A-Zoom Snap Caps: A Versatile Training Tool

If you shoot regularly, chances are you’re always looking for the next great training tool. Anything to gain an edge, right? And if it saves you money on ammo, well that’s even better. But sometimes, a tool doesn’t have to be new to be effective. Nor does it have to be expensive. So, if it’s common, simple, inexpensive, AND saves you money on ammo, what’s not to like? Well, nothing. And as a bonus, it saves wear and tear on your guns.

A-Zoom snap caps reload drill
Snap caps add more realistic reloading drills to dry fire regimens. (Author’s Photo)

Since you probably read the title, you know I’m talking about snap caps. And not just any snap caps. The A-Zoom brand, in this case, the 9mm version, is as good a product of its kind that you’ll find anywhere. Made from CNC machined aluminum with a mil-spec anodized finish, the A-Zoom snap caps are built to fit your firearms perfectly for a very long time. They run perfectly in my Walther PPQ mags. I’ve run them through hundreds of times now without a single problem.

The A-Zoom’s key component is the soft, inert Dead Cap primer, which will last up to about 30,000 dry fires. That’s three times as long as the standard polymer primers in other snap caps. And they’re easier on your firing pins. You may never have to replace these things.

A-Zoom snap caps
A-Zoom snap caps have a soft, inert Dead Cap primer that lasts up to three times longer than polymer primers. (Author’s Photo)

Training Versatility

I’ve been using these snap caps for several weeks now and I can say that I’ll never go without them again. Here are a few ways A-Zoom snap caps will boost your training experience.

Dry Fire

I may or may not have been training with my MantisX laser system on an empty chamber. Not a huge deal with a striker-fired gun, which is what I used, but adding the snap caps gives me a hold open on the empty mag, creating an opportunity for a more realistic mag change drill, complete with dropping the slide. I never got that with the empty chamber. And now I can train with my hammer-fired pistols too, including .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers.

Dry Fire
Snap caps will improve your dry fire experience. Note that you can see the bright blue snap cap between the slide and frame. The color is another safety feature. (Author’s Photo)

I also like using them for malfunction drills. It’s just safer and I can do them at home. The blue color is another safety aid. There’s never any chance that I’ll confuse a real round for a snap cap. The A-Zooms come in brown as well, but I prefer the blue ones.

On the Range

They’ve been a big help at the range too. Mix a couple of snap caps in with your training ammo. When you hit that inert round, you’ll see real quick whether you’re anticipating the recoil and how badly. Pulling the trigger on a dead round also gives you the opportunity to run a failure-to-fire drill. I just mix a few snap caps in with loose rounds and load the mags with my eyes closed, which is good practice too.

dry fire
I’ve run the A-Zoom snap caps through my gun hundreds of times with no problems. (Author’s Photo)

New Shooters

One thing I haven’t used snap caps for, but intend to, is training new shooters. Snap caps are a great way to get them used to how the gun functions without using live ammo or potentially damaging the gun. And it’s safer for everyone, especially if the person is a little nervous.

A Must Have

I now consider these snap caps to be “must-have” tools. They’re simple but effective. They allow me to train better than I did before. I really didn’t dry fire much until I got the MantisX system, but now it’s several times a week. Snap caps are now part of the regimen. I will, however, offer one piece of advice. Get yourself a mag loader, if you don’t already have one. My Maglula universal mag loader works great with these snap caps and saves my thumbs. If you dry fire using snap caps, you’ll be glad to have that loader.

Loading snap caps into a magazine
You can load mags to your heart’s content, but you might want to get a mag loader. (Author’s photo)

If you want some A-Zoom snap caps of your very own, you’re in luck. GunMag Warehouse carries the following calibers: .380 AUTO, .357 Magnum, .38 Special, 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, 12-Gauge, and 20-Gauge.

Do you use snap caps? Did I leave out something that they’re good for? Hit us up in the comments.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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