Established in 1971 and situated in Oceanside, California, JBL has spent the past forty years or so building a solid reputation in providing spearguns and spearfishing equipment. One of the most attractive features is the ‘affordability’, with models selling for well under $100. The spearguns come in either wood or aluminum, and there’s an opportunity to bag yourself a bargain by taking up one of their ‘combo’ options.

JBL takes its sport seriously, stating its mission and values clearly; they are ‘reapers of the sea’ with an emphasis on conservation. The JBL website earnestly urges freedivers and spearfishers to educate others as to the important role underwater hunters play in conservation. With their forty years of experience in this field, it’s hard to argue against this. They also use that experience to help spearos of all levels, with technical tips and hints, such as information about different types of wetsuit, or how to actually get into one (which is always a challenge, especially for beginners!).

Despite the good name that JBL has earned, a certain amount of doubt still remains amongst some spearfishers over their quality of spearguns. Mention them on a spearo forum and you’ll be sure of a lively and colorful debate. Some will defend the brand, stressing the robust nature of the guns. Others will reject the notion, citing problems with accuracy. They also don’t seem happy with the heavy gauge shafts on some models, while some hunters accept that it’s part of the ‘brutal’ nature of the gun. There are also those who are satisfied to buy a JBL gun and make their own modifications – which is pretty commonplace amongst dedicated spearos anyway. The truth is, while guns made by this company in the past might have possessed minor flaws in some areas, it has worked tirelessly to eradicate them. And one could argue that if the guns were that bad, how come JBL has remained as an industry leader for all this time?

One gun in particular that highlights JBL’s respected position is the D7 (AP-352), featuring a ‘double-band’ system that delivers a devastating shot. The aerospace-grade aluminum construction and high-strength stainless steel shafts and triggers make it superior to any speargun in its class, earning it a placing in Globo-Surf’s list of ’10 Best Spearguns of 2020′.

But this is just one amongst a mouthwatering range that includes tempting models such as the JBL Woody Mid-Handle Magnum 450. This is in their upper range, but still only a modest $660 for something so beautiful. The African red mahogany stock alone is almost worth the price tag. Add in a three-piece ‘easy pull’ trigger mechanism with a latex sling and kevlar wishbone, as well as a remote trigger, and the fact that it is lightweight, with fantastic balance, and you’ll be pretty sure you got yourself a bargain.

There’ll always be an element of personal preference, but this company has earned its reputation and will no doubt win over a lot of the critics in time, given the chance.