A speargun is a gun designed to fire a spear, usually underwater to catch fish.

Uses of spearguns

Spears and spearguns have various uses:
*Sport spearfishing
*In tropical seas, some natives spearfish in snorkelling kit for a living, often using home-made kit
* [http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/marine/news/stories/index.cfm?uNewsID=53540 This news item] describes a rifle-like gun that fires a spear on a line; the spear has a wide hollow tip and on impact with the target (here, a killer whale), takes a core of skin and blubber as a biopsy sample and falls out: [http://assets.panda.org/img/orca3_46481.jpgimage]
*As a weapon, primarily in works of fiction

Types of spearguns

Spearguns come in a wide variety:
*Elastic-powered - Rubber bands are stretched to slot into a notch on the spear shaft and launch the spear when the trigger is pulled
**Big 5-band wooden tuna guns can be used in blue water hunting.
*Pneumatic - where after firing the expanded gas or air is kept and can be re-compressed by the user underwater
**Short pneumatic guns can be used for closeup kills or in dirty water
*Less usual types:
**Gas-powered (usually carbon dioxide) where the gas escapes after firing
**Powered by an explosive cartridge

All spearguns have a trigger mechanism that holds a spear in place along the barrel.

Traditionally, rear-handle spearguns are popular in Europe and mid-handle guns were used in North America, however as spearfishing has developed as an international sport these distinctions have blurred.

South African speargun manufacturers have improved speargun designs with the use of a rail along the barrel that prevents the spear from flexing under pressure from the rubber bands.


The speargun can have:
*Buoy or float, tethered to the spearfisher's speargun or directly to the spear. It helps to subdue large fish. It can also assist in storing fish, but is more importantly used as a safety device to warn boat drivers there is diver in the area.
*Floatline, connecting the buoy to the speargun. Often made from woven plastic, they can also be a mono-filament encased in an airtight plastic tube, or made from stretchable bungee cord.

peargun setups

peed rig

Here the spear gun is connected to a buoy via a float rope. After spearing a fish, the spearfisher detaches the float rope and uses a speed stick (a metal spike) attached to the float rope to thread the fish onto the float rope through its gills. The fish will then gradually slide up the float rope as the diver swims until it rests underneath the buoy. When shooting larger fish, the diver can let go of his gun and play the fish from the float line, giving the fish more room to tire and preventing it from tearing off the spear or dragging the spearfisher under the water.

Break-away rig

Here the spear shaft is connected directly to the buoy. It is loosely fitted to the gun as well while hunting, but after the spear is fired its force of movement detaches the line from the gun. The spearfisher is then able to subdue the fish from the buoy or float line while retaining possession of his gun. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the gun can be use to push off sharks or signal the boat driver, and secondly to prevent loss of the gun should the fish break the line, or should the spearfisher lose grip on the buoy. This setup can be used in conjunction with elastic bungee-style rope and a body board style float with locking cleats. This respectively maintains constant pressure on the fish and allows the spearfisher to rest while being towed around. They can then gather the bungee line as the fish tires and lock it off in order to gradually pull the fish closer.

Reel on gun

Here the gun has a line reel like on a fishing rod. After spearing a fish, the reel unwinds, allowing the spearfisher room to play the fish. Reel setups are useful when ocean structures such as built up reef or kelp gardens prevent the spearfisher from towing a buoy


Here the spear shaft is not connected to a gun or buoy. This is more commonly associated with spearfishing on SCUBA where excess cable or line can be problematic. Also it can be used in the areas with really clear water, where underwater hunter can track his shaft after firing it. It is not used in turbid waters with poor visibility.

ee also

*Hawaiian sling



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Look at other dictionaries:

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