There is a major debate amongst the body-piercing community about the increasing use of ear piercing guns for piercing areas of the body other than ears. There are many untrained and unlicensed users of these guns that are using ear-guns to pierce not just ears, but noses, lips, cartilage, and even navels. Where ear-piercing is not regulated by the same laws as body piercing, the use of ear-guns to pierce areas other than ear lobes is considered body piercing as is subject to the same standards and regulations applied to body artists.
As all experienced body piercers know, there are clients that for whatever reason (usually from fear of piercing needles) will request the use of a piercing gun. Although it is not standard procedure to use ear guns for body piercing, there are newer cartridge-based piercing guns that can be employed for piercing nostrils. Recent innovations in sterile cartridge design now allow body piercers another choice for ear, cartilage and nose piercing. This is possible due to the cartridge’s inherent design that drastically reduces the possibility of cross-contamination via sterile jewelry that is completely encased within a sterile enclosure. The cartridge contains all exposed parts that move and are discarded completely after use. These new cartridge system guns (as well as the cartridges themselves) cost much more than the old ear guns commonly sold on ebay, for instance. (The ear gun shown is an example of an obsolete and inferior Chinese ear gun design being sold as a ‘body piercing kit’ on ebay. This kit does NOT incorporate the new sterile cartridge system for ear piercing and more importantly, does not include sterile body jewelry.) The risk of cross-contamination from the new cartridge ear guns is about the same as a tattoo machine. (The use of plastic to cover the body of tattoo guns can be used as well for the body of the piercing gun to minimize airborne droplet contamination risk to the body of the gun.)
Remember, it is always best and strongly recommended to use traditional hollow body piercing needles and piercing tools for all body piercing, using all tools (including ear piercing guns) for the purposes intended by the manufacturer.