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How To Load a Staple Gun: The Right Way

Avoid injury by loading your staple gun correctly.

With so much attention focused on staple guns and what they can do, have you ever considered how to load one? Learning the best techniques improves your speed and work rate, and it makes your life easier.

We show you how to load staple guns to reduce your downtime.

Key Takeaways

  • Locate the pusher rod and remove it from the chamber.
  • Insert a new strip of staples into the chamber with legs facing downwards.
  • Slide the staples all the way in until they meet resistance.
  • Reinsert the pusher rod and lock it in place, ensuring staples are held securely.

How To Load a Manual Staple Gun

Knowing the most efficient way to load your manual staple gun is crucial. Here is our top technique.

1. Locate the Pusher Rod

Point the gun, so the staple exit point faces away from your body. Check out the back of the gun, looking for 2 indentations and a small rectangle. There should also be a tiny hook located at the top or the bottom.

This is the release clip for the pusher rod.

2. Remove the Rod

Pull the rod out to remove it from the chamber. To do this, place your thumb and forefinger on the indentations to release the clip. Then push the rod in and down, if the hook is on the top, or the reverse if it is located on the bottom.

Once the rod is free, remove it completely and set it aside.

3. Load the Magazine

Grab the new staple magazine and feed it into the chamber, using the guide rails for accuracy. Make sure the legs are facing down, with the crown at the top. Slide the staples all the way in until they meet resistance and can’t move any further.

4. Insert the Pusher Rod

Reinsert the pusher rod until it is entirely in position. Reattach the clips at the end to lock it in place. You may feel some tension, but this is normal as the spring compacts to hold the staples in place.

5. Test the Stapler

Grab a piece of wood and press the staple gun down, squeezing the handle. Make sure the fasteners fire smoothly and enter the material evenly and with no jams.

How To Load an Electric Staple Gun

Here is the best way to load your electric staple gun. Be sure to unplug it from the power before you start.

1. Unplug the Stapler

Remove the plug from the socket and engage the trigger lock. Do this by moving it left or right, or press it towards the trigger to engage the lock.

2. Release the Magazine

Locate the magazine release button at the rear of the staple gun. There should be 2 small indentations on either side of the chamber shaft at the back of the stapler. Press them in, and it releases the magazine.

As you squeeze, pull the magazine out. Remove the tray and place it to one side.

3. Insert New Staples

Grab a new magazine of staples and insert them upside down with the legs facing downward. Slide them along the shaft to the front of the stapler, making sure you keep a good grip.

4. Loading Brad Nails

If you are loading Brad nails, look for the markings on the shaft. It should say, “Load Brads,” or something similar, along with an arrow that shows the direction you should load the Brads. Insert your nails following the direction of the arrow.

If there is no indication of how to load Brad nails, check your owner’s manual to confirm whether your tool accepts them. It may be that it doesn’t.

5. Reattach the Tray

Slide the tray back into the housing, making sure it snaps back into position. When you hear the clipping sound, you know the compartment is secure, and no staples will fall out. As before, plug the stapler back in and check it deploys the fasteners evenly into the wood without recoiling or blockages.

How To Load a Pneumatic Staple Gun

Pneumatic staple guns get their power from an air compressor, so make sure you deactivate the air compressor first. Here is the best technique for loading staples into an air-fed staple gun.

1. Disconnect the Staple Gun

Press the power button at the rear of the air compressor to deactivate the tool. Loosen the connecting nut by hand to remove the air hose that attaches to the compressor. Be sure to activate the trigger lock if your device has one as an added precaution.

2. Disconnect the Follower

Push the lever at the front of the gun and pull the rod away from the tool to remove the magazine. The follower rod should slide all the way out, so it locks into position.

The follower holds the staples in place, keeping them firm to avoid slippage. On pneumatic models, the follower is located at the front of the gun, protruding out from where the staples deploy from the gun.

3. Insert the Staples

As with the electric stapler, load a strip of fasteners into the chamber with the legs facing down. The legs should be touching the inside of the rail on both sides of the channel.

Ensure they move freely and then push the staple strip to the front of the chamber.

4. Slide the Follower Back In

Release the lever and allow the follower to slide back into position. The stapler should automatically push the fasteners into position. If it doesn’t, give the rod a gentle tap, and it should engage.

5. Reattach the Compressor

Attach the air hose to the port at the rear of the tool and switch on the air compressor. As with the previous methods, grab a strip of wood or similar material to the type you are working with and deploy the stapler to see if the fasteners release easily and without jamming.

Safety Tips When Loading Your Staple Gun

There are always precautions you need to take when dealing with powered tools. So, what are the safety practices? Let’s find out some tips.

Push and Pull

If the push rod on your manual staple gun gets stuck, push and pull it in both directions first to see if you can detach it safely. Never apply too much pressure to the rod when pulling it out, or you risk damaging the spring.

Power Down

You may be up against it for time, but never risk swapping the staples when the tool is connected to a power source. Accidents with staple guns are more common than you might think.

Always disconnect the staple gun before attempting any maintenance or reloading. Triggers can be very sensitive and misfire all too easily.

Deploy the Trigger Lock

If your gun has a trigger lock, make sure you use it, even if you have unplugged it from the wall. This is especially true if you have a manual version, where the fastener could still fire without a power source.

Use a Wrench

If you can’t get the connecting nut to loosen on your pneumatic staple gun, grab an adjustable wrench and twist until it frees. Be careful not to damage the threads or the joint with the air hose.

Keep Out of Reach

If you have kids in the house, make sure the staple gun is locked away, far from the reach of inquisitive hands. Manual staple guns represent the greatest danger because they can fire fasteners without a power supply.


Do Staples Fit All Staple Guns?

Staples do not fit all staple guns because they are not universal consumables. They are instead classified by gauge, leg length, and crown size. Staple legs come in sizes that range from ½ to 2,” and the correct length depends on their application.

The crown is the top bridge that units the legs of a staple. They can be narrow, medium, and wide. The problem with picking the right staple crown size is that manufacturers do not measure them similarly. Some specify the crown’s inner measurement, while others measure the outside.

What Is the Screw on Top of a Staple Gun For?

You will find staple guns with a screw on top of them, and you can use this to adjust the penetration depth of the staples. Not all models feature this, as the screw is mostly found on top of higher-end units.

How Do You Put Staples in a Trojan Staple Gun?

Simply pinch the back-end piece and pull it down. It should pop so you can pull out the spring-loaded rod. Then, slip your row of staple inside the gun and replace the rod. You should hear it click in place.

What Size Staples Go in a Craftsman Staple Gun?

Craftsman staple guns are compatible with staples that measure ¼, 5/16, and ⅜ inches. If you are unsure which of these three sizes matches your Craftsman staple gun, read the label or the product page for specific information.

Why Is My Staple Gun Not Shooting Staples?

If your staple gun isn’t shooting staples, it’s likely jammed. When a staple gun is jammed, the staples are bent, wedged, or cramped at the top of the gun’s head.

Thankfully, it should be easy to troubleshoot a gun with jammed staples. Identify the location of the pusher rod (it’s usually at the bottom of your stapler) and remove it. You might have to use a screwdriver, assuming your gun model has a pusher rod kept in place by a screw.

As you pull out the magazine, check for any stray staples or something else blocking the way. Remove the jammed staples using needle-nose pliers. When you’re done, put the good staples back in the mechanism, reassemble the pushing rod, and you’re good to go.

Lock and Load

Loading your staple gun safely and correctly is crucial if you want to get the job done with minimum fuss and as safely as possible. Incorrectly loading the stapler could result in an uneven finish, with multiple blockages, which slows you down.

Remember that staple guns are no less dangerous just because they fire staples instead of bullets, so try and afford them the respect they deserve.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.