My Staple Gun Is Not Working! How to unjam & solve it

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
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A staple gun is a tool that is used for numerous purposes in households and by professional handymen. It is used to insert a metal stapler into the wood, plastic, plywood, paper, and even concrete. But you may have some trouble after using a stapler for a long time. There are many reasons for a staple gun not working. When the staple gun doesn’t work accordingly, you don’t need to throw it into the trash or buy a new one. We can save you money.


Therefore, in this article, we have brought to you some most common problems for which your staple gun may not work. Also, we will be discussing ways to fix them.

Fixing The Jammed Staple Gun

This is the most common problem that most handymen face after doing some heavy-duty task with the staple gun no matter if it is the best staple gun available in the market. It occurs when you use staples of inappropriate size. The guide rails all the staple gun has is the measurement of what the size of the staples should be. If you insert smaller fasteners, there is the highest possibility of getting your staple gun jammed. Sometimes, the staples don’t come out and remain in the magazine that later on prevent the movement of other staples.

To fix this issue, you must make sure you used a properly sized fastener. You will find it in the user manual for the staple gun that which size is ideal for the gun. If any staples get stuck in the compartment, drag the magazine out and get rid of that fastener. Push the pusher rod back and forth to make sure it’s smooth for movement.

How To Unjam A Staple Gun

Nothing can be more frustrating than a staple gun that gets jammed frequently when you are doing something serious or chasing a deadline. That’s why it will be wise for anyone to spare some time and unjam a staple gun for uninterrupted work. But if you don’t know how to unjam a staple gun, you are in the right place.


Why Does A Staple Gun Get Jammed

A staple gun may jam for various reasons. It depends, how the user treats the gun while firing. Imagine you have too many pages to staple, it’s obvious that you will try to do it early and use a bit extra force to the trigger. In that case, the fasteners may get bent while coming out of the dispenser. That bent staple will prevent other staples from coming out of the exit port. 

The main three parts that cause most of the malfunction of a staple gun are a hammer, staple, and spring. In the same way, these three parts are also responsible for jamming the gun. Damage to any of the parts can give you a jammed tacker.

Unjamming The Staple Gun

To unjam any staple gun, first of all, you must look for bent staples at the dispensation point. If there is any you must remove the fasteners that are preventing the movement of the other staples. To do that follow this procedure:

  • Detach the power supply of the stapler if it’s an electric or pneumatic staple gun. It’s a safety precaution for the user himself.

  • Separate the magazine from the stapler and look at the discharge end if there is anything that got stuck. Don’t forget to pull out the pusher rod.

  • While separating the magazine, remember that each type of stapler requires a different method of detaching the magazine.

  • Clean up the discharge end if there are any bent staples.

If the staples are not the reason for the jam, the next thing you must check is the pusher rod. It is the parts of a staple gun that propel the staple to come out and insert it into the surface. 

  • Pull the pusher rod out so that you can know what’s wrong with it. But it can get jammed for heavy-duty or long-term use. The hammer of the pusher rod can get damaged. In that case, the staples will not come out accordingly and without depth penetration. 

  • To get rid of that jam, flatten the edge of the pusher rod so that it can hit the staples evenly with force.

Sometimes worn-out springs can also jam the staple gun. The spring creates a force for the hammer to hit the staples. So before you come to any conclusion regarding fixing the jam, make sure you check the spring.

  • Firstly you must test the spring by pressing and releasing it to see how fast it reaches the dispensation head.
  • If the spring creates a slow force, it’s mandatory to change the spring.
  • To change the spring, open up the magazine and pull out the pusher rod. Then detach the spring and replace it with a new one.

A faulty spring can cause jam or blockage and bent fasteners. So, don’t overlook this mechanism to unjam a staple gun.

Firing Multiple Fasteners

Imagine a scenario where you placed the staple gun onto the surface, and when you press the staple release button two staples are coming out at a time. This is frustrating! We know. But have you ever wondered, why does that happen? It’s because you may have used a stripe of staples that are too small or thin for the dispensing hammer.

In that case, you must try using a thick row of staples that are larger and appropriate in size.

Fixing A Clogged Hammer

When you notice that your dispensing hammer is not running smooth and bending the staples frequently that means you have a clogged hammer. The dispensation hammer can get clogged for any reason. Sometimes an exorbitant amount of debris goes into the staple gun while working. This dust or debris stuck to the gun and prevented the hammer from running smoothly. Sometimes after using the staple gun for many years, the hammer may get damaged. Getting clogged for bending staples into the magazine is not unusual.

In that case, to fix this issue, you must ensure that the correct size of the staple has been used. Apply some lubricant to the hammer so that it can move freely. Use a little amount of degreaser (these are great!) or white vinegar which will reduce friction and ensure the free movement of the hammer. The dispensing chamber must be clean for smooth dispensing and movement of fasteners.

Fixing The Worn-out Spring

There are no bent staples in the dispensing compartment and the dispensing hammer moves freely without any extra effort, but the fasteners are not coming out. This is a situation when you must check if the spring on the hammer rod got damaged or cracked.

If the spring is worn out, there is no alternative to replacing the spring with a new one. Simply open the staple gun to get your hands on the pusher rod. Pull the spring out from both ends and replace it with a new one.

Fixing Low Penetrating Fasteners

Sometimes the staples do not penetrate deep enough into the surface which is an aberration. It can surely turn your job into failure. When the fasteners don,t penetrate deep enough you will have to pull them out from the surface which makes the surface look damaged. And doing it several times can make your project look unprofessional and question the quality of your work.

To fix this issue, first of all, we have to understand why this happens in the first place. If you try to insert fasteners with a manual staple gun on a hardwood surface or use a pneumatic staple gun on a metal surface, the staples will get bent or not penetrate properly on the wrong choice of surfaces. So compatibility with the surface is important in terms of deep penetration.

If you use thin staples or compromise the suggested quality staple compatible with heavy-duty tasks, you may notice low penetration. To get rid of that, use a high-quality thick staple that penetrates deep even into dense surfaces.

Follow The User Guide

Some common user guides can also prevent the staple gun from not working. For instance:

  • Placing the staple gun at an appropriate angle to avoid staples bent.
  • Ensuring adequate power output for easy and smooth movement of the dispensing hammer for deep penetration.
  • Never use the staple gun after the breakdown until the problem is identified and solved.
  • Always use a row of staples that are perfectly joined together.
Staple gun jam

What To Do To Avoid Jamming With A Staple Gun

  • Never push the trigger placing the gun at an angle. By doing so, the staples will not be able to come out easily and will stick into the dispenser.
  • Use staples of appropriate size. A bit shorter staples may cause multiple dispensations and a larger one will not fit.
  • The quality of the staples is also essential. Thin staples will easily bend for a heavy push. Using thick staples for heavy-duty tasks will be wise and time-saving.
  • Do not put too many staples at once if you have frequent jamming issues with your staple gun.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the proper way to put staples into a magazine?

It depends on the specific model of the stapler. But in most cases, you must slide the staples through the magazine keeping the flat side on the ground. Though it’s easy to put the edgy side on the ground that may end up jamming the stapler.

Can lubricants help to unjam staple guns?

When the moveability of the pusher rod isn’t smooth, it will not be able to propel fasteners into the surface that will eventually jam the staple gun. In that case, lubricants can smoothen the movement of the pusher rod and unjam the tacker.

Final Words

Staple Gun is one of the simplest but versatile tools you will have in your toolbox.  Like its convenient useability, it’s not hard to fix if any malfunction occurs while working on a project. Don’t worry if the staple gun is not working. Find out the problem and solve it with utmost perfection.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.