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Why Is My Nail Gun Shooting Blanks – 7 Easy Fixes


After carefully using your nail gun for some time, you suddenly find that your nail gun is shooting air instead of nails. The first thing you will do is to check to see whether there are still nails in the magazine, but, if they are, you may be wondering, why is my nail gun shooting blanks? There are several potential causes for this.

Is your nail gun shooting air, then this can indicate:

  • Nail jam,
  • Gas-Fuel/Air Supply/Battery Problems,
  • Wrong Nails,
  • The Spring In The Magazine Doesn’t Work,
  • The Nail Gun Needs Cleaning,
  • O-ring,
  • Nail gun damage,

It can be frustrating when a nail gun is shooting air, but fortunately, you can generally fix that issue at home. You will learn why a nail gun shoots blanks in this article, along with some safe solutions. Therefore, if you were to ask yourself, “Why is my nail gun shooting blanks,” you would find your accurate response and solution in this article.

Why is my nail gun shooting blanks? 7 Reasons

Nail jam

Nail jams are usually caused when nails are fed incorrectly and wedge against the driver blade, preventing the tool from cycling.

The jam inside keeps the nails from interfering with each other and not coming out. It is important that you stop immediately. However, if you try several times while jamming, the jamming problem will only worsen.

Jam is one of the most common causes of nail gun failure. Fortunately, they are often easy to erase. You can read further on how to do this in this article after I have explained how you can do this in a safe way. So, for your own safety, it is recommended that you do not skip the troubleshooting steps and read them carefully.

Gas-fuel / air supply / battery problems

Why Is My Nail Gun Shooting Blanks - Gas fuel cells
Why Is My Nail Gun Shooting Blanks – Gas fuel cells

There are three possible ways to power a nail gun: using a compressor, a battery, or gas fuel cells.
To fire the nail from the nail gun, these three drives must be powerful enough. The nail won’t exit the gun or won’t be able to penetrate the wood deeply enough if the air pressure produced by the compressor is too low.

The nail gun, however, might leave markings on the wood if the air pressure is too high. So be sure to work with the correct air pressure at all time. More about the right air pressure for all your air tools can be found in my article, What Is The Best Air Compressor For Woodworking? 7 Things To Look For

A battery or gas fuel cell operates similarly. These can stop the nail from leaving the pistol when they are practically empty. Therefore, you should always check that your battery is well charged and have extra gas fuel cells on hand.

Wrong Nails

Why Is My Nail Gun Shooting Blanks - Different size of nails
Why Is My Nail Gun Shooting Blanks – Different size of nails

You may read about all the different kinds of nail guns available on the market in my article, How To Choose The Right Nail Gun For Your Projects. A Complete Nail Gun Guide.
For each nail gun, there are also specially made nails in various sizes, shapes, and angles.

The loading of nails that are the incorrect length, thickness, or angle for the magazine frequently results in jams. Anyone can commit this error; it doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a seasoned expert.

The difficulty of nail gun shooting will result from such poor decision. By comparing the type of nails you used with the manufacturer’s guideline, you can find a simple solution to that issue.

The spring in the magazine doesn’t work

If you’re wondering why is my nail gun shooting blanks, the spring in the magazine could be a cause.

When you load nails into the gun, they are tensioned by a spring when closing. This spring pushes the nails out of the magazine into the barrel of the nail gun. Each time you fire a nail, this spring pushes a new nail in front of the driver blade.

If the spring is like it’s damaged, or isn’t tensioned properly after loading, your nail gun will not work perfectly. It is therefore important to always load a nail gun in the correct way so that you have a guarantee that it will work correctly.

Follow the step-by-step instructions for properly loading a nail gun in this article.

The nail gun needs cleaning

Proper maintenance of your tools is very important, and that also applies to a nail gun. Regular and quick maintenance can prevent many problems.

Improper cleaning can allow dirt and dust to get in. With a longer period of inactivity, the accumulation of dust can become so great that the nail can no longer leave the nail gun.

O Ring

When you press the trigger on a nail gun and all that happens is the nail gun shooting air, this could be caused by air leaking through the pneumatic tool’s pumping valve.

When the nail-shooting trigger is pressed, air is poured into the fire valve, lifting it and opening the main cylinder sleeve, where the air then moves the nail.

When compressed air is used, a hissing sound will be made if the O-ring dries up and is unable to effectively seal the valve. Air will seep out as soon as the trigger is raised.

This issue can be momentarily resolved by using air tool oil. To stretch the O-ring on the valve and add oil, you might need to open the nail gun.
You’ll need to replace the O-ring if it’s lost its temper. If you’re unsure, it could be wise to consult a professional.

Nail gun damage

A nail gun is a fairly complex tool with all kinds of parts on the inside. These parts can wear out or break over time. As a result, you will end up with a nail gun shooting air instead of nails.

Replacing small parts is something you can do if you have experience, but it is recommended that you take your nail gun to an expert for repairs.

Safety steps of Troubleshooting

Before you ever attempt to work on, use, or modify a nail gun, it is imperative to review the safety precautions:

When near flying strips, nails, or plastic, always use eye protection. Wearing safety glasses is essential anytime operating a nail gun as a result.

It would be ideal if you took even another safety measure, such as donning earplugs or earmuffs. This is because nail guns often produce noise between 70 and 120 decibels, which is harmful to human hearing.

Troubleshooting steps:

After you’ve taken all those safety precautions, it’s time to go through the following steps to resolve the issue.

Step 1. Disconnect the power supply:

To troubleshoot equipment and tools, it is mandatory to disconnect them from the compressor, gas fuel cell or battery. Turning off your nail gun’s power source prevents it from accidentally going off while you’re working on it.
Also, take this step every time you load the nail gun with nails.

Step 2. Empty the nail gun:

Once you have disconnected your nail gun, remove any unused nails from the gun. This avoids the potential danger and in some cases can solve the problem.

Step 3. Fix the malfunction.

If you have taken the above steps, you can safely solve the malfunction. Depending on one of the 7 problems that you could read earlier, you can solve it with the advice that you can find below.

Step 4. Reload and power up.

After solving the problem, you can load nails into the magazine again and reconnect the nail gun to the power source. First, make a test on a piece of scrap wood. Only when the nail gun is working properly again can you continue the work.

In the next section, I’ll discuss a solution for every possible issue of a nail gun shooting air. You can skip to the solution to your problem, or you can read them all to quickly solve future problems.

Why is my nail gun shooting blanks? 7 Solutions

Nail jam

Is your nail gun shooting air because of nail jam, then you will need to clear the jam. Below, I will show you step-by-step the safe way to clear the jam.

To prevent an unintentional discharge, you must first cut off the air supply to your nail gun.
Release the pusher, which will assist you reduce the pressure from the nail, as the next step. You may remove the stuck nail with ease by applying less pressure.

You must now take out the front latch, which is located on the barrel’s upper side. The jammed nail can be found after releasing the front lock.
Now pry those out with a screwdriver. You need to disconnect the latch and close the pusher after prying those out.
Take the air supply and connect it lastly.
If there isn’t a latch, you must unscrew the top screws of the nail gun before you can remove the nails.

Gas-fuel / air supply / battery problems

After you have done a check and you are sure that there are no jammed nails in the nail gun, you can check whether the pressure coming from the compressor is high enough. Sometimes air can escape through the couplings and pressure loss can occur.

When you work with a nail gun that is powered by a battery or gas feul cells you can replace it and then perform a test.

Wrong Nails

There is a potential that you can inadvertently load the incorrect nails if your workshop has many nail guns. These can either cause the nails to jam or keep them from jamming in the magazine.

If you use incorrect or too small nails and develop a nail jam, you can read how to fix it previously in this post.

The answer is quite straightforward if the nails become caught in the magazine. Check which nails you have already used and which you should use instead, then switch them.

The spring in the magazine doesn’t work

The spring in the magazine can in some cases be the problem of why the nail gun is firing blanks. When you load the nails in the magazine, the spring can be tensioned too much or incorrectly, so that it no longer works properly. In many cases this problem can be solved by opening the warehouse once, reloading it, and closing it again.

Therefore, never load too many nails in the magazine. If the spring is overloaded, it can break or work less well. Personally, I use up all nails in the warehouse and only then load full nail strips in the warehouse.

I know my nails are running low from the red tell-tale that pops up. It is a matter of checking these regularly while working so that you know when you will run out of nails.

The nail gun needs cleaning

Maintenance is essential, even with a nail gun. After each use, it is essential to lubricate the nail gun with the proper oil. You can see me unboxing and using my Makita nail gun in the video on my YouTube channel down below. You can review how you applied the oil in the area of the maintenance section of the movie.

Another sort of maintenance is to keep it as free of dust and grime as you can. This is why I often blow off my nail gun with pressurized air. This process can help you prevent annoyance, even though it only takes a few seconds.

The lifespan of well-maintained tools will also be increased. In my post, 10 Simple Tips To Make Your Tools Last Longer And Save Money, I look more closely at this. You should study this post and apply its recommendations in your workshop, since it is highly recommended.

Why is my nail gun shooting blanks – How to maintain a nail gun

O Ring

To replace the O-ring yourself, it is recommended to have some technical knowledge and experience. When you open a tool yourself, and you do this in the wrong way, irreparable damage can be caused. It is better to leave this to a professional. Therefore, return your nail gun to your dealer, and you will receive it back in perfect working condition.

Nail gun damage

Is your nail gun shooting air because of other damage, I can also advise you here to submit it to your dealer to have the damage repaired.


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I hope this article answered your question, why is my nail gun shooting blanks, and that this blog inspires you. Now you can fix the problem the next time your nail gun shooting air.

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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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