Porter Nail Gun Not Firing: Causes & Fixes

One of the most common problems users face when using the Porter nail gun is that it suddenly stops firing. This is not usually a serious problem that would require replacing the nailer and can be solved easily.

In this article, we have shared the causes of this problem and tips on how to fix it on your own.

porter nail gun not firing

Porter Nail Gun Not Firing: Likely Causes

  • Jams
  • Low air supply or low air pressure
  • Dirty nailer
  • Worn out seals and O-Rings
  • Using wrong nails

Porter-Cable Nail Gun Not Firing: DIY Fixes

Clear Jams

Jams are mostly caused when nails feed incorrectly and wedge against the driver blade. This prevents the tool from cycling. If you notice your nailer is not firing, it is most likely due to a Jam.

While jams can be common, they are usually very easy to clear. First, you need to disconnect the tool from the air supply, retract the feeder mechanism, and remove any excess fasteners from the magazine. This safety protocol should prevent any mishaps. After that, clearing the jamb depends on what type of nailer you have.

Check if your Porter Cable Nail Gun requires the magazine to be detached or opened, or requires a special tool to access the nose piece. You can confirm the right feature by checking the user manual. From there, you can follow the instructions in the manual to clear the jam.

Inspect Your Air Supply

For some people, it could be that the nails are actually being driven, but they do not sink fully. It could also be that the nails are not driven at all or the Porter-Cable Nail Gun is not firing. You might notice that the fasteners thrust into the wood deeply. In the case that the tool drives a nail, but it’s not sinking fully, it could be that the tool is not getting enough air.

To fix this, inspect your compressor, hose, and fittings. Damaged fittings could also cause this problem. You will want to adjust the air pressure settings as well. Confirm that the compressor is compatible with the Porter Nail Gun model you’re using. If the tank is too small or if it doesn’t pull enough CFM, you will experience firing problems or issues with driving nails. While increasing the air pressure, you should check the manual for the maximum limit and stay within the limit to prevent accidents.

Reload the Magazine

Take a look at the Porter Nail Gun. Look to see if there are fasteners in the magazine. You might find a few fasteners left, however, your nail gun might feature a lockout mechanism that prevents firing when the magazine gets low.

The function of this feature is to prevent dry firing, which causes strain on the internal components of the tool. Dry firing could also cause workmanship errors if the user doesn’t quickly realize they’re firing blanks.

All you need to do here is to reload the magazine and see if the nail gun resumes firing.

Clean the Tool

If you’re dealing with a nail gun that is dry firing even when the magazine is full, you might be dealing with dirty tool. With continuous use, especially on job sites with lots of dirt and sawdust, the magazine becomes dirty and the feeder may stick. This will prevent the nail gun from firing. All you need to do in this situation is to clean the tool.

To do this:

  • Check the operation of the magazine by removing the fastener and sliding the feeder shoe back and forth.
  • If you find an area where it hangs up, get a nylon brush and clean it. You can also go for canned air.
  • Clean other moving parts including the trigger valve and the trigger assembly.

Replace Seals and O-Rings

With continuous use, the internal seals of the nail gun will degrade. This will happen much faster if the seals and O-Rings are not lubricated regularly or over lubricated. When this happens, the nailer won’t fire. You should first confirm that you’re not dealing with a jam before considering a replacement of the seals and O-Rings.

If you hear the drive piston moving when you shake the tool, or you hear a hissing sound coming from the tool’s exhaust vent or trigger, it could be an indication that the seals are damaged. If you’re an expert, you can disassemble the tool and replace the seals and O-Rings. If not, then you might want to get a professional to handle it.

Check Your Nails

In most cases, jams are caused by loading nails of the wrong length, angle, gauge, or collation type for the magazine. This is most common with beginners or DIYers. However, it shouldn’t be ruled out even if you’re a professional, especially if you have multiple types of fasteners and tools in the shop or on the job site.

If the nail gun is jamming frequently and not firing, check to make sure you’re using the right fastener and collation type for your tool. Check if you’re making mistakes with your choice of nails before testing the tool again.

Inspect for Damage

If none of the above solutions get your nailer firing again, it could be that the nailer is damaged. Inspect it for dents and dings, especially in the magazine that might cause the feeder to get stuck.

Common damages could be a bent or broken feeder spring which is caused by repeatedly allowing the feeder to snap forward when loading or unloading the magazine. Other areas to inspect include the trigger assembly, hose fittings, and nosepiece. If you notice any damage, you might want to get a professional to look at it.

Take it to the Experts

Chances are you aren’t dealing with a jam, nailer damage, or any sort of problem listed above. In such case, you will have to take it to a service center and have them look at it. You can also reach out to the manufacturer to see if you will get assistance. They could help you diagnose and repair the nailer.