Safety Tips – The Do’s and Don’ts About Nail Guns

A nail gun is an alternative of the traditional hammer that is used to fix nails into workpieces. It is one of the easiest tools to use for carpenters but is also the one that results in the most injuries.

Using a nail gun properly requires some basic knowledge about what to do and what to not do while using this tool.

Almost tens of thousands of accidents happen due to nail guns every year. Which is why using this properly is very important for a DIYer and also for professional carpenters.

In this article, we will discuss briefly how mishandling the nail gun can result in accidents and proceed to the steps of using this tool correctly.

The Causes of Nail Gun Accidents

  • Pressing the trigger unintentionally while keeping the safety contact in place
  • Pressing the trigger while passing the gun to a co-worker
  • Recoiling of the nail after hitting a hard surface
  • Angling the nail gun in a wrong way
  • Using hands instead of clamps to hold the workpiece
  • Nailing in Dangerous positions
  • Not using proper safety mechanisms

To prevent these accidents, there are certain measures that should be taken while others should be avoided. Here is a complete list of the do’s and don’ts while using these guns:


Here are the things that you should do.

  1. Know What Safety Measures Need to Be Taken

Before jumping to work with your new nail gun, make sure you go through these steps.

  • Get to know about different trigger types
  • Know the instructions of using your nail gun by heart
  • Learn about reloading and unloading a nail gun
  • Understand how to maintain it while keeping the safety features intact
  1. Read the Instruction Manual Carefully

Each nail gun comes with an instruction manual or has a website where all the relevant details can be found. Read the instructions carefully before proceeding to work with this. Remember, the minutes spent on reading the instructions carefully can save you from serious injuries later.

  1. Use Full Sequential Triggers

A nail gun is mainly composed of three parts – a handle, a barrel, a trigger. While there is a different kind of triggers available, the safest one is the full sequential trigger.

Here, you have to use the controls of the gun in a particular sequence. There is a safety contact in the gun that needs to be pushed first in the workpiece, and then the trigger needs to be pressed.

The whole step has to be repeated again before firing the second gun. The advantage of this is that guns cannot end up double firing accidentally and hurt other people in the process.

There are also other contact trigger guns. The problem with these guns is that, while they increase the productivity of workers by a small percentage, they usually result in accidents by a bigger percentage. Therefore, these guns are best avoided.

If you still really feel that contact guns will do the job best for you, refrain from using these when you are using the gun in an awkward position as it can miss and hit. Factory owners should not let inexperienced workers use this either.

  1. Keep Your Focus

Make sure to angle the nail gun in such a way that the safety contact touches the place where you want to fire the nail. Keep your hand steady, and then fire. Also, keep your concentration on the task at hand and avoid engaging in conversations while angling the gun.

  1. Keep Your Hands Away

Your hands should be at least 12 inches away from the workpiece while using the gun. However, if you really need to hold the lumber, you can always use clamps.

  1. Wear Proper Safety Equipment

While working with nail guns, you should always wear the following things;

  • Safety goggles will protect your eyes from any recoiling nails. You should try to shield your face too
  • Earmuffs to cover the ears
  • Hard shoes so that your feet are out of harm’s way
  • Hats, especially if you are nailing something above your head level
  1. Inspection

Inspect the power source, the nails, the trigger, and the safety contact properly before using the gun.

  1. Use Clean Nails

Old, worn out nails can recoil and cause a lot of harm. So always invest in new, clean nails.

  1. Check the Lumber

The workpiece might be faulty sometimes and have knots or lumps that will accuse the nails to backfire. Check the piece you are working with for any such fault.

  1. Disconnect

Before doing the following steps, you should always disconnect the nail gun

  • Moving up and down a ladder or an elevated platform
  • Giving the gun to a co-worker
  • Keeping the gun in reach of someone who does not know how to use it
  • Cleaning the nail gun


Here are the things that you shouldn’t do.

  1. Don’t Mess with The Safety Features

Every nail gun has some safety features. Do not mess with those, even while cleaning, unless you are really eager about sustaining an injury.

  1. Don’t Use A Non-Dominant Hand

You should use your dominant hand while holding a nail gun. Since you are not used to writing or doing simple tasks with your non-dominant one, it might not be able to hold your nail gun properly too. This could result in a fatal accident.

  1. Don’t Move the Gun by The Hose

Moving the gun by the hose is a big no-no, no matter which direction you are moving it at. If the hose gets stuck somewhere, do not pull on it either. Instead, look for the cause of it getting stuck and slowly disentangle it from there.

  1. Don’t Keep Your Finger on The Trigger

Keeping your finger on the trigger is the most common cause of accidents. With contact triggers. You might keep your finger there thinking that it is not going to fire unless I push the safety contact anyway.

But the safety contact might come in contact with things like peoples’ bodies or surfaces you should not be aiming at, and result in the gun firing the nail.

  1. Don’t Use Bottled Gas

If you are using pneumatic nail guns, use compressed gas instead of bottle gas. Also, keep the air pressure in the range that it needs to be kept in.

  1. Don’t Keep It in Reach of Children

Children can be very curious beings. They will think that your unattended nail gun is a toy gun, point it at their friend’s body and pull the trigger without thinking twice. You can imagine the rest of the situation. Therefore, never keep nail guns unattended around children, especially while they are connected.

  1. Don’t Nail at Awkward Angles

If you have to put a nail somewhere where it is hard to put your nail gun with a dominant hand, opt for a hammer instead. Also, use a hammer when you are nailing something that is in the level of your face.


By reading these safety tips, hopefully, you are now more informed about how to use these guns properly. Therefore, get that DIY project going now much more easily while also being safe from injuries. It’s a win-win situation alright!

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