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I’ve spent the better part of the last 30 years in the water, or dreaming about my next spearfishing adventure. And with spearfishing getting more and more popular, one question I get asked again and again is. What’s the best speargun to buy? With the help of a few spearfishing experts, we’ve created the best speargun buyers guide to answer this very question.
Over the last few months we interviewed every expert our team could get a hold of and put some of the best spearfishing brands to the test. We spent over 100 hours in the water testing these spearguns for ease of use, accuracy, distance and more to determine which speargun is actually the best.
Ready for it?
Rob Allen Tuna Railgun
Best Speargun “All Round”
Our winner from the tests was the Rob Allen Tuna Railgun. It’s a South African brand, designed for power and durability. Highly accurate, this is one of my favorite speargun brands, but its railgun design does mean it’s a little bit noisier in the water. But when you’re talking bang for your buck with an impressive seargun that will last you season after season. I’d recommend the 110 or 120 cm models. They pack a powerful punch.
- Aircraft grade aluminum
- Wall thickness of 1.45 millimeters
- Latest Vecta 2 Trigger Mechanism
- 2X POWER BANDS: 5/8" (16 millimeters)
- 7mm Spring Steel Shaft
It was a close race though. And what would a buying guide be without second place?
Salvimar Metal Speargun
Close Second: Best Speargun “All Round”
The Salvimar Metal speargun is a sleek and streamlined piece of equipment that is wonderful to use on a dive. It’s lighter than the Rob Allen, and between the two I find it’s got less drag in the water so you can reposition faster if you’re chasing after those zippy little reef fish. Probably one of the best value-for-money spearguns on this list, the fast it comes stock with a rell is fantastic if you’re starting to push out into deeper water and want more of an intermediate speargun.
- Anodized aluminum body
- Removable butt pad
- Heavy metal trigger
- Open track, shark fin tab shaft
- Comes with delrin maxi reel
Beuchat Espadon Sport
Best Speargun “Value for Money”
But I get that these two might not be the best speargun for those on a budget. If you’re wanting a cheap option to get started spearfishing the Beuchat Espadon Sport is by far the best speargun when you’re talking value for money, though you’re probably going to want to shorten the bands after your first few dives to give it a little more power. Oh, and it might be worth checking out our guide to the best pole spears if price is a concern, along with our round up of the cheapest spearguns on the market.
Riffe Euro Speargun
Best Speargun “Top of the Line”
On the other end of the scale there’s some truly beautiful spearguns out there. Spearguns that will give you more power, more distance in your shots, and have found that perfect balance between sturdiness and being able to actually track and target fish underwater. My personal favorite is the Riffe Euro Series. I’ve got the 130cm model. It’s my go-to speargun, with a beautifully crafted teak stock that still shines as bright as the day I bought it. Plus, there’s space to use three (3) rubber bands, giving more than enough power when I’m out chasing big fish. The gun pounds. And I’ve brought home some truly whopping fish with it.
Hammerhead Evolution 2
Runner Up: Best Speargun “All Round”
The Hammerhead Evolution 2 is an amazing speargun for all round spearfishing. And what I love most is that it’s not going to break the bank, which is important if you’re only spearfishing every now and then. I’d opt for the 110cm (or the 120cm model if you’re a little taller) so you’re not going to need to upgrade your speargun when you start pushing out to deeper water. Either of these will be a great size for a speargun that can target most fish.
Any of these spearguns are a great buy, and at the three different price points you should be able to find the best speargun for you. So, stop procrastinating. Order yours today and spend the next sunny weekend in the water. You can thank me later.
How we actually determined the “best speargun”
My name is Max Kelley. I grew up by a small beach in Australia, and every chance I could get I was in the water. It wasn’t long before I bought my first speargun, and over the last 30 years I’ve gotten a firsthand understanding of what makes a good speargun. Whether you’re shore diving or jumping off a boat to reach an offshore reef in 40 foot of water, there’s a few things to look out for, and I’d like to share them with you.
Because even if you’re not new to the sport it can be difficult to find the right speargun. Plus, there’s so many different models and styles. Brands to learn about. Reviews to read. It’s a tad overwhelming. I’ve bought my share of duds over the years. And it’s frustrating to see them only lasted a season or two before something goes seriously wrong.
Finding a good speargun is one of the most crucial decisions to make. Get the right speargun and you’ll start landing fish after fish. Spearfishing gets easier. Everything just seems to work. And I want to let you in on a little secret, the most expensive gun in the store isn’t always the best speargun.
The key types of speargun
A speargun isn’t the most complex piece of fishing gear. There are really only two choices when it comes to type. Those that use rubber bands to fire the shaft, and those that use air.
A pneumatic speargun uses compressed air to fire the shaft. It’s very easy to use, simply shove the shaft into the speargun barrel, and as you push it in there’s a piston that stores this compressed air before the shaft clicks into place. Depending on the size of your pneumatic speargun it can hold anywhere from 15 to 30 bar of pressure. They do require a little practice to get your aim right, and good technique to load it, but these spearguns are often the go-to choose for beginners because they’re so easy to use and perfect for shallow reef spearfishing. Plus, you get more power in a shorter gun. If you’d like to read more we’ve done a round up of the best pneumatic spearguns here.
A banded speargun uses rubber bands to fire the shaft. It’s a little more cumbersome to load this type of speargun, especially if you’ve got more than one band on it. First you need to click the shaft into place, then you need to load the speargun by stretching out each band and securing it in place on the shaft. But there’s also a plus side. As you start targeting bigger and bigger fish, a banded speargun can be “overloaded” to produce more power than a similar pneumatic speargun. So, you can get a boost in power and send your shots further and further. For this reason, most spearfishing professionals use a banded speargun.
From here, there’s a few different styles you can choose for a band-powered speargun.
- European spearguns are sleek and slim. They’re often produced in smaller sizes, to allow for greater maneuverability through the water, and feature thinner bands and a thinner shaft that’s usually 6 to 7.5mm wide. This makes them lighter, easier to load, and easier to use.
- American spearguns are designed for power. The barrel stock is thicker, to allow for more pressure to be loaded onto the gun, with multiple bands and a thick 8 to 9mm shaft. They can feel a bit heavier in the water, but they’re more durable, and able to take down massive fish without concern for damaging the shaft.
- The railgun. Consider these the bastard son of the European speargun. Taking the sleek and slim design of the European models, a metal rail is added for strength along the barrel, allowing thicker shafts to be fitted and more powerful bands. They’re noisy though. But they can pack a punch.
What I will say here is that unless you’re going to be shooting fish bigger than 10 to 15 pounds, the style of speargun isn’t really going to matter. Don’t get too caught up on it, and choose a speargun you feel comfortable with. Unless you’re wanting to land a monster. Then there’s a whole other guide we’ve got for you on the best blue-water spearguns.
Where are you planning to go spearfishing?
In this guide to the best spearguns we’ve made our recommendations based on what we believe most people will use their spearguns for. Unless you’ve got a boat to go offshore, or are crazy enough to jump off the end of your headland and swim a mile out to sea chasing a big pelagic, you’re probably just going to be kicking around the rocks in 5 to 20 feet of water. Which is fine. That’s where I started spearfishing, and remains one of my favorite areas to hunt.
For most people, these types of coastal areas are where they’ll be spearfishing. And it’s also important. Because you don’t need a massive speargun to be effective in these conditions. You will need something with a little maneuverability. One of the biggest factors here is the size of your speargun. 42 inches is just about perfect. Not too cumbersome, but big enough to give you power in your shots, and also to help you keep up if your friends happen to take you out on their boat for the day.
When we ran the tests for this guide we almost exclusively used 42 inch (or as close as possible) sized spearguns, with the factory stock sized rubber bands and shafts. There were a couple that we couldn’t get our hands on in time for our test, so we did improvise with other sized models, but this didn’t really affect the results as we had a clear first and second place winner for “best speargun.”
Think about the barrel you want on your speargun
At these kinds of sizes, the barrel material is more aesthetic than functional, so I’d recommend simply choosing the one you like the look of best. Some of my friends swear by wooden stock barrels, and whilst I agree they are lovely as hell, they can quickly add a couple hundred dollars to the price of your speargun. It’s not really for everybody. For the best bang for your buck, my advice is to go with a metal barrel, and is one of the key reasons we chose the Hammerhead Evolution 2 as our editor’s choice for best speargun.
Find a comfortable speargun handle to grip
Comfort is definitely key for me, especially if you’re planning on long shore dives. Where most cheap speargun models lose out is a poorly designed handle that’s not easy to hold over a long period of time. Try a few different spearguns and see how it is to grip, and remember that you’ll also be wearing gloves so a little breathing room is important. It needs to sit well in your hand, with your arm fully extended. Don’t be shy to try this in person. It’ll help you choose the best speargun.
Consider the safety aspects of the spearguns trigger
Within the handle the firing mechanism is also very important, as this is what locks the shaft into place. It needs to be strong and sturdy enough to prevent both misfires, while still being easy to flick the safety off and shoot. My advice is to find a speargun with a complete stainless-steel trigger mechanism. Plastic will wear and eventually misfire. And that could be a recipe for disaster for you or your diving buddy.
Understand your options for speargun shafts and tips
The speargun you buy will come with a factory stock shaft, and depending on the speargun it’ll range from 6.5 to 9mm thick. Obviously, a thinner shaft will be more prone to bending if you’re firing it into the rocks or trying to spear a much larger fish. The good news is you can replace shafts fairly easily, and most spearguns have the ability to accept a slightly larger size (depending of course on the manufacturers specifications).
For the tips, you’re probably best with a single flopper. This is also known as the Tahitian style, and has a single barb that hangs from one side of the shaft. I prefer these as they’re easy to remove, and perfect for targeting reef fish. But if you’re worried about losing your fish you could attach a double flopper for a little more security. The breakaway tip is the third option, but these are primarily to keep massive fish from bending your shaft. You’re not going to need that unless you’re spearfishing in deep water.
Testing the shortlisted spearguns for accuracy and distance
This was the most fun part of the day. Probably the most competitive too. We piled over thirty spearguns in my boat and headed out to a shallow bay for a little target practice. Instead of hunting fish we used an old wicker target held down by a bunch of lead spearfishing weights, and everyone got three shots of each gun. We ranked the spearguns on accuracy at 10 and 20 feet, as well as finding the maximum effective range for each. Long story short, once you’re within 10 feet of your intended target you’re going to smash it with any of our four recommended spearguns. And depending on your ability to predict where a fish will dodge, they’re all quite effective above this distance too. I would recommend shortening the stock bands though if you find there’s not enough “oomph” in your shots.
Know what you’re willing to spend on a speargun
What I love most about spearfishing is that you can get quality gear without needing to spend a fortune. The final cost of your speargun will of course depend on the brand, the materials used, and the size you’re after, but it’s very possible to find a great speargun for just a couple of hundred dollars. Like the Hammerhead Evolution 2, or the Rob Allen Tuna Railgun. Most spearguns will fall somewhere in the range of $80 to $600+ so there really is the chance to find the right speargun for everybody. And if you take care of your equipment it’ll last a long time too. Think of it like an investment. One that allows you to bring home fresh fish after every successful dive. It’s definitely worth it.
It’s my hope that this guide to the best spearguns helps you make one of the best decisions you can make, to buy a speargun and start spearfishing. There’s nothing quite like the calm you feel while you’re hunting, and the excitement you’ll feel landing your first fish.