Tam on Dry Firing

Tam on Dry Firing (emphasis added) …

As a matter of fact, my daily routine over a period of several years was to dry-fire my pocket J-frame, at first a 442 and then a 432, fifty times as rapidly as possible with each hand and then, while my fingers were good and worn out, try to hold the dot from the laser steady on the backstop through the normal double action pull. Now, both these guns had the newer frame-mounted firing pin, but still… Call that 150 dry snaps a night, pretty much every night, for a five year stretch, and you have a wheelgun that has been dry-fired well over a hundred thousand times.

I dry fire every gun I own and won’t buy a gun I cannot dry fire.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • MrMaigo

    No .22’s then?

    • MrMaigo, I dry fire my .22’s. Personally I think the potential damage is way over rated.

  • Tam

    Ruger states explicitly that the MkII/MkIII and 10/22 are safe to dry fire.

    • Tam, cool, I did not know that. Not that it would have stopped me. The Ruger SR9 on the other hand has warnings all over the place saying not to dry fire.

  • Unless you have an unlimited source of ammunition (if you do, please call me) dry firing is the only way to get enough trigger time in.

  • SpudGun

    Interesting approach, I was always taught not to excessively dry fire as it puts undo stress on on the firing pin mechanism. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate, but I’ve always erred on the side of caution.

  • Jesse

    If I can’t dry fire it I won’t buy it. That said I always ask the guys at the various gun stores etc if I can dry fire it because some get angry if you do.

    • Jesse, I also ask first, but they can pretty much kiss a sale goodbye if they won’t. I am not going to buy something I cannot dry fire first. LOL, I pissed off a gun store worker a while back because I kept dry firing this shotgun after he asked me not to, not on purpose but it was just instinct.

  • Chi-raq Dad

    Glad to hear you say that! I’m a new shooter looking to pick up a .22 to start target, and almost the first thing the gun shop guy said was that .22 autos are never to be dry fired. (still deciding Buck Mark, Ruger, ?)

    • Chi-raq, I like Buckmark, some folks like the Ruger … pretty much buy the one you think feels better or is better priced. If you want to be able to modify it, there are more aftermarket options for the Ruger

  • slntax

    so is it ok to dry fire a 1911?

  • Bryan S

    And it depends on the 22. Both my Henrys and Rugers say it is OK in the manual.

  • John Callahan

    I dry fire my centerfires, but not .22s. Most rimfires can sustain significant damage to the firing pin from dry firing because the pin usually hits the back of the chamber. I would not advise dry fiting any rimfire gun.

  • Carl

    I have a .22lr target pistol where the firing pin dents the entrance to the chamber if dry fired. I found out when it suddenly was impossible to load it. The cartridges didn’t fit down the chamber. After filing the dent down it works ok again. No more dry firing obviously. I don’t think it is something you need to do though.

  • TomW

    Steve, there is serious potential for damage to your barrel by dry firing a .22, HOWEVER…contrary to popular belief, any high quality firearm won’t have this potential. The way a rimfire firing pin is designed will cause it to put a nasty ding in the chamber area if it has too much protrusion. Basically, don’t worry much about new guns but do be wary of old .22s until you can examine the firing pin thoroughly.

    As far as dry firing in other guns, I’ve always been a proponent of dry fire training. It’s hard to find guns these days that are sensitive to dry firing in the least. Some older surplus pistols like the CZ-52 are made of sub-par steel and the firing pin is prone to breakage, but aftermarket hardened pins are available to fix that right up.

    • TomW, thanks for the advice.

  • subase

    No offence, but trigger control is pretty much the most irrelevant factor in self defence shooting. He should have spent his time quick drawing, moving from the x, practicing on multiple targets and speed of close range head shots on multiple opponents. (An essential due to revolvers having such limited capacity and the good chance of one facing multiple opponents.)

  • David

    What’s the supposed problem with dry-firing a modern rimfire?

  • Big Daddy

    I dry fired my M-16 all the time since we were too busy picking up cigarette butts than to be training even though we were the 1/11th ACR.

    I was told do not ever dry fire an M-14, not that we had any. I actually was issued an M-3 grease gun once much to my surprise and enjoyed dry firing it all the time. Since I never got to shoot it, again too busy cleaning up officers offices or orifices then actually training at my combat MOS.

  • Don

    I dry fire the hell out of my pistols while watching the front blade to see if there’s any twitch. I usually hold it on a spot on the wall or some other mark about the size of a pin to practice proper trigger pull. A consequence of this is I have some godly smooth triggered revolvers.


  • Pins are cheap, dry fire away.

  • Tam


    No offence, but trigger control is pretty much the most irrelevant factor in self defence shooting. He should have spent his time … practicing … close range head shots on multiple opponents.

    Please send me details of your magic ninja training program that lets me score teh head shots with lousy trigger control.


  • m4shooter


    “No offence, but trigger control is pretty much the most irrelevant factor in self defence shooting.”

    This statement challenges the teachings of every professional instructor I know. Your statement also contradicts real world experience.

    Whether you are leisurely shooting at paper targets at the range or defending yourself against multiple targets in a real life defense situation, you WILL NOT hit what you are aiming at without proper trigger control. Real world experience has shown that lousy trigger control, often induced by stress, can result in misses even at extreme close range.

  • silvestris

    I inadvertently dry fired my Encore one time and it would not accept a cartridge. Repaired by my gunsmith and all is fine, but care should always be exercised when dry firing a .22 to avoid possible chamber damage unless the manufacturer has declared that dry fire is permissible.