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Nine Inch Nails have always been popular with misfit teenagers.
"This here's a gunpowder activated, 27 caliber, full auto, no kickback, nail-throwing mayhem man. Shit right here's tight. Fuck this nailin' up boards, we could kill a couple motherfuckers with this right here..."
Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, The Wire

Nail guns are a common Improvised Weapon in fiction. Generally, they are portrayed as being analogous to firearms that shoot nails instead of bullets, while in Real Life, nail guns have a safety mechanism explicitly to prevent this - it must be pressed in direct contact with a surface to fire (meaning you can't just pick one up and, say, start blasting zombies with it).

Even if you did bypass said safety mechanism, nails aren't as aerodynamic as rifled bullets, so they don't have the accuracy or range that makes real firearms so deadly. They make better melee weapons since a nail gun is a blunt object that can stick out a long spike on contact, but this is rarely represented in fiction. Still, never point a nailgun at someone - the safety mechanism can malfunction and if the nail does hit someone it can inflict serious injury.

The MythBusters tested this one and declared it "Busted" because while its accuracy was surprisingly good up to about 15 feet, a nail gun's penetration and stopping power are nothing compared to those devices actually designed for this function.

Although certain media would just drop the idea of using existing nail guns and just focus on creating fictional firearms that fire nails instead.

This trope can also cover the use of rivet and staple guns as weapons. Subtrope of Spike Shooter. This trope has no relation to wooden Baseball Bats nor 2x4s with nails or spikes hammered through them.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Near the beginning of Highschool of the Dead, Kohta modifies a nail gun into an improvised rifle, by making a makeshift stock with what seems to be rulers, an eraser and a lot of tape. He even consistently headshots the infected with it too. He also makes a Lethal Weapon 2 reference. Where one of the protagonists uses a nail gun to eliminate two of the hitmen.
  • In Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Ikoma's rivet gun has been re-engineered to be a weapon and is powerful enough to blow a spike straight through the Kabane's cast-iron hearts, and then some.
  • Tsumugu of Kill la Kill uses a nail gun with very, very Bottomless Magazines. Rather than carpentry nails, it fires acupuncture needles that make people incapable of using Goku uniforms and enough can prevent them from moving at all. However, once they get back up they actually feel better than they did before.
  • Franky in One Piece can spit nails in a gatling-like fashion from his mouth.
  • Psycho-Pass: Real guns have been replaced with the Dominator, so the best thing Makishima's gang can use are nail guns. They aren't very good weapons: their range is quite short and their penetration is so poor that it takes near a dozen nails just to incapacitate one mook.
  • In Summer Time Rendering, while Nezu and Hizuru have the proper licenses to respectively own a bolt-action rifle and a pump-action shotgun, handguns are completely illegal for regular civilians to possess in Japan. They make do with using nailguns as a (rather poor) substitute for having a ranged weapon that can be fired with one hand.

    Comic Books 
  • In Bad Kids Go to Hell, a nail gun left behind by the construction crew is used by Matt to kill Tarek, and by Tricia to commit suicide.
  • Batman villainess the Carpenter carries a nail gun as one of her weapons.
  • Blastosaurus: At one point, raptors shoot at the title character with nail guns.
  • Chucky kills the lecherous Sugar Daddy with a nail gun in Hack/Slash vs. Chucky.
  • Steel outfitted his original Powered Armor with a wrist-mounted double-barreled rivet gun.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Arachnophobia: Ross kills a spider with a nail gun, albeit one meant to patch holes in starships.
  • A nailgun is prominently featured in Bio Zombie, a Hong Kong zombie film, for literally nailing the undead where they stood.
  • Used correctly in Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh with a close-up attack, pinning a protagonist's hands to the wall one by one at contact range.
  • Boogeyman (2005): At one point, Tim finds Mike in his home, looking at him in shock. Mike then inexplicably grabs a nail gun and starts shooting at Tim. Of course, this is some kind of time loop or flashback, and Mike was actually firing nails at the Boogeyman.
  • A character is tortured with a nail gun in Bunnyman.
  • A rat and a woman are killed with a nail gun in The Carpenter, while a man is shot in the eyes with a staple gun.
  • James Bond (Daniel Craig) uses a nail gun for self defense against Gettler in Casino Royale (2006).
  • In Cliffhanger, Gabe (Sylvester Stallone) uses a spike-gun to shoot a bad guy, but it's at close range, and it's pressed against a sheet of ice; so it might work.
  • During their final confrontation on a constriction site high atop a skyscraper, the Big Bad Strack uses a rivet gun in his battle with Darkman, he succeeds in riveting Darkman's hand to a girder.
  • D.O.A. (1988 remake). The (at that point unseen) killer tries to kill the protagonist and the girl he's with by turning up the air pressure on a nail gun that's been left in the prop room of the university's theatre, loading in a 'magazine'-like container full of nails and opening up on them like it's a machine gun.
  • The final showdown of The Equalizer takes place in a hardware stall along with setting up other traps, McCall acquires a nail gun to use instead of a firearm. He uses it one-handed to fire nails like a pistol, flicking his wrist to cock it after every shot.
  • Event Horizon: Doctor Weir threatens other characters with a nail gun designed to bolt hull patches on.
  • Demon possessed Natalie uses one to shoot Eric and David in the Evil Dead (2013) remake, firing it from across the room.
  • Erin in Final Destination 3 is killed after trying to avoid a falling ladder and bumps into a nail gun that fires several nails into her head and hands, her boyfriend Ian had earlier used it to kill pigeons that came into the hardware store he worked at.
  • In The Good Son Henry uses a homemade nail gun he made from various pieces of machinery to kill a neighborhood guard dog, he had earlier tried to kill a cat with it but the sight was off.
  • One of the fake Exploitation Film trailers produced in the wake of Grindhouse for a contest and selected by Quentin Tarantino is Nailed by Nikita, about an Eastern European ex-sex worker who uses a nail gun in her rampage against the bad guys, played by Russian-Dutch playmate Olga Urashova.
  • An expository Montage shows that Happy Gilmore apparently got to be quite good at plinking cans with a nail gun while working construction... except when he accidentally hit his boss in the head with one. Luckily for Happy, the man was wearing his helmet and survived without serious harm. Less luckily, he failed to see the funny side and beat Happy to a pulp for it.
  • The victims in The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) are stapled together.
  • In The Island (2005), there is a particularly... disturbing example. Jordan and Lincoln are hiding in a bathroom waiting for one of the company's men to find them. The man finds them, and they lock the door. He punches through the brittle door and reaches over to unlock the door. Jordan nails his hand to the door.
  • The psychotic Morgan Dyer in Killer Dream Home uses one - and not for the intended purpose.
    • Morgan fires a warning nail at a woman after sticks her nose in. Quickly followed by a flimsy and obviously fake apology for the almost deadly 'accident'.
    • When things get heated Morgan is seen wandering around the hallway holding the nail gun and her trusty tape measure - another Improvised Weapon.
    • The nail gun appears one final time during the climax when the heroine uses it to finally dispose of Morgan.
  • The Gingerbread men Clumpy, Lumpy, and Dumpy from Krampus use a nail gun as a weapon against Howard, he manages to avoid serious harm by shielding himself with a cookie sheet.
  • Lethal Weapon 2: Sergeant Murtaugh is attacked by South African agents and defends himself with a nail gun (being used to renovate his house), ending it with him invoking the trope name as a Bond One-Liner.
    "Nailed 'em bofe."
  • The Millennium Trilogy: In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the heroine is in a fight with by a large unstoppable man who is unable to feel pain. She turns this against him by using a nail gun to stick his feet to the ground without him noticing.
  • In MouseHunt, one of the two heroes is using a nail gun, not knowing that the mouse is behind the wall.
  • Hollis's death in the original My Bloody Valentine, was caused by the killer using an old almost break-action-like nailgun. Although the first shot doesn't kill him immediately, the second one definitely does.
  • The 1985 film The Nail Gun Massacre is a notoriously sub-par slasher which chronicles the killing spree of a maniac who, adorned in army fatigues and a motorcycle helmet, drives around in his gold hearse, killing semi-randomly with a nail gun while cracking bad jokes.
  • In Night of the Demons (2009), Maddie loads a shotgun with extremely rusty wrought iron nails, one of the few things that can harm the demons. They lampshade in the commentary how utterly impossible this is.
  • In the Prince of Persia film, one of the Hassasains, specialised weapons users, has what amount to primitive nail guns strapped to his wrists. He fires spikes from these over great distances to great effect.
  • In Real Men, Super Agent Nick Pirandello constructs a projectile automatic-fire nail gun from supplies in meek mild-mannered Bob Wilson's garage, and proceeds to mow down multiple Russian agents with it.
  • A staple gun is one of the many makeshift instruments of torture utilized by the killer in Rest Stop.
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. A nail gun is the weapon of choice of one character against zombies, though as this requires him carrying a compressed air tank on his back, you'd think there would be more pragmatic weapons available.
  • In Serial Killing 4 Dummys, Casey buys a nail gun as one of his possible weapons as the 'Hardware Killer', but he never uses it.
  • The main character's wife is shot in the head with a nail gun in Seed.
  • In Small Soldiers, a nail gun is used as a heavy machine gun.
  • Stay Alive (2006): One character tries to use a nail gun to "nail" a vampire.
  • The most infamous scene in The Toolbox Murders features the killer chasing a naked woman (who was masturbating in the tub) around with a nail gun. In the remake, a woman is nailed to the ceiling with one, after being shot in the throat.
  • Dale in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil uses a nail gun rather like a machine gun, not to directly target anyone, but just to create a distraction. This is one of the few chaotic sequences in the film that doesn't end in someone getting killed.
  • In UHF, Stanley gets chased by goons through the offices of Channel 8, and ends up shooting one with a staple gun in desperation, causing the mobster to get staples stuck in his face.

  • Patrick Bateman from American Psycho uses a nail gun in quite a few of his murders, the most notable of which involves him nailing a woman's hands to a wall so many times her fingers start to fall off.
  • Fengshen Yanyi has a low-tech example with Huang Tianhua's treasure, the "Heart-Piercing Nail": it is a precious seven-inch nail made of precious metal which, when flung at the enemy, will drill right through their flesh to reach the heart. Tianhua uses it to kill the four Mo Brothers and later to wound and ground two flying enemies.
  • In the Millennium Series novel The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Lisbeth uses a nail gun to affix Ronald Niedermann's feet to a warehouse floor, then calls some old enemies to come and kill him.
  • In Small Favor, Charity Carpenter uses a nail gun against the gruffs in the opening chapter, followed by beating their skulls with a heavy contractor's hammer. Since the gruffs are Fae, they are extremely vulnerable to the touch of Cold Iron, and retreat very swiftly.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Diplomatic Immunity, an automated hot riveter is used (after bypassing several safety interlocks) as an improvised automatic slugthrower. Miles, being Miles, says "You might say he riveted my attention."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. In the first season finale, when Agent May is fighting Ward in a part of the building that's under construction, they both make use of the power tools lying around. She ends the fight by grabbing a nail gun and putting three of them through his foot. The nail gun is actually used realistically, instead of firing the nails like bullets.
  • The A-Team: In one episode they made a machine gun out of a nail gun.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • The "Hopeless" episode has the killers nail a man's hands to a bartop before beating him to death.
    • The UnSub from the "Hashtag" episode used a nail gun to kill all his victims except the first one because he was emulating a Creepypasta called The Mirror Man that kills people with his long (finger)nails. Also, during the second murder, he fired his nail-gun repeatedly at the back of the driver's seat of the victim's car, forming a hashtag with the holes as a Calling Card.
  • In CSI: Miami, Ryan Wolfe is shot through the eye by a nail gun, although here they do at least point out that the safety that prevents the gun from firing unless pressed against a surface is broken.
  • In an episode of Get a Life, Chris gets a job with the ancient brotherhood of construction workers (just roll with it) and by the end has gotten into a tool duel with one of them. The opponent seems to have the upper hand when he brings out the ultimate tool duel weapon, a staple gun, but Chris is able to force him to surrender by utilizing a construction worker's greatest weakness and threatening to pour out the last beer.
  • In the Heroes episode "The Fifth Stage", Peter, fueled by rage and grief over Nathan's death and the subsequent cover-up, gets into a nasty fight with Sylar in the hospital basement after gaining The Haitian's ability to block his powers. The fight ends with Peter straddling him onto a table, grabbing a nearby nail gun, and using the gun to pin his palms to the table and then fires a shot into his balls. Ouch.
  • Home Improvement: Tim, naturally, tends to have some accidents involving shooting people with nail guns. Examples include:
    • The season 2 episode "Dances with Tools" sees Tim accidentally shooting his cameraman with a nail gun while they're filming, and immediately try to downplay it by calling for the man to "get a claw hammer, get that out of your thigh. Get some salve on it."
    • The season 3 episode "Arrivederci, Binford" had Tim say farewell to his Show In A Show's corporate sponsor's recently deceased CEO by giving him a 21 nail gun salute. The guns come loose from their anchoring and start firing all over the stage, forcing him and Al to seek cover for fear of being nailed.
    • The season 5 episode "Shopping Around" sees Tim accidentally shoot his old shop teacher Mr. Leonard, who's guest-starring on Tool Time, in the butt with a nail gun.
    • Another episode ends with Tim in his garage, using a nail gun to shoot at a Dartboard of Hate with Bob Vila's face on it.
  • Motive: A nail gun is the weapon used to murder the Victim of the Week in "In Plain Sight". A realistic take on the trope, the nail gun was a weapon of opportunity; still connected to the compressor; and used by pressing it against the victim's body before firing the nails.
  • My Name Is Earl: Earl was shot on several different occasions with either a nail or a staple gun by Sweet Johnny.
    • While Earl and Randy got into an argument about Randy being put on the List in "Barn Burner", a struggle with Earl's pen caused Earl to accidentally fire the nail gun he had in his arm, shooting a nail into his hand as it laid on a plank of wood.
  • One episode of Penn and Teller: Fool Us featured Penn doing a memory trick involving a nail-gun with some of the cartridges replaced with blanks and him alternating nailing the table and pressing the gun to his hand. Predictably, Teller gets nailed at the end.
  • Psych: In "Lights, Camera, Homicidio", the killer has been replacing prop weapons with real ones on the set of a Spanish soap opera. The last one is a nail gun, which the actress fires at Shawn before realizing it's really loaded.
  • Burt gets attacked with a staple gun he was returning in an episode of Raising Hope, after telling the person he was giving it back to that he's in the Sex Offender Registry.
  • Reaper used nail guns in the first episode to capture the Baddie of the Week.
  • The Smallville episode "Mortal" featured a pair of Creepy Twins who need to be touching each other to use their forcefield powers. Lana Lang manages to knock them apart, then nails one twin's hand to a wall. Disturbingly, the twin simply pulls his hand through the nail to free himself.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Shut Up, Dr. Phil", a Victim of the Week is killed by a nail gun firing nails through a porter potty. Somewhat lampshaded when the local cops comment that they can't figure out where the nail gun had been plugged in during the attack. In this case A Wizard Did It (or rather a witch).
    • Sam and Dean discover that Fate is out to get them. As You Can't Fight Fate, they walk down the street in broad daylight jumping at anything that's vaguely threatening. At one point a construction worker's nailgun jams and he starts hitting it while letting the nailgun point in their direction. The boys freeze in terror, but nothing happens.
  • The Wire features Snoop buying a nail gun in the fourth season premiere, originally just for boarding up houses to cover up murders, but the salesman's Does This Remind You Of Gun Porn description puts other ideas in her head.
    Salesman: The DX-460 is fully automatic, with a 27-calibre charge. Wood, concrete, steel-to-steel, she'll throw a fastener into anything. And for my money, she handles recoil better than the Simpson or the P-3500. Now, you understand what I mean by recoil?
    Snoop: Yeah. The kickback, I'm witcha. 27 caliber, huh?
    Salesman: Not large ballistically, but for driving nails, it's enough. Any more and you'd add to the recoil.
    Snoop: Aw shit, I seen a tiny-ass .22 round-nose drop a nigga plenty o' days, man. Motherf—s get up in ya like a pinball, rip your ass up. [salesman growing increasingly uncomfortable] Big joints though? Most the time they just break ya bones, say "f— it." I'ma go with this right here, man. How much I owe you?

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Staple guns were a staple (no pun intended) of ECW "garbage" matches. They were "used" correctly though, pressed against the target, as opposed to being used at range. They are still used today in "deathmatch" wrestling from time to time. This was shown in The Wrestler during Randy the Ram's hardcore match against the Necro Butcher. Necro, a Real Life deathmatch wrestler, is well known for doing stuff like this.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech features 'Mech-sized nail/rivet guns...that are basically useless in combat because they are essentially only upscaled construction equipment, having only a single-hex effective range and lacking any ability to damage actual armor. They're nonetheless on the equipment lists for use in scenarios involving more "civilian" units.
  • The smart nail gun from GURPS: Ultra-Tech is more accurate than most pistols and is surprisingly effective at piercing armor. However, the range is poor, while it's damage is lackluster. The safety also prevents the gun from getting shot at anything similiar to human flesh, unless your target wears armor or you hack the gun
    • Real life nail guns also appear in High-Tech. They require two hands and strength higher than average, while also being very difficult to hit with.
  • Mothership RPG has a nail gun which, being intended for spaceship repair, does a lot of damage for an improvised weapon, has extremely high magazine capacity and a low cost, and pierces armor better than most guns. However, it suffers from a ridiculously low range, requiring you to get into melee range to shoot without penalties.
  • Necromunda: The Goliath weapon known as a ‘Krumper’ rivet gunnote  was originally designed to nail together the armour plates of battle tanks but many fighters have found that it is equally useful in battle, firing streams of red-hot rivets at a breath-taking rate. An unwieldy and short-ranged weapon, the Krumper nevertheless has in-game characteristics equal to many other Heavy-type weapons.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The rivet kannons fitted to Ork Kustom Boosta-blastas fire red-hot, arm-length rivets at the enemy, and has such a massive rate that it makes up for the inaccuracy of the unrifled tool-cannon. In-game, these weapons have an exceptionally high Strength characteristic for a solid-shot weapon fitted to a light buggy, twinned with an impressive number of shots per turn.
  • New World of Darkness
    • World of Darkness: Armory includes rules for using a nail gun as an improvised weapon. Notably, they have to be modified to use them at range, and in doing so, you lose any sort of accuracy. In Hurt Locker, the nail gun is a melee weapon (though still uses Firearms for the attack roll) and has the -1 penalty to accuracy for inaccurate weapons.
    • In Demon: The Descent, the titular Demons (to be precise, the Unchained; the gameline itself acknowledges the fact that the Unchained are hardly the only beings referred to as “demons”) can have the demonic form ability Rivet Arm. If they had this ability from the beginning, it was likely a tool for building things back when they were angels, and while it is a useful ranged weapon as it’s part of your body and thus can’t be lost, plus literally no ammo limit, it can still be used for its original purpose as a mundane nail or rivet gun.

  • The NERF Brand Nailbiter is a dual-action blaster that, as its name suggests, resembles a nail gun. It lacks a priming handle and is instead primed and fired upon trigger pull. It can hold up to eight darts in its integrated clip.

    Video Games 
  • The nailgun in 7 Days to Die behaves realistically: it's hard to aim, and nails are very weak. Its true purpose is, again realistically, as the tool it's supposed to be: it upgrades blocks with one click, and has a "rate of fire" so high, it can fully repair and upgrade a whole building three times as fast as the claw hammer, its immediate inferior. Construction with a nailgun is a matter of seconds.
  • 77p: Eggwife has a miniature nail machine-gun called the Stigmatic 7000 which fires on full-auto.
  • The nail gun is one of the new weapons in Alan Wake's American Nightmare and one features prominently in the cover art.
  • A basic 'handgun' in Alien Shooter Vengeance is a pneumatic nail gun. It's got the second-lowest weapon skill requirement in its class, but it's inaccurate and fairly wimpy, saved mostly by the fact that it somehow has Bottomless Magazines. The game's Flare Gun has half the skill cost, does twice the damage, and lights up dark rooms. Somehow, the nail gun is still more powerful than the game's TEC-9 equivalent.
  • The Criminal Activity DLC for Battlefield Hardline adds a nail gun as a battle pickup. Firing it doesn't create a blip on the minimap and a single nail to the head will drop any agent, though it has no sights, terrible range, and a capacity of ten nails. The "Original Tactics" assignment calls for fifteen kills with it, while one hundred (good luck) unlocks an achievement.
  • BioShock uses a variation: The Big Daddies use a rivet gun as their primary ranged weapon. In the sequel, where you play as a Big Daddy, the first gun you pick up is a prototype version. One of the weapon options in the sequel's multiplayer is a nail gun.
  • Nails in BLOODCRUSHER II are a possible ammunition type.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Season Four of Call of Duty: Warzone introduced the Nail Gun to the series as a Special Weapon and SMG respectively.
  • Nail guns in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead are good early-game weapons since ammo is extremely common (just take apart some furniture). You can also use them to craft nail rifles, which are more powerful.
  • Averted in Contagion. The nailgun is not a weapon, it's an item used to barricade entrances. Its "ammunition" is wooden planks.
  • In Dead Island: Riptide nail guns are basically a holdover until you get real guns later on, though they do have the advantage of recoverable ammo from the enemies you kill with them.
  • Your main weapon in Dead Space: Extraction is also a rivet gun. Dead Space 2 also features the Javelin Gun, which is more of a spear gun that can pin enemies to walls. Dead Space 3's weapon-crafting system also offers lots of options for rivet guns, including rivet shotguns, rivet machine guns, and rivets that explode.
  • Escape From Hell!: Josef Stalin (yes, really) has one when he joins your party.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 has a slight variation in the Railway Rifle, that doesn't shoot nails as much as railroad spikes. Similar to the Penetrator in F.E.A.R., the spikes pin body parts to walls.
    • The Fallout: New Vegas DLC Lonesome Road adds H&H Tools nail guns, which work like silenced submachine guns. Its damage is fairly low (though it does more Subsystem Damage than normal, like the Railway Rifle), especially for an add-on that raises the level cap to 50, but its resale value is incredible.
    • Fallout 4 has a nail gun that can be customized and sees the return of the previously mentioned Railway Rifle (appropriately, it's the signature weapon of the Railroad faction). You can also add nail guns to robots built in the Automatron DLC pack.
  • One of the new Resolver weapons in Far Cry 6 is an improvised nail guns made from jury-rigged materials called El Susurro.
  • The F.E.A.R. games have the HV series of rifles, which fire high-speed metal spikes designed to penetrate armor, but are less effective than regular guns against unarmored targets. As an added bonus, when close to a surface, the HV can stake enemies to said objects with the killing shot.
  • The aptly-named Nailgunner Piers in Fight League uses a nail machinegun as her primary weapon.
  • Geist allows the player to possess a worker who has a rivet gun. While it's useful in a (literally) riveting action sequence, it's not much of a ranged weapon.
  • The manual for the first Guitar Hero states that Judy Nails got her nickname from an incident with a nail gun. Further details are not given.
  • Harry the Handsome Executive uses a staple gun as his weapon of choice.
  • Hitman: Blood Money allows you to use a nail gun, but you'll find it to be slow to fire, so short in range that you literally have to be in the face of the guy you intend to kill with it and the accuracy blows. Its one advantage is that you can sometimes carry it openly without drawing suspicion.
  • The Home Improvement Licensed Game: Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!, gives Tim Taylor one of these as his first ranged weapon. It's a weak and somewhat unwieldy weapon thanks to its burst-style Spread Shot firing pattern, but it's all you get until Tim finds something more effective. Of course, given it's a tool designed by Tim Taylor, the fact that it can be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands is pretty justified.
  • Present in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Donning the Irvin mask lets you start the level with a nail gun, which functions like a silenced pistol (but with less accuracy).
  • The secretary unit in the Flash game H Rmageddon uses a staple as a ranged attack weapon.
  • The Hillbilly Horror Event for Killing Floor added Vlad the Impaler (Also known as Vlad 9000), a magazine-fed nail shotgun for the support specialist. The nails can ricochet and hit other specimens, which makes up for the terrible range.
    • It makes a return in the sequel, now being named "VLAD-1000 Nailgun". The game makes it into a shared with the Berserker, in order to give the melee oriented class some ranged attack options to get rid of pesky trash mobs. The gun can be toggled between firing a small bundle of nails like a shotgun, or a single nail. An HRG version would be later added as an exclusive weapon for the SWAT perk.
  • In MADNESS: Project Nexus 2, nail guns are early-game weapons used by members of MERC that can be used as improvised guns.
  • In Manhunt, the Skinz gang are armed with nail guns and more of them can be found by James Earl Cash in the junkyard.
  • The Mass Effect 3 multiplayer Resurgence DLC pack adds the Kishock Harpoon Gun, a batarian sniper rifle. It's a slow-firing weapon that inflicts significant bleed damage on the target. The main game has the Graal Spike Thrower, a krogan shotgun that fires large spikes. It has great accuracy for a shotgun—only the N7 Crusader is more accurate—and and can be charged up for extra damage.
  • Used in name only by Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, which features a handful of "modified work tools" being repurposed as weapons, but while it calls its Sniper Rifle equivalent a rivet gun, it's plain to see the "rivets" are in fact arrows... arrows that can be charged to explode after lodging in some poor schmuck.
  • The MMORPG Neocron had nail guns as newbie weapons.
  • Poke 646 - a Half-Life mod, features Bradnailer and a fully automatic Nailgun replacing the handgun and mp5 respectively. The Vendetta sequel introduces a military-issued rifle modification.
  • A nail gun is used in an interrogation in The Punisher video game. You have the option of using it to kill the guy with driving the nails through his eyes.
  • Quake
    • The first game has Nine Inch Nail Guns. Contrary to most examples, they're actual dedicated weapons: they stand in for machine guns — the super nailgun is essentially a gatling gun that spits out iron stakes — and their accuracy is pixel-perfect with no deviations.
    • Dissolution of Eternity adds Lava Nails, superheated versions of the same projectiles that deal extra damage in two ways: they ignore the armor of other players and deal 30% more damage to monsters.
    • Quake II Mission Pack 2: Ground Zero introduced the ETF Rifle — despite the name, it's by all means the nail gun from Quake I, stylized to fit the Quake II aesthetics, that ignores armor and shields. It even sounds like the original nailgun.
    • Quake III: Arena has shotgun nail guns. A nail gun that fires a shotgun-like burst of 9 inch barbed railroad spikes. Getting hit with this is almost always a One-Hit Kill and causes you to get thrown backwards a huge distance, sometimes leading to a fall to your death.
    • Quake IV, true to tradition, has a usable model as well. However, besides being rather consistent in its accuracy from the start, it can be modded so that the nails can home in on the target. Even around corners.
  • One of the many enemies in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando is a berserk construction worker bot with a rivet gun. It has horrible accuracy and range.
  • Risk of Rain 2: One of the weaponized tools MUL-T has available is an industrial-strength nailgun, which is terribly inaccurate but has an amazing rate of fire; the thing can chew through an entire horde so long as it's more or less in spitting range.
  • One of the costumes for the Rapid-Fire SMG in Saints Row IV is a nail gun. It even comes with three costumes, "Default" a normal yellow nail gun, "Hot Rod" which paints it blue then gives it some hot rod flames for added flare and then "Workman's Comp" which has it plain white but has some blood splatters on it. While it looks different it still functions the same, having low damage and accuracy by default, but once fully upgraded it works more like it has quite the fire rate, can be dual-wielded and can fire lightning rounds!
  • Team Fortress Classic:
    • The Scout, Sniper, and Spy all have nail guns. Oddly, the Nail Gun is not only fully automatic and 100% accurate (offset by the slow projectiles), but it looks exactly like a Sten submachine gun.
    • The Medic's Super Nailgun is better. It, again oddly, resembles a Tommy gun.
    • The Nail gun was for a long time going to be the Scout's primary weapons in Team Fortress 2 as well (it was even featured in one of the trailers), but was replaced with the Scattergun; this is referenced in how Dispensers seems to have a nail belt hanging out of them.
    • Also from Team Fortress 2, The Medic's Syringe Gun is essentially a cross between this and an SMG. Several server-side mods have toyed with the idea of allowing the Scout to equip it, referencing the above, but it never caught on in the fandom.
    • And finally the Engineer has the Rescue Ranger which fires what looks like a staple with a battery attached. Like several video game nailguns it can tack killed foes to the wall. Although it's main purpose is to repair the engineer's buildings from afar.
  • Terraria has a Nail Gun that can be obtained as a drop from the Pinhead-Expy Nailhead during a Solar Eclipse. The nails that it shoots can stick to its targets before exploding.
  • In Terrordrome the Game: Rise of the Boogeymen, Chucky has a few special moves where in he uses a Nail Gun. A reference to his use of a Nailgun in Bride of Chucky.
  • In Tormented Souls, the first ranged weapon Caroline gets is a nailgun from the Reverend that's been modified with an external air tank to fire at much higher pressure than intended. It isn't very powerful — it takes most of a clip of ten nails to kill an enemy.
  • Warframe has two families of weapons that fire nail-like projectiles, the Grineer Twin Gremlins and the Tenno Bolto series (including the Boltor rifle, Bolto and Akbolto pistols, "Telos" and "Prime" variants). Both fire slower but higher damaging projectiles that can pin enemies to surfaces on death, damaging anyone in the corpse's trajectory.

    Web Original 
  • Shakila from Darwin's Soldiers lures a mook into an empty building that is under construction and kills him by placing the nail gun against his neck and shooting some nails into him.
  • In the Quest Den adventure Tobak Quest, the main weapon used by modern tobaks is a nailgun powered by compressed air, because their light sensitivity prevents them from effectively using firearms (and railguns are too expensive for the average tobak)

    Western Animation 
  • In the episode "False Start" of Code Lyoko, XANA materializes some Kankrelats to the real world. One of the weapons the team uses is a modified nail gun.
  • In Family Guy, when a boy was faced with taking Meg on a date, he resorted to shooting himself in the stomach with a shop class nail gun to get out of it.
  • An episode of King of the Hill had Cotton snap and hole up in a newly-built house with a nail gun.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode where Homer goes berserk over baby-proofing the house for Maggie, he hands Maggie the nail gun. She nails his hand to the wall from ten feet away. Homer realizes how in trouble he is, and attempts to coax Maggie into giving back the gun. She pins him to the wall with at least four more nails, with one landing in each ear.
    • In another episode, Homer and a new friend have a light-hearted sparring match with nail guns. They each get several shots point blank in the face which do no more damage than snowflakes.
    • Also humorously subverted in "Who Shot Mr. Burns." Burns orders Smithers to attack Principal Skinner, but the only thing he could find was an ordinary stapler. He tries shooting him, but Skinner just irritatingly asks him not to waste them.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Brock Sampson uses a rivet gun he took from a mook to save Dr. Venture from falling. The nail gun is shown firing with precise accuracy, though the third time he accidentally pinned Venture through his body instead of by his shirt. Brock also uses it to dissuade an approaching enemy who's actually bigger than he is.
  • Young Justice: Blue Beetle fires out giant staples to pin people to surroundings. His Scarab tells him that shooting through bone is more effective.

    Real Life 
  • As mentioned above, nailgun safeties can malfunction. There was a case where someone pulled the trigger on a nailgun to demonstrate it wouldn't fire because of the safety. Said safety was non-functional and the nail was found embedded half an inch deep in a wood post 120 feet away.
  • A man in Australia was murdered by being shot 34 times in the head with a nail gun.
  • Nail gun injuries crop up frequently in the Darwin Awards. In one attempted suicide, a construction worker, after he slipped and a saw chopped off his hand, tried to end his life with a nail gun after finding the pain too unbearable. He wound up shooting himself multiple times in the head but survived, and the doctors simply reattached his hand.
  • Captive bolt pistols (no, not those), used in slaughterhouses to stun livestock and for in-the-field euthanasia of injured farm animals, operate on principles between a nail gun's and a Pile Bunker's.
  • The Blunderbuss, a spiritual ancestor to the Sawed-Off Shotgun, was reputed to be remarkably undiscriminating about what one fired out of it. Old nails or rivets were frequently substituted for lead shot as a field expedient, although this wasn't terribly good for the barrel's lifenote  and reduced the weapon's already poor effective range.
  • A Needlegun, using metal darts or flechettes, have been used sporadically since the fourteenth century.