Best Defense Lacrosse Shafts

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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.

Table of Contents

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 8 best defense shafts plus 2 budget options if you are looking for a cheaper shaft.

Best Lacrosse Shafts for Defense:

1) STX Sc-Ti Defense Series (Multiple Shafts)

Drip Level: 5/5

Details

  • Material: Scandium/Titanium alloy
  • Weight: 13.4 – 14.11 oz
  • Shape: Varies based on choice (see below)
  • Grip/Finish: 2 mil steel shot grip finish
  • Colors: Platinum, Black, Gunmetal, Blue Steel
  • Warranty: 6 months

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.

The STX Sc-Ti shaft line has been around for 10+ years and remains one of the best and most popular options today thanks to their light weight and high strength.

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).

Here is an overview of each of the 5 shapes:
X: Extreme concave shape
R: Ridge profile for extra feel and grip
S: Asymmetrical design that is octagonal on one side and concave on the other
O: Concave octagonal (traditional feel)

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.

2) Warrior Burn XP Carbon Defense

Drip Level: 5/5

Details

  • Material: Carbon composite
  • Shape: Traditional octagonal
  • Grip/Finish: Matte finish
  • Colors: White
  • Warranty: 6 months

Released in October 2021, the Warrior Burn XP Carbon Defense is one of the best shafts for both defensemen and LSMs currently available.

It is designed to strategically flex to provide more power on shots and long passes as well as checks. If you like how it feels when your pole flexes (which typically only happens with carbon fiber shafts), then you'll definitely like the Burn XP Carbon. 

Another great thing is the dot matrix grip that gives you a good feel of the shaft in your gloves but won't tear them up like many other shafts with rougher grips. This reduces the need for tape which can weigh your shaft down.

The Burn XP Carbon Defense comes with two end caps which you can switch out based on your preference—a larger one that provides more leverage for checks, passes, and shots, and a lighter one if you don't want the extra weight.

Overall, if you are a fan of lightweight and flexible carbon D poles, the Warrior Burn XP Carbon is a phenomenal choice.

3) ECD Carbon Pro 3.0 Defense

Drip Level: 5/5

Details

  • Material: Carbon fiber + Kevlar
  • Shape: Concave
  • Grip/Finish: Matte finish + raised texture
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Warranty: 6 months

ECD took the best features of the Carbon Pro 2.0 shaft and implemented new features to make the 3.0 even better.

The Carbon Pro 3.0 Defense is now reinforced with Kevlar, making them even stronger while maintaining an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Something else new in the 3.0 is that it comes with a sliding end cap that allows you to move it to where you're most comfortable.

The Carbon Pro 3.0 Defense features a low-kick point that gives an extra bit of flex on shafts and shots—a great feature that not many D shafts have.

Both the white and black versions have clean designs featuring some text and logos that are barely noticeable on the shaft, in a good way. There is also a raised texture towards the bottom of the shaft to give you some extra grip while eliminating the need for tape which can weigh your stick down.

Overall, the ECD Carbon Pro 3.0 Defense is a great, durable shaft that is great for any defenseman or LSM that prefers carbon fiber shafts. There's a reason it has been used by elite pro players like Matt Dunn over the summer before it was released to the public.

4) STX Fiber O Defense

Drip Level: 4.9/5

Details

  • Material: Carbon composite
  • Shape: Octagonal (traditional)
  • Grip/Finish: Targeted grip zones
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Warranty: 6 months

STX makes a second appearance on our list of the best defense lacrosse shafts with its elite carbon shaft: the Fiber O Defense.

The Fiber O shaft has a more-traditional octagonal shape with targeted grip zones that give you a better feel of the shaft and reduce the need for tape.

While the STX Fiber O Defense shaft isn't the lightest available, it holds up very well over time and isn't prone to splintering like other carbon fiber shafts. This makes it a great option for both defensemen who are constantly laying checks as well as LSMs who carry the ball in transition.

The Fiber shafts have a moderate amount of flex. It's not as noticeable as the Warrior Burn XP Carbon but you can definitely feel it a bit on hard passes and shots.

Buying Options

5) StringKing Metal 3 Pro Defense (2 Shafts)

Drip Level: 4.8/5

Details

  • Material: Metal alloy
  • Weight: 12.7 or 14.11 oz
  • Shape: Slight concave
  • Grip/Finish: Sandblasted finish
  • Colors: Silver, Black
  • Warranty: 6 months

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 your shaft break, bend, or develop any major dents or cracks.

The shafts have a slight concave shape that gives good feed in gloves as well as a sandblasted finish that gives a better grip than a completely smooth shaft.

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.

StringKing-Metal-3-Pro-Defense-Suggestion-Chart

Buying Options

6) Maverik Caliber Defense Shaft

Drip Level: 4.8/5

Details

  • Material: Scandium-Titanium Alloy
  • Shape: Concave
  • Grip/Finish: Bead-blasted
  • Colors: Silver, Gunmetal, Black, White
  • Warranty: 6 months

New on our list of the best D and LSM shafts for 2022 is the Maverik Caliber—a tough metal shaft made of a military-grade scandium-titanium alloy that holds up in almost any condition.

Maverik also released an updated version of the Caliber in October 2022 featuring cleaner designs on the four color options available: Silver, Gunmetal, Black, and White (new). The new version features an almost-blank shaft with a simple “Caliber” written in a sleek font.

Aside from the strength and relatively lightweight, the Caliber also has a nice concave shape that feels great in gloves. Compared to shafts with a more rounded shape, you can really feel the edges of the Caliber, giving you extra leverage for laying checks and quickly moving your stick for groundballs and deflection/intercepting passes.

Another cool feature of the Maverik Caliber shaft is the bead-blasted finish. Unlike some other shafts that add a lot of extra material to provide texture, this is a subtle grip that doesn't add any weight. 

Finally, the Caliber Defense includes the adjustable butt end that Maverik has been including on most of their new shafts. This allows you to move the butt end to where it feels the most comfortable for you—a nice touch on an already great shaft.

Buying Options

7) Maverik Mission Blank Defense Shaft

Drip Level: 4.6/5

Details

  • Material: Scandium alloy
  • Weight: Not available
  • Shape: Traditional octagonal
  • Grip/Finish: Bead blasted finish
  • Colors: Black, White, Gunmetal, Silver
  • Warranty: 6 months

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 feels great out on the field. It also has a bead-blasted finish that gives a subtle, yet effective grip.

If you're a fan of clean, metal shafts, the Maverik Mission Blank is an awesome option.

Buying Options

8) StringKing Composite 2 Pro Defense Shaft

Drip Level: 4.6/5

Details

  • Material: Carbon fiber
  • Weight: 12.70 – 14.11 oz
  • Shape: Slight concave
  • Grip/Finish: Smooth
  • Colors: Black, White
  • Warranty: 6 months

If you are a StringKing fan but prefer a carbon shaft, the Composite 2 Pro Defense is a solid choice (literally). It has very little flex for a composite shaft and unmatched impact resistance. 

Just released in October 2022, the updated version of the popular Composite Pro Defense sill features Smart Taper technology to optimize the balance of the shaft while adding strength where the weakest points usually are. 

Like the original Composite Pro Defense, the Composite 2 Pro Defense comes in two weights—360 g and 400 g. If you are a younger player (15 and under), we recommend going with the lighter version and vice-versa for those 16 and up.

Unlike a lot of other shafts, the StringKing Composite 2 Pro Defense doesn't have too much grip. Instead, it has a smoother feel. In addition, it features the same (very nice looking) minimalistic design as the Metal 3 shafts.

StringKing has really pushed towards. the front of the crowd when it comes to shafts and the Composite 2 Pro Defense is no exception. If you want a clean, carbon fiber shaft without the flex that most come with, you can't go wrong with this pole.

StringKing-Metal-3-Pro-Defense-Suggestion-Chart

Buying Options

9) Budget Shaft: STX Hammer 7000 Defense

Drip Level: 4.4/5

Details

  • 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.

10) Super Budget Shaft: STX 6000 Defense

Drip Level: 3.8/5

Details

  • Material: Metal alloy
  • Weight: Not available 
  • Shape: Octagonal
  • Grip/Finish: Smooth
  • Colors: Black, Silver
  • Warranty: 6 months

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.

How to Choose a Defense Lacrosse Shaft

Having trouble deciding which defense shaft to go with? Here are some things you may want to consider when comparing options.

1) Durability

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. 

2) Weight

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. 

3) Material

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.

4) Shape

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.

5) Grip/Finish

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.

6) Cost

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

How We Rate Defense Lacrosse Shafts

We take our ratings seriously and only recommend products that we would use ourselves.

To come up with our ratings for each product, we test the product ourselves whenever possible, review product specifications (weight, strength, material, grip, etc.), and read customer reviews/talk to lacrosse players we know that use the product.

When testing lacrosse shafts, specifically, we weigh the shafts, feel them in gloves (for both grip from the shape of the shaft as well as the texture of the finish), shoot with them to understand how they flex, check them with another stick and lay checks with them to see how they hold up.

When it's not possible to extensively test a product ourselves, we spend extra time talking to real customers who have used the product for a while themselves.

If you ever have any feedback for any of the products listed on this page or have a recommended addition, please contact us and let us know!

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?

I've never seen one. LSMs may consider going with a lighter shaft that is easier to control in transition and on the offensive end, but I've never seen a specific “LSM shaft.” Most carbon fiber/composite shafts will give LSMs some flex that may increase their shot speed.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

Dave Rathmanner

Dave is the founder of Lax Drip. In his 15+ years of playing lacrosse, he always had trouble figuring out which gear to buy without a reliable and trustworthy gear review site—so he created the resource he always wished he had. Dave has played lacrosse at the high school, college, and adult levels and continues to play to this day.

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