For the past few months I’ve been using the Bostitch BTFP12233, an 18-gauge brad gun with Smart Point Technology—a nose configuration that changes the way the contact tip functions.
With a traditional brad gun you must compress the contact tip against the work before you fire. With the Smart Point tool the tip of the gun must be against the work but there is nothing to compress. Instead, when the trigger is pulled a small tab “tries” to extend from just forward of where the nail comes out. The gun will fire if the nail is obstructed and can’t come out. It won’t fire if the tab can come out because it means the tip is not in contact with the work.
This seemingly small change increases the accuracy of the gun in a couple of ways. It takes little pressure to stop the tab from extending so there’s no need to press the tip hard against the wood—which can cause the gun to slide out of position as I am nailing. And unlike the contact tips on conventional guns, the tip of this tool is small and does not block your view of where the brad will come out.
The Smart Point tip is not the only useful feature. The belt hook has a spring-loaded release tab that allows you to move it to the other side of the tool. It takes about three seconds to swap sides. The same can be done with some other guns but it requires the use of a screwdriver, so I never think of doing it.
There is a pencil sharpener built into the belt hook—which to me is neither here nor there. I’m in the habit of using a utility knife and am not about to change. Thankfully, the sharpener is tucked away so if you don’t use it you’ll hardly know it’s there. The belt hook also contains a hex wrench for use in replacing parts. Should the tool ever jam, the nose can be opened without the use of tools.
The ergonomics of the handle are fantastic—very form fitting with just a bit of texture. It’s definitely one of the most comfortable nail guns I’ve ever held.
There are a couple small things that I didn’t like about the gun. The depth control knob is awkward to use. It’s very thin and is located under the body of the gun, right near the trigger. I also wish that the Bostitch came with a swivel connector. Other high quality nail guns, like the Cadex CPB23.50 have those and I find them to be invaluable.
These are very small gripes though. Because of the Smart Point feature, the Bostitch has a great sight line and left me more confident brad placement. But even without this very cool feature, this gun would still be a winner due to the other solid features and the excellent ergonomics of the tool.
Smart Point Technology is also available on 15- and 16-gauge finish nailers from Bostitch.
Brads: 18 GA
Fastener length: 5/8" to 2 1/8"
Trigger: sequential or contact
Oil free: yes