Spearguns have slowly advanced in technology. Starting from wood sticks with surgical rubber attached to one end and a sharpened rod of metal and ending up today with pieces of artwork made from carbon fiber and multiple laminates of exotic wood. But, when it comes to speargun technology, you really can’t get more innovative and current than the inverted roller gun. Six 20mm bands connected through pulls under the belly of the beast leading to a fully tuned and hardened 8.5mm plus shaft.
The theory behind the inverted roller is simple. Get the most band stretch possible out of the largest number and size of bands available, all while limiting recoil to nearly zero. What does that mean? Small gun with huge power and range.
In this issue we go over the Petar Pan Inverted Roller.
From tip to butt, the eight laminations of iroko are joined to a black and white ebony handle and trigger guard. The gun was then half wrapped in carbon and finished in high gloss. From what I understand, the non-carbon versions are up to 13 laminates of iroko or iroko/mahogany. The stainless components are incredibly crafted; from the CNC machined rollers, the hand crafted muzzle, and the Ermes reverse trigger mechanism. The stocks curves and recesses are both striking and purposeful. The gun is 3.25” at its widest point and 1.4” tall. It weighs 8lbs 1oz fully rigged with a 129cm x 8.5mm shaft and is 100cm (39”) long.
Power comes from 3 pairs of 17mm bands at 360% stretch. These are employed in an inverted configuration where the bands run along the belly of the gun. They are pretensioned to 150%. There is an additional 14mm kicker band that is perfectly recessed on the top of the stock. This results in an uncluttered sight picture and a very hydrodynamic overall package. Accompanying the gun is an MVD stainless reel and two wraps of line.
The craftsmanship on the Petar Pan is really something to marvel. Every part, every curve, every rounded edge is literally perfect. I haven’t seen this level of detail on a handmade speargun in a long time.
To load the gun you will first need to flip the gun upside down and pre-charge the first band pair. This only needs to be done on the first dive of the day. It remains pre-charged until the completion of diving. The gun is then flipped upright and you load the dyneema loop to the rearmost sharkfin as with any gun. You can then load the kicker band. You again flip the gun belly up and load band pairs two and three.
I’ll be the first to admit, I am NOT a rear handle or “Euro” gun guy. Every time I’ve used one I did an awesome job of shooting my target species a number of inches behind my intended aiming point. But when you get the chance to shoot the Ferrari of spearguns you take the opportunity.
The first thing I noticed was how the hydrodynamic shape makes tracking effortless. The compact size of the gun was perfect for deeper drops. The deeper 60-75’ drops were made much easier with the smaller form factor of the 100. So far so good! The first few rock piles we dove on were loaded with our typical grouper and snapper. Swinging the Petar Pan 100 was much easier than expected. The past euro guns I’d used felt like I was trying to swing an ore through the water. Not with this one. Smooth and simple, it tracked left or right at speed with ease.
Now for the nuts and bolts- Yes, it is basically a cannon. First off, two raps of shooting line won’t cut it. On the 100cm I ended up with four and was still pulling line off the reel. Sure in shallow situations, shooting hogfish or snapper at close range two wraps work great but my goal was to let this little powerhouse stretch her legs and man did she! I found myself taking shots I would never even try just to see if I could reach the snapper on the far outside of the school. Sure I missed a few and hit a few but the gun never let me down with 18-22ft of range and power to penetrate once reaching the fish. I’m sure someone with more love for rear handles could have landed a few more fish than I, but landing 2/3 of the fish I pulled the trigger on equaled a miracle as far as I was concerned based on my past level of suck with euro’s.
Much of this I attribute to essentially zero recoil. When fired, the gun has a slight “push” back into your palm. None of the explosive recoil you’ll find with many standard band configured guns. The lack of recoil made me feel more confident on shots and without a doubt aided in hitting more fish.
I have read numerous posts from internet “experts” and detractors claiming that the pulley roller design is not powerful, it’s inefficient, etc…I disagree. While we could debate hydrodynamic constants and coefficients of friction until the cows come home…the damn thing works. It is extremely powerful in a small package, with nearly zero recoil or muzzle flip. This is coming from someone who was VERY skeptical going in. This gun shattered all the confirmation bias that resided within.
If you’re in the market for a gun that can shoot shallow reef species with the best of them as well as reach out and touch that big fish making its exit in deeper water this just may be the gun for you.
Check out Petar Pan Spearguns at www.speargun.eu as well as on FaceBook and Instagram for his newest builds.