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Basically, a spear gun is a gun designed to fire a spear. Most people think that there is only one type of spear gun, however, there are closer to four different types and four different setups. A spear gun in generally used for spearfishing, though this sport is also a way of earning a living in some parts of the world.
Types of Spear Guns
In an elastic-powered spear gun, the spear is placed on a track and pulled back against rubber bands, stretching them and locking into place. Pulling the trigger releases the powerful rubber bands and fires the spear.
A pneumatic spear gun uses compressed air that is kept in the gun after firing, similar to that of a low budget air rifle.
A gas-powered gun uses CO2 canisters to fire the spear and the gas is released after each fire.
The least popular is the explosive charge spear gun, which uses a small explosive charge to fire the spear.
Types of Setups
A speed rig set-up involves the spear gun being connected to a buoy by a float rope. The float rope is fired by the spearfisher and connects with the fish in the gills. The fish gets slid onto the rope and travels up the line as the diver swims and eventually comes to rest underneath the buoy.
A breakaway rig is similar to the speed rig, but allows the float rope to detach from the gun after firing so that the fisherman can hold onto his gun. This helps because not only do you take away the risk of loosing the gun, but you can fend off sharks as well.
The reel on the gun set-up is similar to a fishing rod, in which the gun has a reel that is attached to the spear. This allows the fisherman to work the fish and use it in waters where towing a buoy isn't possible.
The most difficult of all the setups is the free-shaft. Here the spear is not connected to the gun or a buoy and can really only be used in clear waters where the fisherman can track the fish.