A Beginners Guide to Dry Firing: Is it Okay?

Posted by Team Springfield

Oct 8, 2014 9:00:00 AM

For years, people were told to avoid dry firing, but have the critics changed their tune? Some say there is significant benefit to dry firing, especially for new firearm owners. Let’s take a look at this interesting debate and why it matters.

What is Dry Firing?

Dry firing is simply the practice of shooting a firearm without ammunition in the chamber. The user pulls the trigger, the hammer drops, but nothing happens. Sounds pretty boring, right? This seemingly mundane practice often strikes up intense debate among firearm enthusiasts.

The Good and the Bad

There are proponents on both sides of the argument. Opponents of dry firing say it’s harmful for your handgun and doesn’t accurately simulate live firing. But is there truth behind this? 

It’s a common belief that excessive dry firing will cause a firing pin or striker to break. While there is some truth to this statement, most modern, sturdy firearms can withstand thousands of dry fire cycles without beginning to wear down. Consequently, this argument is fairly invalid.

As for the inability to accurately simulate live firing, there is some truth to this. When dry firing, there is no recoil or force involved. But this shouldn’t stop you from doing it; it simply means you need to supplement dry firing with live firing.

While the negatives once outweighed the positives, many firearm experts are beginning to agree that there is value in dry firing—especially for beginners. Here are some important things to keep in mind though:

  • Don’t change your approach. Dry firing is only useful if you approach these practice shots the same way you would a “live” firearm. This means using the same motions, stance, grip and distance. This includes only pointing at your intended target, being certain of your target and keeping your finger off the trigger until you have made the decision to fire.
  • Use snap caps. If you’re going to spend a great deal of time dry firing, it’s worth investing in snap caps. These will protect your firearm from unnecessary damage by absorbing some of the force from the firing pin. 
  • Supplement your practice. Be sure to supplement practice firing with live firing. This will ensure you have experience with the force, sound and feel of firing a live round.

11 Things To Consider When Buying a Firearm

At Springfield Armory®, we believe in properly educating handgun owners about firearm safety and maintenance. For beginners, dry firing can be a great way to practice without spending the time and money on range shooting. However, make sure you follow the necessary safety precautions—both for yourself and your firearm. For more information, please contact us today!

Topics: First Time Gun Buyers


Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual.  These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.