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The dangers of dry fire training - wear and tear on the gun

It's no a secret that one of the most powerful tools to increase your handgun proficiency while minimizing your spend on ammunition is dry fire. Dry fire is exactly what it sounds like - simulating firing the gun while the chamber is empty - or "dry". It's been a rumor tossed around in gun stores for a long time that all modern center fire hand guns are immune to dry fire damage and that's a lie. There are certainly types of handguns that take damage from dryfire.

For a quick summary - see the video posted on my YouTube channel

Put simply - most modern handguns are unlikely to be damaged by dryfire - but some are. A perfect example of this is CZ's 75B line of handguns. CZ's hammer fired guns featuring a firing pin block have a roll pin that retains the firing pin. This roll pin is prone to shattering if dryfired much. My first CZ handgun was a CZ 75 Compact. It was my first double action/single action pistol and I was going to master the double action stroke if it killed me - so I dryfired the gun in double action extensively.

In about one week's time - I had shattered the firing pin retaining pin - but you can't know that until you go to the range and attempt to shoot. When the ammo doesn't go - you know you've got an issue. The firing pin took a chunk out of the roll pin and the little chunk got wedged in the firing pin channel preventing the pin from moving forward and contacting ammo.

All click - no bang.

I carried the gun that way for at least a week before I realized what I'd done. I got the part ordered that was supposedly "dry fire immune" to replace it with. Believing the marketing hype with my fancy new "improved" firing pin retaining pin - I continued my dryfire program for about 6 weeks. Then all of the double action strokes caused my trigger return spring to break AND I broke the firing pin retaining pin... again.

In fairness to the CZ - I dryfired it A LOT. Hundreds of double action strokes each day. I was determined to master the double action pull. That's the hardest on the trigger return spring.

Some guns when dryfired excessive have had the breech face develop cracks due to the firing pin rebounding off the inside of the breech face. In some cases the firing pin itself may break. Regardless - there are documented cases of Glocks with breech face cracks reportedly due to dry fire. Now - I'm not advocating you NOT to dryfire - simply to exercise some precaution

1. If you're going to be releasing the striker a lot - use a snap cap. Snap caps are cheap and have a little silicone cushion that the firing pin can rebound off of. These can be used for ball and dummy drills in live fire to practice remedial actions.

2. If you have a hammer fired gun - use an O ring to put around the butt of the firing pin (where the hammer falls). This will move the force of the hammer falling into the slide and not the firing pin - preserving the internal parts. Simply head to your local hardware store and check out the sink department - many guns are good with a #8 or #10 ring.

3. Dryfire magazines - some of pistol manufacturers have special made dryfire magazines that allow the trigger to reset and simulate a real trigger pull, while your trigger is completely disengaged.

4. if you are using a striker fired gun - use a piece of card stock to hold the slide slightly out of battery. Doing this makes the "lower" of the gun disconnect from the "upper" - usually allowing the trigger to swing freely. The trigger pull is not at all realistic - but for gun handling drills where the emphasis isn't the trigger, but the sights - this is a great, basically free solution. You absolutely should be dryfiring - just be certain to take appropriate precaution.

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