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Guns vs the Needle

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

"My last piercing was done by a gun"

The old subject of piercing guns vs piercing by needle.

As a professional piercer it still surprises me when someone comes in through the door asking for piercing and are shocked that it's not pierced with a gun. So i'm going to write a little about the ins and outs of both, this is my first ever write up and it has turned out bigger than any school essay I ever did.

A typical piercing gun


For many of years now there has been popular chain stores in shopping centers offering piercings by gun, claiming they have pierced millions of happy customers, piercing all ages (I will save that subject for another time). The best bit about piercing with a gun is the shear mass profit, caused by the low cost jewellery and literary no other cost with the piercing, other than non sterile exam gloves and a alcohol wipe. On top of that its idiot proof to do, point and fire making the training simple, wipe, mark, point and shoot, congratulations you are now qualified????

Next we have the issue of sterilization, guns can not be effectively sterilized. Wiping with an alcohol wipe is not effective, meaning loads of people have been in contact with that gun, operators hands and possible bodily fluids from the clients (millions of people you said?)

(Look up the medical definition of both disinfected and sterilized)

Cartilages fit in to the gun which holds a bluntly sharpened earring that is forced through your body causing major tissue trauma, the jewellery is mostly one size fits all, which has a high risk of embedding, low grade material with a poor surface finish, you may think this doesn't matter but it does.

Remember I said guns are idiot proof? That is not strictly true, they are very inaccurate at piercing, meaning you are at more risk of a squint piercing which possibly is not even heal-able, and a miss-placed piercing has a higher chance of rejection.  


Unlike places that offer piercing by gun, its probably a little more inconvenient for you to make a trip to visit a reputable piercer. All the equipment and overheads are more expensive, meaning your piercing fee will be slightly more expensive. But this is all worth it, you are safer from infections as everything is pre-sterilized in a vacuum autoclave.

The needles are super sharp and designed for the use in body piercing and are also only used once, so you don't have risk of someone else's body fluids on your needle. Second, you'll be in good hands. Professional body piercers undergo extensive training that studies proper piercing techniques, infection control and healing practices. Contrary to popular belief, there is less pain when piercing needles are used. The needle is hollow and extremely sharp so that it easily slices through the skin, which pushes the tissues aside to make room for the jewellery.

What is an autoclave?

Most people only think about steam autoclaves belonging in a hospital, but they are important and expensive piece of equipment to buy and service, and are needed in businesses for example: Tattoo studios, Piercing studios, beauty and barber shops, dentist offices, veterinarians etc.

An autoclave is a pressure chamber that is used to sterilize equipment and supplies. When these items are placed inside the autoclave they are exposed to high temperature steam (usually around 132 degrees Celsius or 270 degrees Fahrenheit) for about twenty minutes. These times vary based on the amount and physical size of the equipment that needs sterilized. This hot steam will kill germs that simple detergent or boiling water could not.

How does it work?

Once you close the autoclave sterilizer chamber, a vacuum pump removes all the air from inside the device or it is forced out by pumping in steam. If done the first way, the sterilizer is pumped with high pressured steam to quickly raise the internal temperature. On every autoclave there is a thermometer that is waiting for the thermal sweet point, 268-273 degrees Fahrenheit, and then it starts its timer. During the sterilizing process, steam is continuously entering the autoclave to thoroughly kill all dangerous microorganisms. Once the required time of sterilization has the elapsed, the chamber will be exhausted of pressure and steam allowing the door to open for cooling and drying of the contents.

Guns do not pierce people, needles do.

I could keep going on about this subject, I may write up on this again in the future.

Breaking this down in to the main pros and cons for both needle and guns discussed so far.

Piercing Guns


(I really want to say none)

1 - quick.

2- very cheap (for the company/individual).

3 - "it's not a needle, it's not scary"


1 - UN-hygienic (disgusting in fact).

2 - Jewellery made from low grade metals and poorly finished.

3 - Jewellery is one size fits all, not a proper fit or room for swelling.

4 - Operators normally do not fully understand the human anatomy or understand the complications of inserting jewellery into the human body.

5 - You'll most likely pay over the moon for the service.

6 - Oh and I almost forgot to mention the major blunt force trauma.

7 - The throbbing pain and the high risk of embedded jewellery.

8 - Long healing periods, if it heals at all!

9 - Unable to effectively sterilize the gun itself .

10 - Possibility of the gun misfiring or get seized with the jewellery through your body.



1 - Hygienic, every piece of equipment is sterilized prior.

2 - Some times cheaper for a single lobe, depending on jewellery choice.

3 - Quicker healing times.

4 - Jewellery is sized to your anatomy and to allowing room for swelling.

5 - Super sharp piercing needles which makes it virtually painless.

6 - Placements and angles will be thought about, to ensure you have a good piercing suitable for what jewellery you want to wear.

7 - Jewellery made from highly-polished safe materials, suitable for the implant in the human body.

8 - Single use sterile needle, sterile gloves, sterile equipment which is either disposable or is cleaned by a minimum of a two step cleaning process and then sterilized in a vacuum autoclave.

9 - The piercer has been through a lot more training and has put their heart and soul into what they do, and has a lot more knowledge about the procedure generally.

10 - A beautiful choice of jewellery/attachments that can be used.

11 - Unlimited access to the piercer after you piercing, to help you with jewellery selection and fitting it for you.


1 - Not as cost effective for the business - a lot more overheads = small profit margins.

2 - Can cost slightly more to get pierced due to all the equipment.

Which is better for you and your body? Spread this knowledge and let people make the right decision.



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