It cannot be overstated how important dry fire practice is for good handgun shooting. It’s beneficial for all shooting disciplines, but especially important for handguns, as keeping your grip firm and steady while ONLY moving your trigger finger and the trigger without moving the gun is one of the most difficult aspects of shooting to master.
Dry fire can help build those skills and the fact that it can be done safely at home without a range trip means its something you should be building into your daily routine if you’re serious about being a better shooter.
There are a number of products on the market that can help with this kind of training, but the simplest tools are often the most useful.
Lyman has been making their A-Zoom Snap Cap dry-firing “rounds” for a long while now. They’re dummy rounds in a wide variety of calibers and gauges constructed from aluminum with a spring inside that absorbs the impact from the firing pin and a silicone-like pad where the primer on a real cartridge would be.
This keeps your firing pin from peening and protects it and your gun through thousands of trigger pulls by absorbing its impact. The brightly colored Snap Caps also visually ensure that the gun is safe, since it’s occupying the chamber at all times.
However, they can be frustrating to use with a striker pistol.
On a DA/SA semi-auto, you simply pull the trigger to practice firing in double action, or manually cock the hammer to practice single-action trigger presses.
On a striker pistol, you have to draw back the slide each time you pull the trigger to cock the action, and of course, this action will eject a regular Snap Cap in the chamber, slowing down practice considerably.
Enter A-Zoom’s new StrikerCaps, which are made without a rim and are equipped with a centering O-ring, which grips the chamber walls and keeps the snap cap in place in the chamber.
Once it is inserted into the chamber, just rack the slide to cock the pistol over and over and the StrikerCap will remain in place. It will absorb the firing pin hit just like the standard A-Zooms, but it will stay in place for quicker, easier dry fire practice.
I spent some time with the 9mm version of the StrikerCaps and used them in a Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0, a Glock 17 Gen5, and a SIG Sauer P365 and they functioned perfectly in all three firearms, allowing rapid resets of the striker without hindering the action in any way.
So you may ask, if the ejector doesn’t eject these dummy rounds, how do you get them out when you’re ready to load up the real thing? It’s pretty simple. You just push the StrikerCap out from the muzzle end with a cleaning rod or even a pen. Just don’t use anything made of steel and you won’t risk marring the barrel on the chamber.
It’s just a small O-ring that ultimately keeps the StrikerCap in place, so you don’t have to exert a lot of force. Just make sure you pop it out over a table and you won’t risk the StrikerCap bouncing away into some unknown crevice to be found years later during a spring cleaning along with that detent spring that went flying back in the summer of ’09.
These simple devices are an affordable way to get more out of your dry fire practice. Currently priced at $8.98 for a pair, the A-Zoom StrikerCaps are currently available in .380, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.