I recently held a class for a group of a LE SWAT team this past week and the question about snap caps came up. “Do you really need them, will dry fire hurt my weapon, etc.?
The answer to the question is YES and NO.
The reasoning for using snap caps is to not damage the weapons firing pin when dry firing. I advise any shooter, no matter the level of proficiency, to dry fire away! This statement technically only applies to a specific type of shooter. The shooter who uses a center-fire, not a rim-fire weapon. Modern day center-fire firearms have been designed and manufactured to such a high standard, “cracking” or “breaking” your firing pin due to dry fire is almost impossible. The idea of damaging your weapon due to dry fire comes from shooters who use rim fire weapons where the firing pin in most designs will impact the breech face.
If you are still concerned about damaging your weapons (center-fire) firing pin, there are two things that I suggest. The first is to take a look at the Glock pistol. In order to dissemble the weapon, the shooter must essentially “dry fire” the weapon. I can’t imagine a company, especially a company like Glock, designing a weapon that in order to dissemble, you must damage it. The second suggestion, is to simply purchase snap caps if you do not feel comfortable with dry firing, just ensure that they are not placed anywhere near your live ammo.