Market for less expensive "snapcap" ?


February 9, 2010, 11:45 AM
I am a regular participant in this forum, but I also have a plastics manufacturing company that does injection molding/assembling etc. We currently do quite a few products for the ammunition industry (wads, sabots, polymer ballistic tips, plastic packaging trays, boxes, etc. Needless to say, quantities in this area have been up recently!

From time to time I've bought some "snapcap" like products used to dryfire my weapons, and found them quite expensive - I mean like $10 or $15 for a package of 6. While they seem to work, to me they seem overly expensive and perhaps overkill for the application. Most of them have a plastic or aluminum casing, and an internal spring with a brass "primer."

I've thought of making a less expensive version, with a high-performance polymer "cartridge" and a high performance thermoplastic rubber "primer" that would hold up to repeated firing pin strikes. Perhaps a replacable "primer" that would be very cheap and easy to replace if necessary. I've notice that the brass versions dent right away and probably become less effective at absorbing the shock over time. In that respect, the plastic ones might actually be superior.

We could probably manufacture a package of 6 for around $1 or $1.25. After markup, the retail price might be $3.00 or $4.00. (Retailers have large margins on these low cost items).

Would anyone buy this product at that price? Good idea/bad idea?

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February 9, 2010, 11:52 AM
Would be cool if it worked, but $10 for a pack of 6 isn't really that bad. I get a LOT of use out of mine

February 9, 2010, 12:09 PM
Spent about $10 for a pack of 2 3-in 12 ga. shells. Seemed kinda high to me.

February 9, 2010, 12:11 PM
CZ includes a couple of snap caps with each of their new-manufacture 9mm pistols that are exactly as you describe.

February 9, 2010, 12:31 PM
The trouble with plastic ones is that the rims don't hold up if well if you're using them in an automatic. The extractor tears them up. I'd get them for my revolvers though.

February 9, 2010, 12:34 PM
They already exist, in orange plastic. Search for "Saf-T-Trainers".

February 9, 2010, 01:53 PM
NRA sells these on their web site...

Regular brass (nickel plated) and then a plastic "bullet" (dayglow orange, orage, pink, yellow etc) that fills the case.

These are useful for classroom training and "ball and dummy" training, and malfunction drills.

There is not so much of a primer though, and in the case of most firearms these days is not needed, IMHO. If I can't dry fire it (the gun), I don't want it. Rimfires excepted.

Check them out, they're pretty cheap ~$5 for 5 or 10 pieces, but it's been a while.

February 9, 2010, 02:20 PM
That's a good idea. I've always liked the rubber primers and the plastic bodies more. To me the plastic ones feed better, longer than the aluminum ones, which tend to deform around the rim and get hung up. I like the rubber primers the most because they last the longest and don't leave brass flakes behind. The current pricing doesn't bother me, I only need a pack ever six months or so. But, the ones I find are either made of plastic with brass primer, or made of aluminum with rubber primer.

February 9, 2010, 02:30 PM
Trouble is that the snap cap makers use the myth that dry firing a center fire firearm will damage the firing pin. So they get extra $$$$ based on this fear. Amazing that myth has persisted for so many years.

That being said I am not against snap caps, they are a good training aid in dealing with a dud round.

February 9, 2010, 02:33 PM
I can see where they could be useful in training for misfires etc, but like kludge said they really are not needed for any pistols I own except rimfires. I won't pay $10 or $15 for six but at $3-$4 I might pick them up on impulse at a store if I thought I might use them. I would definitely buy some for .22lr or .17hmr if they would hold up.

February 9, 2010, 02:42 PM
Perhaps a replaceable "primer" that would be very cheap and easy to replace if necessary.

Yes, yes, yes. Package some of the replacement primer units with the snap caps. Sell the replacement primer units in bulk. One size for simplicity.

I love A-Zoom snap caps for their general durability and utility when cycling actions. But the primer units get depressions in them quickly.

So, how many primer strikes could one of these take before replacement would be needed?

February 9, 2010, 02:43 PM
the myth that dry firing a center fire firearm will damage the firing pin.It is not just a myth.

There are any number of older center-fire firearms that should never be dry-fired without snap-caps.

Some will most assurdly break eventually, and some you can't get firing pins for if they do.

Probably not so true on most modern guns made today though.

But you don't dry-fire my 75-100 year old SSA Colts or Winchesters without snap-caps!!!
That's for sure!


February 9, 2010, 02:50 PM
I'd like to see some available for rimfire calibers.

I'm sure if some people put their thinking caps on, they could come up with a workable, durable rimfire snap cap. THAT's something I'd really like to see.

February 9, 2010, 02:51 PM
The issue I have always had with any plastic snap cap is that the rims tend to get broken very easily and rather quickly, whether pistol or shotgun. If you can get past that, then you'll have a winner, IMO

February 9, 2010, 03:02 PM
Snap caps may not be necessary for dry firing with modern center fire fire arms, but it will cause more wear without the snap caps.

February 9, 2010, 03:13 PM
Just make a laser snap cap that it does not cost 350 dollars.

February 9, 2010, 04:41 PM
To rcmodel.

I still don't believe that dry firing a center fire pistol will hurt the firing pin. If the firing pin will be damaged by dry firing, then it will be damaged when a round is in the firearm.

I have taken apart many a firearm and the mechanics of the insides confirm what I know to be true.

I especially love it when someone says dry firing a bolt action will harm the firing pin. I laugh.

Now some rimfires I can believe as the firing pin will impact the breech, although Ruger say dry firing the 10/22 is OK.

February 9, 2010, 07:22 PM

10-15 dollars for 6 dud ammos that can be fired endless times


15-20 dollars for 50 (sometimes 20) real ammos that can be fired once only.

I know snap caps are no where near comparable to live ammo but think about it for awhile and I believe you will come round.

John Wayne
February 9, 2010, 07:42 PM
I like A-Zoom snap-caps despite their cost. They have held up very well with extended use.

However, I would love to see a less expensive product, even one that had to be occasionally replaced (every few years or so). While A-Zooms don't wear out, they do get lost, and it adds up when you're trying to keep them on hand for every caliber you use.

February 9, 2010, 07:56 PM
This is what I have used and its FREE, but it only works on guns with a external striker, i.e. hammer. Take a thick piece of leather and cut a strip that will fit into the groove of the channel beneath the hammer/firing pin. cut a rileif hole or just dimple it to fit over the protruded end of the firing pin. The leather has to be just thick enough that when the hammer strikes it, it wont compress to the point of hitting the firing pin. I have used this method to do a lot of dry firing on several of my hand guns from 9mm to .45 It not only protects the firing pin, but muffles the strike of the hammer as the hammer only hits the leather.

February 9, 2010, 08:10 PM
I sure am glad that dry firing is ok in the 10/22 because the bolt doesn't lock open.

Dry firing does cause more wear on the firing pin spring.

February 9, 2010, 08:30 PM
To rcmodel.

I still don't believe

That doesn't make you right though. I have guns that can't be dry fired. If the pin hits the hard steal instead of the soft brass it will break. Most newer guns have a spring on the firing pin to soften it & keep it from striking the hardened surface. Most older guns have a free floating pin that will strike the hard steal if no brass is there to take the blow. Not only does pins break but the opening for the firing pin can open up & allow the pin to drive all the way through the primer.

Most guns will say weather you can dryfire them or not. If it doesn't say not to then it is probably OK. Ask your manufacture.

To the OP: I am sorry to get off topic. I think this is a great idea. I would probably try them at that price where there is no way I would give $2 a piece for them. I also think that rubber would work better then brass & I know a good plastic would hold up better then most metals that are being used.

February 9, 2010, 08:47 PM
I would LOVE to have something like that. I currently have around 20 guns ALL in different calibers and it would cost ALOT at 15 bucks a pop for each gun. Something cheaper would be very much appreciated!

February 10, 2010, 08:02 AM
I'd be interested in cheaper/simpler snap caps.

Not so much to save the firing pin, but to practice reloading and failure drills.

February 10, 2010, 11:33 AM
My biggest issue would be durability. If that could be achieved (both the primer and rims from extractions) I'd be interested.

As for those arguing that dry firing is the same as firing with a round in the chamber, look into Newton's second law and consider just how the firing pin is being stopped without a round in the's a completely different set of forces on the pin. I can't say what the effect would be, but it IS different.

February 10, 2010, 11:37 AM
I sure am glad that dry firing is ok in the 10/22

Until you beat that rimfire pin to death

I have revolvers that will never get fired without snap caps - those fixed pin guns are too hard to get fixed. I also use them for my shotguns - snap caps are cheaper than firing pins there as well

February 10, 2010, 06:48 PM
i don't know where you guys are getting your snap caps but I was at Bassproshops today and they wanted $30 for a pack of 6 in 9mm.

February 11, 2010, 01:40 AM
I'd buy several packs in all common pistol calibers at that price!

February 11, 2010, 08:02 AM
Check out the prices for dummy rounds at

Much, much, better pricing then the really expensive ones at gun shops. The pistol rounds are as low as 81 cents each. The nice thing is they use metal cases with plastic dummy projectiles. This keeps the case rims from chipping off, as can happen with the all plastic dummies.

I have a bunch of these in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP that I use in the classes I run and I recommend them.

Just thought I'd point out that someone is making "cheaper" dummy rounds already.

February 11, 2010, 09:23 AM
Those are the same ones (looks anyway) as on the NRA web site.

February 11, 2010, 03:43 PM
I'd like to see than packaged in 20rnd boxes like JHP's and sell for say $25-40 a box. In all standard calibers.

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