I was playing paintball at my local field the other day when I noticed a beginner player dry firing his paintball gun outside of the chrono area. Some older experienced guy came up to him and said “hey, don’t you know that dry firing is bad for your marker” ?
The beginner player immediately stopped in his tracks and responded “oh wow, I didn’t know” and then the two players went on their way.
After this happened, I thought back to all of the times in the past where I’ve dry fired my paintball gun and wondered how much damage could I have possibly done to my markers and not have known? Well when I got home from playing that day I immediately went to my computer so I could find out the answer to the question “is dry firing bad for your paintball gun”?
Here’s what I found out.
Most paintball guns are only going to suffer minor wear-and-tear damage from dry firing, but there are a few select markers that don’t respond well when fired without a paintball round in the breach. This is due to the fact some paintball guns perform better with at least some amount of blow-back pressure when being fired. Without blow-back pressure, there’s a higher chance that dry firing can lead to serious problems over time.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can follow that will make dry firing safer for your paintball gun. If you want to learn more about dry firing and how it affects the internals of your marker then continue reading below.
What Can Be Damaged By Dry Firing?
The first part of a paintball gun that will most likely be damaged by dry firing is the internal o-rings inside of your marker. Since o-rings are made out of polyurethane (a type of plastic material), they can be easily damaged – especially when hit by the brute force of Co2 or compressed air (HPA).
Another part of a marker that can be easily damaged by dry firing is the solenoid. And once a solenoid is damaged, there isn’t much you can do but buy another one. Now if you’re using a mechanical marker then you don’t have to worry, as solenoids only exist in electro-pneumatic paintball guns.
The other common part of a paintball gun that can be damaged from excessive dry firing is the ball detent. Although virtually any part of a marker that can be damaged from regular firing can also be damaged from dry firing.
What’s the Safest Way to Dry Fire Your Marker?
The safest way to dry fire your paintball gun is to simply not pull the trigger.
Okay, okay.. I’m just kidding.
But in all seriousness, there is a safer way to dry fire your paintball gun if you insist on pulling that sweet trigger when you have nothing to fire but air.
The safer method I’m referring to is the method of creating blow-back pressure by either wearing a barrel cover on the end of your barrel or by sticking a squeegee half-way down your barrel. Just make sure to leave a small amount of porting uncovered on the barrel so at least some air can freely flow through. Using either of these two tactics to create blow-back pressure will be better than simply dry firing your marker with no form of barrel covering.
Of course, this method of creating your blow-back pressure still won’t be as safe as actually firing your marker with a paintball in the breach.
Is It Bad to Dry Fire a Paintball Gun With No Air?
Many players like to practice walking their trigger and shooting with their off-hand by firing their marker without air, but is this safe?
Yes, it’s perfectly safe to fire your paintball gun without the use of Co2 or compressed air. While it may Put some small wear and tear on the trigger mechanism over time, this shouldn’t be a major issue as I’ve never had a trigger break on me before in my history of playing paintball.
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Just to be safe though I wouldn’t recommend firing your paintball gun what the battery on. as long as everything is off though you should be good to go.
Some of the high-end paintball guns even come with a training mode setting that will allow you to safely fire your marker while the air tank is still attached. The benefit of using training mode is that you won’t have to worry about putting too much wear-and-tear on your internals like you would when regularly dry firing. Another benefit of using training mode is that your marker will respond just like it would if you were firing your marker with air attached. This is because training mode forces your paintball gun to partially cycle the bolt to ensure your marker has a little bit of natural recoil.