Forum: Arts / Body Art

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JUST SAY NO to the gun! (karma: 7)
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 21, 2006 05:33 PM
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2006-08-21 17:35:12
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2006-08-21 17:35:39
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2006-08-21 17:36:00
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2006-08-21 17:37:14 last edit, i PROMISE
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2006-08-21 17:37:32 last edit, i PROMISE
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2006-08-21 20:01:15

NB: PoT has done a splendid job outlining the dangers and safety hazards of piercing guns, but the word needs to get out and I figured a sticky on the front page would attract more attention.

Image hotlink - ''

BME, the foremost authority on piercing on the web, has summed up the risks and rewards of piercing guns...and the long and the short of it is that it's all risk and no reward!

from . . .

A piercing gun, traditionally used by mall stores for piercing ears, is typically inappropriate for piercing of any kind. Almost all medical professionals agree that piercing guns cannot be adequately sterilized (an alcohol wipe is NOT sterilization); this means that they are capable of passing hepatitis and other diseases.

In addition, experience has taught the industry that:

* Ear piercing studs are dull and tear through the body, causing unnecessary pain, healing duration, and other possible complications.
* Ear piercing guns are inaccurate and not designed for piercing most body parts, resulting in improper piercing placement.
* Ear piercing studs are the wrong size and too short for most piercings, their diameter is commonly 16ga or 18ga : that's too small for any piercings, and might cause migration.

Any "piercer" using a piercing gun should be avoided.

This article does an awesome job of breaking each component of gun piercing down as unsafe. Taken from . . .

why a needle piercing is superior to a gun piercing
by Lish Daelnar

1. sterilization:

- guns cannot be autoclaved. if put in an autoclave (sterilization device), it will melt. the only sterile part about the gun piercing is the stud itself, which is not acceptable when placed into a non-sterile environment (read: the gun itself.) guns are sanitized (not sterilized; big difference) with windex, which will not kill hep-b, hep-c, & most of the microbes that cause infection, nor will it clean up the spray of plasma & blood, perhaps blood-borne pathogens, from the previous customer.

- every tool used in a 'needle pierce' is autoclaved, not just the jewelry. this includes the forceps, needle, the jewelry, ring opening / ring closing pliers, the rubber band that holds the tension on the forceps, right down to the field on which the bacitracin is squeezed. (bacitracin is used as lubrication to make it easier for the needle & jewlery to go through the skin.)

- cleanliness of the piercer. to be a "pro with a gun", the "piercer" must only know how to load the gun & aim straight. this does not account for cross-contamination from touching other objects with latex gloves on, nor does it cover the occasional spray of blood from a previous piercee, from which the gun cannot be properly cleansed. professional piercers are trained in how to prevent cross-contamination & the transmission of blood-borne pathogens & you'll see them changing their gloves every time they touch something non-autoclaved. the APP (the association of professional piercers) watches over procedures & if you're being pierced by an APP-approved shop, you know the piercer has been through the classes that teach him these things. the "piercers" that work in the mall & use guns have no such organization.

- the stud itself. the gun can only hold a butterfly-back stud, & if you've ever seen one, you know that they're difficult to clean properly. dried lymph fluids (& sometimes, initially, blood) get caught in this backing & make it easier to contract infection. initial 'needle-pierce' jewelry is generally a ring, which makes cleaning much easier due to there being nowhere for discharge, hair, dirt, & bacteria to get stuck. studs also have a tendency to become wrapped with hair, which can imbed the hair in the piercing.

2. trauma to the ear:

- as previously stated, the gun can only hold one type of stud, the dimensions of which happen to be 18ga, approximately 1/4" in length. this small gauge is generally inappropriate for any area of cartilage (upper ear, nostrils) for two reasons. one, it's tougher to heal a small hole than it is a large one. a dermal punched (like a big hole punch) 2ga ear cartilage piercing will heal months faster than a 18ga gun OR needle pierce in the same area of tissue, on the same person, due to the surface area involved. the second reason concerns the initial hole size. cartilage should be pierced with a step larger needle than jewelry (14ga needle with 16ga jewelry, et cetera), as this gives the cartilage some room to grow in around the piercing. i've proven this on myself - the only cartilage piercings i'm still having trouble with were pierced with either the same size needle as jewlery or a gun.

- when a gun piercing is performed, the end of the stud is what creates the hole. this is much more traumatic for the ear, as the stud isn't nearly sharp enough to avoid compacting the tissue, leading to a longer healing period. a needle is razor-sharp & carves a cresent-shaped hole in the ear which is stretched round as the rest of the needle continues through the newly made hole. less compacted tissue leads to quicker healing.

- the length of the stud, 1/4", is too short to allow for swelling. the pierce needs to be given room to swell so as to prevent pain & possible imbedding of the stud in the ear. rings used as initial jewelry, which cannot be installed with a gun piercing, when sized properly, give plenty of room to swell. rings are chosen based on the size of the person's ear to be pierced (standard is 3/8" to 5/8" in diameter). this cannot be done with a gun.

3. pain:

- a quick push with a razor-sharp needle is less painful than an equally quick click of a dull stud tearing a hole through tissue. a good professional piercer can move a needle just as fast as the gun moves the stud.

- the ear is less sensitive when it has proper room to swell. even my large gauge ear piercings were MUCH less sore the next day than my regular gauge gunned earlobe piercings, even though the procedure of my larger ones (pierce at 12ga, tapered stretch immediately to 6ga * ) was rather traumatic to the lobe tissues.
(* initial stretching this quickly was improper. i had asked to be pierced at 10ga, which would have prevented the slight tearing i experienced along the edges of the crescent cut by the needle.)

any body part other than an ear generally cannot be fit into a gun. there have been cases of nipple & navel pierces with a gun, but they can easily be torn out with such a small gauge, & as well, there's no room for the body part to swell (& body piercings often swell much more than earlobes.)

i've covered the two major reasons cartilage shouldn't be pierced with a gun, due to the stud itself, & that doesn't even get into sterilization. lobes can be pierced successfully at 18ga, although the stud still leaves insufficient room for swelling, as well as the evil of the butterfly backs.

In other words, guns are a BIG no-no! Even if they're perfectly clean, the method of delivery can be extremely damaging.

Do not get pierced at any place that does NOT use a sterile, one-time-use-only piercing needle and equipment. There's a reason that professional piercers use needles. The gun is not an acceptable way to be pierced ANYWHERE on your body. Do your homework and find a reputable professional piercing shop--one that's clean, sterile and and safe for all.


89 Replies to JUST SAY NO to the gun!

re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By ishyfishiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 21, 2006 07:14 PM
Thank you Dani, for getting the word out! I had all of my ear piercings (lobes and cartilage) done with guns at "Piercing Pagoda" in the mall when I was a kid. While my lobes seem to be fine now (I only wear earrings in my first holes, leaving the other five alone), the two in my cartilage are a big mess. I didn't have too many problems with pain and never had any infection, but each one still sports a big bump at the back of my ear and what seems to me like a large indent on the inside, even after not wearing earrings in them for several years now. I wish I'd known not to have any of them done with a gun back then. All I can do now is try to stop others from making the same mistake!
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Armwarmermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 23, 2006 08:22 AM
Good idea stickying this.

It would have helped me if I had paid attention, but noooo I go out and get gunned.

Some things are better felt than tell't. Oh well.

re: JUST SAY NO to the gun! (karma: 1)
By Deus_Ex_Machinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 04:51 AM
See, im wondering why gun "piercing" is even legal in the US. (or anywhere else for that matter..) You are dealing with biological material, sterilization, possible splatter and cross contamination among other things.

You cant open a message chair/stand even at the mall and practice without a licence, so why can people puncture holes in other people with guns without one?

God, there needs to be more people who care about things like this to try and get the laws changed.

Piercing guns make me angry.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By silvery_starsPremium member
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 06:17 PM
Piercing guns anger me, too. Have you noticed how Claire's and all the others do their piercing? Usually it's in the doorway of the place, or out in the open with lots of customers around. NOT CLEAN! When I got my ears properly pierced, not only was it painless twice, but we were in a private area, behind drapes. Have you ANY IDEA how unclean malls are? Not to mention the sheer distractions of people running around shopping.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Orangesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 06:48 PM
When I got my first holes done (I was 4), I had them done with a gun at a hair saloon (that's where they used to do them in my area). One of the guns got stuck in my ear. I WAS FOUR! Guns scared the hell out of me.

I'm proud of myself I saved a girl from getting her cartilage pierced by a gun the other day at work. I was talking to her and her mom while ringing them up and I told them about guns and then I told them about local piercers. :P
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Sep 08, 2006 09:29 AM
I had my ears done by a gun and they really screwed them up. The holes were uneven and if I would keep earrings out for a long time, they would close up. I'd try to poke earrings through and they'd get infected. Finally, I gave up. I'm going either this weekend or next and getting them redone at my favorite piercing parlor.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Sep 08, 2006 07:46 PM
Huh. That would have been nice to know when I got my ears pierced.

I got both sets of holes done at Claire's at seperate times. Fortunarely nothing went hay-wire and they healed up just fine.

If I ever want to get a third hole or cartilage I will definitely remember this.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By scenedansermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Sep 12, 2006 02:52 PM
In some cases, a gun is fine ONLY on your ear LOBES. The piercing studs from Clarie's are only long enough to allow swelling in your lobes. It kills me to see people with the piercing studs in their noses, belly buttons, eyebrows, lips. It's so un-hygenic. It's not as bad as safety pins.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 12, 2006 03:41 PM
^ But even then there's still the chance of infection from previous users. Even if the design accomodates for swelling you still have the opportunity to get all sorts of nasties.

GUNS ARE BAD, period!

re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 12, 2006 05:18 PM
^correct me if I'm wrong, but I could have sworn Claire's has single use guns.

Regardless, after reading this post I'd rather not have my ears pierced again with a gun, even if it is in my lobe.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By scenedansermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Sep 12, 2006 06:59 PM
^ Clarie's does use a sinlge use gun. If you've ever noticed, they have tape on them when they take them out of the cabinet. Trust me, I've been in the back room of the Clarie's at my mall.. They are stocked with them.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Doc420
On Tue Sep 19, 2006 09:17 PM
i have seen the one time use ones...but you still have to remember the size problem with the ear rings. i had my lobes done once each at the mall (no problems with them ever) the rest of my holes were dont at my fav tattoo place (3 cart. and my tragus once along with my tongue and my navel)

i havent really seen anyone get peirced in the mall in a long time... most of the kids i teach have their parents bring them to tattoo places around here.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Tiz_member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 19, 2006 09:45 PM
Another reason that guns are bad because they're so simple to use. When I was in school, a girl got hold of a gun and was piercing other people's ears at lunchtime in the toilets! She also tried to pierce her bellybutton with it and it got stuck.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Kayte
On Sat Sep 23, 2006 05:17 PM
GREAT post. I got all my lobe piercings done with a gun ages ago before i knew the risks. I've learned now though, and all current/future piercings will be needles only!

re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By odile_odettemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:07 AM
Wow I never knew any of this. I got my ears pierced years ago. The first time I got them done at a hairdressing salon and that was using a gun. The second hole I got done at Claires, again using a gun. Luckily I have had little problems with my piercings, but thanks for posting I will keep this in mind when anyone else gets their ears done!
JUST SAY NO to the gun! (karma: 3)
By LusciousLottiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 05, 2006 04:49 AM
im sorry this may upset you but im goin to disagree with you,
as i my self am a hairdresser and i went on a course were i learnt to use a piercing gun , this course was run by one of the top manufacturers of these piercing guns and in the course you were tought how to clean the gun and how to carry out the piercing safely. However the problem is the people using the guns as irrersponsible people use the guns in the wrong way as they are only meant for piercing ears and not any other part of the body but as i said stupid people who are usualy not qualified in using the guns use the gun to pierce other body parts.

these people have obviously not bought the gun from a shop as to buy the gun from a supplier you need to show your certificate of qulification so you can purchase the gun, but it is also easy to purchase them without thanx to online shops like ebay ect.

also with a gun comes a life time garantee that if it breaks or becomes damaged or anything happens to it which makes it not safe to use it you can take it bake to the supplier and they will replace it free of charge.

As for you saying they are un hygenic id like to point out the earings used come airtight packed making them extremely hygenic, where as most piercing jewllery used in piercing shops that i have seen are jst in a mass pile in a little draw.

sorry for my rant but it is my opinion *please note* that if it is carried out correctly and professionaly by a trained gun user then nothin should go wrong, but sometimes it does but it is not neserserialy down to the gun as i know people who have been piercing by needles have something gone wrong.
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By JoyNoellePremium member
On Thu Oct 05, 2006 01:35 PM
I, too, have to disagree with the whole 'avoid the gun' thing. But please note that this is based solely on my own experience, not extensive research or statistics--and I respect the fact that others HAVE done research and think guns should be avoided.

I had my first ear piercing done a long time ago, with a gun; no problems. Some time later when I decided I wanted a second ear piercing I again had them done with a gun; no problems. Years later when I decided to have a third piercing (still on the lobe), they were also done with a gun; no problems. Finally, I decided to have my cartilage pierced, and they too were done with a gun; no problems. To summarize, with a total of eight piercings I've had no infections and nothing else to complain about, unless you're going to take into account the discomfort/pain expected with poking holes in your body! My two oldest piercings are older than most people who post here. :P

Unless I'm just grossly missing something, I don't see why I should wish I had avoided the gun. :?
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun! (karma: 1)
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 05, 2006 02:13 PM
^ Because of the RISK of infection. I could jump off my house eight times and not break anything, but there's still the RISK that I'll snap my leg in half.

A gun cannot be sterilized. The only way to do that would be to put it in an autoclave--and since it's plastic, it would melt. There is no way to do that. Every time you get properly pierced, each piece of equipment is completely clean. Wouldn't you rather have the peace of mind?

Your body is already art!
On Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:42 AM
Removed by calypso (11968) on 2006-10-09 15:36:18 this board is for people who DO choose to modify themselves. it is not up for discussion or debate on this board.
Please don't feel like you have to add something extra to your body by piercing or tatooing -- create moving art with your body. Isn't that what dancing is all about?
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Crazy_Clairemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Oct 09, 2006 01:29 PM
I want to thank you and POT for pointing this out. I had my ears pierced with the Gun, and fortunatly everying turned out okay.

I'm not sure that there are any places in the UK that pierce ears with a needle though. All my friends and alot of people from my school had theres done with the gun. I had mine done a Beaties Department Store by a beautician.

While I can appreciated the hygeine issues with the gun, is having the gun better than attempting to pierce things on your own using a safety pin and an ice cube as the sterilizer?

Anyway,once again, thank you for pointing this issue out. I don't think I will get any more piercings but if I do, i'll bear in mind the words of advice you have given.

re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Wicked_Elphabamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Oct 09, 2006 03:07 PM
Ok, I normally don't highjack threads like this. Or at least I don't think I do. Julie, you really have no right to come on to a BODYART board and tell us not to pierce and tattoo. I have 2 tattoos. I love them. I'm addicted to them. And are you my mother or anyone elses on this board? Nope, already have one of those, thanks, while she tells me she'd prefer I not get tattoos, there isn't really much she can do about it, I'm 23 and don't live at home. As for the others getting pierced and tattooed, that is certainly their right. Without further ado, i'm posting a photo of my newest tattoo, a tattoo to show the dedication I have to my job. If you have an opinion to voice, there is a lovely debate forum. :D

I got my ears pierced with the gun when I was little, the gun is evil and must be destroyed!
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By Kellyxox
On Mon Oct 16, 2006 04:47 PM
i had my cartilage pierced with a gun....OW...the most pain ever, I got my second done with a needle and felt little to no pain so DAMN people with guns!
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By SilverBellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Oct 27, 2006 05:56 PM
I don't advocate this, but I pierced my cartilige and lobes (lobe. haha funny word.) myself with a needle. I'd had the lower part done probably about 4 time with a gun, and they always got infected and wouldnt heal right and such. Since I did it myself, they've been perfectly fine.
I always blamed the specific place, but thanks to this post I'm blaming the guns. If I get more holes (considering it) I will be sure to find a professional place with no guns (I don't plan on piercing myself again. I realize it's unsafe.)

~ Snackle
re: JUST SAY NO to the gun!
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Oct 30, 2006 07:51 PM
I had my lobes pierced with a gun twice and it turned out fine. Claire's has single use guns and studs with a sharp tip. I'm not saying it's a good thing and by no means advocating it, but I guess my individual experience has colored my opinion a bit.
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