One of the most common questions I receive is, “What is the best low deflection, high performance shaft?” In the years I have worked at Seybert’s there have been many shafts come through, from every manufacturer, and I can tell you that they are all good for what they do and the price they are marked at.
With every cue and every shaft you pay for what you are getting. There are rarely markups that are not justified by the performance. With this said, the most popular high performance shafts we sell are Predators.
Throughout the years Predator has grown and adapted to make one of the best low deflection shafts on the market today, bypassing their competitors in sales, performance, and technology. They have adapted a shaft for every type of player, from the beginner to the advanced.
Predator has six different high performance shafts available, although the S tuned is exclusive to Seybert’s Billiard Supply, and the Fat shaft has been limited by Predator but is still available to order through Seyberts.com. The Predator shafts I will be discussing in this article are as follows; The Predator Fat (sold at Seyberts and custom built from a Predator Fat blank shaft by our certified cue maker), 314-2, Z-2, Z-2 S Tuned, and the Vantage shafts. The Carom shaft, by Predator, I will touch on lightly as it is specific to that game.
The Predator Fat shaft, designed for the “old school player”, is a high performance shaft featuring a pro taper and tip diameter of 13.2mm. This shaft is currently available as a custom build through Seyberts.com. Practice makes perfect when trying to improve your game, but it is also important to find a shaft that you are comfortable with and the Fat shaft allows someone to go from their typical playing shaft to a high tech shaft with increased durability and a sturdier feel.
The Predator 314-2 shaft also has a pro taper. This taper seems to be the most common on traditional shafts. The 314-2 has a 10 piece splicing construction giving the player more feel, better consistency, and increased spin. It is one of the most forgiving in low deflection, and recommended to a player that wants a little more edge to improve their game from the traditional 13mm shaft. The Predator 314-2 shaft is, in my opinion, the easiest to get used to when switching over to a low deflection high performance shaft from a standard hard maple shaft.
The Predator Z-2 has a European taper with an 11.75mm tip diameter. A European taper on the Predator Z-2 will begin at 11.75mm at the tip and gradually increase in size. This shaft is more accurate with less deflection than the 314-2. However, a European taper (or conical taper) is generally more difficult to get used to when switching over from a standard pro taper 13mm shaft.
The Predator Z-2 will give the player the upper hand as it still has the 10 piece splicing, allowing for more consistency similar to the 314-2. The most common reason a player dislikes this shaft is the way it feels in the bridge hand, as the size increases down the shaft. However, with practice, it is very helpful in decreasing cue ball deflection and improving your game. The Predator Z-2 shaft is recommended for the more advanced player.
After speaking with our customers and listening to the pros and cons of the Predator shafts, Seybert’s Billiard Supply came up with an idea of having Predator build a shaft that is like the Z-2 in accuracy, with smaller tip diameter, but with a pro taper. This new shaft became known as the Z-2 S-tuned. With a pro taper it feels better in the bridge hand, yet you still get the low deflection and accuracy that the Predator Z-2 allows. Predator took a high tech performance shaft and supercharged it, leaving the player with a powerful weapon against their opponents that feels right during play.
In late 2014 the Vantage shaft from Predator Cues was introduced. Imagine the technology and power we have always come to know and love from Predator, completely reconstructed, revamped, and improved.
Predator Vantage shaft features a Vault Plate that reconfigures stress points between the tip, ferrule, and splices, to create a stronger shaft allowing for a higher energy transfer. The ferrule and tip pad have also been created to reduce mass and increase accuracy. This also allows for a truer hit and pleasing sound when shooting. The Vantage shaft has a larger tip diameter at 12.9mm, with a pro taper, but it is packed with power and low deflection. The result is increased shaft stiffness, accuracy, proven velocity, and superior control.
Predator is also largely popular overseas, where the game of Carom is bigger than ever. The idea of the Carom shaft by Predator is to still have the same format as a typical carom shaft, with the shorter length of 27 5/8” and a Carom taper. It is designed to replicate the standard shaft but with less deflection. The Predator 3C Carom shafts are built to order through Seyberts.com.
Many cue makers have introduced low deflection shafts over the years as they continue to revamp in order to follow Predator’s example. Pool players have their own personal preference on what they use in their game, just like any other sport. Knowing this, Predator has the ability to focus in on the different skill levels to create something that will give the player an edge over their opponent. Predator is always one step ahead of their competitors by continuously testing the limits and re-engineering their products to increase performance. They remain a top seller in low deflection high performance shafts for this very reason.