It’s an aggressive looking head, and it certainly photographs well, but how does it PLAY? That’s always the most pressing question!
Powell Lacrosse sent us a care pack with some heads and shafts to give our thoughts on, so see below for the Pioneer head review and stay tuned for our thoughts on the handles!
Appearance – 9/10
The looks of the Pioneer jump right out and hit you in the eyeballs. It had a certain edgy flow to the design, and the keyhole face shape makes it look narrow, but still something you can catch with. When you look at the head unstrung, you can just imagine a deep, channeled pocket fitting in perfectly.
The many sidewall and scoop holes let the imagination wander, and when these heads are dyed up a strong color, they look really cool. Looks aren’t everything, but the Pioneer certainly pleases from an aesthetic point of view.
Stringing – 9/10
Overall, the Pioneer is easy to string, and it allows stringers to put pretty much any kind of pocket in the head. With six scoop holes the top string possibilities are endless. If you want to go standard, and only attach four rows of mesh, the spacing of the holes allows for that nicely.
The throat holes are also well spaced, and fit both string and leathers. You may need to pull your leathers through using pliers, but they will fit, and then will not shift easily, so that’s a plus.
There are 16 sidewall holes in total, and they are very evenly spaced, and consistent. They run both high and low up and down the sidewall, allowing for high, mid, or low pockets.
The keyhole shape of the head also allows a nice channel to be formed with ease, no matter where the pocket will sit; high, mid, or low. Even the most novice stringer should be able to get a good pocket going in a Pioneer head, and that’s a great thing.
I have only one complaint about the stringing, and that has to do with the top holes on the sidewall being just a little too small for all string to easily fit through. It’s perfect for crosslace or a thinner sidewall, but once you get past that, it can be a real chore to fit thicker lace through the holes, and you can pretty much forget about double looping with thick string. That’s literally the only knock I could find.
Stiffness – 7/10
The Pioneer is not the stiffest head in the world. It bends side to side a little bit, and has a little flex to it. You can still pick up a ground ball with no problems, but I might not use it for face offs, as it can give too much under a lot of pressure.
The head is far from “rubbery”, but it’s not “flexible” or “stiff” either. It bends a bit when you put some force on it, and a lot more when you really crank down on it. This is likely a much better stick for offensive players than defensive players for that reason, but for O guys it is more than stiff enough.
Durability – 7/10
As long as you don’t face off with the Pioneer, you should be ok. The stick can take a solid beating and has been used by players like Casey Powell and Dan Gardy, but once it starts to warp, it can take on some funkier shapes. Face offs will pretty quickly warp this head, and I might not use it to throw a ton of hard checks if I’m a big defenseman. If you’re wondering if it can stand up to midfield and attack play, it certainly can, and provides a nice light option for any offensive player.
Value – 9/10
You might be asking how durability and stiffness scores can be relatively low, while the value portion is still high… that has everything to do with the Powell Lacrosse warranty. Don’t like the product? NO PROBLEM. For one full year, Powell has you covered.
The head costs $90, which is a middle of the pack sale point, but the warranty is one of the best in the business. That is serious value!
Overall – 8.2/10
The Pioneer is worth a look. If you don’t like it, Powell Lacrosse will take care of you. If you’re a middie or attack, I think you just might like it though!
I can see this head being very popular with youth players, high school players, and college players. I don’t think it has quite the beef needed for most defenders, but the fact that the Pioneer is super light might prove me wrong. For everyone (including D guys) below the college level, the Pioneer provides a truly solid option. The face shape, full offset, ease of stringing, and looks are all excellent. The head may seem a little weak, but again, it will certainly work for offensive players who want a light head with a nice channel!