There’s no doubt about it: nail guns get the job done faster than your everyday hammer. But with great power comes great responsibility. Without some basic safety training, you may wind up with a nail through your hand or worse, through your skull.
Before you start your next big project with your trusted nail gun, keep these 3 risks in mind and use these tips to help protect yourself.
1. Nail Guns Can Shoot at Over 100 Miles per Hour
The typical nail gun can drive a 3" nail at more than 100 miles per hour, or about 150 feet in a second. That’s some serious power.
At that rate, it’s possible to drive a nail through your hand or skull. Nail guns even have the power to break bones.
The Importance of Safety Triggers
To prevent the gun from shooting nails accidently, most manufacturers have implemented a sliding safety tip into their framing nail guns. In most cases, this means that you’ll have to push down the safety tip first before you can pull the trigger and shoot a nail.
But not all guns are created equal. With some models, you can still squeeze the trigger before you push in the safety tip. This means that you can still shoot a nail accidently. These guns are referred to as "automatic" or "bump-fire," and they’re not nearly as safe as models that force you to push in the safety first.
Safer guns only let you shoot one nail at a time, and these are referred to as "sequential" or "single-shot" nail guns.
2. Accidents Can Happen If You Don’t Take Your Finger off The Trigger
If you’re not using a sequential nail gun, you’ll need to take great care when moving from one place to another with the gun.
Keep Your Finger off The Trigger
Always hold and carry the gun with your finger off the trigger. Otherwise, you may wind up with a nail in your foot – or your co-worker’s foot.
Speaking of line of fire, make sure that when you nail, there is no one anywhere near the nail’s path of trajectory. That includes your fingers.
Keep your fingers away from the nailing point – 12 inches is a safe distance.
3. Automatic Nail Guns Can "Double Fire"
You know the importance of keeping your finger off the trigger, but sometimes, injuries can happen when automatic nail guns accidentally "double fire."
What happens is the gun fires another nail if your finger is still on the trigger after recoil. Let’s say you were using the gun in a tight space. You pull the trigger, and the recoil causes your elbow to hit a piece of lumber, which drives the gun back down and causes it to shoot another nail. You never had a chance to take your finger off the trigger.
If a body part was in the way, you could easily injure yourself.
Single-Shot Triggers Prevent "Double Fires"
A sequential or single-shot nail gun will never "double fire" because you can’t shoot another nail until you take your finger off the trigger.
Always Put Safety First
Nail guns are serious tools, and safety must be taken into consideration at all times. Improper use or failure to follow safety protocols can lead to serious injuries.