EPOCH FIREFLY IQ5 –
This year Epoch has partnered with us here at Lacrosse Playground for a serious heavy duty review of almost every handle they have on the market. It started with the F30 and has extended to the rest of the lineup including the Firefly handles. Many of the Epoch handles carry similar technologies but subtle differences. Certain aspects do carry over from handle to handle but each has its own specialty. The Firefly is a great handle for that player who wants to advance their game with a technology driven aid without breaking the bank. This handle grows on you quickly and in many ways.
SHAPE 9 out of 10
The Firefly features a unique concave shape when using the handle. Obviously concave octagonal handle shapes aren’t new but the way the Firefly feels is. The handle feels like a cross between a more rounded handle like the old STX handles and a true concave octagonal like the Kryptolyte. This shape is unusual for all of about 30 seconds, throw on your gloves and hit the wall and after 3 or 4 passes it will feel insanely natural in your hands and give you a solid feel when performing any action. The shape of the Firefly may not be something you’ve seen before but it definitely earns a comfortable rating. 9 out of 10.
WEIGHT 10 out of 10
Firefly and Dragonfly aren’t just cool names for shafts but they live up to the names by being feather light. The Firefly like most Epoch handles feels just as light as the competition for hyperlight handles such as the Burn Pro and Gait Ice. Not a ton to be said here. 10 out of 10.
GRIP 10 out of 10
Epoch’s SlipGrip should be famous if it is not already. Companies have tried for years to create a grip that players actually enjoy, can feel, and that doesn’t wreck your gloves. For the most part companies have either gone to rubberized grips that peel or are way too sticky or a sandblast that in order to not do damage to gloves often can barely be felt in a way that makes you say “Wow I really like this”. The SlipGrip on the Firefly is so perfectly laid. Other than a little tape for the bottom to keep the end cap on I don’t need any to have the perfect feel on the shaft. It also is not too sand papery to the point where I feel like it is scratching on my hands during wall ball without gloves. No matter what the position a handle with SlipGrip will immediately make a quality impression on you.
DURABILITY 8.5 out of 10
The Firefly is a cheaper model from the Epoch line but don’t think that it isn’t strong. We pounded on this shaft and it held strong, we did end up breaking a competitor’s top of the line handle with a Firefly during a check but also cracked our first Firefly in the process. We spoke with James Miceli of Epoch about this and he was thoroughly shocked as they have never seen this happen. He immediately replaced the shaft without question calling into effect the 1 year warranty that Epoch stands by and will stand by their products no matter what. Not only did the shaft get replaced, but we have since put the new Firefly through the same kind of beatings and it has withheld the force without so much as a scratch. We are definitely viewing that first break as a fluke. The Firefly will hold strong in your hand through absolute full force play and definitely deserves your confidence. 8.5 out of 10.
FLEX 9 out of 10
The Firefly made with Epochs Advanced Carbon Layering (A.C.L.) technology using unidirectional weave carbon fiber with multidirectional layering without fiberglass add ins creates a consistent flex along the handle so no guessing when you decide to let it rip or get in hard on the crease. Being an IQ5 handle the Firefly holds tight for outside rippers who are looking to add consistency and hide the ball from the goalie as the release timing definitely changes. When shooting with the Firefly the shot feels almost as though it lags behind you but when radar tested the ball does not lose any speed from a standard metal shaft over to a Firefly. This lag can also be beneficial as goalies tend to have a hard time adjusting to 90 mph shots that just don’t seem to come from the same spot or timing that they are used to. Inside shooters will love that the shaft stays stable though as the flex is strong enough to give when checked on the crease just enough to keep your shot from being as heavily changed by good defense. Check out the flex test here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nKzHOfFnv0
The Defense variant of this shaft is more similar to the older Dragonfly handles than the new Gen 5 series. It is an IQ 8 giving it solid flex during play. When checking you can feel the flex but the lack of “Reload Technology” it has a good feel but maybe not the extra snap you get from a Dragonfly. Clearing passes feel good and snap through like a traditional handle so getting them on point should be no issue here. The controlled flex of the Firefly may take some adjustment but once you do it is definitely a feature you will enjoy. 9 out of 10.
LOOKS 10 out of 10
Epoch made the Firefly with a different design in mind. The thick Pantone 382c stripe down the side with the labeling and “Live Play Be” reminder on the back of the shaft gives the Firefly a unique design that you just can’t help but love. By keeping it simple while standing out the Firefly gains a 10 out of 10 in the looks department.
OVERALL 9.3 out of 10
Want to give an Epoch handle a try without breaking the bank? Looking for a solid backup to your already awesome C30 IQ5? Just want a sick handle that performs well and looks the part too? Well the Firefly may just be the handle for you. It certainly has been for us. 9.3 out of 10.