How to Use Snap Caps

How to Use Snap Caps
How to Use Snap Caps 300

A snap cap is a fake cartridge in every sense of the word. It does not contain gunpowder, primer, or bullet. It serves the same objective as a dummy round, which is to ensure that when you dry-fire a firearm, it will not cause impact or stress damage to the barrel breech or firing pin. 

If you are new to snap caps and never used one before, you might be wondering how they are used and how they work. 

How snap caps work

Snap caps look like live ammunition, except they are not. Some of them have a spring buffered dummy primer made of soft polymer or rubber.

 The spring works by absorbing the impact force when you dry-fire your firearm, allowing you to test your firearm action safely and without damaging any of its components. 

Snap caps are made of different materials. Some are made entirely of plastic, while others are made of soft aluminum or brass. 

As mentioned, they are used for dry-firing and before you test your gun using snap caps, you first need to ensure there are no live rounds in the firearm.

Make sure to remove the magazine, and check that the chamber is empty. Then place a snap cap in the chamber and go ahead and fire your gun. You will hear a click instead of a bang since it’s not a live round. 

If you have a rimfire or centerfire firearm, you should not use snap caps to test-fire it when the chamber is empty, particularly if you have an older model. Doing this can weaken or break the firing pin and increase wear to other parts and components of your firearm. 

Snap Caps 1
via @artofboomlife

Furthermore, dry-firing a rimfire gun can damage the chamber edge owing to the impact of the firing pin since there is no cartridge rim in the middle. And since the edge is hard, the firing pin’s performance may become affected when you fire a live round

However, keep in mind that dry-firing a centerfire gun does not affect it as much as it does a rimfire. Therefore, you can use snap caps to dry-fire a centerfire if it is not an old model. 

Uses of Snap Caps

One of the primary uses of snap caps is dry-firing your gun to see if the firing mechanism is functioning properly. Shooters use snap caps because they are safe, and they also protect the firearm and its components from getting damaged. In semi-automatic guns, they are used for testing if the magazine is working properly. 

Snap caps are also used in malfunction training and trigger training. In both cases, the shooter can combine snap caps and live rounds.

In trigger training, the shooter uses both fake and live rounds to test for flinching. That is, to see how well the shooter anticipates the recoil. The main aim is to give the shooter better trigger control

Are Snap Caps Useful?

Snap Caps 2
via @tiptonguncleaning

Snap caps are useful because using live ammo to dry-fire your gun can be expensive. Besides, if you are a newbie shooter who is just learning how to shoot a gun for the first time, snap caps can help you have better control of the trigger. In short, they are useful when learning how to load and shoot a gun.  

Furthermore, it’s safer to use snap caps when dry-firing a firearm, and it also protects your gun from damage

Are Snap Caps Noisy

Unlike live ammo that produces a bang when discharged from the gun, snap caps don’t. When you load a snap cap in the gun’s chamber and pull the trigger, you get a click

Do I need to use Snap Caps?

If you own an old gun, using snap caps to dry-fire the gun can help extend its life. It is important to note that snap caps are available for all calibers. So it does not matter what type of gun you have; they are snap caps for every kind of firearm.

Another advantage of using snap caps is that they can help clean and lubricate your firearm. However, this should not be used as a method for cleaning your gun. 

As we also mentioned, snap caps can help detect and cure flinching and help you have better trigger control. Besides, they are not expensive, and you can reuse them.But, if you notice any wear and tear, you should replace them with new ones. 

Are Snap Caps Expensive?

Snap caps are expensive. In some cases more costly than live ammo. But the good thing about snap caps is that they are reusable, which is not the same with live ammo. 

Some people prefer to make their own than buy ready-made ones, but to do that, you need to know how to make them.

The last thing you need is compromising your safety or damaging your firearm by using poorly made snap caps.

 In any case, you can buy snap caps in bulk even though they are expensive because they will go a long way. And since they are reusable, you may not need to purchase new ones in a long time. 

In Summary

Snap Caps 3
via @preparedcivilian
  • Snap caps are fake cartridges. They don’t have a primer, bullet, or gunpowder
  • Snap caps are similar to dummy rounds. You can use either for dry-firing your firearm
  • When you dry-fire a gun with snap caps, there is no muzzle blast or recoil as with live ammo
  • Snap caps provide a level of safety and protection to the shooter and the firearm
  • Snap caps are useful in checking the functionality of a firearm
  • Snap caps are helpful when your learning how to load and shoot a firearm for the first time
  • Snap caps are available for all firearms, including shotguns
  • It is not recommended to use snap caps to dry-fire older versions of centerfire and rimfire guns to avoid damaging them
  • Always remove a gun’s magazine and check the chamber is empty before loading a snap-cap

Final Remarks

Snaps caps are mainly designed to protect a firearm from damage when dry-firing, and they are often used for malfunction and trigger training. They are cheap and can be used in place of dummy rounds. 

Some people prefer to use live ammo, and there is nothing wrong with that if you have enough money to keep buying new ammo. With snap caps, you can reuse them until they cannot be used anymore, which essentially, makes them a much cheaper option for dry-firing than live ammo.

How to Use Snap Caps 1

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