How to Load a Stanley “Sharpshooter” Staple Gun

It’s funny how the little things can really trip you up.  I’d like to think I’m a pretty smart guy but I got a Stanley TR250 “Sharpshooter” staple gun today and I must have spent 10 minutes figuring out how to load the damn staples in it.  Unlike most staple guns I have used before, the staples don’t ride in on the sliding rail but are dropped right into the slot on the bottom of the stapler (while the slide rail is out.)  Of course the instruction sheet says nothing on loading the stupid thing.  (Thanks Stanley…)  So if you have any of the Sharpshooter staple guns, there you go.  Maybe I’ll save someone a few minutes of aggravation.

79 Responses to “How to Load a Stanley “Sharpshooter” Staple Gun”

  1. 1 Adam Jul 12th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Thank you. I’ve just done the exact same thing. I kept looking at the spring and thinking “What are you doing? Why don’t you engage in any way? Why won’t the staples just fraking load!!???”

    Thank you for relieving my aggravation.

  2. 2 Judith Jul 16th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you! Both my husband and I experienced similar obstacles, failing the Stanley Sharpshooter staple installment IQ challenge! We were standing on our respective heads and our dialogue was escalating to the expletive deleted phase when I thought to “Google” for a solution. Not only do we appreciate your directions, but the shared suffering was a comfort as well!

    Thanks again,

    PS Next time try an “Arrow” stapler — infinitely easier to load!

  3. 3 Kristy Aug 2nd, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Thanks so much! I was feeling so stupid and very frustrated!

  4. 4 MAC Aug 20th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    wow… thank you so much! now a half hour into our project, we can get started!

  5. 5 Carrie Sep 20th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    You’re a star – ran out halfway through a project and was ready to throw the damn thing through a window. Thanks!

  6. 6 Lorie Nov 20th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks. You just saved my Saturday from wasting time on something that should never take more than a second! Funny how these small things can mess up a schedule. Thanks again for taking your time to write out the instructions for Stanley. You should send them a bill!

  7. 7 mindy Dec 12th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you!!! I have been struggling with this silly stapler for quite a while before I got the sense to look online and see if I could find help. I was so close and yet so very far. Thanks for posting.

  8. 8 Grumpy Geek Dec 12th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    This has certainly been a popular post. I’m glad so many people have found it helpful.

    I suspect this peculiar design has something to do with Stanley’s flexibility to use brads and such in addition to staples, which is the feature that made me purchase it over an Arrow. However, they could save customers a lot of angst by just putting some instructions in the package. Apparently I was able to explain it acceptably in a few lines.

  9. 9 Stephanie Jan 8th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    ok, I get that you drop the staples in and it says that it will take 9/16 14mm and that’s what I’ve tried to “drop in” but its not working. any suggestions?

  10. 10 Grumpy Geek Jan 8th, 2011 at 9:58 pm


    All I can say is with the stapler upside down and the sliding rail out drop a whole strip of staples in the channel upside down (points up) and then push the slider back in making sure it locks.

  11. 11 Faith Jan 9th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I love the electric stapler; saves wear & tear on my aching wrists. And the staples load quickly – but how in the world do the brads load??? Probably as easily as the staples, but I haven’t figured it out, yet. Ideas, please??? And no – I can’t find my instructions.

  12. 12 Grumpy Geek Jan 11th, 2011 at 2:37 am

    @Faith I haven’t actually tried the brads yet.

  13. 13 dummy Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    thanks. i nearly took the thing apart by jamming scissors into the springy part. (after slapping it on the floor.)

  14. 14 Bill Apr 16th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    My question is how to get the spring-load back in, after putting the staples in–mine won’t go all the way in enough.

  15. 15 Grumpy Geek Apr 16th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Generally that would indicate that the staples aren’t loaded right. Even with a full strip in place correctly there should be very little resistance pushing the rail back in and hooking it in place. Make sure you have dropped the staples in the bottom of the stapler with the points pointing up at you (assuming the stapler is upside down.)

  16. 16 carolyn Apr 16th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you so much. I was ready to go back to the store and find out how to load the damn thing or just leave it at the store in the first garbage can I saw. How hard would it be for Stanley to put a simple direction in the package? BUT, you saved me a humiliating trip back to the store. Thank you!

  17. 17 jessie Jun 29th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks so much!! I struggled for quite a while and even the Stanley website does not provide an answer to this question!!

  18. 18 Amy Jul 15th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks so much, I’d like to think I’m intelligent too! Was struggling with the loading of the staples and not sure I would have figured it out without your sharing your information with me! You would think when a company changes something up there would at least be a diagram to follow. Thanks again!

  19. 19 BO Aug 16th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Here’s one more helpful hint (this being posted after an hour of fighting with my staple gun that I use somewhat frequently…)
    Sometimes a staple can become “jammed” in the loading chamber…even if you load your staples correctly, the gun will not engage the staples properly.
    To clear this out, you’ll need to…
    1) remove the loading chamber
    2) push down on the “Wings” at the bottom of the TR45 Sharpshooter and pull-back. This will disengage the bottom of the staple gun
    3) Jammed staples fall right out, and your sanity is restored :)
    Great graphic of this process here (in the manual) http://www.stanleytools.com/default.asp?TYPE=STATICLEFT&PAGE=knowledgebase.htm&LEFT=left_knowledgebase.htm

  20. 20 Grania Rogers Aug 20th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    You little beauty, so easy when you know how! For the lack of any sort of hint the design team should have their b******s nailed to a board, with the sharpshooter of course.

  21. 21 Rebecca Sep 21st, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you Soooo much…I’ve laughed so hard reading everyone’s comments. I too was feeling so stupid – glad to know I was not alone. I guess misery loves company!

  22. 22 Rick Oct 8th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I don’t think anyone answered how you load brads. Here is a site that shows a picture: http://notes.ricochet2200.com/home/other/load-brads-in-stanley-staple-gun

  23. 23 Grumpy Geek Oct 9th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Thanks for the info and link Rick. – GG

  24. 24 Tracy Oct 17th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Ack! After a little ‘percussive maintenance’, I gave up trying to figure this out myself and took it to the neighbor’s house to see if they could figure it out. They couldn’t either, but they DID manage to shoot the spring loader across the room. The package says it can take 5/16″ staples, and that’s what I’ve got, but they’re not fitting, no way, no how. Does anyone have a set of pictures for loading this? I’ve only found one set online, and the pics don’t show diddly (waay too small). I appreciate your explanation tho- it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who had problems with this!

  25. 25 donna Dec 1st, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you, I was ready to toss the staple gun through a window. The Stanley people should get on board as their manual was illegible.

  26. 26 Tino Dec 10th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks, saved us a lot of time trying to figure it out.

  27. 27 Claire Jan 29th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I got mine years ago as a present. Didn’t have the heart (or the nerve)to tell the gift-giver I couldn’t figure out how to use it. So it’s been sitting in my toolbox ever since. Today, I decided to look it up online before I threw it out. I am so glad I did! DUH!! It’s so simple! But why in the world wasn’t there even a little picture to show how it loads? If not on the product, then on the refill staples box? Thanks so much! It works great and I’m so glad you put this up for us to see! 😀

  28. 28 Elaine Walton Feb 2nd, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Please help! I have tried that. My sharpshooter is model TR110 and I am using Arrow staples, could that be the problem? There is a loose piece of metal, looks as though it should hold the staples in place but doesn’t ….. I am at a loss, even my husband cannot figure it out and he is a very smart chap! Please advise ASAP before I have to buy new dining chairs instead of reupholstering the old ones!

  29. 29 Grumpy Geek Mar 7th, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I haven’t tried that combination. I recommend getting a set of Stanley staples to eliminate the possible incompatibility.

  30. 30 Donna Mar 23rd, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I will not be using a Stanley Sharpshooter again. I have Stanley staples in 5/6″ as recommended, but they don’t fit. I now have staples stuck in the shaft with no way of getting them in or out, and this is my SECOND stapler of the day–I had to take one back already because nothing came out. I will no longer use Stanley products because of this even though I have to go 85 miles to the nearest city to get other brands.

  31. 31 Erin Apr 5th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Staples loaded fine, but when I’m stapling something, they don’t go in all the way. I know sometimes they have that feature for putting up Christmas lights, but I really don’t want to go back and hammer in every staple flush. Thanks

  32. 32 Tina Apr 24th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you. I had started to believe I was completely idiot.

  33. 33 Peter May 15th, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Wow, amazing how many people I’m following to this site. Thank you for this! Finally I can get the thing loaded!

  34. 34 Curtis Jun 6th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you so much. After 15 minutes of trying I resorted to Google and found this great site!!!

  35. 35 Glenda Jun 16th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Ok, so my Stanley came with instructions. I know to drop them in but they don’t bloody well fit! Correction, they will fit in sideways but not with the “legs pointing up” as the instructions indicate.

    So, unlike the rest of you, I’m still pulling my hair out!

  36. 36 GAboyinFL Jul 3rd, 2012 at 4:20 am

    WHAT IS THE + to – SWITCH FOR?!?!! I didn’t want to damage my new purchase by having this very pronounced and obviously important lever positioned to the wrong setting! Of some minor help was the instruction guide I found by following the link provided in this thread nearly a year ago by Body Odor (listed himself as BO). Thanks, BO! And though I did NOT find the instructions he said were there for removing a jammed staple, I think I discovered the +/- switch is to maximize or minimize the power exerted by the gun to drive your staples.

    Since my first use is to affix fabric to a pine 2X4 with a 1/4 inch staple, the low setting works just fine. I suspect the high setting might be preferred for driving a longer staple through a lot of more stout material and into a less accepting medium, like, say…MDF boards.

    Again, THANK YOU for this forum. Though it only took me a couple of minutes to reacquaint myself with the long forgotten art of loading a staple gun (I was STILL almost ready to blow my stack before I figured it out!), Bo’s link did guide me to the following wildly inadequate descriptions of the +/- switch in question:

    1) High-Low Feature – The power switch in the back of the Stapler controls the high-low drive feature.
    2) Hi/Lo power lever for hard and soft materials.

  37. 37 diane king Jul 26th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    in your first sentence, you saved my nerves hours of aggrevation and will help me appear not a total non-handy person, when my hubby gets home. thanks a lot.

  38. 38 Tutu Aug 21st, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I have tried loading the stanleyT250 but still it get’s me frustrated, the staples just don’t fit(that’s how it seems) and the sliding rail still resists.

  39. 39 debidoo Sep 2nd, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    oh ty Rick from way back in the comments….you helped me load the little nails (brads) just clicked on the website and your picture did the trick…Shame on you Stanley..!! Guess you turned out to be the stupid one this time…no instructions to load your staple gun… what were you thinking? or not? probably get alot of them back at the mass merchants anyway…

  40. 40 Christy Sep 4th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I’ll echo what I’ve seen a whole bunch of… I couldn’t believe how simple that was, after several different attempts to figure out what was wrong. We even took the screws out and took the slide out thinking something was not hooked up right. Kind of makes me wonder what Stanley’s “experts” were thinking not to include some type of trouble shooting (haha) notes somewhere. Maybe if there were a few less idiot warnings….

  41. 41 tracy Sep 5th, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I also have experienced the frustration of this Stanley TR250, thankyou so much for your very helpful advise for us satpler dummies lol again thankyou

  42. 42 Jimbo Oct 23rd, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    thank you so much. I was so frustrated trying to put the staples in the traditional way.

  43. 43 fel Oct 24th, 2012 at 6:56 am

    thanks dude

  44. 44 david Nov 2nd, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I used this stapler at work yesterday. When I tried to reload it with staples the normal way, of course it wouldn’t take and so I thought that I had broken the thing. Just so happens this exact stapler is on sale this week at my local hardware store ($18 CDN) and I was planning to actually buy it to replace the one that I “broke”, when I thought I’d better do a search for the operating manual first – cuz I suspected there had to be something funny going on in the design of this thing. I never found the user manual, and didn’t need it, thanks to grumpygeek!

  45. 45 julie Nov 17th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!! As newly single after 20 years, you are a godsend! Xmas lights-here I come!

  46. 46 Sherri Dec 14th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you! I don’t have my manual anymore and it’s been a long time since I’ve had to load it. This was the first answer that helped!

  47. 47 JoBu Jan 15th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    It’s a pretty old post though … nevertheless … I have no clue where you guys got your staple gun from. Mine came in a blister pack including a brief A4-manual in 3 languages which even showed in sketches how to load that gun.
    Maybe an improvement by STANLEY after receiving hundreds of complaints?

  48. 48 Grumpy Geek Jan 24th, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Or perhaps a difference in packaging in the US vs. Europe.

  49. 49 Bill386 Jan 26th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I gave up on the brads a long time ago. That is until I saw the picture that someone posted of the brads being loaded as a stick. I’ve been trying to load the #$%@*& thinks in one at a time and the only way to drive a single brad in is to use the gun as a HAMMER!!

  50. 50 Darling Flowers Feb 11th, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Wow! My wife and I have been working with this Stanley staplegun for 25 minutes with no luck. Thank you Thank you, we have been florists for combined 34 years using staple guns all the time and also like to think we have a bit of intelligence, but frankly, this one had us stumped! Saving this site in my Favs, thanks!!

  51. 51 sandy May 3rd, 2013 at 9:39 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! This has been a huge help to me.. Your post has lasted a few years and helped many people. I worked on the staple thing for over an hour and thought I must bave drank too much as a kid and my brain cells were fried. Such a silly thing to get so frustrated over! Thanks again. :)

  52. 52 Emily May 12th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Still a valuable hint… Three years later! THANK YOU!!!

  53. 53 Eric May 18th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    This article saved my life (and my sanity)!

    I was having an existential breakdown struggling with my new Stanley TRE550, and thanks to this article I came out of the battle wounded but VICTORIOUS!!!

  54. 54 Sally Jul 8th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    There’s nothing else I can say, except every good thing said above about you is true. I’m not a tool dummy by any means, but this thing had me doubting I have a brain at all. THANK YOU! I have to agree, you should send Stanley a bill!

  55. 55 Ted Jul 21st, 2013 at 10:59 am

    You made me look like a genius to my wife!!!! 😉

  56. 56 Linda Aug 2nd, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you soooooooooo much! You saved me so much frustration. I was trying to load it on the slide rail as well.

  57. 57 Barry Nelson Aug 22nd, 2013 at 6:41 am

    I have a Stanley TR250 and there seems to be a staple jammed in the carriage. I have tried to find ways of removing it but with no success. On reading the comments on your site it appears that there is a method however I cannot find it anywhere. Could you please help me.
    Many thanks,
    Barry Nelson

  58. 58 Danielle and employee Aug 29th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I just want to let you know that an employee of mine and I have been trying to figure out how to put brad nails in this stapler for the past 15 minutes until I decided to look it up. Thanks to your instructions, you saved us. I can’t explain how frigging stupid I felt while trying to figure it out and even contemplated firing my employee ( we work in the construction field) so thank you very very much for relieving my frustration. I will be writing to Stanley about this. – Danielle from Maine

  59. 59 Grumpy Geek Sep 13th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Barry, unfortunately I don’t have a suggestion.

  60. 60 Karen Sep 17th, 2013 at 9:02 am

    A HUGE thank you.

    I thought I was going mad!

  61. 61 Julie W. Dec 19th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you so much. My husband and I are both very smart people, and neither of us could figure it out. I have been using staple guns for at least 20 years, but never used a Stanley, always had Arrow guns. A couple of lines in the instructions, or a little picture, would save a load of trouble.

    I am so glad I went to google instead of my first impulse, which was to call Stanley and yell at somebody. Thanks again.

  62. 62 Lovaine Jan 14th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Praise the Lord for google and thegrumpygeek! We just about gave up then I googled!

  63. 63 lea Jan 22nd, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    thanks so much – i never would have figured that out.

  64. 64 Zach Apr 13th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanx brother. I found that to be an annoying few minutes myself.

  65. 65 Stan Mann Apr 18th, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for taking up slack for Stanley: “[T]he staples don’t ride in on the sliding rail but are dropped right into the slot on the bottom of the the stapler.” … Presto! Picked a used one, and after several attempts to load the staples, I figured the product was defective.

  66. 66 Kathleen Hancock Apr 18th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Grumpy Geek.. I was feeling pretty grumpy myself until I found your download. Viola! Staples are loaded and working.

  67. 67 David Henry Apr 20th, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    thank you so much, grumpy geek! i’ve had a stanley sharpshooter for over five years and never could figure out how to load it. about once a year i’d take it out and try to load it only to end up feeling stupid and frustrated. this year i googled for a manual and saw your post on how to load the thing. five minutes later—four of which were spent finding staples, it’s loaded and working great. THANKS!

  68. 68 Kim Jun 14th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    THANK GOD FOR GOOGLE! And thank you for telling me how to load this stupid gun! My husband and I just spent over an hour trying to load this thing, which included going to the store to buy different staples and they still wouldn’t load. After reading your instructions it was loaded immediately! Kim

  69. 69 Kelly Jul 19th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Brilliant, thank you! I was about to toss the gun through the window.

  70. 70 Ken Bateman Nov 29th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    A quick question. While on the package of the Stanley TR250 it claims to be able to shoot 5/8″ brad nails. However, on the one page manual it has a chart, “Brad Length Guidelines,” which shows 2 sizes. 5/8″-SWKBN625 and 1/2″-SWKBN050. Will the TR250 shoot 1/2″ or is this just something which should not be on the page of a stapler which can only shoot 5/8″ brad nails. Thank you.

  71. 71 Kate Dec 3rd, 2014 at 3:12 am

    This post is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you. I was about to beat the staple gun to death trying to get it to load the damned things.

  72. 72 Grumpy Geek Dec 6th, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I don’t actually use it for brads so I don’t know. I would guess with the 1/2 being shorter than 5/8 it wouldn’t be an issue.

  73. 73 RockingNE Jan 3rd, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I did not discover this post in time, it would have saved me much frustration. I did bungle my way through figuring out how to load staples. I later discovered the online manual at Stanley website. It would not have helped. So now with staples loaded I only get about a 25% success rate on staples “firing”. I squeeze the handle four times and get one staple. I have tried two different brands of staples, one of them Stanley brand. Maybe lubrication would help but then it stains the item I am stapling on, I presume, I have not tried. Not subject of this post but helped me relieve stress!

  74. 74 Carlos Jan 4th, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Ok so I don’t know if my gun is missing something or not but I pull out the sliding rail. Turn stapler upside down. Drop the staples in with the points pointing up at me. Push the rail in and lock it and it makes the sound like a staple should come out but it doesn’t. Also the staples are loose inside. I can hear them sliding back on the rail. Am I missing something on the stapler it self or am I over looking something?

  75. 75 Sam Jul 13th, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    THANK YOU. Even being a mechanical engineer with Masters degree was not enough to figure this out in ten mins. Thanks to Google and this site, it was a snap!

  76. 76 Bill Geiger Nov 1st, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    So far this thing gets a one out of 5 star rating. 2 issues I simply cannot find ANY instructions on are: 1) Where in the heck is this “hi-lo power lever”. I can find it nowhere. 2) The “+/-” dial on tip turns endlessly, and does not appear to make any difference. What is the trick to make it effective? Thanks!

  77. 77 Two of us Jan 25th, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Add another two to the list of people that couldn’t figure it out until reading this post. Thanks.

  1. 1 18 Gauge Brad Nailer - How do I load brads in a staple/brad nailer? Pingback on Mar 28th, 2010 at 8:23 pm
  2. 2 Staple Gun - How do you load a stanley staple gun? I know, I'm an idiot…? Pingback on Jul 26th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Leave a Reply

(All comments by non-members will be subject to moderation before appearing on the website.)