How to use a nail gun? – Tutorials and Safety Tips you need to know

That’s definitely a question every starting carpenter will have to ask himself. A nail gun, which is another alternative for your typical hammer and nail, is a convenient tool when you want a consistent and stable output.

While hammer and nail are perfect when simply fixing a bookcase or hanging a picture frame, a nail gun is preferred when dealing with more complex and harder tasks.

I also wrote an article about removing nails from wood if you want to recycle your wood plank for new projects.

Usually, a nail gun is used for larger projects such as house framing, fence installation, and the like. A nail gun would instantly attach thick slabs of wood, which is great for creating walls and roofs.

It launches the nails at a quick and steady speed. If you want to save a lot of time and effort in your house projects, let the nail gun do the work for you. Here is an easy guide that you can apply at home:


Framing Nail Guns

framing nail gun

This type of nail gun is used for heavy constructions, typically wood framing.

Roofing Nail Guns

roofing nailer

This nailer is generally used for nails with larger heads and shorter bodies – great for making roofing.

Flooring Nail Guns

Flooring Nail Guns

This is a nailer designed to attach floor boards in a speedy and simple process.

Finishing Nail Guns

finishing nailer

You can use this in several house projects. It is an all-around tool that uses shorter nails, which can be applied to door and window frames, cabinets, baseboards, and chair rails.

Brad Nail Guns

brad nailer

A smaller type of nailer, this tool is great when you are into smaller projects that would require precision and stability.

Safety Precautions

No. 1 – Know the Different Types of Triggers

There are many types of nail guns with a variety of trigger mechanisms. When you know the specific trigger mechanism of your chosen nail gun, you’ll be able to work with it without being caught off guard with how it shoots out the nails.

Thus, it lessens your chances of being injured. If you are a beginner, the safest trigger to go with is the Full Sequential Trigger since it’s a lot simpler and less intimidating than the rest of the triggers (contact trigger, single sequential trigger, and single actuation trigger).

No. 2 – Have Safety Training

The chances of having accidents would be less likely if you undergo training like the basics of triggers, compressor usage, lumber handling, gun firing, and nail gun work procedures. For seasoned carpenters, reading the manual is important.

For beginners, having to watch others perform it before you would be a great learning experience. You can also watch videos online.

No. 3 – Get Protective Gears

Having protective gear helps a lot in keeping your toes and fingers from being injured. Make sure that you have a hard hat, safety goggles, protective earmuffs, and heavy-duty gloves.

No. 4 – Provide Medical Assistance Immediately

In instances wherein you are met with an accident with a nail gun, receiving medical assistance should be your top priority. If it’s a minor injury that you can deal with at home, then you don’t need to go to the clinic or hospital.

Preparation and Steps on Using a Nail Gun


Step 1

You should load the nail gun with the preferred size of nails first. Refer to the manual to know the required nails. Typically, nail shafts are located at the bottom or back part of the air tool.

Step 2

Once you are done setting up the nails in the tool, make sure that your air hose is hooked up. Check to see if it’s secure enough before you begin using it.

Step 3

Put on your safety gear to prevent accidents before you turn on the nail gun.

Step 4

Before you begin, grab an extra piece of wood that you aren’t using and conduct a practice shoot. This is an essential part if you want to practice maneuvering and handling of the tool.

Steps on Using


Step 1

Place the tip of the tool on the surface where you want to release the nail. Tightly hold the handle, and make sure that the trigger is easily accessed by your finger for a less awkward movement. Your body should then be positioned away from the gun, but not too far that you lose stability.

It’s important that you are standing in a stable stance as the gun tends to produce strong recoil once fired. 

Step 2

Slightly push the tip of the gun on the surface to create pressure, and then proceed to pull the trigger once and then release it.

Step 3

Take the gun away from the surface and check if the nail is successfully fired on the surface. If it happens to be crooked, you may want to practice again. Focus on how you are handling it.

You might not be giving more pressure during firing, or you may have quickly taken the gun away, resulting in a bad nail release.

Step 4

When you are running out of nails, make sure that you turn off the tool and disconnect it from the power source. You might knock over the trigger or your dog might bump into it.

To prevent the nails from flying all over the place, reload the tool when it is off.


Nail guns are convenient tools. However, when they are used recklessly, they will send you to the hospital in no time. With this guide on how to use a nail gun, I hope that you will have an easier time in using them.

Comment below if you have suggestions and stories about your experiences with a nail gun.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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