Carbon Defensive shafts have been tried before by many companies in the game of lacrosse and typically, it has gone horribly. For a long time I believed there was no real solution for an aggressive pole who wants the carbon feel, the STX Hammer 500 is one solution that truly lives up to the promise and name. We were extremely excited when STX let us try this out and with over 15 people having tested it via scrimmages and games at all ages the review will definitely show our love for this handle.
Shape 10 out of 10
The Hammer 500 is an oddity when it comes to the shaping, it is a traditional octagonal but the feel is odd in a great way. When you hold it without gloves it feels slightly thin but comfortable and easy to hold on to with STX standard octagonal shape which is always nice. But when you put on the gloves the handle feels a normal size fitting in your hand for every check, cradle and pass. Shape is often overlooked on handles but STX definitely paid a lot of attention getting the Hammer 500 right for every age group of pole.
Grip 10 out of 10
Carbon should always have a nice finish to it providing a natural grip that requires little tape. The Hammer 500 does this and more. STX showed further attention to detail almost removing the need for tape (still need some for the end cap of course) by adding actual riveting to the bottom of the handle. Hard poke check, over the head checks, or slap checks doesn’t matter the Hammer feels like it won’t leave your hand until you make it, kayak checks for the more advanced players. The riveting stops which leads to a grip that allows easy sliding for said kayak checks or catching difficult passes choking up but still manages to feel good in your hand. I took around 15 faceoffs with this pole every single time with no tape and honestly never needed it. Every metal shaft I have ever used required tape on the shape, the Hammer made it obsolete as I could go forward, back, 45 degree or fight out for the ball without a second thought of slipping. One of the best feeling shafts I’ve ever used for lacrosse 10 out of 10.
Durability 10 out of 10
We had this handle for a few weeks with younger kids, high school kids, and adult players. The younger guys never really tested the strength but the high school and mens players put it through the test. Tucker Durkin uses this handle so I didn’t have any worries but still wanted to see if it could handle a heavy hit being given and a heavy hit received. Carbon normally loses to metal but the Hammer crushes anything it touches not giving in the slightest and not rattling during a heavy check. It did get scratched (sorry slashes happen) but that’s it surface layer scratch and live on to tear up another attackman without any fear of breaking. I could see years out of this handle with confidence. We threw every check we could think of at this handle and it didn’t budge 10 out of 10.
Looks 10 out of 10
It’s clean. I thought long and hard on what to say about the look of the Hammer 500 and clean is the first word we used and at this point the last word. No flashy graphics, no super bright colors, no gimmicks it’s a black handle with a simple logo and a flex rating. Unassuming when you approach it but the first time someone lays into you with a good check using a Hammer 500 you will know and remember it. This handle proved simplicity can be perfect in the sport not everything needs flash. A clean 10 out of 10.
Overall 10 out of 10
STX has literally hammered the competition with this shaft. Throw checks with confidence, shoot with power, barely feel the weight in your hands, and make it stick when you leave a mark. In every possible aspect the Hammer 500 is a phenomenal shaft and a steal at any price. Every Dpole needs this in their arsenal. 10 out of 10