Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is Dry Firing A Gun Actually Bad For It?

By: Gregory Elliott

If you’ve ever found your way onto a firing range or under some sort of firearms instruction you have more likely than not heard that firing a weapon without a round in the chamber is a huge no no. I personally come across people with this belief all over, from the military to firing ranges and even competition shooters. If you were to pick up a gun owned by one of the previously mentioned and dry fire it, well they wouldn’t be very happy and probably end up giving you a long talking to about the dangers of firing without a round in the chamber. I myself even believed that dry firing a weapon was bad for most of my life until I made friends that told me otherwise, and in the military where it was part of my training to dry fire weapons many times.

All right, we’ve established what dry firing is, firing a gun without a bullet in the chamber, but why would anyone ever want to do such a thing? Dry firing is the perfect way to practice shooting without expending ammunition or finding a place where you can safely fire. It allows you to practice pulling the trigger and aiming the weapon, which after enough attempts become muscle memory and the action of firing the fun becomes easier to do, especially under high stress situations. Many people don’t have the time or money to spend on going to a range with ammunition, but dry firing is a way to stay home and practice in a way that is still effective.

With the obvious benefit of dry firing, why would anyone not want to do it? If you ask around you get all sorts of answers, ranging from the myth being a carry over from the old days of percussion caps where dry firing could damage the nipple, or when older cartridge weapons had problems with the tips of firing pins crystallizing because of not having anything to transfer the energy of the hammer to and becoming shortened and ineffective over time. With no real “scholarly” explanation, I feel that the source is some guy trying to look smarter than someone else by telling them something they do is wrong and acting like they have some secret bit of hidden knowledge that the “smart” people know. Everyone loves to one up one another and somehow over time this dry fire aversion became the social “norm” in circles of gun enthusiasts. Even now, when there are dozens of books promoting dry firing and all the top competition and military shooters dry firing, if you went into a gun shop and handled a weapon and even attempted to dry fire it you would probably get yelled at.

Mechanically as you can see in the picture above, most firing pins in guns today are separate from the hammer and have springs attached to them. Most weapons are set up like the picture above (the picture being an M1911 specifically), though some are not. There are actually certain types of guns that shouldn’t be dry fired and these are generally shotguns and rim fire weapons (as opposed to center fire). These are the great minority when it comes to weapons though, most are center fire. Regardless of the type of weapon you have, they make a product generally referred to as dummy rounds or snap caps, which are like plastic place holders for bullets in your chamber. This way you can fire your weapon with a snap cap in the chamber and still be providing your firing pin with resistance.

Regardless of your situation, hopefully all that shoot take the time to dry fie. It’s a fun, cheap, safe (when done right) and effective way to practice with your fire arms. So remember, the next time some know it all at the range try’s to tell you that dry firing is bad for your gun, tell him his opinion goes against the training of every law enforcement officer, military member and competitive shooters training and be confident that you’re the correct one. -dry firing drills -saftey and opinion on dry firing (kinda long but informative)

1 comment:

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