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 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.


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're 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


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

Death Messages

  • "Player" was nailed by "Attacker"


  • This is the only Quake weapon that can never Gib anything.
  • According to John Romero, Quake uses Nailguns in place of machineguns because ‘it’ is different.[1]
  • Also according to Romero, 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[2]), so they thought that it would be amusing to simply blast nails into Him.[3]


Nailgun being fired
Nailgun projectile colliding with a solid surface



  1. scar3crow: Why does Quake have nailguns rather than machineguns?
    John Romero: Because it's different :) (See the link below.)
  2. John Romero: We were just experimenting with images to see what was more disturbing. (See the link below.)
  3. Interview with John Romero where he also stated, ‘I think it came out of the fact that we had a huge Jesus mural on the wall so we thought it would be funny to just blast the nails into him.