Bang Stick Spearfishing – What Is A Bang Stick?

By Charles •  6 min read

Spearfishing is becoming increasingly popular as a sport, existing as an alternative to traditional fishing. While spearfishing is generally done with a speargun, pole spear, or Hawaiian sling, there are situations in which you’ll need more something more powerful for self-defense. For those situations, there is the “bang stick”, which has more killing power to it than the traditional spear. However, with this increased killing power also comes a bit more discrepancy in regards to it’s legal and appropriate use, which we’ll be going over more in-depth in this article.

What Is a Bang Stick?

If the average pole spear could be described as a slingshot made to fire underwater, a bang stick could be more aptly described as a handgun that is made to fire underwater in a similar way. A bang stick is a firearm with an incredible amount of power at its disposal, oftentimes utilizing the exact same amount of power you would typically find in a Magnum handgun.

How Much Firepower Does a Bang Stick Possess?

The increased amount of power a bang stick proposes compared to other forms of hunting is used to kill underwater prey that just won’t go down with the amount of force generated from an average pole spear. This may typically include large, overly aggressive sharks. Given this general usage, one may find that the use of bang sticks as a means of self-defense against larger predators is oftentimes looked upon much more favorably than the use of bang sticks for the means of game hunting. However, some commercial hunters will still make use of a bang stick, particularly in commercial spearfishing.

What Situations Call For A Bang Stick?

Bang sticks are sometimes used for the purposes of self-defense but are also sometimes used for the purposes of commercial and casual sport. As they are one of the most effective ways to kill large underwater predators, they are commonly used in the hunting and exterminating of dangerous nuisance animals. The sport hunting of such tough animals will oftentimes necessitate the increased firepower of a bang stick, which is where much curiosity about this unique underwater weapon comes into play.

How Do Bang Sticks Work?

Bang sticks are a type of tool used to deter sharks, alligators, and other large marine creatures. They work by firing a bullet when they come into contact with the animal. The bullet causes a loud noise and strong vibrations that help to scare away the animal and keep it from attacking.

Bang sticks are typically made of long metal tubes filled with gunpowder and a steel bullet. They contain a safety pin that must be pulled before the tool can be used. The safety pin is connected to a trigger mechanism that releases the bullet when it is hit with enough force.

Once the trigger is activated, the bullet is propelled through the tube and out of the end. The high-velocity bullet creates a loud explosion and powerful shockwave, which is enough to scare away most large aquatic animals.

Bang sticks are typically used by professionals in marine rescue operations or those conducting research on dangerous animals. They can also be used by recreational divers to scare away sharks or other large creatures that pose a threat. When they are used responsibly, they can be an effective way to deter dangerous animals and keep people safe.

How Powerful Are Bang Sticks?

Bang sticks were designed as a remedy to many of the issues that firing a traditional firearm underwater would entail. They are designed to be shot at an incredibly close range to the target. The immense amount of power that they generate is specifically designed to kill targets at a close range. This is similar to a pole spear. They are capable of generating a very immense amount of force.

What Kind of Ammunition Do Bang Sticks Use?

The average bang stick will typically employ traditional handgun ammunition. An examle would be a .44 Magnum cartridge or a .357 Magnum cartridge. They may also be able to hold some heavier forms of ammunition. These will be better suited for larger and stronger prey.

Do Bang Sticks Kill Sharks?

One of the reasons that bang sticks may be typically employed in hunting or fishing is in the pursuit of sharks, particularly for self-defense purposes. These are not to be used for fun and it is illegal to hunt sharks with this method. The use of a bang stick on a shark is only to be done in a life-or-death situation, where you confidently believe that the shark is threatening your life.

Because of their incredible power, the legality of using a bang stick can often come into question. Bang sticks are not typically allowed in Florida. However, they can be used for the purposes of self-defense against a shark or an alligator. This can change depending on the distance you are from the shore.

The Difference Between State and Federal Waters

State waters constitute waters within 3 miles of the Atlantic coast and 9 miles of the Gulf coast.

  • Bang sticks aren’t allowed to be used for game hunting in state waters.
  • They are allowed to be used for self-defense in such waters.
  • Self-defense carrying of a bang stick will typically not warrant the need for a concealed carry permit. However, you may want to check with your local regulatory department just to be sure.
  • The use of them is looked at much more leniently in federal waters, which are waters that exceed the established boundaries of state waters yet don’t constitute international waters.

Bang sticks exist in a similar grey area when it comes to California law.

  • The average bang stick is not regulated or treated the same was as a traditional firearm.
  • They are not viewed as an acceptable means of game hunting, even when it comes to larger predators like sharks.
  • Having one on in your possession won’t typically necessitate the same punishment as if you were carrying a shotgun. They will be looked at much more leniently in terms of self-defense than in terms of game hunting.


Charles is a man who loves the outdoors. He moved to Wyoming specifically to spend more time in the mountains and wilderness. A hunter and fisherman, Charles knows how to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. He is an outdoorsman through and through, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Charles is the President of Absaroka Enterprises, an company focuse on outdoor entertainment and endeavours. He's also an Editor for Alpha and Omega Outdoors, an online hunting, fishing, camping, trapping, and all around outdoors blog.