I’ve been reviewing nail guns for JLC and Tools for 15 years and I still get excited to review a new model. Makita recently released the AN924 full round-head 21-degree stick nailer, which is supposed to be the brand’s lightest and strongest gun to date. This was perfect timing because we had a lot of LSL to shoot in the house we were framing and that material is very dense.
Features. This gun has all the features that we’ve come to expect, like tool-free depth of drive (dial type), sharp tip for toenailing, a rafter hook, and a selector switch for bump fire or sequential fire. The top-loading magazine is aluminum, and this gun will not dry fire thanks to a lock-out feature. The rafter hook broke the first week I was using the gun. I knocked the gun off the sawhorses right onto the hook.
Power. While Makita claims that the gun has a “large capacity air chamber for increased power to drive nails up to 3 1/2 inches x .148 inch," the proof is in the pudding. I ask our engineer to spec 3-inch x .131-inch nails because they are less likely to split the Doug fir we use and the IRC tables allow for them. But many folks in other parts of the country have to shoot a .148-inch nail diameter.
This gun did a great job of shooting nails into LSL. As a comparison to the Max high pressure gun, it did a better job. Nailing double 24-foot-long LSL studs together in a very large rake wall, this gun left only a few proud nails. LSL is so dense that bounce firing with the gun set at its max psi of 120 is still not going to set all the nails, but it’s still better than any gun I’ve used. Even at 120 psi, I was able to back off the depth and get consistent near-perfect depth shooting 2 ½-inch x .131-inch nails for shear. (By near perfect, I mean only a few proud nails and rarely an overdriven nail.)
I will say that this gun isn’t the fastest gun I’ve used. Some guys like to shoot as fast as possible, but I strongly believe that production is based on good techniques, and if we push too fast, we make mistakes. The gun not being super-fast is not an issue for me; it nails fast enough for framing.
Weight. This gun weighs 8.3 pounds (according to Makita). It is a light gun, and I highly recommend wherever possible to use lighter tools; your body will thank you over time. I’m 41 with zero back, knee, shoulder, or elbow problems. I credit that to being careful, but also to using lighter tools for repetitive tasks.
This gun is $300 online. The only negative thing I can say is that it did develop some rust along the front of the gun. This didn’t affect operation and we sprayed it with lubricant to make sure the dial doesn’t stick. Besides that, I recommend this gun. It is light and powerful.
This article originally appeared in Tools of the Trade.