The original Hammer Black Widow bowling ball was released in June 2006 and has since become one of the most popular bowling balls. Hammer, and later Brunswick, expanded the Black Widow bowling ball line to include solid, reactive hybrid, reactive pearl, and even urethane pearl variations. Over nearly 20 years, around 30 different bowling balls have been produced under the Black Widow name, creating anticipation each year as players wonder what the new Black Widow will bring.
In January 2024, Hammer finally introduced one of the most intriguing bowling balls in 2024 - the Hammer Black Widow 3.0. Equipped with the iconic Gas Mask core, known for its significant flare potential, versatility, and dynamic backend motion, and featuring the aggressive HK22 coverstock, the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 promises to be one of the best options for benchmark bowling ball in 2024.
In this Hammer Black Widow 3.0 bowling ball review, we will explore its strengths and weaknesses to assess whether it has the potential to stand out as one of the best bowling balls in 2024.
Coverstock Type: Reactive Soild
Coverstock Name: HK22 Aggression Solid
Core Type: Asymmetrical
Core Name: Gas Mask
Box Finnish: 500/1000/2000 Siaair
Best For: Medium-Heavy oil
Total Diff: 0.058
Intermediate Diff: 0.016
Asymmetrical core - Asymmetric bowling ball deliver sharper, more angular motion when meeting friction.
Symmetrical core - Symmetric bowling balls produce a soft, controllable motion.
Radius of gyration (RG) - The higher RG, the more back-end motion a bowling ball will produce, as high RG ball skids more and tends to conserve more power for the further part of the lane.
Total Diff - the difference between low RG (X axis) and high RG (Y axis).
Intermediate Diff - only found in asymmetrical balls, as it is the difference between the high RG (Y axis) and intermediate RG (Z axis).
Examining the bowling ball tech spec sheet, the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 appears similar to its predecessors. It retains the classic Gas Mask core, shares the same coverstock type as the Hammer Black Widow 2.0, and even maintains the identical box finish. The sole distinction between the Hammer Black Widow 2.0 and the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 lies in the base material of the Hyperkinetic22 (HK22) coverstock. HK22 was typically utilised in hybrid bowling balls to enhance their backend reaction. In the case of the Black Widow 3.0, the HK22 base material is paired with a reactive solid coverstock, promising an intriguing lane reaction.
We provided the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 to two of our testers – a speed-dominant one-hander and a rev-dominant two-hander. The objective was to afford the ball the opportunity to showcase its strengths across different lane conditions. Thus, we conducted tests on heavy, medium, and dry sport oil patterns, in addition to a typical house shot pattern (THS).
A speed-dominant one-hander particularly enjoyed Hammer Black Widow 3.0 bowling ball on fresh medium oil pattern. In contrast to the Hammer Black Widow 2.0, this latest version not only excels in the midlane but, thanks to its HK22 coverstock base material, also exhibits a more pronounced backend reaction. The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 enabled the tester to widen angles slightly, maintaining a controlled motion towards the pocket consistently, without the need for additional surface adjustments on the bowling ball. Our speed-dominant one-hander tester absolutely loved the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 on medium oil pattern. It had everything you'd want in a benchmark bowling ball – a strong, reliable mid-lane read that's easy to control, and a powerful follow-through that keeps the pins dancing.
On heavy oil, our tester added more grit to the surface (1000 Siaair). This tweak enabled a straighter approach with enhanced midlane read, ensuring a consistent ball reaction down the lane, as the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 showed a bit of unpredictability at the backend with box finnish. Even with more aggressive grit, Hammer Black Widow 3.0 maintained quite strong backend motion, entering the pins strongly with the right angle, and creating good pin carry.
The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 pleasantly surprised us on short oil patterns too. Our speed-dominant one-hander tester decided to jazz things up by giving it a smoother surface (4000 Siaair) and shifting a bit left of the center arrow to hug the lane and keep the ball swimming in the oil for longer. The result? The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 smoothly glided through the mid-lane and delivered a sweet backend, making it a joy to pull off some really solid shots.
The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 really clicked for our rev-dominant two-hander when tackling a heavy oil lane with the out-of-the-box finish. It dug in nicely, grabbing onto the oil for a solid grip in the midlane and unleashing a powerful, smooth movement towards the pins. Our two-hander could even switch things up by moving a bit to the left, slowing down the ball a tad, and gaining extra space to take on those pins.
The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 performed well on a medium oil pattern, although the 2000 grit Siaair seemed a bit excessive. The rev-dominant two-hander tester, with a slower speed, faced challenges in delivering the bowling ball further down the lane. These issues were resolved when 3000 grit was added to the surface, enabling the ball to glide more smoothly, covering more distance, and maintaining the desired backend motion.
If the Black Widow 2.0 and a Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid had a baby, his name would be Hammer Black Widow 3.0. It has the same Gas Mask core, shares the same coverstock type as the Hammer Black Widow 2.0, and even maintains the identical box finish, but has Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid's eyes - Hyperkinetic22 (HK22) coverstock.
The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 offers a stronger mid-lane read, and, thanks to its HK22 coverstock base material, it also displays a more noticeable backend reaction upon exiting the oil. The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 is highly adaptable to surface changes and proves to be a valuable addition to any arsenal, suitable for various bowling conditions. Our testers discovered the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 to be extremely beneficial in situations where a robust asymmetric benchmark bowling ball is needed to widen angles without compromising the entry angle to the pocket.
Hammer Black Widow 3.0 Evaluation
The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 is like your trusty sidekick, always ready to adapt to whatever conditions you throw its way. It's a valuable addition to any arsenal, catering to various bowling styles. Our testers found it to be particularly beneficial in scenarios where a powerful asymmetric benchmark bowling ball is required to widen angles without compromising the entry angle to the pocket. Truly, the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 stands out as one of the best bowling balls to invest in for medium to heavy oil setups – and rest assured, it won't let you down.