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Speargun Trigger Safety Importance

DivingNomad

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Sep 21, 2015
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I have noticed that at least one speargun mfg. doesn't put a safety latch on their speargun trigger, SigalSub for example. I always thought that the safety latch of some sort is important (not 100% reliable however) and don't quite understand why these manufacturers don't implement this features in their guns. Can anyone here clarify what the rationale is for these mfgs. that don't use a trigger safety please?
 
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Mr. X

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Yes. Safety catches aren't safe and it will give many users a false sense of security. Much better off without that extra complexity and cost. The only safe band speargun is one with slack bands.

However, oddly, I believe some/many spearfishing competitions require them.

If you use the safety catch, you will almost certainly lose fish from time to time because you failed to release it completely before attempting a shot. I know I did, very early on, when I was using a cheap shortie surf wetsuit :D I haven't used a safety catch since; I unload if there is a safety concern.
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
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Yes. Safety catches aren't safe and it will give many users a false sense of security. Much better off without that extra complexity and cost. The only safe band speargun is one with slack bands.

However, oddly, I believe some/many spearfishing competitions require them.

If you use the safety catch, you will almost certainly lose fish from time to time because you failed to release it completely before attempting a shot. I know I did, very early on, when I was using a cheap shortie surf wetsuit :D I haven't used a safety catch since; I unload if there is a safety concern.

Is this the official SigalSub rationale or is it your guess? If it were what you said, then why don't the rest of the mfgs. take it out of their guns? The greater majority of mfgs have the feature on their guns.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
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Jan 27, 2005
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Most of the quality wood spearguns made in the US don’t have safeties. I think Riffe Euros have them but that’s the only one I can think of. I have three guns without safeties and I haven’t owned a gun with a safety in about 30 years.
 

Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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Your brain should be the safety. If your brain is incapable of taking that role then stay away from weapons.

I often see spearfishing videos where they film their buddy or wildlife like a turtle or a seal with their gun-mounted camera. There's even one here on the island who does this, who is a freedive and spearfishing instructor! The way I see a gun, is that whatever you point it at, dies. Even if it's unloaded.
 
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popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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Spearfishing is relatively free of regulation, but that is because for decades it has been a fringe activity and there have been few accidents as most spearfishermen were experienced, being the ones who stuck with it rather than tried it out and then lost interest. Now with a larger variety of guns and more dive gear commonly available more people can become instant spearfisherman, hence there are more spearoes than ever and some don't know their craft. It would only take a few accidents and government regulators will check out the sport and the lack of safeties will be zeroed in on. A few years back an instructor was shot by a student swimming behind him with a Riffe gun. There was a big court case looking for someone to blame. Jay Riffe said that if his gun did not have a safety on it then it would have cost him his business. A safety on your gun and disciplining yourself to use it is the way to go. Sooner or later they will be compulsory. Alternatively accidents and careless gun handling will see the sport banned. The “looking for dragons to slay” types would love to turn the tap off on spearfishing in order to boost their political ambitions.
 

cdavis

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Jan 21, 2003
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First thing we all did when getting a new gun was remove the safety. The reason was losing fish, in large part because the safeties are not intuitive to use. We never used the safety and occasionally lost a fish when it was on accidentally. We were also damn careful with loaded guns and any diver pointing a gun in a direction were there might be another diver was jumped on. My first gun was a 1960's era mid handle with a double trigger. simple, super easy to use, and intuitive, should be the standard safety style.

Popgun Petes comments are well taken. Safeties should be on all guns and would be used much more if their use was intuitive.
 

sharkey

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Nov 22, 2013
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I’m in the “the speargun is only safe when it’s unloaded camp”. Safety catches may help to lawyer proof in some countries but they don’t undo unsafe practices.
Here in Australia where spearguns do fall under some firearms regulations a form of trigger guard is required but not an actual safety. For example if I wish to import a firearm it must have a safety & that safety must also indicate when it is in a “safe” & “ fire” position very clearly, a speargun inspected by customs only requires a trigger guard.
 
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popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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The Ocean Rhino has a well-designed safety that meets all requirements.
Ocean Rhino handle comparison RX and Wind Song SIGNATURE L.E.R2.jpg

Ocean Rhino safety lock.jpg
 
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DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
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I’m in the “the speargun is only safe when it’s unloaded camp”. Safety catches may help to lawyer proof in some countries but they don’t undo unsafe practices.
Here in Australia where spearguns do fall under some firearms regulations a form of trigger guard is required but not an actual safety. For example if I wish to import a firearm it must have a safety & that safety must also indicate when it is in a “safe” & “ fire” position very clearly, a speargun inspected by customs only requires a trigger guard.

So no SigalSub in Australia?
 

sharkey

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2013
402
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I’m in the “the speargun is only safe when it’s unloaded camp”. Safety catches may help to lawyer proof in some countries but they don’t undo unsafe practices.
Here in Australia where spearguns do fall under some firearms regulations a form of trigger guard is required but not an actual safety. For example if I wish to import a firearm it must have a safety & that safety must also indicate when it is in a “safe” & “ fire” position very clearly, a speargun inspected by customs only requires a trigger
So no SigalSub in Australia?
Read it again, only firearms require a safety device on the trigger mechanism. Spearguns only require a trigger guard.
I sat on our Parliamentary advisory committee for firearms for a few years & have been expert witness for both the prosecution & defence on court cases involving the use of spearguns.
This is my current quiver of smaller spearguns which I’m using in comps. I’m sure you will recognise the handle.
9A2A1428-63EC-4131-B989-81A697EEFC79.jpeg
 

Mr. X

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Is this the official SigalSub rationale or is it your guess? If it were what you said, then why don't the rest of the mfgs. take it out of their guns? The greater majority of mfgs have the feature on their guns.
Neither, it is my assertion of fact.

Why do manufacturers include them? Ask them. I partially addressed that point already though: competitions (and competition). Also, it could be a feature on a newbies checklist - who might mistakenly perceive it as necessary or useful, perhaps by association with firearms, which are quite different. Or they might want to do competitions or, at least, have that as an option. Manufacturers may then fear not including one might become a deciding factor for some when purchasing. They also no doubt figure that you don't have to use it: for example unlike firearms, I am not aware of any speargun that enables the safety automatically when you load.

Personally, I would prefer that my (band powered) spearguns do not have "safety" catches, for various reasons. But I don't do competitions.
 
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Mr. X

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I’m in the “the speargun is only safe when it’s unloaded camp”. Safety catches may help to lawyer proof in some countries but they don’t undo unsafe practices.
Here in Australia where spearguns do fall under some firearms regulations a form of trigger guard is required but not an actual safety. For example if I wish to import a firearm it must have a safety & that safety must also indicate when it is in a “safe” & “ fire” position very clearly, a speargun inspected by customs only requires a trigger guard.
That makes sense. A trigger guard is a true safety feature.

A safety catch might make sense on a non-band speargun, such as a spring powered/pneumatic(?). @PopgunPete, how do unload a pneumatic, or "make it safe"?
 

Mr. X

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I wonder if "safety" catches are being used to try to help mitigate unsafe practises? For example, are some spearos leaving a loaded speargun on their float/boat, perhaps as a "kill gun" to secure large, speared fish? Or for speed in competitions?

Yes, I too cringe when I see youtube videos where the video maker points their speargun camera at or across other spearos. Would you want a loaded speargun pointed at you, safety on or not?

Many/most "safeties" are plastic. Plastic never breaks or sticks does it? The safety in my old RA speargun was hellish difficult to engage or disengage - a good feature, as it discourages it's use. My new Apnea roller has a novel double-sided safety, sketchy though, it can be left in intermediate positions - "unsafe", rather than "safe" or "fire"?
 

popgun pete

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Jul 30, 2008
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That makes sense. A trigger guard is a true safety feature.

A safety catch might make sense on a non-band speargun, such as a spring powered/pneumatic(?). @PopgunPete, how do unload a pneumatic, or "make it safe"?
Before I respond I want to make the distinction between safe gun handling and gun safeties. Safe gun handling means you assume the gun could go off at any time, even if a safety has been applied. Although remote a gun could shoot if the spear tall snaps (band guns) or the trigger sear tooth fails (both types). When handling a cocked pneumatic and you want to render it completely safe you either have to shoot it or put it on low power and control unload it using the loading bar in a reverse manner to cocking it. This only works on shorter guns and you don't want to try it on long guns. Out of the water you can press the spear tip against a block of wood, lean down on the gun with your full body weight and pull the trigger.

The presence of a safety adds a measure of security, but is not foolproof and you still obey safe gun handling practices. If for example I am swimming through low visibility water where I don’t plan to shoot anything I apply the gun safety and move my hand off the grip holding the gun at mid-body. Now I only have control of where the gun is pointing, but no control of recoil or the gun's exact spear trajectory if the gun fires itself, so the safety is an advantage here. When I no longer have exact control of any gun is when I apply the safety. I also apply it before band cocking spearguns and also on pneumatics especially when doing the line wrap rigging which is the last place I want the gun to discharge accidently.

Valve operated spearguns don't have a sear tooth engaging the spear tail and on hydropneumatic guns you can just pull the spear out of the cocked gun. The gun will need to be discharged with a dummy shot that only ejects water before the spear can be reinserted in the gun again.
 
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marco15499

Laguneros Spearfishing
Apr 4, 2011
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I'm just going to say two things; I always take all my spearguns safetys off and I love Sigalsub handle.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Just for curiosity, If you could have a safety that was a second trigger, directly under the firing trigger, would you use it regularly?
 

marco15499

Laguneros Spearfishing
Apr 4, 2011
262
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Why? What bothers you so much about the safetys? This is what I am trying to understand. Why not leave it and not use it? Why not use it?
They are there only to be engaged when you want to shoot the fish of your life. They will not avoid the gun to missfire. In some guns, it engages alone and you don't realize it until you want to fire.

Check out this video. The gun was not mine, but a friend's and the safety engaged alone.

 
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