Product Review Do snap-caps matter? "B's Dummy's" Review!

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Gun building discussions can be quite esoteric, and we can dwell on and wax philosophic about the virtues of a baby-butt-smooth RSA channel and the differences between various generations of ejectors. By contrast it seems any conversations about snap-caps would be rather mundane. Maybe not!

Snap-Caps are "de rigeur" for any builder worth his or her salt. They can serve a number of purposes. For gun builders, they are a safe way to function test a pistol. Hopefully most of us agree that a new build should never taste live ammo until it's at the range. But, before we head to the range, we need to function and safety test our builds... with Snap-Caps. ONLY! Riiiiiiiiiight?

But they can be used to safely function test and to diagnose issues with factory guns, as well. Furthermore, they can come in handy for dry fire exercises.

20220908_194636[1].jpg


While Snap-Caps can also be used for training at the range to diagnose a flinch or run malfunction drills, builders like us mostly use them for function and safety testing.

Metal or Plastic?​

There is a myriad of brands and types of inert / "dummy" rounds that we generically refer to as "Snap-Caps." I cannot speak to all of them. But, they come in varieties that are made of plastic, metal, or a combination.

When I got my first sets of Snap-Caps, I figured metal would be better / last longer than plastic. So, I got some made of solid aluminum with a rubber "primer" inserts to absorb the impact of the firing pin strikes. A-Zoom "Precision Training Rounds" seemed to enjoy a good reputation on various gun forums. $16 for five rounds. After I got the first set of five, and they seemed to be "good to go," I ordered another pack of five. I figured I'd want to load a mag with more than five.
1663976630841.png
Plastic versions of Snap-Caps typically cost half or less. I figured metal is stronger and better, right? Worth the extra expense, right?

Failures? The gun? Or the snap-caps?​

I've used them quite a bit over the course of four builds. During recent function testing of my latest build, I noticed sometimes I'd have failures to eject. My first thought was that it was my build. Eventually, I figured that it might be some of the snap caps. Perhaps, this is why:
snap-caps-a-zoom.jpg

The rims at the back of the rounds were getting chipped. I suspect there wasn't enough "meat" left on the rim for the extractor to grab. When I used newer A-Zoom snap-caps, the extraction problems went away. Hooray! Also... Where did the fragments from the chips go?

I'll add that it really didn't take long for the all-aluminum A-Zooms to start looking that rough. I'll admit I can't offer a number of cycles, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that they can last for "thousands" of dry fires. Ummm... yeah... no way. I'm going to guess I've cycled them in the range of low hundreds - if that.

Just keep buying the same ones?​

I'm planning for a number of future builds, so I wondered if I should just keep buying more of the same as they wear out.... Or, is there something better? Maybe I need to level up my Snap-Cap game? Is it even possible? Or are they all pretty much the same?

I invoked my Google-fu and found some online articles about the "best Snap-Caps." One particular brand caught my eye in one of the review articles, even though it was rated 5th out of five brands reviewed. Despite ranking dead last, the review was all positive - save one thing: They were the most expensive. But, they weren't really the most expensive. They happen to ring in at about the same "per round" price as the A-Zoom brand. But, they come in a pack of ten, instead of five.

What are they? B's Dry Fire Snap Caps - A.K.A. B's Dummy's. The pedant in me couldn't help notice the manufacturer's syntactical misuse of a possessive apostrophe in "Dummy's" instead of the proper plural "Dummies." Maybe it was just easier to format in their labeling. Forgivable, I suppose! :geek:

They advertise them as, "The best training rounds money can buy." I couldn't resist! I bought mine on Amazon instead of directly from the manufacturer, since I also needed to buy some targets. Free Amazon Prime shipping, too!

They arrived today. They came in a nice plastic container that can be re-used to store them... instead of a disposable plastic clam-shell.
snap-caps-B's.jpg

Kicking Brass?​

The cases are made of nickel-plated brass - just like real premium ammo. Color me impressed! They are also available in regular (non-plated) brass.
1664050835548.png
The bullets are made of.... LEAD! Yep... according to the manufacturer's website: "Our pistol / rifle snap caps use either full copper jacket or straight lead for the metal tip. Both are coated with colored plastic."

That would explain the very realistic weight of the B's Snap-Caps. There's a huge difference between these and the solid aluminum A-Zooms. It's especially noticeable with a magazine full of them.

Note that the B's Dummy's weight (measured in grams) falls squarely between the WWB FMJ range ammo and the Federal HST hollow point defensive ammo. The A-Zooms are about one third the weight of the real ammo.
snap-caps-vs-real-ammo.jpg


While I expect the B's Snap-Caps to be more durable by virtue of their construction, there is the added benefit of enhancing the training and testing experience with the realistic weight.
snap-caps-B's-hand.jpg
I loaded up a mag with all ten B's Dummies (I used this syntax to help with "SEO," as some searchers may use the grammatically correct term) and cycled them through my latest build. They worked perfectly.

And, they sure look nice, eh? The laser-etched "B's Dummy's" on the case adds a touch of class. 🤩
Snap-caps-B's-loaded.jpg


We'll see how they hold up. After I've used them a while, I'll report back!

Disclaimer: I bought these of my own volition with my own hard-earned money. :cool:
 
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That doesn't seem like it would be much of a visual or easily spotted (dependent on the right viewing angle).
Especially once loaded into a magazine unless bullet color is somehow changed.

If you load your own though, I can't think of a better way to have "testers" to cycle as they'd otherwise match the dimensions of a live round better than anything you buy.
 
1: They are stored in a parts organizer and never come out unless I'm going to use them. 2: I never, ever, have them out unless I'm testing and I do that in my man cave in the house. 3: I own about 200 acres in farm country so my "range" is a few steps out the door. 4: I never ever leave them in mag.

Safety can be modified to fit a given situation. Range rules here on the farm fit most civilian firing ranges I've been on.
 
Damn! This post just cost me $100 in snap caps!!! I like the idea of having realistic weight and not using the cheap-o Amazon snappies.
 
Damn! This post just cost me $100 in snap caps!!! I like the idea of having realistic weight and not using the cheap-o Amazon snappies.

You'll immediately appreciate the difference! BIG difference.
 
I just ordered some more to have for range duty. I've been doing some drills that help with flinch / shot anticipation. This way I can keep some on the build bench and some in my range bag.

Getting this new color option.
1687188401826.png
 
Racer (a personal friend) turned me on to B-Unique snap caps last year on another forum and have used them in my 9mm, .45 ACP, and 12 ga firearms ever since! An absolutely wonderful product and the best, most durable snap caps I've ever used in over 40 years! Glad to see that Brian, the owner of B-Unique is a member here, too! (y)(y)
 
If you search on ebay
"Inert Snap Caps "
you will get Dummy Rounds for Training FULL WEIGHT 115gr.
up to $12 for 10pk real brass rounds without primer .

View attachment 6174 View attachment 6175
These Are the ones I prefer. The weight I like, and my others all chip on the edges as well. I think the only downside for me is those little rubber "primers" come loose after a couple times through. Oh well, like Michelle said I also use them minimally and once everything is cycling...freedom seeds...
 
The "like" factor is brimming here!! Very nice! Did you purchase those direct?
 
Direct is how ordered all of mine, too (9mm, .45 ACP, and 12 gage).

I think most of us have thought, "A snap cap is a snap cap. What difference does it make?"

But, there IS a difference in quality evident with "B's Dummy's." BIG difference. And worth it.
 
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Gun building discussions can be quite esoteric, and we can dwell on and wax philosophic about the virtues of a baby-butt-smooth RSA channel and the differences between various generations of ejectors. By contrast it seems any conversations about snap-caps would be rather mundane. Maybe not!

Snap-Caps are "de rigeur" for any builder worth his or her salt. They can serve a number of purposes. For gun builders, they are a safe way to function test a pistol. Hopefully most of us agree that a new build should never taste live ammo until it's at the range. But, before we head to the range, we need to function and safety test our builds... with Snap-Caps. ONLY! Riiiiiiiiiight?

But they can be used to safely function test and to diagnose issues with factory guns, as well. Furthermore, they can come in handy for dry fire exercises.

View attachment 6163

While Snap-Caps can also be used for training at the range to diagnose a flinch or run malfunction drills, builders like us mostly use them for function and safety testing.

Metal or Plastic?​

There is a myriad of brands and types of inert / "dummy" rounds that we generically refer to as "Snap-Caps." I cannot speak to all of them. But, they come in varieties that are made of plastic, metal, or a combination.

When I got my first sets of Snap-Caps, I figured metal would be better / last longer than plastic. So, I got some made of solid aluminum with a rubber "primer" inserts to absorb the impact of the firing pin strikes. A-Zoom "Precision Training Rounds" seemed to enjoy a good reputation on various gun forums. $16 for five rounds. After I got the first set of five, and they seemed to be "good to go," I ordered another pack of five. I figured I'd want to load a mag with more than five.
Plastic versions of Snap-Caps typically cost half or less. I figured metal is stronger and better, right? Worth the extra expense, right?

Failures? The gun? Or the snap-caps?​

I've used them quite a bit over the course of four builds. During recent function testing of my latest build, I noticed sometimes I'd have failures to eject. My first thought was that it was my build. Eventually, I figured that it might be some of the snap caps. Perhaps, this is why:
View attachment 6162
The rims at the back of the rounds were getting chipped. I suspect there wasn't enough "meat" left on the rim for the extractor to grab. When I used newer A-Zoom snap-caps, the extraction problems went away. Hooray! Also... Where did the fragments from the chips go?

I'll add that it really didn't take long for the all-aluminum A-Zooms to start looking that rough. I'll admit I can't offer a number of cycles, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that they can last for "thousands" of dry fires. Ummm... yeah... no way. I'm going to guess I've cycled them in the range of low hundreds - if that.

Just keep buying the same ones?​

I'm planning for a number of future builds, so I wondered if I should just keep buying more of the same as they wear out.... Or, is there something better? Maybe I need to level up my Snap-Cap game? Is it even possible? Or are they all pretty much the same?

I invoked my Google-fu and found some online articles about the "best Snap-Caps." One particular brand caught my eye in one of the review articles, even though it was rated 5th out of five brands reviewed. Despite ranking dead last, the review was all positive - save one thing: They were the most expensive. But, they weren't really the most expensive. They happen to ring in at about the same "per round" price as the A-Zoom brand. But, they come in a pack of ten, instead of five.

What are they? B's Dry Fire Snap Caps - A.K.A. B's Dummy's. The pedant in me couldn't help notice the manufacturer's syntactical misuse of a possessive apostrophe in "Dummy's" instead of the proper plural "Dummies." Maybe it was just easier to format in their labeling. Forgivable, I suppose! :geek:

They advertise them as, "The best training rounds money can buy." I couldn't resist! I bought mine on Amazon instead of directly from the manufacturer, since I also needed to buy some targets. Free Amazon Prime shipping, too!

They arrived today. They came in a nice plastic container that can be re-used to store them... instead of a disposable plastic clam-shell.

Kicking Brass?​

The cases are made of nickel-plated brass - just like real premium ammo. Color me impressed! They are also available in regular (non-plated) brass.
The bullets are made of.... LEAD! Yep... according to the manufacturer's website: "Our pistol / rifle snap caps use either full copper jacket or straight lead for the metal tip. Both are coated with colored plastic."

That would explain the very realistic weight of the B's Snap-Caps. There's a huge difference between these and the solid aluminum A-Zooms. It's especially noticeable with a magazine full of them.

Note that the B's Dummy's weight (measured in grams) falls squarely between the WWB FMJ range ammo and the Federal HST hollow point defensive ammo. The A-Zooms are about one third the weight of the real ammo.
View attachment 6265

While I expect the B's Snap-Caps to be more durable by virtue of their construction, there is the added benefit of enhancing the training and testing experience with the realistic weight.
I loaded up a mag with all ten B's Dummies (I used this syntax to help with "SEO," as some searchers may use the grammatically correct term) and cycled them through my latest build. They worked perfectly.

And, they sure look nice, eh? The laser-etched "B's Dummy's" on the case adds a touch of class. 🤩
View attachment 6170

We'll see how they hold up. After I've used them a while, I'll report back!

Disclaimer: I bought these of my own volition with my own hard-earned money. :cool:
I built my own dummy rounds. Buy removing the bullets and primers. Then filling the casing with cured silicone caulking and drilling a hole in the casings. Then I colored the bullets with colored sharpie. By the way they are also exactly the same weight of the live ammunition.
 

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I built my own dummy rounds. Buy removing the bullets and primers. Then filling the casing with cured silicone caulking and drilling a hole in the casings. Then I colored the bullets with colored sharpie.
Pretty similar to the commercially-available "B's Dummy's." B's for those who don't want to build their own, which would include me. :) But if you can build your own, why not?
 
What’s up everyone! Great review Racer88!

My name is Brian, also known as “B”, and I own B-Unique Enterprises, Inc., the maker of B’s Dry Fire Snap Caps.

I wanted to add some helpful tidbits and maybe answer a few questions from the review…

Per the review, while durability of a snap cap is of course a very important consideration, in the snap cap world it cannot be the primary consideration… The primary consideration is that our product cannot (reasonably) possibly harm your weapon (or you - unless you eat it of course - in that case you are screwed). Your weapons internals have to be waaaay tougher than anything put into them. The problem with aluminum is obvious… it’s as brittle as the emotional state of the average Gen Z’r, and therefore it chips off very easily, crumbles to the ground, and then blames you that it’s stuck in your carpet. Steel is on the opposite end of the spectrum of course, and while in theory it could be a good choice – I don’t trust it. Maybe I’m uniformed / cynical (maybe a handsome combination of both), but I don’t trust that it’s as soft as a steel snap cap manufacturer would say that it is, and I don’t trust that the internal components of your gun (extractor, etc) are always as hard as they should be. Plastic cases are a non-starter for obvious reasons, and that leaves brass as the preferred choice in my view. Brass beats aluminum because for whatever reason, it tends to dent before it will chip. It’s not that it won’t eventually chip, but it will dent before it will chip. That means less stuff in your gun, and less stuff on your floor. To be fair, regardless of what brand of snap cap one chooses to use, it is my not so humble public statement view that any owner of any firearm should always be disassembling / cleaning their weapon after long practice sessions. Do I do that? Of course not, but then again I don’t care if the inside of my gun gets some “character”. That said, you don’t want a whole bunch of crap in there mucking up the works, hence, for the casing – brass is best, and with our product you are therefore in the sweet spot in the “chain of durability” Plastic<===Aluminum<===Brass<===Steel.

In terms of total duration of product life, put it this way… Out of tens (maybe hundreds at this point) of thousands of customers, I can count the number of times on one hand where a customer has mentioned that the product would no longer rack / eject. For all intents and purposes, under normal scenarios where a gun is in spec, it just doesn’t happen. Not that it can’t happen, it’s just that I never hear about it – and that’s certainly not because I have my fingers in my ears. The exception is when someone’s chamber is too tight and the extractor either rips the lip right off the case, or causes excessive wear. This is exceedingly rare – but it’s the gun causing the issue in those cases. This means that although the product will eventually look worn, it likely will not stop functioning. The only reason you’ll need to replace them is because they will eventually look gnarly, so as Racer88 said, snap caps are an “eventually disposable” item, but from my experience, and with reference only to my product lines, only from an aesthetic standpoint.

As for the caps posted by Bcichlid, they will of course get the job done, but I personally wouldn’t want anything that looks like that even remotely close to my 9mm. Frankly even “obviously fake” snap caps should be kept in a separate location, but those are simply too close to live ammo, as you guys have rightly already stated. Nothing against that particular seller, I’m sure they are fine upstanding people, but there are rare occasions in comparing the differences between products where an aesthetic difference can potentially make all the difference. This, I believe, is one of those rare occasions. Also, not that it necessarily matters, but that’s likely used range brass IE: “floor pickin’s”. You can tell because the headstamps don’t all match. Again, for most people, it won’t matter, but that’s one of the reasons why that product is so inexpensive.

Note that the irony of me telling you all that plastic is the least durable material is not lost on me…. our “bullets” are coated in…. plastic. This is simply the way it has to be because copper / lead cannot be anodized like aluminum can be. Here, the “safety factor” gained by making them available in multiple, easily noticeable bullet tip colors is more important than sheer durability - period. We do coat the crap out of those things though… We’ve put a lot of effort into our custom coating production process such that it allows us to get an extra thick coating without brushing up against internal gun tolerances (which is a tough balance - and this is more difficult than would be assumed). It’s not that what is underneath won’t eventually be exposed when it’s repeatedly rammed over and over again and ripped out of your chamber, it’s simply that it’s the best we could reasonably do there. For what it’s worth, the level of wear that will occur here is highly dependent on your exact gun. Some guns are so gentle on the bullet portion that people say they’ve racked them hundreds of times and barely notice any wear. I can only assume that the tens to hundreds of people who have said so aren’t lying. Rarely, others have said “I’ve racked these maybe ten times and they have big scratches! Roaaaar!” It all depends on the weapon and the user is my conclusion, and literally nothing can be jammed into and ripped out of a weapon repeatedly and not suffer some degradation to the product itself. Which would you rather, the snap cap get worn, or your gun? ;)

Our newest iteration of “rubber primer” is what I’m most proud of. It’s literally taken years to get right. Our “old” primer was excellent, but the latest version (currently coincidently only available on 9mm, and is likely what Racer88 has there since our old stock has basically run out) is essentially indestructible. It is the perfect midway point between hardness and softness and “cleanability”. Too hard, and the firing pin will make a permanent mark. Too soft and it mushes out of the way when the firing pin hits it, essentially becoming worthless. Just right, and you can hit the thing a million times and it will always retain its shape. White is the appropriate choice of color because you can tell if your firing pin hits it since the firing pin usually leaves a little dirt / oil mark. Too dark of a color and you won’t see it, nice and white and it sticks out like a sore thumb, which you can then wipe off with a rag and rubbing alcohol. Being able to see that the firing pin is actually hitting has value… Spring based primers are a non-starter / gimmick in my opinion. It can of course be stated that the primer material itself is somewhat of a gimmick because in most modern firearms they are not required – but people want a good material there – so it matters even if only for that reason. I know that I personally prefer something there rather than dry firing without it even though I know my gun would likely be fine either way.

Weight… the weight of our rounds should be identical / virtually identical to the average live round.

So, we think we’ve struck the appropriate balance of safety / durability / easy identifiability / and aesthetics such that we can proudly say “the best you can get” and not mean it in the loose, marketing type of way. That being said, as my employees can attest to, I’m constantly trying to come up with ways to make the product even better, thereby proudly annoying the garbage out of everyone that works for me.

PS: I labored over the choice to put “B’s Dummies” or “B’s Dummy’s” and bounced it off of many people before finalizing the choice, knowing it would be permanent 😄 Far be it from me to be against purposefully permanently lasering a grammatically incorrect acronym of our product name on all our pistol / rifle brass... but what it came down to was how ugly “Dummies” looked in comparison. It looks far better when comparing them both side by side to have both “words” have apostrophes there. Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but the symmetry won that contest, and combine that with the fact that most people don’t know / don’t care and you have a winner! :)(y) Also, when looking at a single round, you want DUMMY to stand out for safety purposes. “Dummies” doesn’t stand out the same to me. So, aesthetics over phonetics there I suppose…

PPS: Those “top five”, “top ten” whatever review sites always make me laugh. Not saying this is the case in that site you referenced, but quite often those reviews are fake / paid for. The idea that anyone in their right mind would choose “NuBold” (I won’t use the correct product name) as the second best snap cap in existence is fishy to me. By the way, fun fact, NuBold stole our old product description word for word on their Amazon listings. Literally copy and paste. Kind of makes me feel good that they are having stock issues…
Amen Brian. I will buy your product just because of your post. And because of the statement " avenger Gen z'ers" that's funny 💩😂🤣😂🤣😂
 
Pretty similar to the commercially-available "B's Dummy's." B's for those who don't want to build their own, which would include me. :) But if you can build your own, why not?
I built them because I live in the middle of nowhere Alaska. So I like to just make what I can. I built my own golf clubs, Leather goods, and many other things.
 
I built them because I live in the middle of nowhere Alaska. So I like to just make what I can. I built my own golf clubs, Leather goods, and many other things.
The average person likely isn't equipped to build their own. Where you are, yeah, I get it. I've got reloading equipment for .357 & .44 and even at that I am happy to toss some business to B's for the 9mm, .45, .40 etc. Probably cost effective to get the dies and reload by own testers, but ....
 
The average person likely isn't equipped to build their own. Where you are, yeah, I get it. I've got reloading equipment for .357 & .44 and even at that I am happy to toss some business to B's for the 9mm, .45, .40 etc. Probably cost effective to get the dies and reload by own testers, but ....
Yeah I should reload. Maybe one day I will go down that road. I was just disappointed in the cheap dummy rounds I got off of Amazon. So I bought a bullet puller and made them myself. Ten rounds of ammunition is worth the safety!!!!
 
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