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All About Guns What's your weapon of choice, and why? Discuss the beloved speargun here!

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Old 02-09-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
popgun pete
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Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

The fitting or retention of speargun trigger safeties on spearguns and their use is often a source of disagreement amongst both users and speargun modifiers and builders. I think one thing that everyone agrees on is that you should never put your absolute trust in them as anything mechanical can fail and often tends to do so at the worst possible time. That said, they afford a measure of protection, if not a foolproof one, when handling a charged-to-shoot speargun. One still needs to be cautious and treat the gun as if it could discharge without warning at any time. In the old days this was not such a remote possibility!

It may sound odd, but the attitude to safety devices probably has more to do with whether you shoot an open (or pin) muzzle, a closed (hoop style) muzzle or you free shaft. I always regard the trigger safety as no more than something to apply while my shooting line is being rigged on the gun, however I mainly use a closed muzzle gun (a home-made timber gun), so the spear is inserted, the safety is immediately applied, the bands are cocked and then the shooting line is rigged. Once my hands are back on the rear grip I switch the safety to "off" and leave it that way. On an open muzzle speargun the shooting line is rigged first as the bungee tensioned shooting line holds the spear in place on the gun so that it remains sitting in the guide track. So when you cock the bands the gun is ready to go and you have control of it once the last wishbone is applied. Under those circumstances you do not really need a safety, you are always behind your gun and can keep away from the business end. However on slip tip equipped guns you may have to poke the tip cable connector between the taut bands at the muzzle, a time where you are forward of the safe position behind the gun.

Hence if you view a trigger safety as I do it is only a precaution for gun handling safety while you are changing your hand grip on the gun when it is all powered up and ready to shoot. Better than risking the gun discharging while you have minimal control of where it is pointed. You may be whacked by the butt if the gun goes off while you are down the rear end, but better than having a few feet of shaft sticking into you, or someone else, when you are up front!

A pneumatic gun is generally loaded first (cocking and loading are the same activity), so a safety is applied while you string the shooting line on the line hooks. On a lever charged hydropneumatic gun you load the spear first, then wrap the shooting line and only then charge the gun, cocking it by cranking the rear mounted lever with the muzzle pointing well away from you. It is a risky time nonetheless and no trigger safety will stop the gun from shooting if the hydraulic valve locking system lets go.

The safety on some spearguns blocks your trigger finger's access to the trigger and may discourage bad habits more than anything else. A major safety factor lies between the ears of the gun user, always watch where a charged-to-shoot gun is being pointed. Gun accidents are rare, but legislators will swoop if the speargun fraternity appears to be lax with the public's safety, and their own. Hence speargun manufacturers install safety devices to ward off that creature more ravenous than a shark, the lawyer. (My profuse apologies to all the lawyers on the board).
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:08 PM   #2
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Don't think I've ever seen anyone rig the shooting line of a gun from the front - I've always done it from behind, regardless if the gun is loaded or not.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:11 PM   #3
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

With the safety on will you point the loaded gun at something you don't intend to shoot? If not then whats the point of it? Maybe it should be called a safer?
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #4
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

I personally don't believe in even having a safety on a gun ( current gun built without one). That said, I don't load a gun in the boat, never point it at another diver, don't put my finger near the trigger unless I am hunting.
I have practiced this with open and closed track guns.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:41 PM   #5
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

My safety is always off when I'm in the water. Don't point the gun at something you don't intend to shoot. Finger is never on trigger until I am going to shoot. The worst feeling is lining up on a fish only to have the safety on. I only use the safety when the gun is in storage, the car or on a boat. This way, if something happens to knock the trigger, the mono doesn't go all over the place.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Quote:
Originally Posted by chalkeye View Post
Don't think I've ever seen anyone rig the shooting line of a gun from the front - I've always done it from behind, regardless if the gun is loaded or not.
With multiple line wraps you have to go around the front line hook once or twice, you cannot do it all from the rear. On some of my guns I have two or three line wraps, on my hydropneumatic there are four line wraps.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Quote:
Originally Posted by cksea View Post
With the safety on will you point the loaded gun at something you don't intend to shoot? If not then whats the point of it? Maybe it should be called a safer?
When I am pointing the gun at something the safety is always "off". The safety is just for preparing the gun, once it is ready to shoot the safety is "off". I thought that was pretty clear from the above post without having to say it again, but apparently not.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Having lost a couple opportunities to having the safety on (loose safety switch), I removed it.

This is my safety now:


Never point the gun at anything you don't want to kill and it will eliminate most mishaps.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Don't use mine on my riffe euro, to much of a pain to flip it on or off when trying to line up on a fish, I just don't aim at anything I don't plan on shooting. Your finger is the only saftey you need keep it off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. I do keep mine on when the gun is on the boat, in the bed of my truck, or leaning against the wall in the house.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:36 PM   #10
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

I do agree that common sense and situational awareness are the best safety for managing a loaded gun.

But am I the only moron that has ever been thumped in the chest when a partially loaded gun discharged while loading the second or third band? Especially if hunting on scuba where there is a lot of dangly stuff that can accidentally hook the trigger.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:40 PM   #11
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

dont have one dont need one. my brain is better to use than a safety switch
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:55 PM   #12
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Quote:
Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
With multiple line wraps you have to go around the front line hook once or twice, you cannot do it all from the rear. On some of my guns I have two or three line wraps, on my hydropneumatic there are four line wraps.
Absolutely, but you don't need to go pointing the gun at any part of your body. Hold the gun in the middle with one hand, and run the wraps around with your other.

This also means that no hands are anywhere near the trigger when loading or rigging your gun, which means a safety isn't needed (in the way you say you are using it) for this process.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:14 PM   #13
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Nice write up Pete. With your age and wisdom you touched upon a facet that most of the current spearos don't realize or appreciate due to the recent advancements in mechanism materials and technology.

Older gun models with simple(r) trigger mechs may have been more prone to go off when powering up the gun with bigger bands, or just from a hard knock. I got an old 2 band JBL 38 special, and that thing can go off just looking at it.

Production guns always had, and always will have safeties, custom and home made guns...not very likely.

Modern mechanisms in a all steel housing/case are pretty reliable and "safe" when compared against their predecessors, hence the shift towards not having an additional safety. Also many more custom and homemade guns out there and the builders are relying heavily on aesthetics. Unfortunately I think a commonly held view is a safety will only "muddle" the design.

I can't remember where I heard/read it, but I believe there are accounts of a sharp jolt or bang can set off a gun that uses a push rod and remote trigger system. If there is enough side to side play between the pushrod, dummy trigger, and mechanism trigger stub, the push rod can develop sufficient momentum from a sharp jolt to set off the mechanism.

I also believe that the user is ultimately responsible for their own safety, however accidents do happen. It’s that one day or situation where you are not thinking clearly, or something so routine you become complacent, or in a trouble situation that you've never experienced before and react wrong. No matter how experienced or careful you are, it happens to the best of them, no one is immune to injury or accidents.

Spearfishing is an inherently dangerous sport, like auto racing. If you race long enough you will hit the wall, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #14
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

Quote:
Originally Posted by chalkeye View Post
Absolutely, but you don't need to go pointing the gun at any part of your body. Hold the gun in the middle with one hand, and run the wraps around with your other.

This also means that no hands are anywhere near the trigger when loading or rigging your gun, which means a safety isn't needed (in the way you say you are using it) for this process.
Sorry, but do you really think that is what I am talking about here. The whole thing is about gun control, sure I hold the gun in the middle to wrap the line on the front line hook, but I no longer control the gun as well as when I am holding the rear grip, plus there I can take the recoil if it does go off. By in front I don't mean directly in front of the muzzle, no one gets in that position (unless you are Geri Murphy photographing Ron Merker aiming a Sampson speargun at your head). The gun could shoot someone else, not me, it is not just the operator's personal safety we are talking about here. I have had a shaft or two go by me with an "oops, sorry" follow up when the guy responsible realized that he had goofed. One time a young guy was so obsessed with loading his new gun I could see it pointing at me just out of the corner of my eye (as limited by my dive mask's field of view). I spat my snorkel out and yelled "don't point that gun at me" just as the shaft flew out and pitched up short of me after he dropped the wishbone in. If he had tried to apply the safety then it would have told him the gun was not properly latched, the safety will not engage, so then he would have fixed that rather than continue to load the gun. I eventually gave up on diving with beginners rather than get shot by guys who don't listen, but seem to think it will all be OK. When I started diving the senior men only let me and the other neophytes use a handspear, with the advice to "watch and learn".
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:35 PM   #15
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Re: Trigger safeties: To have or not to have

I remove my safety's or superglue them off... They have only ever cost me fish.
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