Piercing Gun vs Needle

  • Written By Dan Hunter on March 19, 2020
    Last Updated: January 14, 2021

When getting a piercing, there are two primary methods: a gun or a needle. Each has its merits and demerits and the client preferences are likely to tip the scales in favor of one over the other.

You can opt for either the piercing gun or needle in many piercing situations. For some, however, the gun would be impractical. Learn all the pros and cons associated with each method and make an informed decision when you visit the piercing station.

In nearly all circumstances, using a needle to perform a piercing is much safer than using a piercing gun. Needles are also deemed to be less painful for the customer when compared to a gun. While there are many instances where piercing guns have been used with no serious health issues, needles should still be seen as the safer and less painful option for all types of body piercings.

Piercing Precautions 101

Regardless of which instrument you want your piercing artist to use, there are a few things you should always do. 


Do your research before settling for where you’re going to get your piercing. You should go to a place that’s fully licensed to ensure you’ll get the necessary legal, medical, and financial support if anything goes wrong.

Don’t forget to research your piercing artist. They should be trained, qualified and have experience—you may not want to risk going to a novice. 

Proper Portfolio

Feel free to request to see photos of previous clients, and make sure they have a decent number of good reviews. You don’t want to end up with a nasty infected piercing as a result of poor workmanship.

Piercing Gun: What You Should Know

The piercing gun is usually used to pierce earlobes, often in mall settings. It’s a handheld gadget that pushes a pin-like material through the body part in one swift motion. 

If you want your ear piercings done quickly, you can request to have two piercings done at the same time with separate guns.

Piercing Gun Advantages


Guns work quickly, which can reduce pre-piercing anxiety.

Less Likely to Hurt

The swift method of delivery makes it less likely to hurt. This is why guns are prefered for kids and first-timers.


The needle is invisible, concealed within the gun. If you’re more afraid of seeing the needle rather than feeling it, a gun could be the right choice.

Guns are also an ideal option for young children. If you want to get your little one’s ears pierced, there’s less likely to be tantrums and tears with an inconspicuous-looking gun.

Piercing Gun Disadvantages

Less Accurate 

Using a piercing gun is a less accurate way of piercing as you can’t see where the needle will penetrate the skin and the pin is covered. This can affect the overall appearance of your piercing as they can be off-center and uneven. 

Potentially Slower Healing

These gadgets can cause blunt force trauma as the pin goes straight through your flesh in an instant. Depending on the individual, that sort of trauma can impact the healing process and cause damage to the cartilage and tissues in your ear. This is why most artists will avoid using the gun on the more cartilaginous areas of the ear.

Limited Use 

The piercing gun can only be used to pierce your ears, primarily the lobes since only small amounts of soft tissue will fit between the two parts of the gun. Except for the earlobes, the piercing world isn’t unanimous on using the gun on any other body part.

That means tricky areas, such as your belly button, eyebrows, or septum, will have to be done in the old-fashioned, manual way.

Piercing Needle

A piercing needle is exactly what it sounds like: a long, sharp needle to pierce through the skin to allow room for a piercing. 

Piercing artists push the needle through the appropriate area, insert the hollow tube, then put the jewelry through and remove the tube. 

When using a piercing needle, the artist will mark out exactly where they’ll puncture the skin, which is usually an entry and exit point to make sure the piercing is straight.

Piercing Needle Advantages


The piercing needle is an excellent tool for precision. The artist has full control over the needle in terms of placement. 

Less Damage 

This process is much less likely to damage the skin than the blunt force trauma of a piercing gun. The needle is fine, pointed and gets gradually bigger, which makes it less harsh.

More Versatile 

Piercing needles can pierce any part of the body, including tongues, earlobes, cartilage, belly buttons and nipples.

The piercing artists just need to make the marks on the skin, clamp the skin, then pop the needle through and put the piece of jewelry in the piercing. 


Many piercing artists use disposable needles that are sterile for one-time-use, making it extremely hygienic. 

If they don’t use single-use needles, it’s still more likely to be hygienic than a gun. There are no small parts or sections where bacteria and germs can get stuck. 

Piercing Needle Cons

Clamp Discomfort

When you get pierced with a needle, the artist needs to clamp the skin before the needle can go through. This is to make sure the skin doesn’t move. The clamp also allows the artist to get the needle in the correct place when piercing. 

Many people say the clamp is quite painful, with some saying the clamp is more painful than the actual piercing itself. Still, take these reports with a grain of salt: the perceived pain could potentially be attributable to anxiety.

Frightening Look

The needle is quite large, which can be quite daunting for some. If you’re scared or nervous around needles, consider going for the gun, if it’s a possibility and offered.

Slower Process

The process of the needle can take slightly longer because the artist has to mark out the area, clamp the skin, put the needle through, put the tube through, put the jewelry through, and finally, put the back or second ball on. 

Piercing Gun vs. Needle: What’s Best?

Having your piercing artist using a piercing needle is classed as safer for your skin as the piercing gun is classed as blunt force trauma. This can damage the soft tissues in your earlobes. 

Overall, the piercing needle is usually the better option for most people. This is because it’s more accurate, meaning you’re more likely to be pleased with your piercing in the end. 

The piercing needle is usually more hygienic as it can be a single-use piece of equipment and has fewer parts and places that bacteria can hide than the gun.

We can’t tell you which option is right for you: you need to compare piercing guns vs needles based on your needs. In terms of piercing options, you can only get earlobes pierced with the piercing needle. That means if you want anything else pierced, you have to use a piercing needle. 

Whatever you decide upon for your next piercing, always make sure you go somewhere that has a good reputation. After your piercing, make sure you follow the aftercare advice your piercer gives you to make the healing process and final outcome the best possible.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals as best as it possibly can, it’s imperative that you follow your piercer’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality aftercare solution to aid recovery.

The best piercing aftercare product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​ Click here to buy from Amazon

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