If you’re looking to get into spearfishing and have done some research, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the Mako Predator Pro mentioned as a good beginner gun. I first heard about this gun on spearfishing forums, and after a bit of research, I bought one. So what’s my verdict on the gun after six years of use?
Review quick summary
I absolutely love this gun and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any newbie spearo. Even now, owning other more expensive guns, the Predator Pro is still an important piece in my spearfishing toolkit and I hunt with it often. I have put thousands of hours of use on this gun, and landed thousands of dollars worth of fish with it. I have never had to replace a single part of the gun itself, or even had any issues at all with it.
I’ll get into the details of all the individual parts of the gun below, but overall it is just a really well-made speargun. Mako didn’t go cheap for any of the gun’s parts, so you literally unbox a ready-to-use speargun with high-quality rubber bands and shooting line already rigged up.
There is very little that a more expensive gun with the same barrel length can do that this gun cannot. Yes, I’m a total fanboy for this gun, but that’s because I truly believe that it’s by far the best-value speargun you can get. The Predator Pro is a great gun for any beginner, or for an experienced spearo looking for a second or third gun but not wanting to break the bank.
Keep reading for information on pricing, my recommendations on barrel length and whether or not to get a reel with the gun, and my full review of the gun. For the one potential drawback, see the section on the handle.
Speargun size and price
You can buy the gun from Mako here, or from Amazon here. You should buy it from Mako though as it’s cheaper and they already have amazing customer service so you don’t need to worry if you have to return it.
Mako ships worldwide. All models meet the $99 threshold for free shipping in the Continental USA. The price of the Mako Predator Pro 3G is as follows for each model length.
|Gun Model||Spear Diameter||Price (US Dollars)|
|50 cm||6.5 mm||$155.95|
|60 cm||6.5 mm||$155.95|
|70 cm||6.5 mm||$165.95|
|80 cm||6.5 mm||$175.95|
|90 cm||7 mm||$175.95|
|100 cm||7 mm||$185.95|
|110 cm||7 mm||$195.95|
|120 cm||7.5 mm||$205.95|
|130 cm||7.5 mm||$215.95|
Which model to get
Everyone needs to consider their own needs in choosing their gun length, but I believe the real sweet spot here is the 90 cm model. It’s the perfect versatile tool for hunting both reef and open water. It’s not too short for long-range, and it’s not too long to do some hunting under boulders and around reefs.
For more on gun length, and a general overview, see my post on How Spearguns Work.
At 90 cm you also get into the 7mm thick spear which won’t bend as easily when you forget about the boulder right behind the fish you’re shooting at.
If you know you’ll be getting right into bluewater spearfishing, then obviously you should get a longer gun. And if you know you’ll mainly be spearing in small caves and under boulders, then go shorter. If you’re unsure though, I think 90 cm is the perfect compromise.
To reel, or not to reel
I recommend that new spearos use a float and float line rather than a reel until they start getting more comfortable in the water. You can see an explanation and my full thoughts on why in my post comparing spearfishing reel lines to float lines.
With that said though, unless you are on a tight budget or you know for a fact that you won’t be using a reel on your gun, you should think about adding one on to your order. Reel guns offer a lot of benefits that you may eventually want to take advantage of. Mako reels attach and detach from the gun very easily.
If you order them together, Mako should attach the mounting plate for you which will make it easier to get going once you decide to try out the reel.
Experience using the gun
Spearfishing with the Mako Predator Pro is really easy. The gun just works. Its weight feels right, the pistol grip rests perfectly in my hand, and the trigger and safety feel like they’re right where they should be.
The gun swings easily back and forth through the water and the end is not too heavy.
Like any good speargun, the Predator Pro is deadly accurate. The spear just goes exactly where you aim it. With both stock bands loaded, the range is excellent, and it’s easy to quickly unload one band for those shots where you want less power.
Mako runs a factory-direct business model. They sell pretty much any freediving and spearfishing gear and accessories you can think of, and they contract with manufacturers to do this. Often, these are the very same factories who make much more expensive gear and you are essentially getting those same products but at a much lower price.
Some people knock Mako for this, and for possibly copying other companies’ designs, but this is really something that most companies in this industry do to at least some extent.
The factory-direct model means you won’t find Mako gear in dive shops, and that means one less price markup for you to pay. (They do sell through Amazon because it’s pretty tough for businesses not to these days).
What really sets Mako apart though is their incredible customer service. The two-year warranty they put on the Predator Pro covers even the stupid stuff you might do to your gun. As the owner Dano says in the warranty, “If this speargun falls out of your pickup truck while driving down the freeway, we will repair or replace it at no charge”.
One of the things that convinced me to get this gun was a guy in a forum who checked his speargun on a flight, had it damaged by the baggage handlers, and Mako replaced it for him. Nobody else does that.
Mako Predator Pro 2G vs 3G
Note that my experience is with the previous version 2G while the current gun is the Predator Pro 3G. The only difference between the two guns is that Mako made the already tough handle even more durable on the 3G. If you happen to see a good deal on a secondhand 2G, I wouldn’t let the fact that it’s the older model stop you.
The Mako Predator Pro is built to last. As I said, I have used it regularly for over six years and had pretty close to zero problems with it. There was one time where I was putting on my fins in light surf during a beach entry and had the gun sitting in the sand. The spear was already locked in and the safety was on. Once clear of the surf, I loaded the bands, and on a later dive I saw a nice coral trout, but the safety jammed — I couldn’t set it to fire.
I surfaced, fiddled with it for a bit, and it came unstuck, then i dove back down and got the fish. There must have been a few grains of sand in the trigger mechanism, but they came out and importantly, didn’t leave any damage.
So the one time I ever had an issue with the gun, it was my own fault, nobody was put in any danger, and I got the fish anyway. Sand in the trigger mechanism can cause problems for any speargun, so this isn’t a major knock against the Predator Pro.
The trigger mechanism quality
Probably the most important part of the Predator Pro’s quality is the all-stainless steel trigger mechanism. A cheaper gun might have been permanently damaged by getting sand inside it like what happened in the story I just told. This gun uses quality parts that won’t rust, corrode, wear, or break.
Cheap spearguns sometimes use molded plastic in the trigger parts, and this is something you should avoid at all costs. The trigger, safety, or shooting line release is usually what fails first on spearguns that don’t last. Having that happen is a sucky situation, and it can be a dangerous one as well.
The gun’s construction
The Mako Predator Pro’s barrel is made from aircraft-grade aluminum making it lightweight, but still completely rigid when loaded. Cheaper guns can flex under the tension of the bands. This decreases accuracy, and over time it will warp the barrel permanently.
I have seen a few reviews of this gun that question the strength or the comfort of the handle of the Predator Pro.
As far as the quality, my gun has held up perfectly for six years of use. The same goes for my buddy’s gun which he bought at the same time as me. Since handle strength was the primary upgrade in the 3G model, it’s possible there was a previous issue that they’ve since addressed.
For handle size, this one is a personal preference for sure. If you have the luxury of living near a proper spearfishing shop, you should support them and buy a gun that feels good in your hand.
Otherwise, I would say order this gun and if you just hate how it feels in your hand at home, then take advantage of Mako’s insustry-best customer service and send it back.
You can see in this photo the size of the grip, and the position of the loading butt pad. I saw one reviewer say this interfered with his arm and it looks like it might do that from the photo, but that’s literally never been an issue for me.
The muzzle is made mostly from plastic, as is typical on metal-barreled spearguns. This can be a problem if the manufacturer goes cheap, but the material used on the Predator Pro is very strong and I have had zero issues with it. The muzzle ears to guide the shooting line are usable on both sides and are made from a single piece of stainless steel that screws firmly into the plastic. The reel line guide is also stainless steel and is fully integrated into the plastic.
One major benefit of the plastic muzzle is that there can be a small gap in the hole that the bands pass through. This lets you add and remove the bands easily without untying them. On most wooden guns, you have to untie one side of the wishbone to remove a band from the gun. This quick on/off is much better for beginner spearos in my opinion.
Those holes for the bands to pass through means that the gun accepts hand-tied bands which is absolutely what you want to be using. Trust me, you do not want to buy a guy with the screw on bands.
One of the great things about this gun is that it comes completely ready to use, and you don’t need to upgrade anything. The dual bands on the Predator Pro come pre-tied with ultra-strong Dyneema wishbones and are made from high-quality rubber. You will eventually need to learn to tie your own bands, but it’s nice receiving a gun that’s fully set up and ready to go.
(The wishbone is what connects the two open ends of the rubber band, and they are what hook onto the spear to load the gun)
I would strongly advise that you buy a gun that uses Dyneema wishbones. Avoid metal wishbones as they can be pretty dangerous.
The shooting line
The Mako Predator Pro ships with a fully rigged shooting line made from top-quality, abrasion-resistant monofilament. Like with the bands, eventually you will need to learn to rig a new shooting line, but it’s nice that it comes ready to use with good materials right out of the box.
The shooting line attaches to the gun via a shock cord and swivel clip. After six years I’m still using the original shock cord that came with the gun which should tell you something about the quality.
Speaking of original parts of this gun that I still use, the spear is yet another part of this gun where Mako didn’t go cheap. Depending on the barrel length you order, you’ll get either a 6.5mm, 7mm, or 7.5 mm spear. The 7mm spear on my 90 cm gun is an absolute beast.
I actually bought a backup spear when I purchased the gun. When the original had lost its anti-rust coating and turned brown, I changed it out for the new one. This was basically done for aesthetic reasons.
Sadly, a big grouper took that new spear off of me, and I switched back to the original spear. It’s still going strong.
The spear uses some type of hardened steel and the band wishbones hook onto steel tabs welded to the spear. Cheaper spears use notches cut into the steel but this significantly weakens the shaft. The Predator Pro spear with the tabs welded on is seriously tough.
I have shot this spear through enough big fish, and into enough rocks that it should by all rights be bent by now, but it is still dead straight.
The spear shipped with the flopper perfectly tuned (it stays flush with the spear while being shot, then easily drops open after passing through the fish, then sticks in the open position). Six years later, and the flopper is still perfectly tuned.
Loading the gun
The Mako Predator Pro includes a loading butt pad, which is a nice touch that most cheaper guns omit or charge extra for. It definitely makes loading the gun easier.
I have always found this gun very easy to load. A friend who also owns it has more difficulty, but still manages. A lot of it is technique more than strength, and eventually it becomes quite easy.
Because bands start to degrade from the day they are tied, Mako doesn’t tie their band until you have ordered the gun. Because of this, and because of their excellent customer service, if you’re really worried about loading the gun, you can call them and ask them to tie the bands slightly longer to make loading easier. Of course there will be some trade-off in decreased power when using longer bands
The Mako Predator Pro is not the best speargun you can find. If you have the budget and you’re sure that spearfishing is for you, then by all means get yourself a higher quality gun.
For most beginners though, there is just no other gun that offers the same high quality at anything close to this price point. If you’re not sure what gun to get to get into spearfishing, you won’t regret buying this one.
If you have any questions or feedback, please drop a comment below.
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