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Picking the Right Speargun Track

Picking the Right Speargun Track

Enclosed Track VS Open Track Spearguns

Spearguns can be divided into endless categories. One of these splits is enclosed track vs. open track spearguns. Divers need to pick which style speargun track they prefer, and most have strong opinions on what they prefer and why. We will be breaking these down and looking at the benefits and problems with each. Choosing one compared to the other can have big impacts on how the speargun shoots, and how a diver has to aim. 


Enclosed Track Spearguns Benefits

Enclosed tracks are more accurate than open track spearguns. This is because open tracks experience a phenomenon called "shaft whip". Shaft whip is the result of the back of the spear shaft trying to catch up with the front of the spear shaft as soon as the trigger is pulled. With an enclosed track, the shaft has nowhere to flex. All of the energy then is forced in the direction that the speargun is pointed. These benefits are increased as more power/ bands are added to the gun. So, once you have three or more bands it becomes very important to have an enclosed track. That is why a lot of bluewater guns have enclosed tracks.


Problems with Enclosed Tracks

There are only a few problems with enclosed tracks. One of the biggest complaints is that they are harder to load than open track spearguns because you have to put the spear into the front of the gun and slide it back. However, this qualm really only applies to starting the loading process. Once the spear shaft is in the track, it slides directly into the trigger mechanism. The other issue can be an actual issue with the function of the speargun. If you are using an enclosed track speargun in confined spaces, you need to make sure the spear shaft clears the entire track when the gun is shot. If the spear shaft is still in the track and inside a fish, the track can get busted apart by a struggling fish. 


Benefits of Open Track Spearguns

The main benefit to open track spearguns is that you don’t have to worry about shooting a fish at close range and the fish damaging your gun. Open track spearguns can be easier to load than enclosed track spearguns. With that being said, most loading challenges are easily overcome by being familiar with your own equipment. Newer divers will take longer on any type of equipment they are reloading, where experienced divers will be quicker, especially with their own equipment. 


Open Track Problems

Spear shafts flex on open track spearguns. This is called “shaft whip”, and is similar to archery in its mechanics. The basic concept is that as soon as the trigger is pulled, the back of the spear shaft tries to catch up to the front of the spear shaft before the spear starts to accelerate forward. As it straightens, the shaft can be pointed in a different direction than where you initially aimed the spear shaft. This issue gets compounded on more powerful spearguns, which accelerate so quickly that the shaft barely has time to react. Shaft whip is why larger spearguns with more than two bands usually have an enclosed track. The exception to this is spearguns that take extremely thick spear shafts. Some spearguns take 3/8” spear shafts, or even 10mm spear shafts. At that point, the rigidity of the spear makes shaft whip less of an issue.
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