Speargun Basics – What You Need To Know
If you are just getting into spearfishing you may have a few questions about spearguns and how they work. Fortunately, they are no overly complicated tools. There will be variations in different manufacturers designs, but the basic construction is pretty similar. We will cover some speargun basics and go over some of the common questions we get from people just getting into spearfishing.
What is a Speargun?
A speargun is any tube shaped item that holds a spear shaft which is propelled by stored energy that is released with some type of trigger mechanism for use underwater. That stored energy can be from pulling back bands that connect to the spear shaft through notches bin the spear shaft. The energy can also be stored through pushing a spear shaft through a pneumatic tube into a trigger mechanism. They work by storing this energy safely and by being able to release the spear shaft to be shot at a fish at the right time.
Are Spearguns Illegal?
Every country has their own laws. Within some countries different regions may have even more specific restrictions. The short answer is that you need to check in your area to find out if spearguns are legal. Most states in the United States are open to spearfishing. The Bahamas and Bermuda have outlawed them, but allow pole spears and Hawaiian slings.
Is a Speargun a Firearm?
No! Spearguns are powered by latex rubber bands or pressurized air. Firearms are powered by an explosion of a propellent that causes large amounts of pressure in a restricted space facing a small projectile through a narrow space. Don’t go through your local airport shouting that you have a speargun. The general public is not overly aware of the differences. So while traveling it may be best to refer to your gear as “fishing equipment”, unless you feel like filling out a lot of paperwork and getting some interesting questions from security and the airline. Many people ask about a spear rifle. This is a confused term. Rifles are firearms with a rifled barrel designed to spin the bullet as it passes through a barrel to increase accuracy at range. The short ranges of spearguns makes rifling is unnecessary.
Can You Use One Out Of The Water?
No! Can you physically load a speargun and fire it out of the water? You can if you are an idiot. Spearguns are designed to be used in an environment with water resistance. That water resistance helps with recoil and reduces the range of the spear shaft. That water resistance also helps by increasing the spear shaft’s accuracy. DO NOT FIRE SPEARGUNS OUT OF THE WATER. For more information on speargun safety please read this blog post.
What is The Best All Around Length?
There is no perfect length for all diving everything. It is a continuous effort that many builders have been trying to create from the beginning. There are good general lengths that cover most diving. As you get further into spearfishing you will find that the right tool for the job makes a big difference. You will end up collecting quite a few as time goes by. For more information on picking the right gun length for your diving check out this post as a speargun length guide.
What is The Difference Between a Speargun and a Harpoon Gun?
We already went over what a speargun is earlier. You mount Harpoon Guns to the deck of a boat. It fires a harpoon in order to retrieve large fish, like Tunas and Billfish. Some of the biggest differences are that harpoon guns are used from out of the water shoot into the water. You shoot spearguns in the water at fish that are also in the water.
There are a wide range of prices on the market. You get what you pay for with spearguns. There are plenty of inexpensive ones on the market, but make sure you you are getting a quality gun for the price. A cheap speargun may end up costing you more long term that the right purchase from the start. The cost of regular repair and maintenance can quickly get you ‘cheap’ speargun over the price of a quality Rob Allen or Amero very quickly. Most spearguns will cost between $260 up to well over $1000 depending on the type and quality you are looking for. There are even some spearguns on the market for well over $3000.
What is a Speargun’s Range?
Band stretch distance determines range. Most will shoot between two to three times the distance from the back of the band slot to the notch where the bands connect to the spear shaft. Roller guns are the exception to this rule, because the starting point of the bands is different. For more information check out this post on how roller spearguns work. Range is important for some spearfishing, but it shouldn’t b e the only thing you look for in your speargun. That means you need enough power to send the spear shaft through the fish. You also have to make sure you don’t overpower your speargun. Overpowering the speargun will c use major inaccuracy in your shots.