Are you new to the unique experience of spearfishing and trying to find out what gun you should use? No matter your level of skill or experience, the speargun is the most important tool in your inventory when you’re going for a dive.
Hunting efficiently under water will require a whole set up of equipment. Knowing how to choose the best speargun is a key element when putting together your set of tools.
To find out which gun would be most suitable for your environment and conditions, you will have to do a fair amount of research. We have gathered as much information on the subject as possible, in order to make your research easier. Let us walk you through on everything you need to know when choosing the best speargun.
Choosing the best speargun
Making the right choice will require doing a fair amount of research. You would have to take a lot of things in consideration. Such as the types and species you aim to hunt, your hunting and diving abilities, type of spearfishing, type of spear and shaft, length, and of course price. With hopes of making your choice easier we are trying to give you as much as the information you’ll need as possible in one place, so you don’t have to research that much.
Best speargun for each type of spearfishing
Naturally, you would find different types of guns fitting for either free diving or scuba diving. If you’re planning on diving in shallow areas or targeting reef fish, a gun with less power and shorter range would be the more efficient choice.However, if you are aiming to hunt big game fish, you will surely need a gun with a much stronger spear, in order to deliver a killing blow both accurately and quickly. That sort of gun would of course have a longer range and be way more powerful. In case you are still a beginner though, you would most likely like to stay in short range areas, hunting smaller fish and improving your skills.
Choosing the type of speargun
Choosing the type of speargun is a matter of personal preference. Typically, the guns come in two types – pneumatic and band.
Pneumatic spear guns use compressed air to fire the spear. They usually have a way thicker spear. The difference between the pneumonic or band spearguns is that the spear of the pneumonic one goes inside a sealed internal barrel. That barrel is encased in an outer casing that contains the air. The air is pumped up by hand to pressure that usually equals the power of a rubber band.
In most cases they are more compact and easier to transfer and carry, but also more difficult to reload. That’s the main reason that the band spear gun is the more popular one among spearfishers.
Band spear guns
Quiet and deadly, they are extremely effective. A rubber powered spear gun is constructed by a barrel, a spear that is slightly longer than the barrel, a trigger mechanism, and the rubber bands that provide the propelling force that launches the spear.
Their only disadvantage is that every 6-12 months you have to replace the rubbers.
Best Speargun Setups
The line rig is the most commonly used setup for spearguns. If you have a line rig, your spear is attached to a heavy monofilament fishing line that has the strength to pull from 140 to 180 kg or 300 to 400 lbs.
The line can also be a spectra or braided line which can withstand 180 to 270+ kg or 400 to 600+ lbs. It attaches to either the back or side of the shaft of your spear.
If the line is attached to the rear of the spear shaft, it will most likely be pierced. The line can also be attached to the shaft with a ring that slides up and down the spear.
The best speargun setup would be the break-away rig if you’re hunting in shark areas or attempt to rapidly catch fish. The line of this setup is attached to both the spear and a buoy. As soon as the spear punches through the fish, the line detaches from the spear.
Your catch can then easily be secured, using the line that is attached to your buoy.
This allows you to both draw shark’s attention away from you and keep your spear so you can shoot again as soon as possible.
The speed rig setup is very similar to the break-away.
The main difference is that once your spear penetrates a fish, you have to detach it from the line manually.
The fish is then pierced with a metal spike, attached to a float line. Then it gradually floats up to your buoy or float.
Reel on gun
The best speargun setup for you would be the reel gun in case you plan to dive in areas that don’t allow towing a buoy like kelp gardens or built up reefs.
The line of this setup is attached to a reel similar to a fishing rod.
Once you have speared a fish, the reel unwinds bringing the fish to you so you can quickly subdue it.
In this setup your spear is attached to a monofilament or other fishing line that is wrapped around the shaft before it is propelled.
Once a target has been hit, it is redirected on a larger rope that is attached to the fishing line and easier to handle. To hold it securely, a spearfisherman puts his thumb through a loop at the other end of this rope and wraps it around his hand.
The best speargun set up for you would be a riding rig if you happen to be hunting in hazardous waters like low visibility areas, oil rigs or deep blue waters.
The free-shafting setup is the one that doesn’t have the spear attached to anything. No buoys, no float, no fishing lines, no boats, nothing, ever.
Therefore, it’s the best spearfishing setup for scuba spearfishing. That’s because using cables when scuba diving can be a bit dangerous.
This setup is not suitable for low visibility areas where you would not be able to keep an eye on your spear after firing it. Which means you can lose it very easily.
The length the best your speargun
When choosing the best speargun, its length is an important factor because it dictates the range of your shot. A shorter speargun would have a shorter traveling distance.
As a beginner you would stick to fishing in reefs and shallow waters. That mean a shorter speargun would be fine as you won’t have the need for longer penetrating distance. This is great because shorter spearguns are easier for beginners to maneuver under water.
Naturally, a longer speargun would have a more powerful shot and longer range of fire. Which allows them to be used in deeper waters at greater distances. Hunting in deep waters or “blue water hunting” for big game fish is usually done once when you have experience and can shoot accurately from long range.
Distancing your shots
The length of the shaft of your spear would dictate the distance your spear can travel as stated earlier.
But once you’ve bought the best speargun, how do you distance your shots perfectly? Well, it’s a complicated calculation that requires a lot of factors to be taken into account.
Ideally, you would want to get as close to a fish as you can. But that depends on what species you plan to hunt – different species would be able to detect you ar different distances. Some species would be so good at detecting predators that they would require long, accurate shots.
To know to distance those shots, you should divide our range into to sections – traveling distance and penetrating distance.
Traveling distance is the range of how far your spear can travel. Most often you can only kill small fish within this distance because normally your spear wouldn’t have a lot of penetrating force.
Penetrating distance is the range that allows for perfect punch power behind your spear, enough to go through a fish.
This range would of course depend on the thickness, mass of your spear and obviously the amount of power that propels it.
It also depends on the density, weight and skin thickness of the fish you’ll be attempting to hunt.
If you plan to dive to hunt for big game fish, we would recommend you to try using camouflage. That way you can sneak up on fish more easily. And the shorter the distance of your shot, the more penetrating power it has.
The shaft is the pole of the actual spear that’s being fired from the gun. They may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the most widely used types of shafts are:
Single Flopper /Tahitian Style – the fastest type of shafts, perfect for reef fish and close range hunting of small fish.They are also very easy to remove from a successfully shot fish.
The Double Flopper – this type of shaft has two barbs on each site. It’s best suited for hunting medium size and larger species of fish.
Breakaway – the heaviest type, it is used only for big fish.
The best speargun should pay for itself, but it is important to know how to adjust your budget for the right one.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll be hunting off the beach, so there’s really no point in buying a powerful gun from the beginning. That is when a low budget is suitable since you are still in process of developing your skills.
On the other hand, if you already have some experience and would like to go deeper and hunt big game fish, you should only buy powerful, long range guns. Powerful guns are more expensive because of the density of the rubber band or compressed air requires a thicker spear. So if you are going for larger fish, you should know you’ll be making a bigger investment.
Reviews for best speargun on the market
Now that we’ve went through what you need to know when buying the best speargun and how to safely use one, we can look at some reviews. We’ve compiled a list with the best option currently available on Amazon.
BEUCHAT ARKA COMPETITION
The Beuchat Arka Competition spreads from 19.7’’to 39.4’’. It has a single flopper style of spear which is tough, but yet lightweight and inexpensive. However it’s made of cheaper materials that are not very durable. This is the best speargun if you are now picking up on spearfishing and diving reefs and shallow areas. It’s a good choice for beginners but shouldn’t be your long-term pick.
CRESSI SL STAR
This one is most commonly used in reefs for hunting small to medium fish. Its length varies from 15.75’’ to 27.5’’ and it uses compressed air to propel the spear. A very light speargun that is easily maneuvered, shoots very accurately and is suitable for low visibility conditions. It also has a very good grip and a safety catch for prevention of accidental firing. Its only disadvantage is that the reloading mechanism makes it a bit difficult to attach the spear sometimes.
The Cressi Comache is a long range but at the same time not too powerful gun. Its style is single flopper and it’s most commonly used for reef fishing. Its length goes from 23.6’’ to 43.4’’. It’s very quiet, very easy to load and has anti-corrosion aluminium tubes.
This would be the best speargun for you if you are hunting for small or medium fish but want to practice your long range accuracy. If you try to use it on larger fish, the spear wouldn’t have enough penetrating force to pierce through it.
Mares Sniper 45 cm
The Mares Sniper has one of the best quality-price ratios you will find on the market. Thanks to its meticulous design and quality, it is extremely functional, simple and reliable, all at a very affordable price. Not very powerful and not the longest range but it’s without a doubt one of the best guns that you can choose to start diving with.
This double flopper is best for reef fishing and medium fish. Its length goes from 16.5’’ to 39.4’’. Although it is pneumonic type, it’s extremely easy to reload. It also has an amazing grip and hydrodynamic muzzle. Its downside is that the spear isn’t very thick or made from very strong materials so it can break fairly easy.
JBL WOODY MAGNUM
The Bulletnose Breakaway would be the best speargun for you if you’re going blue water hunting for big game fish. With the length of 61.25’’ it has a very powerful shot, capable of taking out large fish very effectively from very long distances. It has a single flopper spear and uses rubber band to propel it.
This gun is so powerful and so heavy that it should only be used by spearfishers with experience under their belts.
This is hands down one of the best options currently available on the market for beginners who are still developing their skills and find it difficult to maneuver a speargun under water.
That’s because of its compactness and lightness. Another reason it’s well suited for beginners is that its ideal use would be for hunting small to medium fish.
The length of this Tahitian Style gun goes from 13.8’’ to 29.5’’. It’s very easy to carry around since it’s so compact and light. Good entry-level spear or back up spear.
Its only disadvantage is that it can be a bit hard to load until you get the hang of it. It is totally worth it though, as this speargun has one of the best quality-cost ratios you can find.
If you are looking for a gun that you would be able to learn how to use easily, would last for a long time and come at a low price, this is the best speargun for you.
With the length of 13.8’’to19.7’’, this little guy is perfect for hunting small reef fish, shallow areas and low-visibility conditions. Its style is a single flopper and it has a great entry-level spear. The Beuchat Espadon is really affordable as well.
Although it definitely had its advantages, this gun is not really powerful, nor durable – it wouldn’t last long if being used regularly. We recommend using it mainly when you’re still developing your skills or hunting for small fish.
Riffe Bluewater Elite
Now this gun is in its own league. There’s a reason it’s the best speargun to choose if one is going for world record catches. It’s a breakaway setup that is very powerful and deadly due to the ice pick slip tip. Thanks to its full body weighted Padauk wings and replaceable polyethylene enclosed track it’s surprisingly accurate at long distances.
Needless to say, it’s best left in the hands of experienced spearfishers that know what they’re doing. We know how tempting it can be to buy such a gun when one is transitioning to diving in deeper water for bigger fish, but if you can’t handle a gun like this, it can do you more harm than good.
Well, that was our “how to choose and use the best speargun 101”. We gave you our top picks of the best currently available spearguns on the market.
Furthermore, we tried to give you all the information you would possible need in one place. We sincerely hope that we made your research and choice easier and that you liked the reviews.
Even if you don’t think any of the guns described on our list fits you, now you now know the factors that you need to consider when choosing the right one for you. However,whether a beginner or a veteran, the guns we mentioned should meet your needs.
If you liked this article you should check our work on choosing the best spearfishing wetsuit for you.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you agree or disagree with your picks? Your feedback and opinions would be highly appreciated, so feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section. Good luck!