Types of Speargun

Types of Speargun

As I’m sure you’re now aware, there’s a lot more to Spearguns than first meets the eye. You’ll be shopping around looking for the perfect Speargun when something weird and wonderful catches your eye. In this article we’re going to look at the types of Speargun, focusing on the 3 most commonly used. These are:

  • Banded Spearguns,
  • Pneumatic Spearguns,
  • Roller Spearguns.

Although Roller Spearguns technically come under the Banded category, you’ll soon see why I’ve chosen to single them out as their own type.

Banded Spearguns:

Banded Spearguns are the standard these days. They are very simple to use and are easy to maintain. The basic principle behind Banded Spearguns would be to describe it almost like a slingshot. To load the gun, push the spear backwards along the rail into the trigger mechanism until you feel a click. Ensuring that the line keeping the spear attached to the gun isn’t in the way to cause problems. Once locked into place pull the bands into the furthest notch on the top of the spear to ensure maximum power. The tension in the bands is used to propel the spear towards the target once the trigger mechanism releases it. Very simple! The weight of the spear, along with the rail and muzzle of the Speargun keep it on target.

Rob Allen Samburu rail gun
Rob Allen SAMBURU Rail Gun

Maintenance wise banded spearguns just need you to wash them down with fresh water after a dive to get the salt off, and stop the bands from deteriorating faster. It’s good practise to wash your guns off after a dive regardless of which type you’re using! Then, when the bands do eventually deteriorate you’ll need to replace them. Depending on how much you use a gun or how well you take care of it will depend on how often you have to replace the bands. But i will tend to change mine once a year as standard.

Pneumatic Spearguns:

Pneumatic Spearguns aren’t often used or even seen in the UK these days. Most people will opt for banded Spearguns due to their ease of use and lack of maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean Pneumatic Spearguns don’t have their own advantages. One of these being power. Based on power to size ratio it’s difficult for banded guns to compete. Pneumatic guns are pressurised. Meaning the amount of power or distance they can fire is proportional to to how much pressure there is in the loading chamber. Due to their design, they are also able to be produced in much smaller lengths than other guns. These can come in lengths as short as 30cm! This can make them a great choice for dirty water and cave fishing.

Cressi Sub Star Pneumatic Speargun
Cressi Sub ‘Star’ Pneumatic Speargun

Loading Pneumatic Spearguns:

One of their main draw backs is difficulty loading them. Because pneumatic guns are pressurised, it can be a challenge to get the spear fully locked into the loading mechanism. To load a pneumatic gun, you must push the spear into the hole in the end of the barrel, and lock it into place. There are a number of techniques to make this easier. Such as putting the hilt of the gun on your foot, holding the spear near the top and pushing down. But depending on how much pressure is in the chamber will dictate how difficult this will be. Once the spear is fully locked into the mechanism, you will feel a click. For safety reasons, make sure your hand isn’t over the top of the spear when loading! Sometimes the spear can kick back if the gun is over pressurised.

Salivmar Predator Plug Speargun
Salivmar Predator Plus

Another disadvantage is maintenance and making sure your gun has enough pressure in it to be effective. Pneumatic guns need pumping back up to pressure. As after a few uses the amount of pressure in the chamber will slowly start to decrease. So if you’re using one, make sure it’s pressurised enough to your liking before your dives. This is mainly to avoid you needing to pump it up at sea. Which you may need to do anyway if you’re in the water for a while catching a lot of fish!

Roller Spearguns:

As I’ve said previously, Roller Spearguns technically come under the banded category as they still use bands. Roller guns have been around for a very long time, but have recently returned to the lime light. So I thought they deserved their own mention. The main reason for wanting to use a Roller gun as apposed to a simple banded gun is that they can give you extra distance on your shot. They also generate more power, and give off less recoil when shot. Basically, they enable you get the performance of a larger gun, in a shorter gun.

Pathos Laser Carbon R Roller Speargun
Pathos Laser Carbon R ROLLER

How Roller Spearguns Work:

Roller guns operate with bands running along the top and bottom of the Speargun, with a roller at the top of the barrel. The band needs to be notched onto the spear, as well as on the bottom side of the gun. In terms of power, a normal banded speargun will only give you power from the point where the band is notched to the spear, to where the bands will rest on the gun when unloaded. This is usually just over two thirds of the length of the gun barrel. Roller guns on the other hand, give you power from the notch point to the very end of the barrel. Effectively giving you a third more power. When you fire the gun, this means the band on the bottom side of the gun pulls in the opposite direction to spears direction of travel. This movement cancels out a good portion of the recoil caused by the initial release of the spear.

Loading And Setting Up:

Roller guns can be very tricky to reload and set up. Firstly, you lock the spear into the trigger mechanism at the base of the barrel just as you would with a normal banded speargun. Then, you need to notch the band on the top and underside of the gun. Notching the band can be made much easier if there is a notch half way up the barrel on the underside of the gun to hold the band in place. This however, is very unlikely as the majority of roller guns will not be manufactured with the extra notch. Making the loading process a bit of a dance. On a bad day this can be even more difficult with the choppy seas we’re used to here in the UK!

Pathos Sniper Roller Speargun
Pathos Sniper Roller

Changing the bands or setting them up for the first time can be a challenge also. To do this you need to cut the bands to a size which gives you the most power, whilst allowing you to load the gun without as much hassle as possible. As i’m sure you can imagine, this is a very fine line and will take a lot of time to get right.

If you’re interested in a bit more information about Roller Spearguns, check out the below video by Adreno Spearfishing:

Why use a Rollergun? | ADRENO

To check out where you can buy your Spearguns, take a look at our article on Where to Buy Spearfishing Equipment.

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