The state of the gun economy is fairly strong in current times. If anything, it’s almost doing too well, which has created problems for shooters. The market for ammunition has taken a huge hit with the demand skyrocketing as a result of first-time gun buyers and people buying due to uncertainty. With supply this low, there are only a few options to keep up the training and hone your skills. You can either buy ammo at double or triple the rate of what it was before the rush or another option that’s much more budget-friendly, is the use of snap caps. Let’s dive into how training with snap caps can be a useful tool.
Dry Firing With Snap Caps
I’ve talked about dry firing in previous articles but using snap caps provides an advantage over just dry firing with an empty chamber. It’s an interactive training tool for practicing reloads, malfunction drills and trigger press as well. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen 9mm training ammo anywhere from $600-$999 for 1,000 rounds of ammo. Snap caps allow shooters to work proper trigger control and manipulations without firing live rounds. Out of all the skills required for carrying concealed, firing the round is one of the easier things to do in the grand scheme of things.
Elements like sight picture, trigger control, grip, and reloads can all be done without actually firing a round into a target. Snap caps typically cost under $20 for a pack of five and will last for an extremely long time. One of the biggest advantages of using snap caps is being able to do a high volume of dry firing without worrying about causing damage to your striker system or gun overall. Snap caps can help avoid excess stress on the striker or firing pin while giving you a training aid for malfunctions and simulating slide lock reloads. There are endless possibilities of training situations and drills. I have a few favorites that anyone from beginner to advanced shooters can use to improve their skills without hitting the range.
Drills For Snap Cap Dry Firing
Practicing with snap caps can be as simple as presenting the handgun, and working on sight picture along with trigger control. Even doing simple repetitive drills like presenting the gun and working the trigger/sights can build muscle memory faster than just simply going to the range. Now I will admit practicing things like recoil management and bringing the gun back on target can be very difficult with no live fire. There are a few different drills that will greatly aid in building skills without live fire.
For most drills, I use the standard 5 pack that comes with a single package. I will typically load the first magazine with a single snap cap with the other 4 in my spare magazine. Setting up the drill like this will let you reset fairly easily without constantly adding more back into the magazine. Charge up your handgun and present the gun on target while pulling the trigger. Once it clicks, I power stroke the slide back and make it slide lock which you can do a slide lock reload and practice another round of dry firing.
The best thing about loading the snap caps into your spare magazine is the fact you’ll always have the other magazine empty for a quick reset. Typically when I dry fire with snap caps, I will load up my spare magazine with 2-3 packages of snap caps so I don’t constantly have to reset the drill and can get more reps in a shorter amount of time.
Training for malfunctions with snap caps is often the safest way for beginner shooters. Having an advanced malfunction like a double feed during live fire drills can be extremely unsettling for new shooters who may not know what to do. Having something like a double feed malfunction set up with snap caps can let new or advanced shooters a chance to work through the issue before it’s done with live ammo. Typically, I will put a snap cap inside the barrel and one snap cap in my magazine, the other 3 snap caps I will have in the spare magazine.
Once the handgun is set up, you can press the slide release and induce the malfunction. After the gun is set up, I will typically drop my arms down and hit the timer to begin the drill. Doing drills like this at home make it much easier to figure out when you’re on the range or during a self-defense situation. You can set up anything from a double feed where you need to strip the magazine and clear it to something simpler like a stovepipe malfunction. Doing simpler drills like the stovepipe drill can give you more practice manipulating the slide to clear a malfunction.
Not Just for Handguns
The beauty of snap caps is the fact they make them for almost every caliber and cartridge type. Whether it’s a 45 ACP or a 12 gauge, there are dummy rounds to help train reloads and malfunction clearing drills with. Having something safe to train with like snap caps can be extremely helpful to deconstruct various malfunctions or help find the perfect reload method. I have a number of snap caps for different calibers to practice malfunctions and reloads with because they are a great alternative to live fire shooting.
I know there’s a fair amount of people getting frustrated with the current ammo market, but there is a number of great alternative training methods to keep your skills polished during tough times. Snap caps are a great alternative to live fire and you can do roughly 80-85% of the methods without having to burn ammo that’s hard to replace. Let me know what you guys enjoy doing to train during the ammo shortage at home.
I love hearing about different ways to train at home during times like this so don’t be afraid to drop your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.
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