Spearguns: Is bigger better?


You are standing at the precipice of engaging in an incredibly exciting and fulfilling sport… but is your gun big enough?


Its such a common question, something im asked about all the time, and its totally fair to ask. So lets go over the basics, what does a big gun do and what does a smaller gun do.

Small guns: Lets call this everything under 95cm.

  • Easier to load. If you have a limited reach, then a shorter gun will be a great deal easier to load. Its also of course easier to load for taller people too.
  • Easier to manouver . Underwater, the lateral pressure and drag on a long gun is quite hard going, moving a smaller gun side to side ius much easier!
  • Less embarrasing. This sounds silly i know, but you know the old adage ‘All the gear, no idea’ ? This couldnt be truer here.  A long gun is often the sign of a spearo that is going for larger fish in clear water, something thats hard to do, so it tends to display a level of experience. If you are flapping about in the water as a newer spearo (which is normal by the way, we all start somewhere), and then walk out with a 120cm carbon gun, id be surprised if you didnt get some less than complementary comments from other divers (be kind people!).
  • There is no commonly found fish in the uk that wont be speared by a gun thats 65-85cm. Fish are very soft, even their bony heads are quite soft. An accurate shot at a reasonable range is all you need.
  • Range isnt as important if you cant see far. Big guns give big range, which is great in the Med, but in 4m vis in the English channel then you dont need more than a couple of metres range.

Big Guns: Everything over 95cm

  • More power. A longer gun shoots further and straighter as it delivers more power to the spear.
  • Better for travel. This may make no sense, why would a bigger gun be better for travel? Due to the foish we hunt in warmer, clearer water. We need a longer gun for clear water where the fish may be more wary of a diver that they can see from 20m away. Also anything over 15-20lbs will need a gun with more penetrating power (In the uk anything over 10lbs is considered a very good catch). Also, many pelagic fish (even small bonnito, a type of tuna) have a much harder skeletal structure and thicker skin than uk fish.
  • Will grow with you. If you are happy to have a slower start and liley struggle with a long gun in the first seaso, after a year or so youll be more used to it and you may not need to upgrade for a while.

So what shoud you go for. I strongly advocate an 85cm gun for taller beginners, and a 75cm gun for anyone less than about 5ft8 (ish). Then after a year or so, maybe get a 95cm gun, which if you dont plan to go and hunt Tuna , will serve you well for absolutley anything in the UK.

Its really easy to be swayed by the manufacturers of these guns, telling you that yoiu must have the biggest carbon gun or you wont catch anything, its just not true, they just want your money!!! Spearguns are not really precision instruments, they are massively basic, even in their most advanced form. Its not like a rifle, or a handgun, or even a crossbow. The accurate range of a gun is not measured in hundreds of metres, its measured in a handful of metres. The variables that a gun provides at such short ranges are minimal to be honest. Its your skill in handling it, planning your shot and understanding variations in fish movement and magnification etc. Good luck everyone!


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