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A two-barrel dingus that prickles bad guys with armor-piercing darts, technically termed "nails"

Quake Manual

The Nailgun, or "NG", is a Nail-firing Weapon used in Quake. It fires nails in a Machinegun-like fashion from two barrels, alternating between the two with each shot. It has perfect accuracy, no damage falloff and no recoil, making it very useful against faraway targets.

It makes its very first appearance at the Slipgate Complex, in a small room situated above the bridge which can be accessed with an Elevator. This serves as a trap, revealing a nearby alcove once taken.


Single Player

  • In Single Player, the Nailgun is an effective weapon against any weak to medium-strength enemies. Its main downfall is how small the nail ammo pickups are, meaning that you'll usually run out of ammo pretty quickly.
  • The Nailgun is useless against Zombies even if the player has Quad Damage, as the Nails do such little damage, than even when increased 4-fold, it still can't do the 60 damage required to gib them.


  • In Multiplayer, the NG is less useful than in Single Player, but can hurt a target if used effectively. To effectively use it, you need to have very good aiming skills, as the Nailgun requires pinpoint accuracy in order to be useful.
  • The Nailgun is useful for starting an attack on a target, as it has great accuracy and can fire off a volley of shots quickly. Because it doesn't leave a smoke trail, it's less likely that your target will be be able to figure out where you are as soon as you fire it.
  • If you intend to use it against a target for a long period of time, circle-strafing the target is a requirement. Otherwise, you'll be taken out even before you can chip off 25% of your target's health.
  • The Nailgun is also a useful weapon if you or your teammates are damaged and don't want to risk using a weapon that has splash damage. Just remember to keep running towards a 15 Health, 25 Health, or 100 Health while you're firing!



  • High rate of fire
  • Decent DPS (90 damage per second)
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • Consumes less Ammo than the Super Nailgun
  • Inability to gib makes it easier to obtain Backpacks


  • Projectiles have travel time
  • Will not kill Zombies, even with Quad Damage
  • Ammo pickups are relatively uncommon

Death Messages

  • "Player" was nailed by "Attacker"


  • The Nail box has a reference to the band Nine Inch Nails.
  • This is the only Quake weapon that can never Gib anything.
  • The Super Nailgun was created to create a Weapon evolution similar to Doom between the Pistol and Chaingun. Due to the stronger nature of Monsters in Quake and the appeal for more damage in Deathmatch, the Nailgun has since become notorious by Quake players as the least useful Weapon in the game (since it can be entirely replaced by the Super Nailgun). John Romero has since stated his dissatisfaction with the Weapon balance between the two, feeling the Super Nailgun was a more appealing Weapon and that there was no practical use for the standard Nailgun.
  • According to John Romero, Quake uses Nailguns in place of machine guns because it is "different".[1]
  • The concept of the Nailgun came from the fact that id had a huge mural of Jesus Christ on their wall (when they were experimenting with images to see which one was more disturbing[1]), so they thought that it would be amusing to simply blast nails into him.[1]
  • The Nailgun was one of the first Weapons included with Quake and was designed by American McGee. There was an early concept of being able to fire nail projectiles into walls to climb on top of them. It was decided to go in a different direction due to not knowing the best method of handling the nail projectiles, since doing such would have required figuring out how long nails should be able to stick to walls and when they would finally disappear.
  • The weapon seems to be handled similarly to a Sub Machine Gun, due to its size.


Nailgun being fired
Nailgun projectile colliding with a solid surface



Quake: Champions