Can You Dry Fire a Revolver? | Practice Trigger Control Without Damage or Injury

Dry firing a revolver is a practice that involves pulling the trigger on an unloaded firearm. However, can you dry fire a revolver safely and without causing any harm to yourself or your firearm? Based on my experience, while generally considered safe for most modern revolvers, it is important to note that not all revolvers can withstand this practice.

Dry firing offers benefits such as improving firearm handling skills, trigger control, and accuracy of your revolver. However, you must exercise caution as excessive dry firing or using certain models can potentially cause damage to your revolver.

Finally, to ensure safety when handling a revolver and avoid accidents or damage, I recommend consulting the firearm's manual or a qualified gunsmith.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dry firing can potentially damage the firing pin or internal components of a revolver.
  • Centerfire revolvers are generally safe for dry firing, but rimfire revolvers should never be dry-fired.
  • Snap caps provide a safe alternative for practicing dry firing without causing damage.
  • It is important to exercise caution when practicing trigger control during dry firing to prevent excessive wear and tear on the revolver.

Why Dry Fire a Revolver?

Dry firing a revolver is essential for enhancing firearm handling skills. This is because it allows pistol shooting drills to refine their draw stroke, particularly for those who carry in unconventional holsters that may not be permitted at shooting ranges. 

When you practice dry firing, which means training without any ammunition, you can zero in on the nuances of your draw stroke. This helps you build muscle memory, enhancing your speed and precision when you shoot a revolver

If you're someone who opts for non-conventional holsters like pocket, ankle, or even purse carry, mastering this technique becomes even more crucial for your safety and efficiency.

A person holding an unloaded revolver

When you dry fire a revolver, it is crucial you ensure that the firearm is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction. 

I recommend this additional safety step because the firing pin of most modern revolvers can strike the frame or transfer bar when there is no cartridge present. However, unlike rimfire firearms which can be damaged by repeated dry firing, modern centerfire firearms are designed for dry fire practice.

When you consistently practice dry fire exercises with your revolver, you not only enhance your shooting skills but also deepen your connection and understanding of your firearm. This routine helps you feel more at ease when handling and adjusting the weapon, all while prioritizing safety measures.

Is it Safe to Dry Fire My Revolver?

Yes, it is safe to dry your revolver. However, I noticed you should always follow adequate safety rules to avoid damaging your revolver in the long run.

One of the main risks of dry firing a centerfire revolver is the potential for damage to the firearm itself. Unlike some modern centerfire handguns that are designed to withstand dry fire practice, revolvers may be more susceptible to damage from repeated hammer strikes on an empty chamber.

However, most modern manufactured firearms can be safely dry fired without harm to the gun, but it should specify in the owner's manual, and snap-caps are always a good idea. Dry firing older single-action revolvers is not recommended. 

It is crucial for gun owners to consult their owner's manual or contact the manufacturer to determine if their specific model can safely handle dry fire without snap caps. For your safety and to reduce potential damage during dry firing drills, it's crucial that you follow safety guidelines diligently. 

Always double-check to make sure your firearm is unloaded and keep all live ammunition away from your practice area. Also, by ensuring your surroundings are free from distractions or obstacles, you're taking an extra step in shooting range safety.

Understanding whether it is safe or not to engage in dry fire practice with a revolver lays the groundwork for exploring what exactly this type of training entails.

What is Dry Fire Practice?

Dry fire practice is the act of practicing firearm manipulations and drills without using live ammunition. Practicing trigger control and follow-through, as well as simulating various shooting scenarios, are key components of dry fire practice for firearm owners.

When dry firing a revolver, I always keep some important considerations in mind.

Firing Pins: Unlike semi-automatic pistols, revolvers do not have firing pin blocks or other mechanisms that prevent the firing pin from striking the chamber when the trigger is pulled. This means that dry firing a revolver repeatedly without any precautions can cause damage to the firearm's internal components over time.

Snap Caps: To protect your revolver from potential damage during dry fire practice, I recommend using snap caps. Snap caps are dummy rounds designed specifically for dry firing. They absorb the impact of the firing pin and help prevent wear on the revolver's internal parts.

Trigger Pull: Dry fire practice with a revolver allows shooters to focus on improving their revolver trigger pull technique. You can develop better accuracy and precision when you practice smooth and controlled trigger presses without disturbing sight alignment.

Based on my own journey as a gun owner, I assure you that incorporating these elements into your dry fire practice routine will help you enhance your shooting skills with a revolver while maintaining firearm safety.

Dry Fire Safety

When conducting firearm training exercises, it is crucial to follow all the safety protocols to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of individuals involved. 

Dry fire practice is a valuable training technique that allows you to simulate shooting without live ammunition. However, when it comes to dry firing a revolver, you should follow specific safety considerations to ensure safety.

Dry fire safety is essential for both rimfire firearms and centerfire firearms, including revolvers. Before you engage in dry fire practice with a revolver, several precautions should be followed. 

Firstly, ensure that the gun is unloaded by visually and physically inspecting the chambers or cylinder. Secondly, remove all ammunition from the vicinity of the training area and secure it separately.

When I choose a backstop for dry fire safety, I ensure it's capable of reliably stopping a bullet from any load my revolver can handle. I also make it a point to place a target in front of the backstop so I don't risk accidentally damaging anything in my room during my dry fire practice.

By following these dry fire safety protocols for revolvers and other firearms, individuals can engage in effective training while minimizing risks.

Dry Fire and the Four Rules

When I think about gun safety, three principles come to mind:

  • Always treat guns as loaded.
  • Never point them recklessly.
  • Be sure of your target and what's beyond. 
A silver revolver

These aren't just rules but the foundation of responsible gun ownership. 

Curious about the details? 

Let's dive in.

Graphical illustration of a revolver in the hand

Rule One: All guns are always loaded.

In my journey through the realm of gun safety, I've come to deeply respect Rule One: always treat every gun as if it's loaded. This personal mantra reminds me to remain vigilant and cautious whenever I handle a firearm. To grasp why this rule resonates so strongly with me, consider the following:

1. Rimfire weapons: Although rimfire firearms have a different ignition system compared to modern firearms, they should still be treated as if they are loaded at all times. If you neglect this rule, it can lead to accidents or mishandling.

2. Hammer-mounted firing pins: Some firearms use hammer-mounted firing pins, which can result in an accidental discharge if proper precautions are not taken. If you always treat these guns as loaded, it will effectively reinforce a safe habit of avoiding potential harm.

3. Regular practice with dummy ammunition: Strictly following Rule One during regular practice sessions using dummy ammunition helps develop muscle memory and ingrains the habit of treating every firearm as if it were loaded.

By understanding and implementing Rule One consistently, individuals demonstrate their commitment to firearm safety and responsible ownership.

Graphical illustration of a revolver in the hand

Rule Two: Never point the gun at anything you don’t want to shoot at

Sticking To Rule Two, individuals are expected to refrain from pointing the gun at any object or entity they do not intend to shoot. This rule is particularly important when it comes to dry-firing drills with a center fire revolver. 

Dry firing, which involves pulling the trigger without live ammunition, is a common practice for improving marksmanship skills and familiarizing oneself with the firearm.

However, I always remind myself that even if no bullets are being fired, there's still a chance of chamber damage or a broken firing pin. That's why I never point the firearm at anything I wouldn't want to shoot during dry firing. I prioritize my safety and reduce the risk of accidents or damaging my belongings by sticking to this personal guideline.

Graphical illustration of a revolver in the hand

Rule Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

This principle, known as Rule Three, is particularly relevant when considering whether it is safe to dry fire a revolver. Dry firing refers to pulling the trigger without any ammunition in the firearm. Before engaging in this practice, it is imperative to double check that no live rounds are present.

By strictly following Rule Three in my own practices, ensuring my finger stays off the trigger until I'm aiming at a deliberate target, I've managed to prevent accidental discharges during my dry fire exercises with a revolver.

Graphical illustration of a revolver in the hand

Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Rule Four resonates deeply with me when using firearms: always identify your target and be conscious of what's behind it. This principle has been a cornerstone of my responsible gun ownership, ensuring I avoid unintended consequences from poor target choices.

As I dry fire my revolver, following Rule Four becomes non-negotiable. Here are three personal pointers I always keep in mind during practice:

1. Chamber Edges: Ensure that the chamber edges are clear of any obstructions before dry firing.

2. Chamber Mouth: Double-check that the chamber mouth is empty and free from any ammunition.

3. Cylinder Latch and Cylinder Lock Notches: Verify that both the cylinder latch and lock notches are properly engaged to secure the cylinder in place.

By following these precautions, gun owners can safely engage in dry firing exercises without endangering themselves or others.

Can Dry Firing Damage Your Revolver?

Yes, dry firing can damage your revolver. Dry-firing a revolver can potentially cause damage to the firing pin or other internal components if it lacks a specific mechanism designed to handle dry-firing. 

Revolvers, like other firearms, require caution and proper handling to ensure their longevity and functionality. When it comes to dry firing, revolvers differ in their ability to withstand this practice. The following table illustrates the impact of dry-firing on different types of revolvers:

Revolver Type

Dry-Fire Safety


Generally safe


Should not be dry-fired

In my experience with centerfire revolvers, I've found they're typically safe for dry-firing, especially if they have design features like a firing pin stop pin. But I'm cautious with certain older models that might lack these safety elements. 

And I've made it a personal rule never to dry-fire rimfire revolvers (see Ruger Wrangler 22 review), understanding the potential damage from firing pins hitting the breech face's edge.

To prevent issues that may arise from dry-firing, you should employ alternative methods such as using snap caps. Snap caps are inert replicas of live cartridges that provide a safe alternative for practicing trigger control and firearm manipulation without causing any harm or damage.

How to Prevent Issues

Moving on from the discussion on potential damage caused by dry firing a revolver, it is important to explore methods for preventing such issues. Dry firing can be a valuable practice technique for improving your shooting skills, but excessive dry firing can lead to detrimental consequences. 

To mitigate these risks, you should take certain precautions when engaging in dry fire exercises with a revolver. One of the primary steps in preventing damage to a revolver during dry firing is to ensure that you use snap caps. 

Similar to centerfire and rimfire guns, snap caps provide an inert replica cartridge that absorbs the impact of the firing pin, safeguarding it from potential harm. By chambering snap caps instead of live rounds, individuals can engage in realistic training sessions without compromising the integrity of their firearm.

When I practice trigger control during dry fire exercises with my revolver, I'm always mindful of the wear and tear it might cause. I've noticed that the repetitive action without live ammo can be taxing on the internal components. So, I've made it a habit to change up where I apply pressure on the trigger and even considered investing in devices tailored for dry fire training.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of dry firing a revolver?

The benefits of dry firing a revolver are honing shooting skills and improving accuracy and trigger control. It serves as a metaphorical mirror, reflecting the importance of practicing freedom and self-reliance to maintain personal safety and protect fundamental liberties.

Is it necessary to use snap caps when dry firing a revolver?

No, it isn't necessary to use snap caps when dry firing a revolver. However, it can help protect the firing pin and prevent damage to the firearm.

Can dry firing improve my shooting accuracy with a revolver?

Yes, dry firing can improve your shooting accuracy with a revolver. By practicing the trigger pull, sight alignment, and follow-through without live ammunition, shooters can develop muscle memory and refine their technique for more precise shots on target.

Are there any specific revolvers that should not be dry fired?

Yes, there are some specific revolvers that should not be dry fired, as it can cause damage to the firing pin or other internal components. It is important to consult the manufacturer's guidelines before dry firing any firearm.

How often should I incorporate dry fire practice into my training routine?

You should regularly incorporate dry fire practice into your training routine. This is because regular sessions help improve accuracy, trigger control, and muscle memory without needing live ammunition. 


In conclusion, dry firing a revolver can be a valuable practice for improving firearm skills and accuracy.

However, it is essential to approach this technique with caution and ensure that your specific revolver is designed to withstand dry firing. Neglecting this precaution could result in potential damage to the firearm.

I always advise consulting the firearm's manual or seeking advice from a qualified gunsmith before engaging in dry fire practice.

By prioritizing safety and responsible handling, you can enhance your shooting abilities without compromising the integrity of your revolver.

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