Welcome to the world where you can actually see what you’re hunting!
Choosing a spearfishing gun can be tricky, especially if it’s your first. Many questions would pop in your mind about their types, lengths, and the biggest of them all, what fits your fishing environment and target species.
A speargun isn’t a fishing rod that you’ll be casting from a boat. When spearfishing, you’re down where the action is going. You’ll be aiming and shooting at fish, so it’s a matter of accuracy and shooting ranges.
This is our beloved sport, and we’ve been in it for years. But every professional has been an amateur once. Hence, we put ourselves in the shoes of both parties, and gathered a list of the best spearguns currently on the market, taking into consideration different budgets and skill levels.
AB Biller Wood Speargun
|From 24 to 50 in.||Band-powered||Double-barbed rockpoint|
|From 13.8 to 29.5 in.||Band-powered||
Rob Allen Tuna Railgun
|From 27.6 to 55.12 in.||Band-powered||Hawaiian flopper|
Cressie SL Star
|From 16 to 28 in.||Pneumatic||
|From 13.8 to 47.2 in.||Band-powered||Tahitian flopper|
The 5 Best Spearguns in 2021
1- AB Biller Wood Mahogany – Our Top Choice
It’s common knowledge that every spearo has owned an AB Biller at some point. We’ve even imagined that the manufacturers of these beasty guns have been spearfishermen themselves because they never miss a detail.
AB Biller provides different models with lengths that range from 24 to 50 inches. All are equipped with two 9/16 inch bands and stainless steel wishbones for smooth and reliable shots. The shorter models are designed for short-range fishing and targeting smaller species while the longer ones provide a longer range and better leverage over big fish.
The mahogany used in the construction is strong as nails, and it’s covered with polyurethane to provide a waterproof layer. The use of wood helped reduce the shaft’s noise to a minimum and absorb the dangerous recoil. Hence, you can sneak and shoot a fish without frightening it away.
Weighing only 4.2 pounds, it’s light for a wooden barrel. Also, it has a natural buoyancy that makes swimming with it a breeze.
The groove running along the top boosts its accuracy and extends the shooting range to 15 feet in larger models. Moreover, the open-muzzle design gives you a cleaner aiming line, as you can clearly see the shaft with no interruptions.
Finally, it comes with a double-barbed stainless steel shaft that’s 5/16 inches long. This one can penetrate the thickest fish, owing to its great spring tension and hardness.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Highly accurate shots
- Solid construction
- Natural buoyancy
- Double-barbed shafts can penetrate large species
- Safe trigger mechanism
- The shafts are thicker than needed
- The bands need to be replaced for more power
This is an all-around speargun that’s designed for all fish types. The moment you get your hands on this sleek, sturdy, and highly accurate gun, you won’t trade it for anything. It’s easy to load and feels exceptionally lightweight and comfortable in the hands while fishing.
2- Cressi Apache Speargun – Best for Beginners
This model from the Italian brand, Cressie, is hands down the best speargun for young spearos who are just getting started and don’t have much to spend. With four lengths that range from 13.8 to 29.5 inches, the guns are suitable for hunting small to medium species and don’t cost more than 170 bucks.
Apache speargun weighs two pounds, so it’s extremely light and has a small profile that fits well in the inexperienced hands. It’s constructed with heavy-duty anodized aluminum, which means you can put it through a beating, and it’ll continue to perform.
The wishbone is designed to be user-friendly, and although the slings aren’t of the best quality, they’re upgradeable. What we like the most about this speargun is that you can get used to it in no time, which takes the burden off the shoulders of beginners.
The closed muzzle allows you to reload the gun quickly with no need to wrap the string up around the shaft. On top of that, the trigger mechanism holds up well, and its sensitivity is on point. It’ll help you nail every shot, provided that you have the perfect line up.
It comes with a Tahitian-style flopper spear for extra speed and penetration. Unlike the straight handle of the AB Biller, our gun here has an angled handle, resembling that of a real gun. Surely, this design provides you with a more ergonomic grip.
This is an entry-level speargun, so don’t expect a lot of power and shooting range. It’s better used while snorkeling in shallow water or around reefs and rocks. However, it can’t handle monster fish.
- Ergonomic handles
- Compact and lightweight body
- Easy loading
- Pocket-friendly price
- Fast speed
- Sufficient accuracy
- The bands are of questionable quality
- Complaints about the quality of the line connecting the spear and the gun
- Not suitable for large species
- Unclear manual
If you’re still tiptoeing towards the world of spearfishing and looking for a speargun that won’t empty your savings account, this is your best match. It comes with fast speed and superb accuracy. Besides, its small stature won’t hinder your movements when fishing in shallow water.
3- Rob Allen Tuna Railgun – Best for Game Fish
Fishing for big-game fish requires range and accuracy, and that’s what our spear here presents.
Rob Allen Tuna stands out in being a railgun. Instead of the standard tubing found on most spearguns, this one incorporates a rail into the barrel to support the shaft. When you fire the gun, the rail directs the shaft precisely, ensuring that your shot flies straight. That’s how deadly-accurate this gun is.
The use of dual ⅝ inch bands improves your range and renders the gun capable of taking out even the biggest tuna from a distance. Although the opened muzzle gives you a better line of sight, it makes the gun harder to load. Yet this isn’t a problem for experienced anglers for whom this model is designed.
The company also provides five models with lengths between 27.6 and 55.12 inches, all of which are made of aircraft-grade aluminum barrels. We can confidently say these war machines are unbreakable and will stick around with you as a lifelong companion.
However, it’s more on the hefty side as it weighs 4.4 pounds. Yet, the handle, which is made of glass-reinforced nylon with finger ridges, ensures that the gun won’t slip out of your hands during long dives. As for the trigger, it’s completely silent, so it won’t alarm the fish while shooting.
To ensure high leverage over big-game fish, it’s equipped with an aquadynamic Hawaiian flopper spear that flies with a bullet’s speed and penetrates large preys with ease.
- Rugged design
- Unbreakable barrel
- Works in shallow and deep water
- Deadly accurate
- Challenging to master for beginners
- Tough to load without loading tools
Unlike Apache, this isn’t a gun for first-timers. Avid spearos who want to step up their game and chase after some sizable tuna will absolutely love this unit. It’s accurate as a laser beam, and you can use it to engage targets from vast distances.
4- Cressi SL Star – Best Pneumatic Speargun
Well, this gun is fun to use! Unlike the other spearguns on our list, this one is a pneumatic-style one, which basically uses the force of compressed air instead of rubber bands.
A common problem we face with pneumatic spearguns is that they gradually lose pressure, which weakens their shots after a while. Well, the SL Star here begs to differ. It retains the pressure no matter how much you use it and continues to shoot powerfully.
Another thing to admire on this gun is its bright yellow color, which makes it easy to spot in the water, and lowers your chances of losing it. It comes in three short lengths: 16, 24, and 28 inches. Hence, we can’t say it can go after large species, but it’ll do the job with small to medium-sized ones.
Since the spear doesn’t stick out as far past the muzzle as in band-powered guns, it’s easy to aim with it in low-visibility conditions. It’s suitable for long-range shoots as well.
Speaking of the spear, it’s 0.31 inches long and has a harpoon-style form. With stainless steel in its construction, the shaft is corrosion-resistant and capable of striking fish with amazing speed and power. However, it’s difficult to get it in place to set up the gun, so you’ll need to practice some hacks in order to install it right.
This model from Cressie is outfitted with a dynamic handle that ensures that the gun lines perfectly with your arm. This makes it easier to aim accurately for continuously successful shots.
Weighing only four pounds, you can stash it easily in your backpack while traveling, and it’s easy to use in the water. Yet, we regret to say that as a pneumatic gun, the trigger is a bit noisy, and the safety doesn’t seem to work well. So, you have to be extra careful while using it since it can switch from off to on without you noticing.
- Pinpoint accuracy
- Fast shooting
- Minimum recoil
- Excellent power
- Difficult to load
- Faulty safety switch
- Quality control issues
This model uses a pneumatic piston that propels the shaft at high speed and gives you ultimate accuracy. Every inch has been designed to maximize the diver’s comfort of holding and using it. And the best thing is, it won’t cost you a fortune.
5- Mares Bandit Sling Band – Budget Choice
Because spearguns come at crazy prices, you’ll find yourself in a situation of either empty coolers or empty pockets. However, Mares Bandit has made it possible to obtain a killer speargun without breaking the bank.
At a price point of under 150 bucks for the largest model, it’s an excellent entry-level speargun with intermediate and advanced spearing capabilities.
Coming in lengths that range from 13.8 to 47.2 inches, it features an Australasian rigging with Dyneema wishbone and guiding rails. The shorter models are suitable for making quick turns in the water, while the longer ones are capable of catching medium-sized creatures.
Like other band-powered spearguns, the trigger on this one is almost silent, and the handle is practical and comfortable for easy underwater maneuverability. Regarding the bands, the unit is extremely fast, despite having only one band. That’s because it’s thick enough to provide plenty of power.
The accuracy of this product exceeds expectations and it performs flawlessly. Furthermore, the closed-nozzle design makes the gun easier to reload. This is a precious feature you’ll appreciate when you’re firing at a shoal of fish and want to reload quickly in order to strike a few more before they run away.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t help but find some shortcomings. Like SL Star, the safety switch is wobbly, which means it may slide to the off position during the shoot, making you miss the catch. Moreover, although it comes with a tri-cut Tahitian shaft, it doesn’t penetrate well, so you might need to replace it with a thinner one with better quality.
- Suitable for entry-level spearos
- Closed muzzle
- Easy to reload
- Ergonomic handles
- Fast and accurate shots
- Loose safety switch
- Cheap-quality shaft
- You may need to add an extra band to improve your shots
If you’re looking for an accurate, mid-range, and economical speargun for reef and cave hunting, then Mares Bandit is your best fit. The spear and safety might have some issues, but even with a replacement of these parts, the unit is cheaper than other competitors.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Speargun
Now that we’ve thrown some light upon the best spearguns out there, it’s time to hop to the next station where we’re going to explain what you should be looking for in a speargun.
This is the point where spearos get lost the most. Spearguns come in two types that aren’t completely different, yet can’t be used for the same goals.
Pneumatic spearguns, also known as air-compressed guns, derive their power from the air pumped into the gun by the spearo. They work by inserting the shaft, then applying pressure to shoot the spear. Hence, their shooting range depends on the spearo’s strength.
In practical terms, they’re easier to load and use thicker shafts, so they’re suitable for larger species. Anglers who target fish from a distance prefer them the most since they have longer shooting ranges. As for the accuracy, you can say they’re comparable to the other type, though not as consistent.
Although pneumatic guns are more versatile and compact, they’re difficult to control, as the following shots become less powerful than the previous ones. They tend to make a noise when shooting, so they scare the fish away. And since moisture can build up in the cylinder, they’re harder to maintain.
Let’s jump to the second and most popular type. As their names indicate, band-powered guns sling the shaft forward using the power of rubber bands. Their shooting range depends on the number and strength of bands, rather than the shooter’s strength.
Compared to the air-compressed ones, they work silently with more consistent accuracy. Although they use thinner shafts, which are more liable to bending if they strike larger fish, they’re generally more powerful.
This type is more suitable for beginners and hunters who are after smaller creatures. Just note that they take longer to load, and their recoil is far worse than the other types. Therefore, you’ll need to wear gloves and a chest pad to protect yourself when shooting.
Measured from the muzzle to the handle, there are six popular lengths dominating the market. They range from 19.7 to 51.2 inches. Some pneumatic models may reach 53.1 inches as well.
Choosing the right length depends on the size of fish and the body of water you’ll be fishing in. Murky waters and confined areas like caves and reefs require shorter guns. These can be maneuvered easily in limited spaces where you won’t need long-range shoots to reach your target.
Needless to say, shorter guns are more suitable for smaller targets as they’re easier to control. Also, they’re preferred by novice divers until they master the mechanics of aiming and shooting.
On the other hand, longer spearguns should be reserved for anglers with some experience under their belt. Generally, opt for them if you’re going to fish in open/clear water where you can make use of their long-range shots.
It’s important to know the shaft size your gun can accommodate. Usually, pneumatic guns work with shafts of 8 millimeters in thickness while band-powered ones use 6 to 7 millimeter-thick spears.
Consider the type of fish you’re hunting before deciding on the shaft’s diameter. Thicker shafts don’t break or bend upon impact; thus, they’re used for targeting big-game that weigh more than 10 pounds. On the contrary, thinner ones are preferred for smaller fish with delicate skin.
All in all, opt for shafts made of high-grade stainless steel to be able to resist the rust and corrosion caused by saltwater.
The shaft’s tip comes in one of four main shapes. The single flopper, also referred to as the Tahitian flopper, has a single barb. It’s the lightest, so it flies at high speed and thus used for thin-skinned fish, as they’re easy to penetrate.
The double flopper is similar to the Tahitian, but with an extra barb on the other side. This one can stab thicker fish with ease. If you’re targeting fish covered with thicker scales, a shaft with a tri-cut tip can do the job.
Finally, shafts with breakaway tips are the heaviest, so they’re reserved for big-game fish like tuna.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Does a Speargun Work?
Depending on the type, it has different mechanisms. Pneumatic spearguns work using compressed air inside the sealed internal barrel. When you pull the trigger, the spear is forced down the barrel to engage the trigger mechanism and be fired. However, a band-powered gun works nearly the same as a crossbow where the propelling force is provided by rubber bands.
How Far Can a Speargun Shoot?
Well, that depends on many factors, including the length of the gun and the type of the shaft. Yet, the maximum operational range of a speargun is 3-4 meters.
Can You Use a Speargun out of Water?
No! This is extremely unsafe for you and the gun as well. The spear shaft is attached to the gun with a line, so without the drag of the water, the speargun will shoot much faster, and the recoil can severely injure or kill you. Also, you’ll most likely end up bending the shaft.
The good news about spearguns is that no matter what your skill level or budget is, there’s always one for you out there. So, gather up ,folks! It’s time for a quick recap.
From our point of view, AB Biller is the best speargun available on the market. The wooden construction, along with the variable lengths of this product render it suitable for novices as well as pros. It’s got everything starting from natural buoyancy and pinpoint accuracy to variable shooting ranges.
For the stout of heart who would like to show off their skills as snipers, Rob Allen Tuna is specifically designed for pros. Its range and accuracy make going after monster fish an enjoyable game.
As for young spearos who are short on cash, you can go for the heavy-duty Cressie Apache spearguns. These are short and ergonomic enough to help you get used to throwing accurate shots and start a lifelong passion for spearfishing.