How to Use a Nail Gun

Using a nail gun makes quick work out of DIY projects

Using a nail gun can dramatically increase how quickly you complete DIY projects. This guide will teach you how to use a nail gun so you can save time and energy for other aspects of your project.

Safety: Always wear protective glasses or goggles when using power tools.


Anatomy of a Nail Gun

How to Use a Nailer
  • Safety tip – this will retract into the gun as you press on the work surface 
  • Jam release latch – releases any nails in the event of a jam 
  • Magazine – holds all of the nails 
  • Magazine release – allows you to remove the empty magazine and replace 
  • Trigger switch – fires the nail gun

How to Use A Nail Gun

  1. Remove the battery 
  2. Press the magazine release button and load nails into the chamber. 
  3. Adjust the air pressure dial according to the density of the material surface. 
  4. Twist the depth of drive knob if finer adjustments are needed for the desired nail depth. 
  5. On a spare scrap of wood from your project, test the nail gun to check the depth. Make adjustments again as necessary. 
  6. Align the nail gun at a 90-degree angle to the wood and press down so the safety tip retracts, then squeeze the trigger.

Nail Gun Tips

If your nail gun has selectable drive, switch from single- or multi-drive nailing. 

The type of nail gun you need depends on the project you’re using it for:

  • Crown stapler: Best for cabinet building, metal siding, installing trim and furniture making. 
  • Brad nailer: Small trim woodworking and anywhere you don’t want to use wood putty. 
  • Finish nailer: Installing outdoor fascia, heavy trim work and decorative accents.

Next Steps

  • Now that you know how to use a nail gun, let’s tackle some projects: