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advice on my first gun

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New Member
Aug 4, 2003
Just completed my first hunting trip this weekend in a lagoon.i used a trident pole spear with a paralyzer tip....Hit two fish solid and didnt hold either one! i AM VERRY DISSAPOINTED IN THAT SPEAR.i HAD THAT THING LODED TWO! well now I know why everyone uses guns...O yea that spear was brand new..o well..My question= should I choose a pnumatic gun or a band gun? I will only be shooting smaller snapper and such but I want to take them out when I hit them.+I want something with like 8 ft range and penetrating power...what would you suggest..thanks again everyone....stay safe!
I grew up spearfishing in Florida my first 22 yrs. and very seldom used anything other than a polespear. I never had much faith in the paralyzer point, though. What I used to use is a double barbed point for smaller fish or a double barbed break away point on a solid aluminum shaft for amberjack up to 30 lbs. I went to a gun after I got over here and discovered a polespear just doesn't have the range for these conditions.

If you want a gun, get a good band gun. I have three Riffe's that I am very happy with, a Competitor #3XS, my day gun and my personal favorite, a Competitor #2S, this gun started out to be #1's (11 yr. old son) gun, but he staked a claim on my night gun, the Metal Tech #1, when it came in.:)

Yea that paralyzer did not have barbs, it was round ground. I am convinced if I had a barbed tip I would have gotten the larger fish..I hit him hard!!!!felt and heard that tip grinding through him, sad, sad.OK THEN..I'll begin looking for a good riff gun. Thanks man.

I regards to the riffe guns. What is the advantage/disadvantage of mid-handle vs. normal handle guns? Is it just feel and preference? This is coming from someone who has never owned a speargun, but would like to get into it someday. Thanks.

Mid-handle guns are easier to track, but the butt of the gun is closer to your mouth as a few people have found out the hard way...;)
In another thread here I went over the design basics for the mid handle guns, but it comes down to this- the length of the gun is less about being able to accomodate a long shaft as it is the length that lets the rubber bands stretch. More stretch = more shaft speed and power.

With the handle all the way back, the aability to swing the gun around is less than that with a midhandle. Try swinging a crutch from the pad and then from the handle and you'll see what I mean. And don't just think that you'll only be shooting a little such and such fish. One of these lucky times, you'll come across
a big ol' load of dinner and the last thing you'll be thinking is that "My gun is only for smaller fish..." It'll happen. ;)
Three prongs is what we call paralyzer tips in hawaii. You can bag a lot of fish with this type of weapon. Its easy to use and can reload very easily and quickly (quicker than a gun). There are alot of divers that actually prefer using a three prong to a gun. It all depends on what you are going for.
my friend went diving with two guys. They were all going for the same type of fish which was a pan fry type of fish. my friend used a three prong and the other two used small 75cm guns. my friend came out with a stringer full of fish, while the other two came out with a combined stringer which was a lot less than my friends.
A tip for using three prongs.
after you shoot the fish you should try not to pull the spear back. instead try to push the spear more toward the fish or push the fish into the ground. this will prevent it from coming off. once you pin the fish grab the end of the three prongs and hold the fish while swimming up to the surface. this will keep the fish under control until you reach the suface to dispach the fish.

no matter what you decide remember to dive safe.
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I agree with both Shadowkiller and Icarus. The Mid-handles balance better in the water and tracking a moving target is easier, but the rear handles are easier to aim. It all boils down to personal preference. With any new gun you're going to have to put in a certain amount of practice to learn where it's hitting.

Some manufacturers call their guns a mid-handle by simply locating the trigger and release mechanism together about a third of the way up the stock. What I consider to be a true mid-handle has the trigger approximately 1/3 of the way up the stock and it's connected by a push rod to the release mechanism which is located near the butt of the gun. This allows for a longer shaft and bands and a longer band stretch which will give you more power in a smaller total package.:)
Stick with the polespear for a bit longer. You will become a much better hunter quicker, plus when it is time to choose a gun you will make a better decision on the model that is right for you. I still hunt occassionally with my polespear and love it. The best set-up for me has been a slip tip, though I used a barbed paralyzer for a long while with good success. The worst thing you could do is toss $3-400(Riffe cost) away on a gun that you find isn't right for you as your diving progresses. It happens, take my word for it! Dive safe, and good luck honing your hunting skills.

Well... you can certainly keep developing your skills with your pole spear, but no one here is advocating you going out and dropping a dime for a no BS gun for your first.

So many of my friends have started with, refined and still use their JBL's its not even close to being a question. They're relatiely cheap and come in all kinda sizes and what not. Add a couple beells and whistles down the road and you're smooth. They're not exactly the swiftest and stramlined things out there, (that'd be me ;) ) but you can do a lot worse for your ducats.

Then too, I see Riffe Competitors on ebay for a sweet price too.
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