Should You Dry Fire a Glock?

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Glock handguns are some of the most technologically advanced in the world. For the past three generations of the G-series semi-automatic pistols, it has been commonly preached that you may dry fire a Glock to your heart's content. Dry firing, the act of squeezing the trigger of an empty, safe, and unloaded firearm in a controlled situation, is often used to help work on muscle memory trigger squeeze and point of aim. It looks like today this practice may have changed.

Breech failures
If you Google "Glock breech face failures," you find more than 9,000 pages that pop back up immediately. These stories run everywhere across the internet. One from Greece involves detailed pictures and a story from a Ministry of Public Order gun seller who fired about 4,000 rounds through his G17 and had his breech face split out of the blue apparently. Statements in other incidents include "I've heard about breech face failures in the past, but was almost mythical because of the rarity of it...." .... "Greetings all, I have a 2nd gen G19, serial # starts w/ BZK*** that I purchased about 10years ago used. I LOVE this little pistol and practice dry-firing every day"...

Should You Dry Fire a Glock? - christophereger - 32030705-17.jpg

Here is one of the more heartbreaking stories:

(From Hattip Kilo)

Should You Dry Fire a Glock? - christophereger - 79489913-16.jpg

In mid-November of this last year, I found this when I was cleaning my G19 after a shooting session (no issues then) and realized I couldn't rack my slide (the protrusion was preventing the barrel from dropping free). I was shooting Speer Lawmen 115gr in today's session. I've heard about breech face failures in the past, but was almost mythical because of the rarity of it. This is a Gen 3 Glock 19 (with Austrian roll marks) assembled in Feb. 2009 I stripped the slide of everything (including my night sights) and sent it in to Glock at Georgia. After talking to the tech and doing research online, it appeared excessive dry firing without a snap cap caused the failure. This gun was my "do all" gun, which included competitive USPSA/IDPA shooting, and for my carry gun. I dry fired a lot w/o the caps, and the striker assembly punched a circular hole forward. After sending it to Glock and getting it in the closing days of December 2011 (like the 30th), I got a new slide. Moral of the story, use snap caps if you dry fire a lot. If you own a Glock, check your breach face occasionally to look for cracks, especially if you dry fire a lot w/o caps. When buying a used Glock, check there as well, as you don't know if the previous owner did the same thing I did with my old slide.

Snap Caps

Should You Dry Fire a Glock? - christophereger - snap-cap-18.jpg

One thing that seems to permeate these stories across the blogosphere and gun world is one of excessive dry firing. Not someone who has fired once or twice on an empty chamber, but one that has done it thousands of times. This simple act, always said to be fine in Glocks, now doesn't seem to be. Snap caps, small plastic inert rounds that absorb the impact of the firing pin through a dummy primer plate attached to a tensioned spring, may be able to prevent this breech face failure.

Glocks official statement

To get to the bottom of this, Glock Forum went right to the source and contacted Glock USA themselves. Here is what we found:

Dear Glock

I am writing an article on Glock Forum on Dry Firing G-series Glock pistols. What is the official Glock policy on this practice?

Is it ok or not, in a nutshell?

Christopher Eger

The quick response back:

Mr. Eger,

Generally, dry firing the Glock pistol is not a problem, however, when taken to excess, e.g., thousands of dry firings, Glock now recommends the use of snap-caps.
When taken to the extreme, the breech-face can be damaged.

Best regards,
(Name redacted)
Glock Inc, Technical Services
6000 Highlands Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082
770 432-1202
FAX 770 437-4701

There you have it. Either stop dry firing or buy some snap caps. They run about $5 and the Glock you save...may be your own.

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September 18, 2012  •  01:30 AM
Thats crazy. Never heard of that
Might have to go get some of them snap caps
September 18, 2012  •  08:39 PM
Never heard of a breech face failure from dry firing. Also never heard of Glock saying it could be harmful in excess. I've been to Glock Armorer School and Glock Transition School, but times they said dry fire until your heart is content
September 22, 2012  •  12:06 PM
Nice to know.
September 22, 2012  •  12:21 PM
@bhale187 I feel your pain. Went through the Armorer school myself there but today they say, no excessive dry fire.
September 28, 2012  •  05:38 AM
getting Caps today
October 9, 2012  •  05:17 PM
On my way to shop for snap caps
October 10, 2012  •  08:16 AM
My Glock G19 is new and everyone has told Me dry firing is ok. But maybe should think about caps.
October 10, 2012  •  10:43 PM
Think I will get me some snap-caps next time I get to the store. Might just get a laser practice round that will kill two birds with one stone. Then I can have some fun at the same time.
October 18, 2012  •  06:00 PM
Never was taught to dry fire any weapon, so I just learned to practice a different way.
October 29, 2012  •  02:53 AM
i was told as well that glocks were designed to be dry fired with no problems at all. I went and bought snap caps anyway. better be safe than sorry
November 7, 2012  •  04:56 AM
mmmm are you sure you don't use Hair dryer ؟ :]
November 18, 2012  •  04:37 AM
Just goes to prove... moderation wins everytime, and btw USE Snap Caps for your dry fire trigger squeeze training.
November 25, 2012  •  09:46 PM
A better option than going the snapcap route, if you have an extra $90, is to buy a Laserlyte training cartridge which acts as a snap cap but also produces a brief laser light on whatever you are targeting.. works both proper trigger pull and helps your aim. There's also a target that you can buy that keeps track of your "hits". There's more expensive systems in the same vain.
November 29, 2012  •  06:04 PM
could you just use spent casings?? if your not suppose to dry fire it how do you take it apart?
December 7, 2012  •  12:58 PM
"could you just use spent casings?? if your not suppose to dry fire it how do you take it apart?"

I do not think so. The snap caps I use are spring loaded so they give a little when hit by the striker. I have no other hand gun that puches a primer as hard as my glock. Just look at a fired primer and how deep the dent is as compared to a Sig or Relover. After 2 or 3 strikers a spent primer will offer no resistence imho.
January 14, 2013  •  12:35 AM
how common is this though? Thought it was fairly safe to dry fire center fire guns.
January 23, 2013  •  03:48 PM

great post!
January 29, 2013  •  01:17 PM
Repeated dry firing any weapon, is, in my opinion, childish. Any firearm should always be treated as if it is loaded and ready to shoot. With a Glock, it will not break down without dry firing it once, so one time during a break down sequence is necessary, and that will not cause any significant fatigue to the firearm.
February 1, 2013  •  09:49 PM
Are dummy rounds fine, too?
February 6, 2013  •  10:01 PM
When taken to the extreme, the breech-face can be damaged.

So, if you want to break down the pistol dry fire it and don't worry 'bout it. However, should you have a strong desire to dry fire a couple hundred times a day while say, watching the TV, get some snap caps. Cheap insurance...
February 12, 2013  •  09:54 PM
@glockit1. Hi. Yea. I'm pretty new to Glock but bought based on Rep and I was told that Glock was the only one that could withstand dry fire. Any other brand was "bad dog-bad dog". A little isn't a big deal but excess is not good ( just like anything else in life ) :0)
February 17, 2013  •  02:49 PM

I have always used snap caps, but I for some reason haven't used them with my Glock lately... just one of those things when you hear about Glocks.
March 4, 2013  •  08:38 AM
hmmm. never heard of this being a problem. snap caps are fun though. honestly, of all the complaints i have heard about glocks, i have never experienced any of those issues with all 4 glocks that i own, aand probably 10k rounds between the 4 of them.
March 14, 2013  •  06:12 PM
the general rule is not to dry fire with out a round or snapcaps. that being said, I have dry fired tens of thousands times with a G-22 and the gun has well over 100-k in ammo thru it. at one point I wanted to induce failure with out abuse. and shot for months with out cleaning. someplace in the area of 8,000 rounds. no issues. I would not try this with any other firearm, or mine. it is a work gun. all the parts are stock and have not been changed. I do think it is need of a new recoil spring as it feel light and during the "Glock test" (pull and hold the trigger back on an empty chamber work the slide back and slowly let it forward with the barrel pointing up. try to get the slide to not go into battery. while the trigger is still pulled slowly start to point the gun level. if the slide holds back the spring is in need of replacing.) I do this and get to 45 deg before the slide goes into battery. my new guns will not allow me to do this at all and close up any and every time. work will not put a new recoil spring in and so I keep shooting. now the frame is taking the hit. still working but I would not do this if it were mine. to be fare I use a very good lube and more than most. some say I run my guns too wet but hay they work. I have shot sig's and many others I am a big fan of wet guns. you can clean them if they are dirty you cant re lube after the wear. IMO.
March 17, 2013  •  05:19 PM
Snap-caps are probably good idea but: only if you are ready to change the snap cap about every 10 dry-firings or so, and planning on spending good amount of money on replacements....In case you didn't notice. Snap-caps, even the spring loaded ones develop a crater in the "primer" after very few dry-firing. After that the firing pin is just "hitting" a void where metal used to be and is not prevented from contact with back side of the breech face. Until someone proves me otherwise , this is my take on the whole snap-cap story...
March 23, 2013  •  01:41 PM
An occasional bag of snap caps just as an occasional box of new ammo is advised here. Skip a donut a week club member for life.
April 12, 2013  •  02:20 PM
OK, now I am corn-fused. I have used empties on most all, but guess the Snap Caps are the real thing to do. In this day and age getting parts or even a replacement might be an issue. Do not wish to be without my carry pard.
July 31, 2015  •  01:33 AM
Check Youtube. Recall a video recommending a brand other than snap cap. If I remember correctly, author also criticized them for shedding brass in the gun.