Equipment FAQs – spearguns

On this page we answer common FAQs on spearguns. View our range of spearguns here, including a free downloadable Buyer’s guide. If you need advice on choosing a speargun, email enquiries@spearfishing.co.uk, call 01726 217066 or contact us on Messenger.

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What size speargun do I need for the UK?

Predominantly most people use either an 80cm or a 90cm speargun for the UK. The majority of UK spearos use 80cm.

Speargun length is mainly dictated by the visibility of the water that you are hunting in. The clearer the visibility, the longer the gun. The worse the viz, the shorter the gun.

If you're huntng in areas like Cornwall, we tend to get better visibility than other parts of the UK so a lot of Cornish spearos will gravitate towards the 90. On the other hand, spearos who are spearfishing in murky waters - areas like Devon and Wales that struggle with visibility - will probably gravitate to an 80 - maybe even a 70 or a 75 but by-and-large an 80cm.

A little tip for those rare occasions when you get really good visibility, sometimes as good as 10 or 15 metres: an 80 or a 90 will feel very short. Also the more you hunt, the more you'll realise that when the shoals of bass come into you when you're bottom side on the reef, you'll find that it's always the smaller fish that come the closest and the bigger ones are on the outside of the shoal, further away. These fish are bigger for a reason - they're a little bit smarter than the rest and that's what's allowed them to get to that size!

For that reason, quite a few hunters now are opting for an even longer gun, around a 110cm, and that just gives the extra range power and accuracy to be able to target those fish on the outside of the shoal as oppose to the ones that come closer in - allowing them to harvest the more prime examples of the species!

As well as your primary gun which is likely to be 80 - 90cm long, most spearos will take out a shorty - something about 50 - 60cm long. They'll attach this to their float. This gun is used specifically for hunting in holes and caves that you discover while you are out diving. It's quite common to find nice specimen fish hiding / resting in these holes and caves so if you're silent and stealthy enough, you should be able to dive down without spooking them and use this shorter gun to shoot them out the hole, whereas a longer gun is obviously too difficult to manage in close spaces.

Overall though if you're unsure about which length gun to go for, obviously you can call us and get some advice no problem - but at the end of the day, there's very little difference between an 80 and a 90 - it's only 10cm and to be honest, there's no wrong answer. The 90 is slightly longer so it's a bit easier to target the longer range shots. Just like a rifle, the longer the gun is, the easier it is to keep stable. The shorter it is, the harder it is to keep stable like a pistol. So the 90 is slightly better for the long range shots but it's less manoeuvrable in bad viz, whereas the 80 is a bit more manoeuvrable when the viz is not great. The situation may be that you're on the reef and a fish will appear to your side and you've got to trail that gun 90 degrees in one direction. Obviously the shorter the gun, the easier it is to swing that gun round to get that shot on. The longer the gun is, the harder it is. So, slight pros and cons to each but either way, there's not an incorrect decision to be made.

What is a good speargun for beginners?

The top 5 spearguns recommended for beginners are:

1. Rob Allen Scorpia 80cm or 90cm
2. Rob Allen Sparid 80cm or 90cm
3. Pathos Laser Speargun 82cm
4. Picasson Magnum rail speargun light 75cm or 83cm
5. Mares Sniper Pro 75cm or 90cm

All these guns represent great entry pricing points with high levels of quality, power and accuracy. Rob Allen guns are probably the most durable and powerful out of them all and can be classed as 10 year guns. Even the entry level Scorpia has claimed several world records in its own right. The only things you'll need to change on these spearguns from time to time are the bands and the spear (as with any speargun), as the rest of the components are really well made and will last a very long time.

What is the best speargun for the UK?

The best all round speargun is something like the Rob Allen Sparid. 80cm long, single 16mm band and a 6.6mm spear that won't bend easy when you miss and hit a rock. Rob Allens are also virtually indestructible and will last at least 10 years of hard use.

The longer answer is there is no single speargun that covers all the different situations you may find yourself in when spearfishing in the UK.

Areas like Cornwall can get some incredible visibility up to 20m+. In these conditions an 80cm gun is going to feel very short, especially as species like bass will often stay a bit further away than if they were in poor conditions.

Conversely, countries like Wales often suffer poorer visibility of just a couple of metres. In these conditions you may well want something a bit shorter like a 60cm gun.

It also depends on what type of hunting you are doing.

The most common is to ambushing fish by hiding in the kelp and waiting for their curiosity to get the better of them. This leans towards longer guns to help you maximise your reach.

Seeking out fish hiding in small caves and holes greatly benefits shorter guns as it's usually an awkward process. Shorter guns are more manageable in tight confined environments.

Stalking above the kelp can go either way depending on how good the visibility is.

This is often why a season spearfisherman will have several different sized guns in their quiver.

What is the best speargun for a beginner?

The best beginner speargun is going to be something like the Rob Allen Scorpia and the Rob Allen Sparid depending on your budget. Either 70cm or 80cm long depending on where you and how you intend to hunt.

If you want to test the waters without too much of a financial commitment, then the Rob Allen Scorpia is for you. It's powerful, accurate and is classed as a 10 year gun so you know you are buying something of top quality.

If you can justify the extra expense, the Rob Allen Sparid is an exception speargun with an exceptional reputation. The main difference compared to the Scorpia is it comes with an integrated rail along the top of the barrel which pins the spear in place when loaded.

The rail increases the spearguns accuracy at the outer ranges of the gun's capacity.

While both guns can be upgraded to a double band setup, the Sparid copes with the increased power better because of its rail.

The Rob Allen Sparid is the 'go to' speargun for many spearfishermen in the UK, new or experienced.
Both guns are set up with a single band, and a single wrap of shooting line which makes them easy to manage, ideal for beginners starting out.

A 70cm gun is a nice manageable length but an 80cm gun is a bit better at those slightly longer shots. However there is no bad choice between the 2 lengths and many people even opt for a 90cm straight away.

What is the best speargun setup for the UK?

While this can come down to 'where and how' you hunt, the consensus is this:

75-90cm long speargun
Single 16mm band
Single wrap of shooting line

If you are just starting out, then choosing a speargun within these parameters will serve you well.

The shorter 75cm speargun will be easier to load and more manageable in the water, especially when you start hunting in holes and caves. However, you will find the longer open water shots a bit more challenging than if you had something like a 90cm gun.

As people progress through their spearfishing career, they tend to build up a fleet of different length spearguns to cover different situations:

Shorter guns for poor visibility conditions and hole hunting.
Longer guns for those clear visibility days.

When the visibility really opens to 15m+, even a twin banded 110cm gun with a double wrap of shooting line can feel too short.

More experienced hunters may well keep the setup simple, while others may opt to add a second band and a second wrap of shooting line for longer range shooting. However the more of these options you add, the longer it can take to rerig your gun after firing it.

Some experienced spearfisherman will add a reel, while others will avoid them. Some will opt to use a roller gun but neither of these are recommended for people new to the sport.

What are the top best 5 speargun spearfishing brands or manufacturers of 2021?

Rob Allen
Salvimar
Epsealon
Picasso
Pathos

These are the spearfishing brands most regarded as the best in class with Rob Allen holding the number 1 position. Each of these brands is also a dedicated spearfishing brand. There are also several scuba brands who have now entered the spearfishing market. Out of these, Cressi produce the best equipment.

What are top best 5 spearguns?

Rob Allen Sparid 80cm
Rob Allen Tuna 90cm
Salvimar Hero 80cm
Salvimar Metal 80cm
Pathos Laser open pro 82cm

These are top 5 spearguns commonly regarded as the best in class. These spearguns are produced by dedicated spearfishing manufacturers who only focus on making spearfishing equipment.

Several scuba diving brands also now make spearguns and Cressi make 2 very popular guns call the Apache and Cherokee. These also come in a 75cm length which covers a range of hunting styles.

What is the best speargun material: wood, carbon, or aluminium and what is the difference between them?

Globally wood is the most popular material for spearguns. While it feels heavy outside of the water, once submerged it's very buoyant so holds the weight of the spear well. The increased mass of wood adds stability to stock when it's fired. Because of this, many of the world's biggest spearguns are made from wood - these take 4 bands and a thick spear.

Within Europe, aluminium and carbon spearguns are by far the most popular material. These ‘pipe’ spearguns are often 3 to 4 times cheaper than their wood equivalents which make them far more accessible.

As they tend to be lighter guns with less mass, they often require thinner spears and cannot be tuned as highly in order to ensure they are still accurate.

The exception here is the brand Rob Allen who purposely make heavier guns to improve their accuracy while maintaining more power. Another good example is the Salvimar Hero which has increased mass making it very accurate.

Carbon is light and strong, making it a great choice for people with wrist issues.

How do I identify a powerful speargun?

All the power comes from the type of rubber being used. There are two types of rubber which are very different. If the core gum coloured and has rings like a tree then it’s the most powerful you can get.

However if the core doesn’t have rings and is coloured anything other than gum, then it’s the less powerful rubber - i.e. if it’s black on the outside and inside, genuine rubber cannot be dyed a colour.

Which speargun is best for travelling?

You can take spearguns abroad to most destinations no problem although obviously double check first. Many people take the bands off during transportation to make them look less threatening. Due to the length this does count as an extra bag as you can’t fit it in a suitcase. That is unless you have a Riffe Euro Modular. They completely split in 2, including the spear and can fit in any suitcase. These have become famous because they work so well, no play in the parts when connected, just solid equipment.  They really do pay for themselves over time in saved luggage costs.

What is a speargun reel used for?

Speargun reels are mainly used instead of a float system but they are only recommended for experienced spearfisherman as they add an extra level of danger. Once a fish is shot, the diver returns to the surface and pulls the fish up via the reel line. This is considered a good option if hunting in strong currents. We don’t recommend using them because of the increased risks involved.

People often mistakenly think reels give their spearguns extra range but this is not the case. The speargun still needs to be single or double wrapped with a reel.

What is an open speargun muzzle?

An open speargun muzzle allows the spear to loaded directly into the trigger mechanism and is then held in place by wrapping the shooting line around it on the muzzle. The benefit to an open muzzle is you have a better field of view on your target as there is nothing obscuring your shot like on a closed a muzzle. The benefit of a closed muzzle is that it's slightly quicker to rig than an open one after being fired.

What is a closed speargun muzzle?

The muzzle relates to how to the spear is loaded. With a closed muzzle, the spear is threaded through a circular hole at the tip of the gun, slid along the barrel and into the trigger mech. It's quicker than an open muzzle but some feel the raised circle can obscure your view slightly so opt for an open muzzle. The benefit of a closed muzzle is it can be fired without sorting the shooting line out if the fish are still around. A closed muzzle must be fully rigged before firing.

What is the difference between an open and closed speargun muzzle?

To rig a closed muzzle speargun after firing you must thread the spear through a circular loop at the end of the gun and push it back along the barrel into the trigger mech.

What is a roller speargun or roller gun?

Roller spearguns are a relatively new type of speargun that use nearly twice as much rubber as the conventional guns, therefore offering a lot more power. The bands are also prementioned under the belly of the gun even before its loading. When loading it, the rubber runs along a wheel on each side of the muzzle. It's these wheels that give the gun a smoother shot and the feeling of less recoil.
You will often get more power out of a roller gun but they are a bit harder to load. So, while you may get more power and range, the trade of is the extra effort in reloading each time.

Are roller guns any good?

Yes roller gun spearguns are great. They are powerful, accurate and very smooth to shoot. Some may argue that they are too powerful for the UK as we tend to have low visibility and small fish. They can also be nose-heavy and more effort to load - however they deliver a very smooth shot which many people love.

Are roller guns / roller spearguns suitable for the UK?

Some say roller guns are overkill for the UK - while others won’t shoot with anything else. More power and range with less perceived recoil make roller guns an attractive choice for many world class spearfisherman. This is offset by the fact they are a bit harder to load and in tight spaces, potentially overpowered.

Spearguns are a very personal choice with the added benefit of being very easy to customise. The only way to know what you like is to get diving and try as out as many guns as you can.

If you are new to the sport then a roller gun is probably not the best the first gun for you. Try something like the Rob Allen Sparid. It's an epic gun with a single band, a single wrap of shooting line - yet its ultra-powerful, accurate and will last you a lifetime. This is a great starting point that many never move away from.

Are one or two bands best for my speargun in the UK?

Most of the UK spearfishermen will use one single 16mm rubber band with a single wrap of shooting line on their speargun. This is a good setup for your first speargun. Many spearos however develop into using twin bands with two wraps of shooting line and think this is best. While some schools of thought will say this is overkill for the UK, many hunters won’t use anything else.

Often, they will only load one band in poor visibility or when hunting caves, but then load the second band when the visibility opens or when ambush hunting by hiding in the kelp. This gives them the best of both worlds: extra power, and range when and if needed.

The downside is the extra time and faff it takes to rig a double wrapped, twin banded gun.

Some people who want more power than a single 16mm band can offer - yet not as much as the twin 16mm bands - will go for twin 14mm bands. Twin 14mm bands are easier to load than the 16s so are a great choice if you do not have the strength yet or are just looking for an easier gun all-round.

What length speargun is best for the UK?

The best length speargun for the UK is normally somewhere between 70cm and 90cm. The shorter guns are best in poor visibility conditions or when hunting in holes. The longer guns are ideal for when the visibility opens and shooting at longer ranges. It's not uncommon to use a 110cm gun in very clear conditions.

Most experienced spearfishermen will have a range of different length spearguns to suit the conditions and the type of hunting they are doing.

Many will take a 90cm gun out as their primary, and then clip a short 60cm gun to their float just for when they find some holes and caves to explore.

The most common UK speargun length is 80cm as it’s a good all-round size.

If you are hunting bigger pelagic fish like wahoo and tuna something around the 160cm mark is often the choice.

Are roller guns better than traditional spearguns?

Roller guns use much more rubber than the tradition spearguns so you have much power. A 90cm roller gun has the same amount of power as 120cm tradition twin 16mm band gun. They deliver a much smoother shot when fired so they feel like they have less recoil. The downside are they can be nose-heavy because of the roller head and many would argue they are too powerful for the UK. They are great for trips abroad as you get big gun action in a shorter unit which is cheaper to travel with and more manageable in the water.

What is a rail gun or a rail speargun?

A rail gun or rail speargun is used for increased accuracy. This is where you have a guiding rail running along the length of the gun barrel that the spear sits in. When loaded, the spear is pinned snuggly into this rail and produces a much more accurate shot, especially for long range hunting. Rob Allen created the first rail gun series, and it has been adopted everywhere ever since.

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