John if you are not going to need to use a framing nailer, the palm nailer
is a good alternative.
I bought a Senco Palm Nailer from Home Depot for $79.00 last fall. The palm
nailer is definitely better than swinging a hammer but still not as
convenient as a framing nailer.
As Bridger indicated, the palm nailer EXCELS at nailing framing clips. It
really will snug the metal brackets up close to the 2x stock.
I did build my 10x12 storage building with the palm nailer and used Hardi
Plank for the siding. While this was vastly better than swinging a hammer,
I did bend about 1 in 15 nails using the palm nailer while trying to
penetrate the Hardi Panel siding. It worked pretty good for nailing wood to
wood, and again was excellent for nailing the metal joist brackets. IMHO
however, the palm nailer is marginally faster than swinging a hammer when
nailing wood to wood. If time is a factor, the framing nailer will probably
be your best bet.
Really big advantages of the palm nailer are that it is lite weight when
compared to a framing nailer, it gets into tight spots easily, it uses
almost ANY sized nail, and you can buy cheaper bulk nails in the quantity
that you want. Since the nail goes in slowly compared to a framing nailer,
you can usually drive the nail to any depth. This was nice being able to
leave the head of the nail proud of the surface when putting up the siding.