Donnelly
Rebecca Donnelly