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.
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"...
Here is one of the more heartbreaking stories:
(From Hattip Kilo)
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.
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:
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?
The quick response back:
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.
Glock Inc, Technical Services
6000 Highlands Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082
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.