Sequential or Contact Nailing – The Complete Guide

Sequential or Contact NailingSequential or contact nailing are two common techniques of nail firing modes, each with different advantages and disadvantages, used in construction or carpentry tasks.

Understanding the differences between sequential and contact nailing, as well as when to use each method of operation, is crucial in this situation. In addition to comparing and contrasting each technique, the article will also discuss the safety precautions that should be taken when using nail guns.

What is Sequential Nailing?

Sequential nailing is the process of driving nails that involves releasing the safety tip of the nailer into the surface and then dragging the trigger to fire a nail.

What is Contact Nailing?

Contact nailing is another nail-firing mode that involves the continuous pressing of the nail gun’s safety nose against the object while keeping the trigger depressed to discharge a nail every time.

Use of Sequential Firing

Sequential firing mode mostly comes useful in finishing projects where precision is more important than speed such as carpentry, molding, or other flooring tasks. Such delicate tasks prioritize accuracy and precision the most to maintain the quality of the finished work. Besides, due to its increased safety, sequential firing mode is also used in building tasks where safety is a major concern.

Advantages of Sequential Nailing

Improved safety: In sequential nailing, the nail gun safety nose should be placed first on the working surface and then fired the nail. Thus, you can achieve ultimate control over the project with reduced potential for unintentional firing or misfiring.

Greater accuracy and control: When using sequential nailing, you can properly align the nailer and get sufficient time to adjust the nailer before driving a nail. Therefore, it ensures accurate nail insertion and better control over the nail gun.

High precision: There is no risk of damaged surfaces or any splitting issue of the object being nailed, thereby giving you a smooth and more precise finish.

Disadvantages of Sequential Firing

Slower firing rate and operation: Sequential nailing is comparatively less efficient than contact nailing because it requires the operator to position the nailer on an object before each firing, which increases operating effort as well as time.

High skill and expertise required: For proper placing of the nailer and precise nail insertion, you need a high skill level and expertise for sequential firing.

Sequential or Contact Nailing: Which One Should I Use?

Whether you use a nail gun for sequential or contact nailing varies depending on your individual needs and the particular task you’re using it for.

Sequential nailing is the safest and more precise way of nail driving. This process involves first pushing the safety tip against the object before pulling the trigger. Thus, it minimizes the possibility of accidental firing, making it a better and safer choice.

Contact firing also referred to as bump nailing, involves squeezing the trigger while releasing a nail by bumping the gun’s safety tip against the object. This approach may be quicker than sequential nailing, but it poses an increased risk of unintentional firing.

In general, you should choose sequential firing, if you have a more delicate project at hand such as trimming or cabinetry. However, in projects where speed is crucial such as framing or woodworking, you may choose contact nailing.

Irrespective of the nailing approach you decide on, it is crucial that you carefully review the manufacturer’s directions for your particular nail gun and comply with their recommended safety measures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I shift from sequential firing to contact nailing on my nail gun?

Some nail guns come with a selective actuation mechanism that allows you to choose between sequential and contact nailing modes. If you want to shift from sequential firing to contact nailing to your nail gun, make sure to check whether it comes with the selective actuation system.

Q: Do sequential nail guns cost more than contact nail guns?

The nail gun’s cost varies depending on the brand, manufacturer, and inbuilt features. Some sequential nail guns might cost more than contact ones depending on the quality, while others might cost about the same.

Q: Sequential or contact nailing: which one is safe?

In comparison to contact nailing, sequential nailing mode is safer but it still requires taking some safety measures while operating the nail gun. Make sure to take proper safety precautions such as protective glasses, ear protection, etc. Always follow the manufacturer directions before starting the procedure.


In conclusion, nail guns have evolved into an essential tool for a variety of building and woodworking tasks. Depending on the user’s choice, the material being worked on, and the particular task needs, one can choose between sequential or contact nailing modes.

Sequential nailing provides a higher level of control and accuracy, but it may have a slower firing rate and is less effective for larger tasks. On the contrary hand, contact hammering can speed up the process and boost output, but it also demands more expertise and caution.

Regardless of the method employed, it is important that you conform to all safety precautions and put on the proper protective gear to prevent mishaps and injuries.

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