An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Articles
Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | March 11, 2021

M16-Series Rifle, M4/M4A1 Carbine: Dry Up Dry Firing

This article initially appeared in PS 759 (Feb 16), p. 39
Dear Editor,
The M16/M4’s TM 9-1005-319-10 is very clear about the clearing procedure:
1. Point weapon in a safe direction. Place selector on SAFE. If weapon is not cocked, lever can’t be moved to SAFE.

2. Remove magazine by depressing magazine catch button and pulling magazine out of weapon.

3. To lock bolt open, pull charging handle rearward. Press the bottom of bolt catch and allow bolt to move forward until it engages bolt catch. Return charging handle to the forward position. Check receiver and chamber to ensure these areas are clear of ammo.
Pull charging handle to rear and check chamber for round
Pull charging handle to rear and check chamber for round

4. With selector on SAFE, let the bolt go forward by pressing the upper portion of the bolt catch.
But unfortunately, many commanders and armorers also tell Soldiers to dry fire the weapon.
That’s unsafe if the Soldier did the procedure wrong, and it also causes unnecessary wear on parts.
If you want a safe weapon, keep it on SAFE and don’t pull the trigger.
LTC Paul Darling
Editor’s note: Excellent point, Sir. But armorers need to remember they are supposed to dry fire the weapon before they store it. Their procedure is:
1. Clear the weapon.
2. Place selector lever on SEMI.
3. Pull trigger. Hammer should fall.
4. Close ejection port cover.
5. Place weapon in rack.
Want to get better search results faster? 
Click the link below to access our "how to" guide
After entering a keyword, you must hit or click the Search bar/box below for the function to work.
Simply hitting Return won't yield results.
Note about links to archive articles

If you come across a link to a pre-2014 PS Magazine issue or article that uses LOGSA in the web address (URL), use this link instead:
For issues/articles from 2014 and after, click on the Archive/Index tab in the top menu of this website.

BE ADVISED: With the migration to Army365, emails in older articles may still reflect an address. To update, change the domain to