Trivial Dry Fire Questions

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Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by beeser on Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:15 pm

I should've asked these questions long ago but I was already under the assumption that it was OK to dry fire a 1911 because of the importance of dry firing mentioned so often here.  Regardless ...

Is it OK to dry fire a 1911?
Should it be done with a snap cap?
When cocking the hammer do you bring the slide back or just the hammer or doesn't it make a difference?
Will dry firing wear out anything on the gun that should periodically be replaced?

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by sixftunda on Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:24 pm

Yes it is ok to dry fire a 1911.  I do not use a snap cap.
The third question will get you different answers.  Personally when I dry fire, when the hammer is down, I press the trigger, work the slide, then release the trigger.  I do that because it is what the man who does my trigger tells me to do and also how Zins does it.  At the clinic he said he would slap anyone who pulled the hammer back on his guns by hand.
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:22 pm

No where near the knowledge of sixftunda, but I heard the exact same thing from David Sams who explained to me that cocking the hammer only vice pulling the trigger and then using the slide to cock the hammer would ruin the trigger job I had paid for over time. 

So....since the topic is "trivial dry fire questions" if I could ask one as well.

I've been working on my dry fire and I'm shooting much better for it (BTW thanks sixftunda for the advice on tracking scores Wink )  Previously I was just dry firing, but I didn't get a dramatic improvement, I switched to a  NM course of fire, with my iPod playing the range calls and then the pennies dropped.  My question is in regards to practicing a full NRA 900 since I'm not sure I could find the time to do a full 2700 daily.


Is executing a 900 with my shot plan daily with weights to build up endurance/strength the best strategy or just execute a NM COF w/weights just as good?

Apologies in advance to beeser for imposing on the thread, but I thought it piggy-backed well.


Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:01 pm

sixftunda wrote:Yes it is ok to dry fire a 1911.  I do not use a snap cap.
The third question will get you different answers.  Personally when I dry fire, when the hammer is down, I press the trigger, work the slide, then release the trigger.  I do that because it is what the man who does my trigger tells me to do and also how Zins does it.  At the clinic he said he would slap anyone who pulled the hammer back on his guns by hand.
What is the thinking behind pulling the hammer back with thumb when practicing dry fire?  Curious.

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Rob Kovach on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:12 pm

When you shoot the gun in live fire, the gun is cocked while the trigger is still pressed.  The 2 clicks you hear when you pull the hammer back with your thumb is the sear dragging over the hammer hooks and the half cock notch.  The act of dragging the metal on metal makes wear.  IF you are dry firing as much as you should, that wear can wreck the trigger components.
If you dry fire the 1911 by pulling the trigger, racking the slide, then releasing (resetting) the trigger then the disconnector keeps the sear off of the hammer hooks and half-cock notch and there is no wear.
If you pull the trigger, and release it before racking the slide, then you might as well just pull the hammer back with your thumb cuz your disconnector isn't helping after that..  Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:24 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by beeser on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:34 pm

Rob Kovach wrote:When you shoot the gun in live fire, the gun is cocked while the trigger is still pressed.  The 2 clicks you hear when you pull the hammer back with your thumb is the sear dragging over the hammer hooks and the half cock notch.  The act of dragging the metal on metal makes wear.  IF you are dry firing as much as you should, that wear can wreck the trigger components.
If you dry fire the 1911 by pulling the trigger, racking the slide, then releasing (resetting) the trigger then the disconnector keeps the sear off of the hammer hooks and half-cock notch and there is no wear.
If you pull the trigger, and release it before racking the slide, then you might as well just pull the hammer back with your thumb cuz your disconnector isn't helping after that..  Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
Good explanation Rob.  Turns out the question wasn't so trivial after all.

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by davekp on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:05 am

You can hold the
trigger down while you cock the hammer without racking the slide.

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:12 am

You can hold the trigger down while you cock the hammer without racking the slide.
...but the gun wont recock because the disconnector is still engaged.
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by davekp on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:23 am

Rob Kovach wrote:
You can hold the trigger down while you cock the hammer without racking the slide.
...but the gun wont recock because the disconnector is still engaged.

Release the trigger when the hammer is pulled back.

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by desben on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:58 am

Would the same apply to a 22 pistol, say a Ruger? Should I hold the trigger while re-cocking it when dry-firing?
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Ed Hall on Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:05 am

If you dry fire the 1911 by pulling the trigger, racking the slide, then releasing (resetting) the trigger then the disconnector keeps the sear off of the hammer hooks and half-cock notch and there is no wear.
Sorry, but this statement is purely false!  As soon as the slide moves back about an eighth of an inch, the disconnector "disconnects" the trigger from the sear and the same "drag" occurs as if you were thumb-cocking the hammer.  Try this:  WITH THE GUN EMPTY, of course (check more than once), hold the trigger back (the hammer should be down) and move the slide back just enough to find the half-cock then release the slide.  You will find the hammer resting on the half-cock.  How does that happen if the sear is held off the hammer?  If holding the trigger back kept the sear off the hammer while cycling, the gun would never be cocked when the slide returned to battery.  Can you minimize this wear?  The only way to keep the hammer from dragging ("click, click") across the sear is to hold the trigger back and bring the hammer back manually, then release the trigger and set the hammer onto the sear (as mentioned in a couple previous posts).  This you can also test.  When you are holding the trigger back (with the disconnetor reset), the hammer will travel back and forth without catching the half or full cocks.  As an extra thing to look for when testing this, (as you should do the tests rather than just take my word), is to see if the hammer truly does make it past the half-cock without touching it.  If you feel a little bump when it passes that section of its arc, your stop is adjusted too tight and should be loosened a bit.  Some say manually resetting the hammer may not give the same trigger "set" as racking the slide, so the slide rack would be better in this case.  As for all of the above, I would suggest racking the slide, accepting the wear and spending the energy on training.  Personally, I like to tie a string to the slide/scope/rear sight and use it to cycle the slide.  It is simple, easy and I can use it to somewhat replicate sustained fire.

Yes, there are items that will wear, including the trigger job.  If you're concerned with shooting well, then you should just expect wear and maintenance.  A list of items that will fail if you are doing a sufficient amount of dry fire:

firing pin - rare, but occasionally will break in two
firing pin spring - rare, but will sometimes break a couple coils that will twist their way into the rest of the spring
firing pin stop - common, and will normally manifest between the square cut for the ejector and the firing pin hole, first - if left long enough, the other side will fail and the bottom section will fall off.

You should have a spare for all these and a few other parts with you at any matches, just in case.  And, of course, check these parts at every cleaning.  As for the stop, you can usually feel the crack with your fingernail.

The Ruger has a disconnecting system as well.  And, contrary to the manual, I would suggest using snap caps/wall anchors, etc.  If you miss that the cross pin fell out of the bolt when you put it back together, or if the firing pin breaks, the pin will damage the chamber, if there is nothing in the way.

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by BE Mike on Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:18 am

Ed, you don't know everything about bullseye pistol shooting, but what you don't know is probably not worth knowing! Smile
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:01 am

Ed is absolutely correct...and my previous post was....wrong  pale
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by sixftunda on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:47 am

Ed Hall wrote: Some say manually resetting the hammer may not give the same trigger "set" as racking the slide, so the slide rack would be better in this case. 

This is what my trigger guy says.

The other thing I have been told is that the main reason roll triggers don't keep their roll is because of chicken finger.  Hesitating in the middle of the pull will create wear spots on the sear and/or hooks.  Is this true or false?
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Ed Hall on Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:27 pm

Thanks for the thought, BE Mike, but there are many things I don't know.  For example I don't know whether what sixftunda mentions is true or false.  I've heard both sides.  My personal answer is why be concerned?  Simply, operate the trigger in a determined manner from start to finish. Smile

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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:16 pm

I've been thinking about using my squib dowel as a recocking device so i could just push the squib dowel on the wall against the breech face to cycle the slide.

What do you guys think of that idea?
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by BE Mike on Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:22 pm

Ed Hall wrote:
If you dry fire the 1911 by pulling the trigger, racking the slide, then releasing (resetting) the trigger then the disconnector keeps the sear off of the hammer hooks and half-cock notch and there is no wear.
Sorry, but this statement is purely false!  As soon as the slide moves back about an eighth of an inch, the disconnector "disconnects" the trigger from the sear and the same "drag" occurs as if you were thumb-cocking the hammer.  Try this:  WITH THE GUN EMPTY, of course (check more than once), hold the trigger back (the hammer should be down) and move the slide back just enough to find the half-cock then release the slide.  You will find the hammer resting on the half-cock.  How does that happen if the sear is held off the hammer?  If holding the trigger back kept the sear off the hammer while cycling, the gun would never be cocked when the slide returned to battery.  Can you minimize this wear?  The only way to keep the hammer from dragging ("click, click") across the sear is to hold the trigger back and bring the hammer back manually, then release the trigger and set the hammer onto the sear (as mentioned in a couple previous posts).  This you can also test.  When you are holding the trigger back (with the disconnetor reset), the hammer will travel back and forth without catching the half or full cocks.  As an extra thing to look for when testing this, (as you should do the tests rather than just take my word), is to see if the hammer truly does make it past the half-cock without touching it.  If you feel a little bump when it passes that section of its arc, your stop is adjusted too tight and should be loosened a bit.  Some say manually resetting the hammer may not give the same trigger "set" as racking the slide, so the slide rack would be better in this case.  As for all of the above, I would suggest racking the slide, accepting the wear and spending the energy on training.  Personally, I like to tie a string to the slide/scope/rear sight and use it to cycle the slide.  It is simple, easy and I can use it to somewhat replicate sustained fire.

Yes, there are items that will wear, including the trigger job.  If you're concerned with shooting well, then you should just expect wear and maintenance.  A list of items that will fail if you are doing a sufficient amount of dry fire:

firing pin - rare, but occasionally will break in two
firing pin spring - rare, but will sometimes break a couple coils that will twist their way into the rest of the spring
firing pin stop - common, and will normally manifest between the square cut for the ejector and the firing pin hole, first - if left long enough, the other side will fail and the bottom section will fall off.

You should have a spare for all these and a few other parts with you at any matches, just in case.  And, of course, check these parts at every cleaning.  As for the stop, you can usually feel the crack with your fingernail.

The Ruger has a disconnecting system as well.  And, contrary to the manual, I would suggest using snap caps/wall anchors, etc.  If you miss that the cross pin fell out of the bolt when you put it back together, or if the firing pin breaks, the pin will damage the chamber, if there is nothing in the way.
I'll only add that I've had an extractor break on me. A pre-fitted extractor is a nice spare part to have. This and the other parts you mentioned, will fit neatly into a certain size prescription pill bottle.
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Re: Trivial Dry Fire Questions

Post by Ed Hall on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:51 pm

BE Mike wrote:
I'll only add that I've had an extractor break on me. A pre-fitted extractor is a nice spare part to have. This and the other parts you mentioned, will fit neatly into a certain size prescription pill bottle.
And, if fact, at the last match I attended, I loaned out my spare extractor to someone who had theirs break.  As mentioned by BE Mike, it does need to be tuned to be an acceptable spare.  I failed in this respect many years ago and lost a very important match because of that oversight.

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