E-Lacrosse tested the STX CO2 with players at varying skill and age levels. Two Centennial Conference players and a former ACC player used the shaft in competition this spring and summer on our behalf and all liked it. Two are still using the CO2 everyday. The other prefers to use a recessed head, which requires a straight pole. We also had some recreation league kids test it on a one-day basis this fall. They all liked it. To be completely fair, The R-Force looks cool, everybody's seen it in stores and knows that it is not cheap, so the kids liked it even before they tried it. When asked if they would want one as a gift for the holidays, after trying it, they all said yes. One wanted the pole for his birthday, which was a week away. He left very happy that day with our sample. A little gift from E-Lacrosse and STX.
Now, we personally told STX's Bob Griebe that we "would NOT bang the stick against a brick wall or do anything that would be abnormal to the game of lacrosse", BUT, when all testing was done, we abused the heck out of one anyway promising ourselves that we would not hold breakage under such conditions against the shaft. This thing is solid! We tried to actually smash it with a hammer and it didn't budge. We saw a few others playing with the stick this year and always asked about damage. No one that we could find has seen one break. Griebe says they will break if you run over them with a car. Nope! One kid watching the NCAA tournament said that he heard that when they break, it is at the junction with the head, but we never saw or heard anything to prove that and can assure you that most heads would have broken first on many of our extra curricular tests. The CO2 feels more substantial that the metallic (titanium and alloy) poles but weighs about the same. It reminded some of us of the feel of wood, which we miss. The design is sharp and the pole meets all of the NCAA specifications.
The scientific benefit is the lowering of the head's center of gravity. Some of our testers said that their shots seemed a bit harder and ground balls were easier, but we never saw increased ball control as a result. In fact the learning curve if you are changing from a straight pole and head to either a recessed pole or head is noticeable. The kids that were used to that style picked it up right away. Our older guys took a week or so to get comfortable with it.
STX says that the seamless design is "only possible with STX's CO2 Composite. The bulletproof Kevlar is interwoven with carbon and nylon and baked at volcanic temperatures to fuse together and harden into one ballistic shaft that is stronger and lighter than titanium." We don't expect that these poles will ever need to be bulletproof. We didn't test that. But they were smash, crash and bash proof and played a few seasons for E-Lacrosse testers and got good reviews.
This shaft is recommended, but if you have never used a recessed head or pole, try a friend's before you buy. If you like that style, you will love this pole. If not, they make a straight CO2 composite shaft, as well. You can get it at most retailers and it makes a great Christmas gift as it looks green in most light. Use a red ribbon.