Does Dry Firing Damage A Gun?

The information surrounding dry firing a gun is very mixed and so you’re probably frantically searching the web for the information that looks the most reliable!

Does Dry Firing Damage A Gun

Some people will swear blind that dry firing really harms your gun, while others swear blind that it won’t cause any damage whatsoever! 

Well, once you’ve read this article, you’ll finally know the answer to this question.

Both answers that you have heard are true, and whether dry firing your gun will cause damage usually comes down to the type of firearm that you are using, specifically, what model it is.

Read on to find out whether your gun would be damaged through dry firing!

What Does Dry Firing A Gun Mean?

Simply put, dry firing a gun refers to pulling the trigger of the gun and shooting it when it is not loaded. Often, dry firing is a technique used by shooters when they are practicing their accuracy.

They concentrate on the aspect of shooting that requires you to pull on the trigger without having the noise of the bullet distracting them and wasting the ammunition. It can also be done at home safely and is a common way for shooters to practise. 

To perform a dry fire you should do the following:

  1. Make sure your gun is not loaded. Always look inside to double check this step.
  2. Then, prepare your specific gun for a shot. For instance, either cock the hammer or the firing pin.
  3. Now, you can pull the trigger on your gun as you usually would, however ammunition will come out of the gun. 

Is Dry Firing Bad? 

No, dry firing is not bad for all guns, although some firearms will be harmed if you dry fire them. Whether your firearm can be dry fired depends on: 

  • Age of the firearm 
  • The type of firearm 
  • The condition of the firearm 

All modern firearms fall under two categories: rimfire or centerfire ammunition. 

Which Guns Will Not Be Damaged By Dry Firing 

Centerfire guns are fine to dry fire without causing any damage to your gun. The firing pin doesn’t move when you fire it and so no damage is done here.

What Is A Centerfire Firearm? 

A centerfire gun is a gun in which the firing pin hits the center of the bullet as opposed to the rim. The reason the firing pin strikes the center of the bullet is because the center of the firing cap is positioned there.

When the firing pin strikes the bullet, the propellant is ignited. This then instigates the round being fired. Centerfire ammunition works as a chain reaction which sends the bullet directly down the middle of the barrel.

Which Guns Are Damaged By Dry Firing? 

Rimfire guns do cause damage to the gun if they are dry fired. This is because the firing pin can move and cause damage inside the gun.

Does Dry Firing Damage A Gun (1)

This happens because of the way that the rimfire chamber has been designed. When you pull the trigger on a rimfire gun, the striker comes into contact with the chamber.

What Is A Rimfire FIrearm? 

A rimfire gun refers to the way in which the firing pin hits the cartridges to fire the gun. Rimfire ammunition refers mostly to the metallic firearm cartridge.  

Should I Dry Fire A Gun?

Because it is sometimes difficult to judge whether or not dry firing your gun will cause damage to the firearm, if it can be avoided, why take the risk that it might cause irreparable damage?

Modern firearms are designed to fire the ammunition into the air when the trigger is pulled and so dry firing is never what your gun was designed to do.

Even if a centerfire firearm is fired without ammunition, although it is rare, this has been known to cause damage at times.

However, if you do find yourself really needing to practise that aspect of the shooting process, using a centerfire rifle or pistol will rarely cause damage.

If you use a snap cap, which is a type of dummy ammunition, this will further protect the risk of damage to the firearm.

Advantages Of Dryfiring 

While it is important to ask yourself if the risk of dry firing is worth it, there are many advantages of the practice.

Safe and Saves On Bullets 

The practice of dry firing is very safe because no bullets are used. This also saves on the cost of bullets. If you are simply firing bullets just to practice then it may not be worth using up all your ammo.

Good Practice 

Dry firing allows you to practice some techniques which are too dangerous to practice with ammunition in the gun. For instance, holster draw techniques can be easily practiced when the gun is not loaded. 

Improve Technique

Over time, you will learn better finger placement on the trigger which will allow you to improve your shots. 

How To Keep Safe 


You are dealing with a firearm, and when this is the case, you should never allow there to be any distractions or interruptions. 

Ensure The Gun Is Empty

Double check, triple check and check again and again to ensure that the gun is not loaded before you pull the trigger. 

Extra Protection

Make sure that you are never pulling the trigger of the gun in a way you wouldn’t do if the gun was loaded. Act as if it is loaded at all times just in case an unintended shot occurs. 

Final Thoughts 

You should now have all the information you need on dry firing firearms. As a general rule of thumb, a centerfire firearm will not be damaged if it is dry fired, while a rimfire firearm will be damaged.

However, depending on the age and the caliber of the gun, you may not even want to risk firing the centerfire because in some rare cases damage has occured.

There are many advantages to dry firing though, so you may feel that the advantages outweigh the risks. 

The most important thing to remember is that you are dealing with a firearm and not a toy, make sure you take all the appropriate safety precautions!

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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