Different Uses for Snap Caps

  • Jack Collins
Image courtesy of WDavis1911

If you’re a newer firearms enthusiast, you’re about to find one of your favorite new tools. We’re talking, of course, about snap caps. These useful tools are a great way to safely become more comfortable with handling your firearm. In this post, we’ll take a look at what snap caps are and what they’re used for with some help from SDI faculty members Rick Casner and Jarred McNeely.

What Are Snap Caps?

Essentially, a snap cap is an inert cartridge. They’re designed to have the same size and weight as a regular cartridge, but there’s nothing inside that makes them go boom. You can get snap caps in any caliber, and you can safely use them in any firearm—from a Glock to a shotgun to a .308 buck rifle.

What Are Snap Caps Used For?

As we mentioned earlier, snap caps are totally inert. You can load one into a gun, rack it, and shoot it, and nothing will happen. This makes snap caps super useful for training to handle firearms. You can safely learn to load, charge, and pull the trigger using snap caps.

Another way to utilize snap caps is by using them to practice clearing malfunctions and reloading. You can fill magazines with both live rounds and snap caps, and practice clearing a malfunction once you get to the snap cap. Using this same technique, you can also work on getting rid of flinching when you pull the trigger (if you do that). Note that if you’re mixing snap caps and live ammo, you should only be doing it at a shooting range.


Several different kinds of 7.62×39 ammo, with a snap cap on the right.


Snap Caps and Gunsmithing

Aside from using snap caps for training, Jarred also notes that they can be useful gunsmithing tools. He illustrates how you can use snap caps to induce failures—particularly with a trigger’s disconnector—to help you determine the causes of a firearm’s failure.

Learn More about Firearms with SDI

Want to learn more about what makes guns tick? At SDI, we love sharing all of the knowledge we’ve gained. Learn more about how we can help you explore the world of firearms when you check out all of the programs we offer.

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