A gun with smoke coming out the front of the gun

Is Dry Firing a Gun Safe?


Many of us who were raised around guns have been told for years to never dry shoot a gun. As a result, we avoid dry fire practice. However, can pulling the trigger while the chamber is empty actually damage your weapon? Continue reading to find out.


What Is Dry Firing?


A lady pointing a gun and ready to fire it

Credit: Envato Elements/ svitlanah


The act of discharging a gun while the chamber is empty is known as dry firing. In simple terms, it refers to firing an unloaded weapon.

When dry firing a gun, all you need to do is pull the trigger; the hammer will then strike without discharging any rounds. This practice requires you to aim, control the trigger, breathe, and shoot as if there were a live round in the chamber. Since dry firing imitates a live fire, it can help improve your aim.


Can Dry Firing Damage Your Gun?


A man holding a gun with his finger on the trigger

Credit: Envato Elements/ tartaruga1988


You've probably heard conflicting advice regarding the impact of dry firing on your gun. A lot of people claim that dry firing might damage your gun. Others claim that it is acceptable and won't harm your gun in any manner. The truth is that both of these statements are true.

The reason why many people claim that dry firing can damage your firearm is that you risk wearing out and harming the firing pin and striker when you repeatedly fire a gun without ammo in it. Whether or not dry firing is safe depends on the type of gun you use. Continue reading to learn which guns can be safely dry-fired.


How Can You Determine if Dry Firing Is Safe for Your Gun?


To evaluate whether your gun is safe to dry fire, we shall divide them into two categories: older firearms and modern firearms.


1)  Older Firearms


Most older firearms are either rimfire or centerfire guns. When fired dry, each of these weapons responds differently:


Centerfire Guns


Three bullets in different size and color

Credit: NRA


If you have a centerfire gun that is relatively new, you can safely dry-fire it. To determine whether a gun is a centerfire, you need to inspect the head of the case. The cartridge is a centerfire if there is a primer (a circular metallic piece) in the middle of the case head.

Centerfire guns are safe to dry fire since the design prevents the firing pin from colliding with anything. However, there are a few instances where this rule does not apply. Certain centerfire guns may have their firing pins constructed of relatively brittle metals like wrought iron. In this case, never dry fire these weapons. The firing pin may fracture or break when it strikes the pin stop, thus permanently damaging your weapon.


Rimfire Guns


A single bullet that you can see from the side

Credit: AmmoForSale


If you have a rimfire gun, never dry-fire it. These guns are not safe to dry fire due to their chamber design. When a rimfire weapon is discharged dry, the firing pin strikes the chamber's opening rather than the cartridge's soft brass rim. In addition to harming or destroying your firing pin, this will eventually peen the barrel face.

To determine whether you have rimfire ammunition, look at the case. Rimfire firearms can be identified by two characteristics: a rim at the case's base and the absence of a circular primer.


2) Modern Firearms

 A man pointing his gun with his finger on the trigger

Credit: Envato Elements/ Rawpixel


Most people agree that dry firing a modern firearm is relatively safe. Due to advancements in technology and metallurgy, modern firearms are constructed of better and stronger materials. As a result, the parts of a gun are more durable and long-lasting. This implies that compared to older firearms, you can dry-fire modern weapons with more assurance. However, this does not mean that dry firing a modern firearm will not wear it down over time. Guns are designed to be shot with live ammunition. Constantly dry firing will eventually damage the weapon.


Precautions to Take When Dry Firing a Gun


Two red bullets - one on the side and the other standing upright

Credit: Gizmoway


If you're going to dry fire, it's a good idea to take certain safety precautions like using dummy rounds or snap caps. By using a snap cap or dummy round, you can shoot almost any gun without causing damage to it. They protect your firearm from any harm and excessive wear that dry shooting can bring about by softening the impact of the firing pins.




Dry fire might damage some guns, but not all. If you're practicing with live ammunition at a shooting range or dry firing, you'll need shooting targets to refine your shooting skills. To help you improve, EasyShot Targets offers a variety of shooting targets. Shop with us today.


Back to blog