I saw a review of a local gun shop which is sporting a sign which reads:

Rack it or Dry fire, you just bought the Gun

This is possibly the most asinine thing I have ever heard. As an NRA Pistol Instructor I am actually offended. Now admittedly there are firearms which you should not dry fire, but that information is generally provided in the owner’s manual. Let’s peel the onion a little further as to why this is ridiculous.

  • Safety – if one cannot open the slide on a semi-automatic pistol (ie: “rack it”), then it is impossible to show the firearm is unloaded and safe. Simply dropping the magazine does not ensure an unloaded firearm, there can still be one in the chamber. Also a mechanical safety is a mechanical device and it CAN fail. Never rely on a safety, ALWAYS inspect EVERY firearm.
  • Dry Fire – as was mentioned, some firearms should not be dry fired and some should not be dry fired under certain conditions. Dry firing is an excellent way to gauge trigger pull and to troubleshoot grip issues. If you can hold the sights on target and smoothly squeeze the trigger during dry fire you will do better when the gun is loaded. Now on a Ruger SR9C you should not dry fire without the magazine in place. On a Glock you MUST dry fire or you cannot disassemble the pistol (of course that would require you to semi-rack it as well). There is no practical necessity to dry fire a pistol in the store unless you have some snap caps and the shop owner’s consent.
  • Racking – as I understand it the contention was racking would wear out a pistol. Now there is a slight bit of truth to that, after about 2000 rounds the spring MAY need to be replaced. If you go through 2000 cycles before purchasing a gun you have more issues than one. I practiced far too much when getting ready for my CHP permit course and my NRA Pistol Instructor course and still have not hit 2000 cycles with any one pistol. I have seen some say it is more like 5-10K cycles. So racking two or three times in the store will certainly not damage the pistol.

Now what is really ridiculous is on the website for this particular establishment the owner is a certified gunsmith. Perhaps he did the online Phoenix State University course for $99. Maybe he also can do weddings as an internet minister? But seriously, I have not been into the shop and do not know the gentleman who runs it. It is his shop and he can do business in any manner he pleases, but he probably will not be doing business with me.