Rimfire Protection While Dry-Firing

Anybody who has been around the gun community a while is aware that dropping the firing pin on a rimfire chamber without a cartridge chambered can cause damage to the firearm, the firing pin, or both. Continual dry-firing of a rimfire firearm without something to prevent the firing pin from impacting (peening) the chamber is not advised.

While most of us are aware of this damage occurring, we still find ourselves dropping the hammer or releasing a striker on occasion. One time that I can think of is right after a cleaning and when preparing the firearm for storage. Naturally, we don’t want to leave the firearm in a cocked position, which means that the hammer or striker mechanism is under constant spring tension. With a hammer-fired firearm, we can simply lower the hammer softly. With a striker-fired pistol; however, that is not possible.

Aside from the above, there is also the occasional dry-firing for practice, or to get used to a new trigger.

With this article I hope to bring two products to the table that will help in preventing damage to your favorite, or not so favorite, .22 caliber firearm when dry firing.

  • A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps
  • Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8”

A-Zoom Snap Caps

A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps are hard-anodized aluminum “dummy” cartridges that allow you to dry fire your .22 caliber (not magnum) firearm without worrying about damage to the firearm.

They work well in rim-fire revolvers, rim-fire semiautomatic pistols and rim-fire bolt-action firearms.

My most recent use of them was in the Glock G44 .22 LR pistol, as shown below.

The dummy load was chambered directly from the magazine.

Below, you can see the impact of the striker on the dummy cartridge.

Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8”

Available as 100 count per pack, the Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8” is the most cost-efficient of the two samples provided in this article.

The Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8” is normally used as fastening light objects to concrete, brick, hollow block, drywall and plaster; however, the dimensions of the fasteners are a perfect fit in a revolver cylinder, a bolt-action rifle chamber, and a semi-automatic pistol or long-gun chamber.

Being of soft plastic, these “dummy loads” will wear out faster than the A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps; however, they are much cheaper to replace.

When using these as “dummy loads” they must be manually placed in the chamber of a pistol or rifle, as they will not feed from a magazine.

How to Use

The use of “dummy loads” is simple. If you have a semi-automatic firearm, the A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps can be fed directly from the magazine. The Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8”; however, must be placed manually in the chamber.

For revolvers, simply insert into the cylinder.

Rotate the “dummy load” after “firing.” This positions the dummy load’s rim away from the last striker.

Continue rotating the dummy load after each “firing” until the rim has been fully impacted by the firing pin/striker. Discard and replace as needed.


Cost wise, the Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8” is $5.96/box of 100 pieces; whereas, the A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps costs $9.96 for 6 items.

Below, you can see the use of the Hillman Ribbed Plastic Anchor 4-6-8×7/8” and the A-Zoom 22 LR Snap Caps in the cylinder of the Smith & Wesson Model 617. Look closely at the first A-Zoom on the right; you can see the impact point from the striker of the Glock G44.

To protect your .22 caliber firearm, I highly recommend both of these products.

In fact, I have been known to keep “dummy loads” or Snap Caps in my center-fire firearms. This is usually a result of inserting one in the chamber after I have cleaned the firearm and need to do a function check. The dummy load simply gives the firing pin a cushion to impact rather than the firing pin impacting the inside of the firing pin channel.

Whenever I want to handle and dry-fire any of my Uberti Single-Action reproduction revolvers, a .45 LC dummy cartridge is loaded in each cylinder.

I have dummy cartridges for every caliber of firearm that I own.



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About Taurian

Taurian is a U.S. Army veteran and former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Taurian also has over fifty years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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