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Euro vs. American???

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
May 31, 2004
Hi all,

I'm new to spearing and I'm trying to educate myself. I have done web searches and spent a fair amount of time plowing through old posts on this an other forums and I can't seem to find what I'm looking for in terms of info. Either it just ain't there or I'm blind (could be both though).

Could someone please answer the following questions or point me towards a place where they've already been answered:

What is the difference between an American and a Euro style gun? I know that American guns are wooden and Euro guns are typically aluminium or carbon. What other differences are there -- power, shaft weight, design elements, operational differences, etc., etc.? What are the pros and cons of each?

Are there any really good books or websites out there on the technical aspects of various types spearfishing guns?

Muchas Gracias,

PS--is using a single band preferable to using multiple bands (assuming you can get the power you want from a single band)?
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Hiya Wavespin

Welcome aboard!!!!:D :D :D

Ok, the gist of it is as follows:

Euro guns were desighned for the european spearo's who hunt smaller fish than there american counterparts. They're typically from 75cm to 130cm in length and generally have 6.3 or 6.5mm SS spears. They're propelled by normally a single 16 or 18 or 20mm rubber. Generally have screw in rubbers with an articulated wishbone.

South African Railguns take the euro gun a step further. These guns were based on euro guns that were then beefed up. They have a rail on the barrel, to prevent spear whip and increase accuracy, and have muzzles that take bulk rubber. Generally uses 20mm rubber or 2x16mm's, with a 7mm spear being most popular. Lengths also vary from 75cm to 1.4m. Typical examples are Rabitech and Rob Allan.

American guns are generally made of wood and have thicker spears. Normally 8mm+. Multiple rubbers are used to propel these heavy spears. Multiple variations occur in these range of guns. Enclosed tracks, mid-handles, wing kits, etc. I'm not very clued up on these guns, but am sure somebody will fill in the blanks.

Some other good sites are:


The latter is a very good source for information on american guns. Somebody in your area should be able to assist in more info.

Hope this helps

hey welcome!
i was in san Juan for one day ... i stopped off from a cruise ship (yeah, will never do a cruise ship holiday again!)

san juan was great though.. amazing views and the buildings up on top there over looking the ocean.. is it an old fort? (i can't remember)

i loved the way people parked their cars... pretty much like in Spain, bumper to bumper!

great city... also had some great sushi there.. it was a restaurant which was all ocean like.. can't remember the name. glass front.

nice place!
Hiya Ms. Sands!!!

Is there any-place on this planet you haven't been to yet???

:D :D :D :D

Oh no..............here we go again!!!!!!!!!!

Will either of you two stop that!!!! Or at least translate!!!!!

Ek gaan julle twee bliksem!!!!!!:D :D :D

:D :D :D

  • Like
Reactions: Alison
pablo tio estas tremendo hoy!! - Pablo boy are you naughty today!!

la que estas tremenda eres tu bonbon ahahahha - the naughty one is you... you are a "sweetie" (sweetie as in a "nice stukkie" )
You guys!! :chatup

I think the American guns have different trigger mechanisms as well, with a square holding notch in the spear not the euro half moon, aparently these will hold a lot more pull from the 50 or more rubbers that some of these megafish hunters use (is that an exageration?) Also I think a lot of the US guns have an enclosed track that take the SA idea a step further again . I think its a case of horses for courses, if your only going to be after fish up to about 10KG then a euro gun would be fine but if your mainly going after bigger fish then the US types are the ones to go for. Then if your not sure what a big fish is go for the SA guns such as Rabbitech rofl Right Miles ;)
ISLANDS!!!!!... you are missing half the traduction and all the subtility of our conversation!!! tremendo means terribly... terribly naughty... or terribly :eek:
what is it?

Here is one,
Given the line of the discussion, I can ask a question now I have been pondering...
Where does one place something like a totemsub tahiti? It is a "euro" gun? A 120 model is a bigger gun for a euro, with twin bands, etc. and comparable to a smaller American gun like a riffe C2/3, etc. In my case, I plan to use it (and a reel) for the type of fish I just posted over on the photo section last week(http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=51361). They are not big but nor are they small and do require a serious gun (bounced and missed too many).

The totemsub I am getting will replace a Riffe C4 (probably upsetting someone here!) which I use right now. This is mainly since my aim is getting better now (I am stoning about 40% of the time)

One side effect I am hoping for, is to lessen the impact of loading a bit. In most photos you will notice I have bruises and scratches from loading. I do not wear a wet suit but lycra (when jellyfish are around) or a speedo due to the heat-water is 27.5C/81F right now! The result is scratches as I fight in a most unflattering jumble with the C4 and my backup gun...

My personal thoughts are that most of the higher end guns blur the lines in any case. I have been thinking about this for a while, after I joined the board and read a bit of old posts... I am thinking that some guns cannot really be placed as American/Euro but rather in the "yes" category for both...

Comments? Disagreements? Is there some definitive source of, "This is what a Euro/American gun is?" ...if so, I hope I have not started a flame war or upset anyone :)
Hiya Anton

Sorry to break pablo and island sands language lessons!!!:D :D

It really doesn't matter which catagory your guns falls in. The most important thing is that your gun is that it should be comfortable in your hands. As long as it gets the fish in the boat, everything is ok!!!!

You're going to get heated discussions about Euro vs. American. Both are good and both kill fish.

At the end of the day, what makes YOU happy?

miles:D :D
So anton you are trying to say that tahiti shoots better than Riffe C4??? May be coz of the tahiti made and balanced for specific setup;)

Hi Murat,
I am assuming it does based on the comments and experiences from those that have used it... better gun is a question of purpose though :)

If I am going for sailfish just under the surface I will take a Riffe (they are here but have not crossed my path yet!). For my everyday spearing, like those in the photos, I plan to use the Tahiti. I think with a reel and a well made and balanced gun, I can save myself some wear and tear.

Don't get me wrong, the Riffe C4 is a REAL GOOD gun, just a bit big for what I think I need in gun-size for my current target fish. The C4 is about perfect as far as capabilities... the size is a bit much though (personal opinion here of course!!!!!).


It all boils down to budget and planned use. Viz, target species.... The main diffrence is shaft/band configuration. I dive in good viz mostly, and hunt very spooky fish so I like a gun with alot of long distance capabilities. For a short euro style gun id say a 1m spora vyper will be a good choice. I you have the $$$ id get a 50 inch wong rear plus enclosed track reef gun with a 5/16s shaft. Then you could tweak the shaft/band configuration for many diffrent aps. a 19/64s shaft is an excellent size, that gives you a compromise of mass and speed...
Im sure some1 is going to complain about my suggestion but believe me its hard to find a dissatisfied wong owner.
youll have shorter gun than the c4 but youll e able to add more power to it and will likely have the same range.

another thought Try making a pocket of lycra inside the rash guard and stick a mouse pas inside to protect your chest..
hope it helps a bit

What is the difference between an American and a Euro style gun? I know that American guns are wooden and Euro guns are typically aluminium or carbon. What other differences are there -- power, shaft weight, design elements, operational differences, etc., etc.? What are the pros and cons of each?

Hi Wavespin,

I read the other posts and I'd like to take a stab at this one. I am very biased and opinionated so for what it's worth here is the way I've seen the gun evolution unfold while trying to answer your question:

Until 5-7 years ago there were very few Euro style, or better explained- rear handle non mid-handle guns without an elongated butt extension that has been most commonly known in the United States. The few people that used the rear handle Euros were mostly the brotherhood of US competitors in the spearfishing circuit and other divers who needed the fast maneuverability and quick aim capability of a rear handle design that was also usually lighter. A few American companies like Riffe also adopted this design into one of their models,aptly named the "Competitor" series a while back.

Other companies who produced guns in the United States installed butt extensions behind the handle to facilitate hip-loading and the overall loading process. From this design it was easy to see where the "mid-handle" concept came from and for the same reason it was apreciated by the average diver shooting dumb big fish (the ones we all love) it was hated by the refined hunter pursuing elusive fast game or competing in a contest.

With most of the competition style diving being big in Europe the classic "arbalete design" was conceived in the 60's with the first "Champion Arbalete" from France which was also sold in the USA under the Voit brand name and many other brands followed and refined the design through the 70-90's. The second generation of high end Euro/Competition style guns came in the 80's and 90's after the airgun was beginning to loose steam, which used 8mm (5/16") shafts that were deemed only ideal for grouper and amberjacks, although not the rest of the fish divers were targeting. Simultaneous to this evolution taking place, the fish were getting smarter and faster and more agile and precise weapons were sought. This new generation of band guns were adept for the grouper and amberjacks found all over waters in Europe in the Atlantic side and Mediterranean but were also more ideal for the 1-10lb fish that the slower 8mm shafts of the airguns and heavier band guns were missing. I still have a picture of Renzo Mazzari somewhere in the 80's with a Spearfish, a member of the marlin family that he speared in the Med somewhere with his Cressi gun. Believe me, these guys shot plenty of 100lb amberjacks back then...

As spearfishing World Championships and tournament were held around the world this design spread and the likes of South African Champions Tommy Botha and US champion Bill Ernst and Terry Maas picked up on the use of these lighter rear handle guns for fast competition type shooting where a single band design was more efficient, faster and powerful than a multi band design. Today all over the world the classic "Euro" design is constantly being tweaked and refined to suit the needs of different divers who prefer them to heavier wooden, mid-handle, multi band models. The later has its advantages surely for the pursuit of large gamefish because the power cannot be replaced with ANY single band Euro style design no matter what any manufacturer claims.

But, the truth is that the type of application these true blue water guns with 5/16" (8mm) shaft and bigger are well suited for, albeit its almost a small sport of its own today called Blue water hunting-thanks to Terry Maas, these guns are suited only for a relatively small population of dedicated divers and therefore have a limited application and demand.

The so called still "Euro" style design, again nothing other than a rear handle with carbon/aluminum/wooden barrel and a single or double band muzzle with a 7mm shaft or less, is better suited for most divers and most applications especially as this sport grows and fish get SSS, smarter,smaller,shit scared.

We would all be kidding ourselves if we didn't think that as more and more humans entering the liquid dimension, fishing commercially, hook and line fishing and even our small highly selective and efficient sport called spearfishing, were helping the fish get bigger.

Have a good weekend,

regards, Mark Laboccetta
I'm not to qualified to post info on this subject but after looking at
spearguns for a couple of months I have come to a conclusion.
Most guys i've seen will choose a big powerful gun vs a sleak,
smaller less powerful gun.For me I use a american style mid handle gun for 2 reasons ,# 1 It was cheap to buy and # 2 it has a rail which makes it very accurate.I have two bands on it and if
I could get one band as powerful as the two on it I would prefer
it. I prefer to freedive so a sleaker gun would be a blessing for me,probaly even increase my bottom times a bit . I used to want to buy one of those big jbl or billers i'd see in dive shops but after
seeing those euro guns like the rob allens, rabitechs and so on
I couldn't throw my money away on one, they're to bulky for the spearfishing I do . I do like the rear handle style riffe and Kes style guns . I 've seen as big a fish that I want to shoot shot with so called euro guns, most of the fish equal or bigger than those
shot with american style guns . I guess every gun has a purpose to what it should be used for but my preference would be euro all the way . Spearguns in general seem to be heading in the right direction and making some great progress. Just for reference I have never shot or even held a euro gun but reconize the advantages of using one .This past 4th of july I went home to pensacola and did some spearing and would have bagged a few more fish if I had a single band say 20mm or so to load vs 2 9/16
bands.As I rareley do aspetto I need a gun that I can swim a 1/4
of a mile with without wearing me out .That's my American opinion
on the subject .Most of you guys on this forum or to blame for convincing me of that .Mark,Shane shac,Defo and Miles you guys
are all guilty, you should be ashamed of yourselves for swaying me in that direction. Just kidding !! I do have a serious ? for all out there using long euros,Do you have any problems shooting the guns one handed and would there be a major difference between a 110cm and a 130cm of the same brands?I won't be able to get to a shop that sales them for awhile so i'm trying to do some research on them for now.thanks to all that reply
Hiya AJ

Wooden guns do have their place as mark has explained.

Regarding the differences in guns like a 1.1 and 1.3 of the same manufacturer, well, if they're both equiped with the same parts, ie. 20mm rubber and 7mm spear they should be the same. The longer gun WILL give you better range but WILL be harder to track with underwater. Just a rough calculation is as follows:
range of 1.1m Gun from end of barrel is : about 4.7m (with 1.4m spear)
Range of 1.3m Gun from end of barrel is : about 5.6m (with 1.4m spear)

One handed shooting is the norm with euro guns. Be it a 90cm or a 1.3m gun. Easy as there is very little recoil!!!

Note that some manufacturers guns shoot differently to others. My Carbon RA tends to shoot high compared to my Carbon Rabitech Apex. Not saying anything bad about the RA, its a wicked gun too, its just that i find the aiming to be different, even though both guns are railguns.

The Omer guns don't have a rail, but are also very accuarate. So the C4 monoscocca.

It basically comes down to you becoming proficient with what-ever gun you use. I've been outshot sooooo many times by guys using 15 year old guns, thats its just not funny!!:eek: :eek:

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once upon a gun

Hi Ajwaverider,

I wanted to throw in a couple more ideas to think about since I noticed you're from Jacksonville area.

Three weeks ago I was down in florida and went to a big spearfishing tournament called the Southern Open north of Clearwater. It was a ot of fun and I learned a few things about the ideal setup down there. Whereas here in the Atlantic side compared to the Gulf we use 110's-130's mostly, down there it's only 50ft deep almost 30 miles out and a 100cm gun is the best size.

I took a 115cm Master America with me and a 100 T-20 Mimetic, both single bands, and since the diving was all less than 50ft the maneuverability and the speed of the 100 made it better suited for the hog fish, mangrove snapper, barracudas, and grouper we were targeting. The 115cm would have been overkill and I would have lost fish with a bigger gun while the three guys I dove with were also shooting 100's. All the fish were less than 20lbs, and all the grouper and snapper less than 10lbs. The 100 therefore was a perfect size.

Here on the East Coast on the other hand, conditions are different. You might have conditions more similar to ours in North Carolina, deeper water, clearer water, and ultimately bigger fish requiring longer shots and more power.

A 110cm will be the way to go, side by side a mid handle gun it's roughly equivalent to a 55" gun. With a 130 you will be overcomitted also as Miles said and it will be awkward. The only benefit is in really clear water where you need long shots but as a first Euro gun even then it's not adviseable since you have to get used to it.

To reassure you of this even more I use a 115cm for almost all of my diving in NC as long as vis. exceeds 20-30ft, including a wahoo I shot on Saturday in the blue water - which eventually ripped off because it spooled all 160ft off my reel and I could not do anything to stop it:eek: I was in an area where I definitely didn't plan on seeing wahoo and even this noble 30 pounder had ten times more speed than a 100lb Amberjack. Had I used a float things might have gone a different way. This gun has two 18mm bands equaling 288lbs of power and with a 9/32" shaft I've shot lot's of nice fish from grouper to wahoo 18ft away.

A 110cm will have a good 15ft of effective range (tests show a 100cm will have significant penetration into 3/4" plywood at pinpoint accuracy 15ft away from target u/w) and that might be the direction you should look in.

Take care,

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