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With so many options available, it can be hard to choose a new defense shaft for lacrosse.
There are metal and carbon fiber options, different shapes, various grips, and other things that you have to consider when choosing a d-pole.
To help make this process easier, I researched the market to find the best defense shafts available today.
Best Defense Lacrosse Shafts
To find the best lacrosse shafts for defensemen, I started off by creating a database of all available handles on the market including as much info about each as I could find including price, weight, material, and more.
I then read customer reviews and visited my local sporting goods to get more insight into how strong they were, how they felt, and what they looked like in person.
From there, I narrowed down my list to the 7 best defense shafts plus 2 budget options if you are looking for a cheaper shaft.
Best Lacrosse Shafts for Defense:
1) ECD Carbon Pro 2.0 Defense Shaft
The ECD Carbon Pro 2.0 comes in first on our list of the best defensive shafts due to its light weight, strength, and great grip.
Weighing in at under 13 oz, it is one of the lightest defense shafts we’ve found, but it doesn’t sacrifice strength thanks to its advanced carbon fiber material.
This shaft has a low flex point to help you deliver powerful checks on top of the raised criss-cross texture on the bottom third of the shaft to give you better control.
Like all ECD shafts, the Carbon Pro 2.0 Defense comes with a 6-month warranty should it break or form any major cracks.
2) STX Sc-Ti Defense Series (Multiple Shafts)
If you prefer a metal shaft, you can’t go wrong with an STX Sc-Ti Defense shaft thanks to their durability and relatively light weight.
There are 4 different weights/shapes to choose from depending on your play style, including the X (extreme concave, 13.4 oz), R (ridge, 13.76 oz), S (shift, 14.11 oz), and O (octagon, 14.11 oz).
The STX Sc-Ti Defense shafts have a clean, minimalistic design and come in a variety of colors. There is a thin butt end that attaches on the inside of the shaft.
3) Maverik Hypercore Defense Shaft
The Maverik Hypercore is one of the most innovative shafts that I’ve ever seen. It is a composite shaft with a mostly hollow core besides an I-beam that runs down the middle to give it extra strength.
Unlike most carbon shafts, the Hypercore has no flex, making it a great option for both laying hard checks as well as carrying the ball in transition.
Like most recently released Maverik shafts, the Hypercore comes with an adjustable butt end that let’s you place it at exactly where you prefer.
4) StringKing Metal 3 Pro Defense (4 Shafts)
The StringKing Metal 3 Pro Defense comes in two weights/strengths to best suit your age and skill level. Check out the chart below to determine which makes the most sense for you.
Both options are relatively light and durable. To achieve this, StringKing analyzed warranty claims from their older metal shafts to find the specific spots that needed reinforcement. In addition, StringKing also offers a 6-month warranty should you shaft break, bend, or develop any major dents or cracks.
The Metal 3 Pro Defense, which comes in silver and black, is one of the best looking shafts available today with a small logo on one side and info about the shaft on the other.
5) STX Hammer 700 Composite Defense Shaft
Drip Level: 4.8/5
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Weight: 13.76 oz
- Shape: Concave
- Grip/Finish: Raised grip on bottom
- Colors: White, Black
- Warranty: 6 months
The Hammer 700 is one of STX’s most popular and best defensive shafts currently available.
Its carbon fiber construction gives it great durability and strength without adding too much weight. It’s around middle-of-the-pack when it comes to weight, but provides much more strength and durability than similar shafts.
Another great feature of the Hammer 700 is the raised grip towards the bottom of the shaft. This gives you more feel on your stick when throwing checks and carrying the ball.
6) Maverik Mission Blank Defense Shaft
If you don’t like a ton of graphics on your shafts, the Maverik Mission Blank Defense is right up your alley. The “Blank” in the name of the shaft means just that—the shaft is literally blank.
There’s something about having no logos and no other way of indicating what shaft you are using (besides maybe Maverik’s patented adjustable butt end) that makes you feel like you’re in an exclusive crowd.
The actual performance of the shaft isn’t bad either. It is made of scandium alloy, giving it a great strength-to-weight ratio that will feel great out on the field.
7) StringKing Composite Pro Defense Shaft
If you are a StringKing fan but prefer a carbon shaft, the Composite Pro Defense is a solid choice (literally). It has very little flex for a composite shaft and unmatched impact resistance.
It uses Smart Taper technology to optimize the balance of the shaft while adding strength where the weakest points usually are.
Unlike a lot of other shafts, the StringKing Composite Pro Defense doesn’t have too much grip. Instead is has a smoother feel. In addition, it features the same (very nice looking) minimalistic design as the Metal 3 shafts.
8) Budget Shaft: STX Hammer 7000 Defense
Drip Level: 4.4/5
- Material: Metal 7075 alloy
- Weight: 13.05 oz
- Shape: Slight concave
- Grip/Finish: Mild sandblasted finish
- Colors: Black, Silver
- Warranty: 6 months
The STX Hammer 7000 Defense is a favorite among younger players who are just learning to play with a d-pole.
Despite it being a cheaper option, it is one of the lighter defensive shafts weighing in at just over 13 oz. It also has a nice sandblasted finish, giving it the feel of a much more expensive shaft.
The Hammer 7000 comes in black and silver, both of which have lines accenting the the half or so of the shaft.
Even though this shaft has pretty good strength and durability, it does come with a 6-month warranty should it break.
9) Super Budget Shaft: STX 6000 Defense
The STX 6000 Defense shaft is made for beginners, making it a great first option for new d-poles. It is relatively light and you can cut it down easily to better suit shorter players.
It has a traditional octagonal shape and a smooth finish. It also has “Memory Marker” graphics that help young players learn proper hand placement.
I don’t recommend the STX 6000 Defense shaft for higher levels of play as it’s not as durable as more advanced shafts. It’s not a bad option if you’re just looking for a cheap defense shaft to mess around with in the backyard, however.
>> Read More: Cheap Defense Lacrosse Shafts
How to Choose a Defense Lacrosse Shaft
As a defenseman who will be laying checks throughout the game, the most important thing is to find a shaft that will hold up well for you throughout the season. Whereas attackmen and middies might be able to get away with weaker shafts, defensemen and LSMs cannot.
It can be challenging to judge the durability and strength of a shaft just by simply looking at it or holding it, however. I recommend reading/watching customer reviews (like I’ve done to create this guide) to figure out if a defensive shaft will hold up well.
More advanced shafts are typically very durable and are tough to break, dent, or crack.
It’s also important to find a relatively lightweight shaft that won’t slow you down throughout the game. Super heavy shafts can make laying checks, intercepting passes, and even dodging harder since you won’t be able to move your stick as fast.
The tricky part is finding the right balance of weight and durability since most extremely light shafts are a bit weaker. Most of the shafts listed on this page are light, yet durable, thanks to the advanced materials they are made of.
In the past decade or so, many companies started developing carbon fiber shafts along with the more traditional metal shafts.
People often ask me which they should go with. The honest answer is that it all depends on your personal preference.
Carbon fiber shafts typically have a higher strength-to-weight ratio and flex more than metal shafts. They may take a while to get used to, however, if you are used to playing with a metal shaft.
Metal shafts, on the other hand, don’t flex much, and switching from one metal shaft to another should feel pretty natural. Metal shafts get dings and dents in them more easily than composite shafts—but these don’t make them unusable like composite shafts once they crack.
Composite shafts are more prone to catastrophic failure than metal shafts because they shatter instead of just getting a few small dings. So while an average carbon fiber shaft may hold up better, once they break, they are pretty much useless.
Another thing to think about when deciding which defense shaft to get is what kind of shape you prefer.
There are a few different options, including octagonal (traditional shape that is just an octagon), concave (octagonal with the angled sides curved in), ridges (multiple curves on each side), and asymmetric (on side is octagonal and other is concave/other shape.
Like material, there is no “best” shape. It really comes down to your preference. I recommend trying out some of your teammates’ shafts to see which feels the best to you with your glove on. It’s important to try it with your glove because that’s what you’ll be playing with in a real game.
Aside from the shape and material of your shaft, the finish of it also affects how it feels in your hands.
Most metal shafts have some sort of sandblasted finish which just makes them a bit more rough. Composite shafts are usually a bit smoother but some (such as the ECD Carbon Pro 2.0) have a raised texture to give you a better grip.
This is also something that you’ll want to test out with your gloves on to see what feels the best to you.
Like with any lacrosse gear you are buying, you have to think about your budget, of course. Luckily, if you don’t want to spend a ton on a defensive shaft, you can still get a quality option at a relatively affordable price.
At the end of the day, all shafts are generally the same shape and size. There really isn’t that much difference between a mediocre shaft and a top tier shaft.
If you are looking to save on your stick, I would recommend going with a cheaper shaft and nicer head. The best lacrosse heads are noticeably different than mediocre heads. They often have better face shapes, are more durable and stiff, and have superior scoops.
With that being said, if you are trying to find a cheaper lacrosse shaft, I recommend looking at older models. Often these are discounted as new versions come out despite there being little difference from generation to generation.
>> Read More: Best Defensive Lacrosse Heads
FAQs About Defense Shafts
1) Will XYZ head fit onto this shaft?
Most heads typically fit onto any shaft—even if they are different brands. You may have to drill a new hole in the shaft so you can screw the head in, but that’s usually the extent of work required.
The one caveat is if your head has a throat plug and you’re using a solid (not hollow) composite shaft. In this situation, you may want to find a hollow shaft (or head without a throat plug) to make sure they will fit.
With that being said, there aren’t many defensive heads that have throat plugs. These are most popular in faceoff heads which most defensemen wouldn’t be using anyway.
2) What is the standard defense shaft length?
When you buy a new defense shaft, it will almost always be 60 inches long. This is the standard length and what most high school and college players use.
The legal range for defense shafts, however, is any where from 30 to 60 inches. If your shaft is 30 inches, however, it would be considered an attack shaft.
Younger and shorter players may want to cut down their shaft to a shorter length to give them more control. The general rule of thumb is that your entire defense stick should be the same height as you. Since most heads are around 10 inches long, your D shaft should be 10 inches shorter than your height.
3) Are there shafts specifically made for LSMs?
Photo credit: Flickr