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A welding gun is a portable device used to achieve semi-automatic or automatic welds on pieces of metal.1

As you’ll learn throughout the course of your welding classes, welders rely on several types of equipment to perform their trade. The most basic equipment setup in most semi- or fully automatic arc welding processes usually consists of the welding machine, which transfers or supplies power, and the welding gun that delivers the electrode.2

Read further for a formal introduction to welding guns.

How Does a Welding Gun Work?

A welder can use a welding gun on several types of processes, including spot welding, arc welding and electron-beam welding.1

How a welding gun works can vary with the specific welding process.

As an example, a MIG welding gun works with a wire feed system that continuously supplies the welding gun with electrode wire from a spool. The welding gun is hooked up to a power supply, typically a welding machine. The handheld unit delivers current to the wire through a contact tip while at the same time dispensing shielding gas to protect both the weld pool and the arc.

What Are the Benefits of a Welding Gun?

One of the main benefits of using a welding gun can be greater efficiency, but there can be others, as well:

  • Better productivity due to quicker contact tip change times.
  • Improved quality of the welds performed.
  • Increased arc-on time due to the comfort of the operator.

Welding guns usually have nozzles and tips that can be easily cleaned and changed, making them well-suited for high-volume welding operations.

Some welding guns have necks that can be rotated or bent so the welder can reach awkward joint angles without causing wrist strain.

Where Are Welding Guns Used?

Welding guns are used in several types of welding: spot welding and different forms of arc welding, for example flux-cored welding or MIG welding.

  • You could find welding guns being used in industries that rely on metal joining for everyday work or production processes, such as automobile, farm equipment and railroad car manufacturing.
  • Structural fabrication companies rely on welding guns for closing joints on steel structures.
  • Welding guns can be utilized in challenging operating conditions. For example, the guns may be used to perform welds on orbiting spacecraft.