Dry Firing

To dry fire a weapon means to engage the firing mechanisms while there is no round in the chamber. The continual practice helps improve trigger control, which in turn improves accuracy.


As with any time that you are handling or operating a firearm, please check to make sure that the weapon is truly unloaded before you begin.

Even then, make sure that you are pointing the weapon in a safe direction. Know your backstop.

Since a wall isn’t something I want to shoot at my house, I don’t practice dry firing inside.


There are some types of firearms and some models where damage will/can occur if you dry fire them. Rimfire weapons and shotguns are 2 of those types.

Most modern centerfire weapons, on the other hand are made to be dry fired. With a Glock for instance, you must dry fire it to begin the disassembly process

My Taurus .380 is a centerfire, but the owner’s manual says to never dry fire it. Check with your manufacturer to be safe.

“Snap caps” can remedy this issue. They protect the firing mechanisms without anything going off.


There are several things I work on when dry firing. Do each of the following while trying to keep the sights on a target and the frame still.

The first exercise is to simply, slowly pull the trigger until it “breaks”. I will do this a little faster each time until I can do it quickly without the frame of the gun moving.

The second thing I will do is pull the trigger back to where it almost breaks but then slowly release and do it again. This helps with creating a smooth, less jerky trigger pull.

The third thing I will do is balance a penny on the top of the front sight and pull the trigger slowly and smoothly so that the penny doesn’t fall off. This will show you a lot about your trigger control.

Some people also sit in front of their TV and dry fire at targets on the screen. I would NOT recommend this one (you’re aiming at something you wouldn’t want to shoot). If you are going to do it anyway, please double, triple check that your gun is unloaded. I would hate to see you miss a football game or something.


When I first bought a gun, my aim was off quite a bit. Trigger control was part of my problem. Dry firing my Glock began to give me a steady smooth pull (even at speed). I feel very comfortable with its trigger. That is huge when it comes to confident, accurate shooting.


Do you dry fire your handgun?

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