Learn How to Hold a Tattoo Gun for Professional Tattoos

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Are you looking to learn how to hold a tattoo gun correctly? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to learn how to properly hold a tattoo gun. We’ll cover everything from the basics of tattoo gun safety to the proper way to grip the gun and make sure you’re comfortable while tattooing. So grab your tattoo gun and let’s get started!


Types of Tattoo Guns

Types Of Tattoo Guns

Coil Tattoo Machine

This type of machine is the most popular in the industry and is also the most common type of machine used by beginners. It is powered by a power supply and an electromagnetic coil. When the switch is activated, the coil creates a strong magnetic field which causes the armature bar to vibrate and move the needle. When the needle passes through the skin, the ink is deposited into the skin. To hold the coil tattoo machine, grip the machine with your dominant hand and rest the back of the machine against your palm. Make sure your fingers are not blocking the armature bar.

Rotary Tattoo Machine

The rotary tattoo machine is a newer type of machine that has become popular in recent years. It uses a motor instead of an electromagnetic coil to power the machine and the needle. To hold a rotary tattoo machine, grip the machine with your dominant hand and rest the back of the machine against your palm. Make sure your fingers are not blocking the motor. Additionally, keep your thumb on the back of the machine to help control the movement of the needle.

Regardless of which type of tattoo gun you are using, it is important to hold it firmly and securely to ensure that you get perfect results. Remember, proper posture and technique is key to successful tattooing. With the right posture and technique, you can easily learn how to hold a tattoo machine and create beautiful tattoos.

How to Hold a Coil Tattoo Machine

How To Hold A Coil Tattoo Machine


The first step in holding a coil tattoo machine is to create a firm grip. It is important that your grip is secure, so that the machine does not move while you work. Ensure that you have a firm grip on the machine, while still being able to move it in a controlled manner.


The next step is to maintain a good posture while tattooing. This includes having your back straight and your feet firmly planted on the ground. This will help maintain a steady hand and make sure you do not become fatigued during a long tattoo session.

Hand Position

When holding the coil tattoo machine, make sure to keep your hands in the correct position. The thumb should be placed on the top of the machine, with the index finger and middle finger on the sides. The remaining fingers should be curled around the bottom of the machine. This position will help ensure that the machine remains steady and in control.


The pressure applied when holding the coil tattoo machine is also important. Too much pressure can cause the machine to move in an uncontrolled manner, while too little pressure can result in an uneven tattoo. The best way to find the right pressure is to practice on a dummy skin and experiment with different levels of pressure.

By following these steps, beginners can learn how to hold a coil tattoo machine correctly and create beautiful tattoos. With practice and patience, anyone can learn the basics of tattooing and master the art of using a coil machine.

How to Hold a Rotary Tattoo Machine

How To Hold A Rotary Tattoo Machine


The most important part of holding a rotary tattoo machine is to maintain a strong and steady grip. Make sure not to hold the machine too tightly or too loosely; it should be just right. For a better grip, it is recommended to use two hands, one at the top and one at the bottom.


Keep your posture relaxed and upright. Your arm should be at a comfortable angle, not too close to the body. Additionally, make sure your wrist is not stiff and that your elbow is slightly bent.

Hand Position

The best way to hold a rotary tattoo machine is with your index finger on the trigger, your thumb on the back of the tube and the rest of your fingers wrapped around the handle. Keep your grip steady and your hand close to the skin while tattooing.


The pressure used while tattooing should be consistent and firm, but not too hard. In general, the needle should move at a steady pace, not too slow and not too fast. Start with light pressure and gradually increase it as needed.
Remember, how to hold a tattoo gun while tattooing is key for a successful tattoo.

Safety Considerations

  • Always wear protective gloves when handling a tattoo machine.
  • Sanitise the tattoo machine, the work area and yourself before beginning.
  • Make sure the area you are tattooing is clean and free of any dirt, oils or other contaminants.
  • Never share needles or any other tattooing supplies with other people.
  • Make sure you know how to hold a tattoo machine correctly and that you are comfortable with your grip before you begin.
  • Follow all safety protocols and regulations as outlined by your local health authority.
  • Always use a clean, disposable needle for each tattoo.
  • Discard used needles and other tattooing supplies in a designated sharps container.
  • Make sure the ink is of good quality and has not expired.
  • Be aware of any potential allergies to the ink or other materials that may be used during the tattooing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of tattoo gun is best for beginners?

  • Rotary Tattoo Machines: Rotary tattoo machines are the most common type of tattoo machines and the most popular among beginners. They are lightweight, easy to control, and produce more consistent results than other types of machines. They are also quieter and less likely to cause discomfort on the skin.
  • Cordless Tattoo Machines: Cordless tattoo machines are a great option for those who are looking for something that is easy to use and allows them to move freely. They are lightweight and portable, making them ideal for those who need to travel frequently. They also provide more precise control and less noise.
  • Linear Tattoo Machines: Linear machines are great for those who want a machine that is fast and powerful. They are heavier and more expensive than other types of machines, but they are also more reliable and can handle tough lines and shading. They are best used by experienced artists.

In conclusion, rotary machines are the best option for beginners due to their ease of use, lightweight design, and consistent results. If you’re looking for a more precise machine, cordless or linear machines are a better choice.

What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken When Using a Tattoo Gun?

  • Wear gloves to protect your skin and the client’s from blood-borne infections.
  • Change needles regularly to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Use a membrane barrier between your skin and the client’s skin.
  • Clean the tattoo gun with a disinfectant before and after each use.
  • Avoid direct contact between the tattoo gun and the client’s skin.
  • Keep the area clean by washing your hands and wearing a face mask.

What kind of power source is needed for a tattoo gun?

A tattoo gun requires a power source to operate. This typically consists of:

  • Power Supply:
  • Clip Cord:
  • Foot Pedal:

The power supply is an electrical box that controls the voltage, which dictates the speed and depth of the needle. It is typically connected to the clip cord, which is then connected to the tattoo gun. The foot pedal is then used to control the power supply, as it is used to start and stop the needle.

What Type of Needle Should I Use When Holding a Tattoo Gun?

When holding a tattoo gun, it is important to use the correct type of needle. Here are some of the most commonly used needles:

  • Round Liner: Round liner needles are used for outlining and creating very fine lines. They are usually made of stainless steel and are available in a variety of sizes.
  • Round Shader: Round shader needles are used for shading and coloring. They are also made of stainless steel and are available in various sizes.
  • Flat Shader: Flat shader needles are used for shading and coloring. They are made of either stainless steel or titanium and are available in various sizes.
  • Magnum: Magnum needles are used for shading and coloring. They are made of either stainless steel or titanium and are available in various sizes.

It is important to select the correct needle for the job. If the wrong needle is used, it could lead to a poor quality tattoo. Therefore, it is important to have an understanding of the different types of needles and their uses.

How do I maintain the tattoo gun after each use?

  • Clean the Tattoo Gun: After each use, the tattoo gun should be thoroughly cleaned with an alcohol-based solution. This will help remove any ink residue and bacteria that may have accumulated.
  • Inspect the Needles: Before each use, the needles should be inspected for any signs of damage or wear. If any damage is found, the needles should be replaced immediately.
  • Lubricate the Tattoo Gun: The tattoo gun should be lubricated with a high-grade lubricant after each use. This will help ensure that the moving parts of the gun are in good working order.
  • Store the Tattoo Gun Properly: The tattoo gun should be stored in a clean and dry place that is free of dust and debris. This will help ensure that the gun remains in good condition for longer.


Holding a tattoo gun is an essential skill for any tattoo artist. With practice and patience, you will be able to learn the basics of how to hold a tattoo gun and master the techniques used to create beautiful tattoos. Remember to always use the right safety precautions and take breaks when necessary to avoid fatigue.


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