Spear hunting is exhilarating.
Humans have been hunting with spears for at least 400, and maybe even 500 thousand years. That ought to have given us ample time to perfect our technique – but sadly, this is not the case, at least not in our society.
Even the best spear hunters in America have to practice throwing their spears daily if they want to be able to hit their target consistently. And that’s not even half of what one would need in order to successfully hunt down an animal with a spear. A hunter can’t only rely on having an excellent aim. They can’t even trust that they’re strong enough to propel their spear through the air and the animal’s vital organs. Hunters would need to take into consideration that their targets would likely be moving. Not only that, they’d have to be quiet enough to get up close and personal with the animal. And they would have to realize that the animal is likely to defend itself.
That’s all as it should be, though. Hunting with spears is an incredibly intimate practice. It’s intriguing partly because there’s that chance to get to know our prey before we take our shot. Using a spear feels like it might connect us to some ancestor, who surely used it for survival. In fact, some might even say that it’s fairer to the animal than shooting it down with a rifle. It would certainly be more impressive.
- 1 Spear Hunting Legality
- 2 Cold Steel Wing Spear
- 3 Schrade SCHSP1 Double Edged Phantom Spear
- 4 United Cutlery M48 Super Spear with Sheath
- 5 Condor Tool & Knife Greek Spear
- 6 Reapr 44-Inch Survival Spear
- 7 Choosing the Best Hunting Spear
Spear Hunting Legality
However, before we go further, we have to mention that hunting with spears is illegal in most states.
Here is a site I found that has the list of the laws by state. However, make sure you are checking this yourself. You can do this by talking to state officials or checking your states government website.
Hunters will need to educate themselves on the subject of hunting regulations in their area before getting their gear ready. And, we repeat: a person would need to be incredibly skilled at target practice, capable of hitting a moving target, and strong enough to penetrate flesh and bone. Not to mention, stealthy enough not to be noticed by the prey. They would also need a plan B for when the animal inevitably defends itself.
Back to the subject at hand, though, which is: the reason why spears are illegal. Firstly, it’s illegal exactly because it would take an amazingly experienced hunter to achieve any kind of kill consistency. Almost no one would have enough time to invest in developing such a skill set. The cultures that still use spears to hunt will have their hunters preparing from the moment they can hold a spear. It would be an insult to that kind of commitment and experience to think we could achieve it in a few training sessions.
The second point is connected to the first one. As it stands, spear hunting is almost a zero kill percentage sport. Hunting regulations don’t only exist to protect animals – they exist to protect us. Nobody wants to be a couple of feet away from a bear or a buffalo when they miss their kill shot.
Having said that, we have to admit – being able to hunt with a spear would be, in a word, awesome. So, we’ve decided to round up and review some of the spears on the market.
Whether you use it for target practice or you want to display one of humanity’s first weapons on the walls of your den, we’ll find a spear for you. And we have a prize for readers who stick around to the end of this article. After the reviews, we’re going to explain what a novice spear hunter should be looking for when shopping for a spear.
Without further ado – The top 5 best hunting spears.
Cold Steel Wing Spear
Now, obviously, no spear review would be complete without at least one Cold Steel spear. So, why not start with the Cold Spear Wing Spear?
This 89-inch long behemoth is by far the longest spear on our list. It’s also, in a lot of ways, the most impressive-looking weapon here. With its 65-inch ash wood handle and black 1055 carbon steel double-edged blade, this spear can make a gorgeous addition to a display case.
The Cold Spear Wing Spear gets its name from the wider “wings” behind the spear’s blade. The purpose of these wings is to either trap and pin our prey. Or, we can use them to stop an animal from coming up the spear’s shaft and landing a potentially fatal hit. In battle reenactments, we can use the wings to knock an enemy’s shield or weapon out of their hands.
The spear staff’s diameter is a sturdy 1.5 inches, and it weighs about 6.6 pounds. Even though we could technically use this spear for long-range shots, we probably wouldn’t want to just throw it around. It’s heavier and sturdier than the average javelin. Also, the wings would actually prevent the weapon from sinking into the animal’s vitals properly. That would make the animal’s death harder than it needs to be. Also, it would make the hunter’s job harder, as well.
Researched customers will note that there’s a similar Cold Spear product by the name of Cold Spear Boar Spear. So let’s spend a few moments comparing the two, so we know which one we’re holding should the opportunity arise.
First of all, both of these spears are winged and will protect us if our prey tries to come up the shaft to get at us. Also, both are about the same length overall.
However, unlike the winged spear, the boar spear has a shorter and slimmer blade, and its wings are slimmer, too. The boar spear wings are also further away from the blade than on the winged spear. So, the boar spear tip also weighs less than the winged spear blade. That enables the boar spear to penetrate more easily and deeply than the winged spear could. That’s because the boar spear is technically made only for boar hunting. The winged spear, though, can have various uses. They include boar and even bear hunting, which requires a longer staff, and obviously, being used as a battle weapon.
Here is a video on the boar spear:
Most users report using different screws than the ones the Cold Spears come with in order to attach the blade to the ash wood staff, but that can easily be done. Some people also recommend actually replacing the ash wood shaft with an oak staff. That would make the spear slimmer and easier to hold or throw. Users may also need to sharpen their blades before heading out for target practice. The Wing Spear does not come with a blade cover, so hunters may need to purchase that piece separately.
Hunters can add this powerful weapon to their inventory right through Amazon. As we said, we’ll include some shopping pointers at the end of this article. For now, we’ll just say that no one should buy a spear if they haven’t already at least held a weapon of similar size and weight.
Schrade SCHSP1 Double Edged Phantom Spear
The Schrade SCHSP1 Double Edged Phantom Spear is a significantly shorter and more modern weapon than the Cold Steel ones we just discussed. This modern twist on a primitive weapon combines the ancient technology of a spear with innovative design and materials that make it easier to master and an invaluable tool for wilderness survival.
The overall length of this spear is 44 ½ inches, with a total weight of 2.62 pounds. The blade is 7.22 inches long and the handle is 36.94 inches, but users may extend it with an attachment. The attachments are available for purchase separately, for about $18.
There’s even a secret compartment inside of this relatively short glass-filled nylon fiber shaft, containing a small survival kit. This kit includes a fishing line and fishing hooks, and a few sinkers and needles, as well. Aside from those features, a survivalist could also start a fire in an emergency by striking the ferro rod in the removable end of the shaft against the blade. It’s worth noting that some users found the tube that holds the survival gear somewhat hard to get out, especially once the ferro rod pushes it down the shaft. A way to get around that is to ditch the tube entirely and just put the survival gear directly down the shaft, and hope we can get to it in a survival scenario.
The spear staff is also wrapped with paracord, to help provide a better grip texture. The double-edged razor-sharp blade itself is made of impact-resistant stainless steel and is attached to the staff by three steel bolts.
In comparison to our previous review, we could note the absence of wings on this weapon. That’s why we can either use this spear for throwing, or for close-range stabbing at prey. However, we must caution hunters to use an extended staff in this case, as not having wings means that the animal may be able to get at them.
In fact, many user reviews commented on the strange paradox of this weapon. On the one hand, the manufacturer wanted the spear to be used in survival scenarios, and on the other, the survival kit gets easily stuck. It’s also far too short for close range hunting, but its blade is too wide for fishing. We do, however, imagine this spear would be perfect for throwing, especially for those who are only starting to practice. It has no wings, and it’s very sharp, so hunters should be able to achieve nice and consistent hits with this weapon.
The spear does not require assembly, and it comes with the blade already attached to the shaft. If someone needed to take it apart, they’d need special tools to take out the bolts holding it together. The Schrade Phantom Spear comes with a nylon fiber blade sheath to cover its incredibly sharp edges, and it is available for purchase for $65. We also recommend getting a shaft extension in order to get a more practical spear.
United Cutlery M48 Super Spear with Sheath
One reviewer on the Amazon page of the Schrade spear commented that if we’re just looking for a modern version of a short spear, we should go for United Cutlery’s M48 Spear. So, let’s find out what’s so special about the M48.
We found this United Cutlery spear under the name M48 Magnum Spear with Sheath on the manufacturer’s site. The spear itself is 65 inches long overall – so actually quite a bit longer than the Phantom Spear – and weighs about 2 ½ pounds. The stainless steel blade is 10 inches long and has a black oxide and satin finish. The M48 comes with a TPU nylon sheath to house the blade.
The shaft is made from a nylon and aluminum polymer, and it’s coated with black oxide to match the blade. It also has fiber wraps for a firmer grip and can be taken apart into 32-inch halves. The shaft ends with a rubber cap.
According to users, the blade seems to be weighing the weapon down a bit, which might actually help when we’re throwing it. As a quick aside: when throwing spears, we ought to shoot for a nice high arch and let gravity take over. A weightier blade might be just the thing for that kind of throw, as it would help drive itself down into the animal’s shoulder and through the vital organs. Still, some customers claim that the spear is too blade-heavy, so much so that it becomes too unbalanced to use. As always, though, a hunter would need to actually hold a weapon, or at least a weapon of a similar size and characteristics, before ordering online.
By all accounts, this weapon is very durable and will withstand the force of repeated throws. This would make it the perfect spear for target practice. We would still recommend practicing with a straw target to avoid any potential damage or dulling of the blade. Practicing with wood targets is alright though, if the user knows what they’re putting their blade through. Even if we’re practicing on wooden targets, though, we might only need to sharpen the blade every month or so.
Since we started this review comparing the M48 to the Schrade Phantom Spear, we might as well end it the same way. In comparison to the Schrade Phantom Spear we reviewed, the M48 is certainly pricier.
Condor Tool & Knife Greek Spear
And so, we circle back to another historic-looking weapon – the Condor Greek Spear. This is another great choice for throw practice or display. We definitely wouldn’t want to engage in close combat without a winged spear, though. That makes this spear a poor choice for hunting game. However, we can see it performing well when fishing or hunting for smaller animals.
The 8 ¾ inch blade is made of 1045 high carbon steel with a natural finish that lends it its historical look and feel. The top of the blade is also treated with black epoxy, to ensure that the weapon remains rust-free. This spear comes with a sheath made of hand-crafted welted leather. Along with the bunts American ash handle, the spear stands at almost 60 inches in overall length, which makes it the second longest weapon on this list. Due to the blade being of a fairly simple design, the distribution of the total 2 pounds this spear weighs should make for a fairly well-balanced weapon. The shaft is wrapped with paracord a bit off center, so as to provide a better grip.
The Greek Spear was, obviously, inspired by the weapons of Ancient Greek warriors. The Greek warriors during the Mycenaean would use their spears for thrusting only. They would pair a spear with a shield and approach their opponent with their shield up. They might have even approached enemies in a tight formation, in which all soldiers would have their shields and spears drawn. But as the average hunter now most likely wouldn’t carry a shield or be with a large group of people, we recommend using this one the way later Greeks would. So, we ought to use our Greek spears for throwing, rather than thrusting.
Condor’s Greek Spear is one of the most basic designs on this list, which is why we consider it a great weapon to start target practice with. It’s nice and sturdy, as well as very sharp, which should allow it to penetrate any target. It can pass through wood, but for an easy extraction, we advise novices to use straw targets. As long as no one’s planning on engaging an actual bear or boar with this spear, we can’t recommend it enough.
This weapon does come in two parts, so users will need to screw the blade on.
The Reapr 44-inch Survival Spear is another modern spear, similar in look and feel to the United Cutlery and Schrade spears we already discussed.
The 8-inch blade is made of precision cast stainless steel, and it comes with its own rubberized TPS snap sheath for protection. The snap should allow hunters to have their weapon out and ready in a flash. Along with the 36-inch shaft, the overall length of the spear measures in at 44 inches – so, about the same length as the Schrade spear. The staff is made of nylon and fiberglass and is textured for a secure grip, and the blade is attached with bolts.
There are slight wings under the blade, so the spear gets wider than the blade right where it attaches to the shaft. We don’t believe this would stop an animal from being able to hurt a hunter, especially because the spear is so short.
So, this is just another basic spear. It doesn’t have attachments to make it longer, or any secret compartments to distract from its purpose. The Reapr Survival Spear will probably be able to help in hunting a smaller animal or a fish. It’ll also be great for novice spear throwers, as it weighs in at only about 0.7 pounds (11.2 ounces). It’s not very flexible, though, and it’s certainly on the short side, but it’ll do its job.
Another thing this spear has going for it is its price. At that price, it is by far the cheapest of the spears listed here.
Choosing the Best Hunting Spear
Over the (thousands of) years spears have existed, there have been many different types depending on their intended use. We already shared some of this in our review of the Greek spear. Whether they were used for close-range impaling of enemies or animals, or making long-range shots – spears are amazing. Sadly, they’ve fallen out of use for hunting since the invention of firearms. So, why can’t we bring them back? Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to walk in the shoes of our ancestors as we’re stalking our prey? The spear hunting revival movement has been catching speed in America since the early nineties. So, it turns out, spears may be on their way back, and we can help them.
Now that we’ve seen five excellent models of hunting spears, here’s a bit of a buyer’s guide for the less experienced among us. So, what are we supposed to be looking for in our spears? There are several questions we should be asking ourselves.
What Are We Going to Use the Spear for?
Well, firstly, we’re going to want to decide what we’re getting it for. If we want to be right next to the animal we’re hunting, and stay relatively safe, a winged spear is the way to go. So, we could choose the Cold Steel Wing Spear – or Cold Spear Boar Spear, now that we know the difference. For big game hunting, the spear needs to have a decently broad blade. It also needs to be long, so the hunter can have less of a chance of coming into contact with the animal. We also recommend having a plan B in the form of a firearm. For fishing or smaller animals, the blade needs to be narrower. It can also be of a lighter or shorter variety, for throwing purposes. Hunters who are just dipping their toes into spear hunting should focus on smaller game.
If we want to practice our throwing technique, however, we want to choose a spear that doesn’t have wings. Weight is also a requirement for spear throwing. That is, a lighter spear will be easier to propel. That means one might pick any of the shorter spears we discussed, or the Greek spear. We did mention that user reviews said that the United Cutlery spear was a bit heavy on top. This may not be an issue, as we explained, and may, in fact, be a thing of personal preference.
Now, not everyone will want to use their spears for hunting, or even target practice. Some of us just want to have an awesome spear or two to put on display. This may vary based on personal tastes, but most people are after historical replicas when they’re looking to fill their display racks. If that’s the case, they might want to turn their attention to the Cold Steel Wing Spear, for its resemblance to spears used European battlefields. If they’re even more of a history buff, the Greek spear may be the one for them.
Which Materials is the Spear Made of?
This is going to be important for both thrusting and throwing, whether we’re hunting or practicing. The spears we reviewed were either made of the American ash tree, or nylon and glass fiber combinations. Ash is a perfectly strong wood, as far as staffs go. However, we have seen some users comment on how they immediately swapped the ash wood shaft for an oak wood staff. The oak wood is sturdy and gets us a slimmer staff, so it lies nicely in the hand. Also, some people may just swap out the staff if they’re dissatisfied with the length of the spear.
And another thing, as far as materials go – it’s all right to make a trip to the hardware store if we find the screws our spear comes are lacking. This is common, and honestly, not that big of a problem, especially when we know our way around hardware.
Nylon and glass fiber spears are for those who don’t care about owning a historical replica. Or, maybe they already own one but now want something with a modern feel. These spears are very tough and durable, and they’ll make any survivalist’s day. There’s something for everyone on this list. Those who are into having a secret compartment in their weapon can go for the Schrade spear. They can go for United Cutlery for a longer alternative that can be taken apart for easy storage. Or, some might want the more affordable, no fuss version of a nylon-fiberglass spear, like the Reapr.
Here’s another reason the material of a spear might come into play, and that’s purely for the sake of aesthetics. Some of us might just prefer to practice, hunt, or even admire in a display spears of a certain material. That may be another reason a person may exchange the staff of their spear for another wood of their choice.
Is the Spear Easy to Use (for Our Intended Purpose)?
This brings us back to the story from the intro. People often don’t realize exactly how difficult a spear is to master. That’s okay – it takes time. But we recommend that novices try to get their hands on a spear before buying online. This allows us to have a gauge of the weight distribution and length we should expect from our spears.
We also need to keep in mind our intended purpose of the spear when thinking about ease of use. A heavy spear wouldn’t be very easy to throw, now would it? A slim, wingless spear wouldn’t stand a chance against a bear. If we want to be able to pack up all of our gear into one bag, we might not want to go for a 7 ½ foot tall spear, like the Cold Steel Wing Spear. These are the reasons why we need to take into consideration what we’ll be using our spears for.
How Much Will it Cost?
Obviously, we want to get the best spear we can for the money we can spare. So, take into account the characteristics of each of the spears we reviewed, and think if they justify the price of the spear.
Keeping this in mind, here’s our list once again:
Can these justify their prices? The United Cutlery is very durable, we can take it apart and put it in our bag (as long as it’s about 33 inches long), and it comes with a sheath. The Cold Steel doesn’t come with a sheath, and it’s fairly heavy, but it’s an impressive recreation of a historical spear. It’s also got wings that can protect us from an animal, but it would actually be pretty unwieldy in close combat.
Condor’s Greek Spear gives you another hint of history and a great choice if you want to try your hand at spear throwing. The Schrade Phantom Spear sounds like a survivalist’s dream, as long as the tool kit doesn’t get stuck in the staff. And, finally, the Reapr spear seems like a perfect practice spear. It’s not too long, and it doesn’t have any unnecessary flourishes. It’s just a good spear, with a reasonable price.
Of course, if we’re going to be hunting with a spear, we need to keep something in mind. We’ve already said this in the introduction of this article, but it’s worth repeating. A true hunter stays on top of the local fishing and hunting regulations for his own safety. We need to know which animals are legal to hunt with a spear in our areas.
Also, we have to keep in mind that a hunter will need to be at peak physical condition to actually hunt with a spear! With practice, we’ll get the kind of strength and accuracy it will take to master the art of spear hunting. We recommend starting with standing targets, preferably straw targets that won’t hold onto our spears as tightly as a wood target might. Then, we need to look into the legality of hunting with spears in our area. If it isn’t legal locally, we may find an area where it’s legal, and start with smaller prey. After we can accurately hit a smaller moving target – big game is next. We just have to remember to always have an appropriate spear for the occasion, and maybe even a gun.
And, that’s about it! Spear hunting is undoubtedly awesome, but it’s also pretty dangerous for the unprepared. Still, it can be a great way for us to experience the kind of adrenaline our ancestors must have felt when they were hunting for survival!