Spearguns 101 — Beginner’s Guide to Spearguns

One of the most critical items to equip for spearfishing is the best quality spearguns you and your buddy can find.

Before you look at new products, it helps to know what you’re looking for in a list first. Each brand of gun selection will have parts where you’ll have to know your dive’s info to know the right gear to purchase. 

Spearguns 101
Accuracy is key to shooting your target. Source: Dan Fruhauf

Here’s a load of speargun parts you’ll have to familiarize yourself with before shopping for one.

Listen to more spearfishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

If you're ready to look for the best speargun for you, check out our guide: The Best Spearguns for All Skill Levels

Speargun Parts


  • Closed Muzzle: This design gives beginners easy loading access to an entry-level speargun without the shaft going all over the place, as it has a piece of plastic going up and around it. 
  • Open Muzzle: This design is typical in most spearguns, but it doesn’t have the plastic piece that is present in the closed design

Roller Head

The roller head uses the barrel length to propel the spear with much power from a single band. It also helps mitigate the recoil while providing better accuracy and power. 


The band selection depends on the sort of shaft and wishbones you’re using, but you can switch it out if you like. 

  • Standard Rubber Band: These are threaded into a Dyneema Bridle or wishbones
  • Horizontal Band: These are threaded into the actual muzzles with metal-articulated wishbones
  • Roller Band: Unlike the others, these are not closed-loop, but they’re tricky as you’d have to consider the band thickness and inner diameter. With the open-loop design, you can unload the band when you’re not shooting to decrease the band’s tension, lengthening its lifespan. 
How to improve your spearfishing aim
A short guide to improving your spearfishing aim.

Speargun Barrel Materials and Shapes

Pipe Gun: This standard and the simple gun are made of Aluminum from end to end. The muzzle is in its front, and the handle is in the back. 

Cuttlefish Barrel: This lightweight gun has a cuttlefish design that allows it to cut through the water and track your target fish easily. This design comes in handy with long guns as it offers a better fishing experience, allowing it to cut through the water from side to side. 

Wood Barrel: Made from wood such as teak or mahogany. These barrels have been aged to prevent warping and protected with an oil or lacquer finish.

Hybrid styles also have a wood base with an integrated carbon tube. These are nice, especially as travel spearguns, where you can break them into two smaller components to carry on a plane.

Gun Length

  • Short: Spearguns 75 centimeters(cm) down are for spearfishing in murky or dirty water and cave hunting. 
  • Middle: Spearguns with a length of 90 to 120 cm are great for shooting in reefs and an all-around day at the water where you have good visibility under to shoot bigger fish. 
  • Long: Spearguns ranging from 120+ cm are fantastic for your bluewater fish spearfishing and anywhere you’re deep diving close to perfect visibility in the ocean.  


  • Aluminum: As the most common material for most speargun selections, Aluminum offers great durable quality equipment, although it is a bit heavy to carry. 
  • Carbon: Carbon barrels come at high prices. But if you’re typically looking for a lightweight gun, they are a solid choice. Additionally, this material allows the gun to absorb a lot of recoil and noise. 
  • Wood: Wood is heavy and hard to maneuver and trek through the water. But all divers and spearos will love its ability to absorb recoil. This helps especially when targeting bigger fish, as it allows you to still shoot them accurately without worrying about recoil. 


Your speargun has a sharp tip for piercing your target and a flopper to prevent it from escaping after getting into the shaft.

Some blue water spearguns have slip tips that come out of the other side of the fish as the shaft engages to secure the catch. Your shaft has notches on the other end to allow multiple bands to be loaded on the same tab.

As shafts have different millimeters(mm) and diameters depending on your target fish, here’s a guide. 

  • Small Fish: 6 mm shaft
  • Medium Fish: 7 mm shaft
  • Big Fish: Bigger mm shaft

Shafts also come with either shark fins or notches for loading your bands. If you’re using a Dyneema wishbone for your bands, opt for the shark fins style. It tends not to damage wishbones as much.

Tracks and Rails

The barrel rail will help guide your shaft as you shoot, improving your accuracy. An enclosed track gives a follow-through accuracy of shooting as well.

For some lower-end, entry-model guns, you won’t see a track and rail, so it does not provide extra accuracy. 

Handle and Trigger Mechs

  • Plastic: This style is more common in low-end tier spearguns. It cannot bear much weight and will not last long.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steels give more durability and can hold more tension and power when paired with bigger bands. This is the latest and most common trigger mech design, as it can last several years. 

Outside of just materials, there are different mechs, such as roller mechs, reverse mechs, and other configurations. Unless you’re building or modifying your speargun, a solid brand stainless steel mech should be sufficient for a beginner.

Your trigger mech will determine if you need Euro shafts or American shafts.

Speargun Accessories


Some spearguns will have a reel mounted on it, some horizontal and others vertical. Reels come in handy when diving deep and shooting your prized size fish. If the fish holds up, you can hold your reel out, swim up without letting your gun free and track the fish down. 

Float Line

If you’re not up to using a reel, you can go for the simple float line you attach to a float. This allows you to let go of your gun after you shoot your target and let the fish take your float without worrying too much. 


Your float has a lot of uses for your spearfishing and scuba diving. It can be as simple as a marker or you can use it to hold your gear. A float is necessary for any dive taking into account your safety and order for you to get a top-of-the-line experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best spearguns?

There are many best spearguns in the market. Among the good brands are Pathos, Meandros, Bluetec, and other custom gun makers like Hot Rod Spearguns. It will depend on your diving situation, so it’s helpful to visit a local shop if possible.

Do spearguns work on the land?

Spearguns are made for water use, so it is best to use them only for spearfishing. 

Are spearguns dangerous?

Treat your speargun like you would a regular gun. Don’t point it at anyone while loaded, including yourself.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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