Comparison Reports

Hammer Black Widow 3.0 Comparison

Welcome to Fill The Frames Bowling Services’ ball comparison report of the Hammer Black Widow 3.0. We continue to present more information to help you make a better choice in equipment replacements or additions.

Hammer Black Widow 3.0 2.500 .058 .016 (55° x 5-1/2” x 35°) • HK22 – Aggression Solid 500, 1000, 2000 Siaair
Comparison to Hammer Black Widow 2.0, Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid & Hammer Envy Tour
Using the same additive package as the 2.0 Solid, Hammer adds the newest base formulation (HK22) to the Black Widow line. Keep in mind, the 3.0 is not a replacement for the 2.0. It’s is another option that gives more and earlier traction that narrows the gap between the Widows and the big Asym Extreme Envy. We added the Envy Tour to this comparison to show the difference in the cores while having similar (but not exact) covers strengths. As with most Asyms, the 12 (RG 2.612) and 13 (RG 2.589) pound balls will have an alternate core (Diff of .043 and Asym of .011). This allows the performance to match the ball weight.

Hammer Black Widow 2.0 2.500 .058 .016 (45° x 5” x 25°) • Aggression Solid 500, 1000, 2000 Siaair
The original Black Widow changed the game for thousands of bowlers. The 2.0 was introduced on 11/19/2020. This ball was designed to get as close to the original motion on today’s lane conditioners. The release was and continues to be a success. The cover is easily adjustable to help a bowler fine tune the ball motion. The Aggression cover will combat the Medium to Heavy volumes.

Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid 2.500 .058 .016 (45° x 5” x 25°) • HK22 – Aggression Hybrid 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair/Crown Factory Compound
The HK22 base has opened up a world to all ready great ball motions and using it as a base for the Gas Mask core has produced what many are calling the Ball of the Year for 2023. It is cleaner and more angular than the Black Widow Ghost with better traction in oil. Surface changes are taken very well to match a bowlers release specs. Currently a go to ball for transition and friction away from the pocket.

Hammer Envy Tour 2.469 .034 .013 (45° x 4-1/2” x 35°) • Envy Solid 500, 1000 Siaair
On our Comparison Report for the Hammer Envy Tour (9/21/2023), we stated that this ball could be in many bowlers’ tournament bag as well as being a league choice. This is exactly what happened. The controlled power of the combination of the Envy Solid coverstock and the Obsession Tour core allows bowlers the best option for smoother ball reaction front to back and have a nice motion off the pattern. While blending out high ratio daily patterns the Envy Tour also manages flatter ratios as well, if not better.

The layout is slightly different and this is due to the D.O.T. and the ability to fine tune layouts even further.

Bonus Comparison – Hammer Scorpion Low Flare 2.474 .031 (4-1/4” x 30°) • Semtex Hybrid 500, 1000, 2000 Siaair
Since the 3.0 and Scorpion Low Flare were released together. FTF wanted to show a comparison between the two. You can find our Hammer Scorpion Low Flare Comparison Report on the FTF website.

Bowling on a fresh pattern for this center where the numbers are 12:1, under 24mls, bulk at 27’ and buffed to 48’ this provides a good taper both front to back and the side to side is tapered, also. 

Starting out with the Hammer Envy Tour with a refreshed to box surface, I had to start a bit more left than I would using my usual benchmark, the Hammer Purple Solid Reactive. The starting angles were pretty shallow; starting on 23, targeting 13 at the arrows, with a focal point to the center of the 6 pin (9 board) between 42’-44’. With a rolling controlled release, lining up was fast and carry didn’t take long. The flare was about 4-1/2” and the motion was smooth and continuous off the pattern.

Switching to the Black Widow 2.0 also with a refreshed box surface, it and the bigger core took over. To get to the pocket consistently, moving in was needed and striking was found with the feet at 34, targeting at 18 at the arrows and a more open focal point to the right side of the 6 pin. This was an 11/5 move that created steeper angles from the Envy Tour. Using the same release as the Envy Tour, I just kept moving. Moving more left to 36 (the highest bulk of conditioner), flat 10s showed up. I could adjust the release for more axis rotation and the 10s were kicked out. The total flare was 6”.

Changing to the shinier Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid, the angles were closed almost back to where I started with the Envy Tour, but the ball reaction was different as the Envy Tour is a slower responding cover to friction and the 2.0 Hybrid is much quicker and sharper when it sees friction. This is what some call a skid/flip reaction. FTF describes this as clean through the front and a quick/sharp reaction off the pattern and the flare measured again at 6”.

The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 had more flare (7-1/2”) as it kept hooking. This is what we believe is too much flare for what we were bowling on. The motion was a touch cleaner than the 2.0 Solid but when it saw friction, hook started and did start to roll forward when the ball got too far away from the pocket down lane. The alignment to strike was where the 2.0 started leaving flat 10s. Staying there and closing down the launch angle so the 3.0 is in the conditioner longer, the reaction was better and the pin carry increased. Simply put, for my matched speed I need more volume to use the 3.0 or keep it in the bulk more. A surface change is possible, but that’s every bowler’s choice to fine tune the reaction. Bowlers that are speed dominant on medium to lighter volumes and ones who bowl on volume that need a ball to help cut through the conditioner will be happy with the 3.0.  

Just to test from where I was with the 3.0 to where I could strike with the Hammer Scorpion Low Flare had me curious. The motion looked the same as the Low Flare report; however when it hit the pins is was almost an 8-10. This showed the core is trying but the cover needs some friction to change direction. Moving right to 26, targeting 15 and the focal was between the 6/10, the smooth motion front to back and a little pop from the Semtex Hybrid cover, gave a great reaction and excellent pin carry.  The flare was larger (4”) than previous low flare or tournament differential cored balls, but is less than the Upper-Mid and High Performance balls. It’s all a ration and relative to each other. 

The Hammer Black Widow 3.0 is a continuation of the line and brings the evolution of HK22 to work with the Gas Mask core. There have been many Black Widows and the 3.0 will be a favorite among Hammer fans. It receives surface changes well. While FTF isn’t the biggest fan of polish and balls that are designed to cut through the conditioner, maybe a smoother grit or a touch of compound will fine tune the reactions if more volume is scarce in your area. This could be a tournament ball for those who have not had success with the biggest core numbers and cover combinations. The question from most- Is there enough difference between the 3.0 and the 2.0 Solid? I believe so. While I do have a slight difference in drilling numbers, a bigger change and possible surface adjustments would open the ball motion difference. Having a 3.0 and the Scorpion Low Flare is an interesting 2 ball combo for some bowlers. Ask your favorite retailer what could work in your benefit. If you are an FTF client and I have done an Arsenal Evaluation for you, you can contact us and we can see if any ball can fit in your ball selections.

You can find more information about HK22

We hope enjoyed this review and got some information to help you make the choice to add the Hammer Black Widow 3.0 to your arsenal. Feel free to contact FTF with your questions. Please be specific, that way I can get you the best possible answer for you. Our best advice is to get an honest feedback on your skill set. This will determine your choice in equipment which can benefit you on the lanes. Understanding what you bowl on for the majority of the time helps greatly, too.  You can always contact me with any questions or schedule a consultation session on your current equipment. For more information, please visit the Coaching & Services page on our website at or you may call or text messages to (310) 784-1901. Thanks, be well & safe!

As always, what you bowl on and more importantly your release numbers and skill set will determine your choice in equipment. You can always contact me with any questions or schedule a consultation session on your personal release specs or current equipment. For more information, please visit the Coaching & Consulting page on our website at or you may call or text me at (310) 784-1901. Thanks, be well & safe!

Juan Fonseca
Fill The Frames Bowling Services

Hammer Scorpion Low Flare Comparison

Welcome to Fill The Frames Bowling Services’ ball comparison report of the Hammer Scorpion Low Flare. It’s been awhile since Hammer has had a Low Flare option. FTF sees this as a ball that will get little notice at first and then when more hit the lanes, they will be seen in a lot of leagues and tournaments. Dual releases sometimes cause balls to be overlooked, at first.

Hammer Scorpion Low Flare 2.474 .031 (4-1/4” x 30°) • Semtex Hybrid 500, 1000, 2000 Siaair
Comparison to Hammer Scorpion Sting and Hammer Arson Low Flare Pearl 
With the introduction of the Hammer Scorpion Low Flare, we see the return of a ball that can battle cliffed daily patterns, transitioned or tougher situations where control is needed. I understand most bowlers would migrate toward urethane balls. As we know, not everyone can use or like to roll urethanes. Looking for a smooth arc and some pop down lane, the Scorpion Low Flare would be a great option. High rev players that need control can easily find a place in their bag for this release. Tech wise, taking the flip block off reduced the diff by almost a third from the Scorpion Sting, while barely changing the RG. The Semtex Hybrid is the same cover that’s was on the first Hammer Scorpion. While the 12 and 13lb balls have the same cover and alternate core, we do see it as an exact ball as the Scorpion in the same weight. If you enjoyed your Scorpion at these weights and you have quite a few games on it, the Scorpion Low Flare would make an excellent replacement. 

Hammer Scorpion Sting 2.485 .045 (4-1/2” x 35°) • Semtex Pearl 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair, Crown Factory Compound
While I personally like the motion of the first Hammer Scorpion, I never used it as much as I would have liked. The Scorpion Sting with a lower RG and higher diff seemed better on the conditioner to friction ratio on medium volumes. A clean motion with a continuous change of direction off the end of the pattern was its strong point. 

Hammer Arson Low Flare Pearl 2.480 .020 (5-1/4” x 30°) • Semtex Pearl 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair, Crown Factory Compound
The Arson LF was released in February of 2013, so you can see why I stated that it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a medium strong cover on a lower differential core. Similar to the change in the core, Hammer under the EBI umbrella took the flip block off the first Arson core. This changed the numbers from Arson- 2.50 .045 to Arson Low Flare 2.48 .020. A more controlled Hybrid cover blended out the cliffs at the time and higher rev players again used this ball for control and tougher patterns in some tournaments.

This comparison was done after a morning trio league (3 games) with bowlers of averages from 120 to over 200 and bowled on one lane. Daily pattern is 12:1 with good taper side to side and to 48’.

Starting with the Scorpion Sting to get a base read, I didn’t see very much transition from the fresh morning pattern in this center. Angles were shallow, sliding 21 targeting 11 at the arrows with a target down lane of 7 to 9. Rolling the ball without much axis rotation, getting to the pocket and striking was not difficult, although the Scorpion Sting is a bigger ball than I would use on the fresh here. Low diffs (.030-.040) favor me to start here, but the Hammer Envy Tour (smoothed) can work, too.

Switching to the Arson Low Flare the ball was straighter throughout the shot. Having a longer Pin to PAP, a pearl version of the Semtex and compound added, this wasn’t a surprise. Moving right into the friction the motion was smooth with a rounded arc down lane. However, misses to the right did not recover consistently. Slicker oils of today make this ball sensitive and probably a defined high friction choice.

Changing to the Scorpion Low Flare and lining up the same as the Scorpion Sting, the pocket was still obtainable and carry was very good. I attribute this to what daily pattern builds can do to assist bowlers. Moving left into more volume, the Scorpion Low Flare continued to have a smooth shape throughout the lane and the carry was great. After striking more, I kept moving. Now into the pretty fresh 12:1 part of the lane and getting it to the friction down lane, I reduced my speed a touch to see what would happen. Same motion, same power through the pins, same pin carry and strikes (with a couple of 10s). Adding axis rotation and opening the launch angle to the friction 6-10 at about 43’, the Low Flare stayed on line easily and more pop was seen due to the delay in the cover reading the friction. Where the all started to not get back was deeper in the volume and steeper angles, but I did get 6/5 left before that happened. One shot with the Scorpion Sting there and it cleared well and was a later and sharper reaction down lane. This showed the more smoother ball motion of the Scorpion Low Flare.

A few days later, we put down the 2022 USBC Championships Team pattern down to test for some upcoming training sessions we have coming up. After using a few balls (Hammer Extreme Envy, Hammer Envy Tour, Radical The Hitter and Hammer Hazmat for a total of 3 games), the Scorpion Low Flare came into play. As you may know, USBC Open Championship patterns are playable and sometimes need to be shaped to hopefully maximize scoring. With the bit of friction I created outside down lane, the Low Flare rolled well and I didn’t see a skip or skid while there. Slowly moving in, I could get to the “track” area (9-11) at the arrows and keeping the projection straighter but slight left to right to 7-10 at 42’, the Low Flare read well and I had some miss room to hit the pocket and strike. This reduced the sometimes over/under reactions we see at the tournament due to their oiling and cleaning procedures. Of course, this will not duplicate what was or what we might see this year but as a comparison, the Hammer Scorpion Low Flare will be making the trip to Las Vegas this year.   

Although it is said (way too often with new equipment), this ball could find a spot in every league bowler’s bag. It definitely would be in a tournament arsenal. High rev players sometimes have trouble with big cores. The Scorpion Low Flare gives a proven cover on a more controllable core. Years ago, the term low flare was seen as “less hook”. With the advancement in cover/core tech and the aging of the lane panels, control is needed. Again in the past, low flare measured 1” to 3”.  This version is about 3” to 4” which is a lower option than today’s high performance balls touting 7”+ of flare (hooking potential). FTF always suggests getting your Release Specs and see if any ball could help you with how and where you bowl. While this ball has been released along with the very popular Hammer Black Widow 3.0, it stands alone and deserves a strong look for its unique build and motion.

Thank you for taking time to read our comparisons and we invite you to check our website for other comparison reports. Just put the ball name in the search and see it if is there. FTF currently only does comparisons on the Hammer releases, although we do give quick reviews on all the Brunswick brands.

As always, what you bowl on and more importantly your release numbers and skill set will determine your choice in equipment. You can always contact me with any questions or schedule a consultation session on your personal release specs or current equipment. For more information, please visit the Coaching & Consulting page on our website at or you may call or text me at (310) 784-1901. Thanks, be well & safe!

Juan Fonseca
Fill The Frames Bowling Services

Hammer Hazmat Comparison

Welcome to Fill The Frames Bowling Services’ ball comparison report of the Hammer Hazmat (WWRD 11/16/2023). We continue to present more information to help you make better choices when purchasing equipment replacements or additions. All numbers are for 15lb equipment.

Hammer Hazmat 2.479 .055 (4-3/4”x30°) • HK22 Semtex Hybrid 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair Factory Compound
Comparison to Hammer Envy Tour Pearl (9/21/2023), Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid (2/23/2023) Hammer Bowling has added a big cored, shiny symmetrical to its line. Using the Semtex Hybrid additive package (Black Widow Dark Legend, Fierce Phobia, and Scorpion) with the hottest base product in the industry-HK22, bowlers will be getting a ball that picks up in the mid-lane and a continuous motion off the back of the pattern. The paperwork says the intent is for medium volumes, as always drilling options and surface changes may be needed to dial the reaction each bowler is looking to achieve. 

Hammer Envy Tour Pearl 2.469 .034 .013  (45°x4-1/2”x35°) • HK22 Envy Pearl 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair Factory Compound
If you haven’t seen the Hammer Envy Tour Pearl go down the lane, you are missing a lot. The cleaner version of the Hammer Envy Tour gives almost the same motion as its solid counterpart, but for less volume or higher friction lanes. It’s not too strong for most daily patterns, yet gives a smooth motion and some area down lane. Plus there is a great promotion with this ball and the Hammer Extreme Envy that gets you a Hammer hoodie or pullover FREE! This offer ends 12/31/2023, so act fast!

Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid 2.500 .058 .016 (45°x5”x25°) • HK22 Aggression Hybrid 500, 1000, 1500 Siaair Factory Compound
The Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid is still one of the best selling balls currently available. Nothing can be added to improve upon the motion of the famous Gas Mask core…oh wait….the HK22 base formulation does. This cleaner and quicker response to friction is keeping Hammer fans very happy and scores keep coming.

Knowing that the core numbers are higher than previous syms like the Scorpion (.043), Dark Web Hybrid (.048) and still a personal favorite the Web Pearl ’21 (.048), I knew I would need more volume in a flatter configuration based on my release specs. For me, if there is a starting cliff the Hazmat would read the friction as soon as it saw it. In the fresh volume, the ball seems to travel too far and the window down lane was smaller than I’d like. Straighter angles in the conditioner and speed control allowed me a better reaction, but I didn’t have the built in room that other choices would give me on a fresh pattern for this center. When I repeated shots, the Hazmat looked great and hit amazingly. Other than having more volume and flatter, I think removing the compound and having a smooth finish (2-4K) would give me better traction in the oil, a longer roll transition overall and more room for error off the hand. I can see using this on medium, flatter patterns in where I need a ball to get through heads with some friction built in. Higher speed players will like this ball banking the friction down lane. Slower speed bowlers can use this in the volume and get great results if they can’t use the bigger solid choices with asym cores. Changing your rotation and tilt will give you more ways to attack the lanes. All in all, I like this release. I just need to dial the surface in as every bowler should do with every ball they have. I’m not trying to turn this ball into something I have, just tweak it enough to be more effective for what I see. 

Hammer Envy Tour Pearl – This ball continues to be in my main arsenal. Clean, but not skippy in oil. Smooth, very readable and responds well to release changes. I can use this on the fresh where I do the comparisons. Starting close to the friction (never in it) about 11 at the arrows to 8-9 at 45’ and with slight launch angle with the feet at 22, not a problem striking from this starting point. Moving in quickly to see what was there, the Envy Tour Pearl wanted to go a bit too long this early. Moving back and switching to the Hazmat, it read earlier and kept going. Moving 2-2 left and adding a bit more rotation, I was able to strike. Visually I could see where I could keep moving as the ball was cutting through the pins. While continuing moving in and got the feet at 30 and 19 at the arrows (that’s 8/8!) and adding a little more tilt the Hazmat was striking. I actually had to add more rotation and tilt once my feet got past 25. What was happening is the ball got to the end of the pattern started to roll forward (for me) due to the clean back ends and my slower speed. Adding rotation and tilt created more continuation through the pins. This goes back to my earlier statements about a slight surface change to play more in the volume and elongate the reaction window. Please note that this comparison was after a morning trio league and not many bowlers move left of 13 at the arrows.

Hammer Black Widow 2.0 Hybrid – This ball comes into play after some games have been thrown and the friction starts to open up down lane. It is my “skid/snap” reaction on the higher end. It has been said that the Hazmat is close to the reaction as the BW 2.0 Hybrid, just a smoother off the pattern. At box finish, I see the BW 2.0 Hybrid longer and sharper. This comparison was on fresh and both balls would not be my choice until the lanes blended out and developed friction further down the lane. The Hazmat could be used just right of the beginning setup point to the Envy Tour Pearl. Starting with the feet at 24, 14 at the arrows with a focal point at the center of the 6 pin (9 board) striking was there but again seemed like I could get more room down lane with a surface adjustment. Possibly a stronger pin to PAP distance due to how the Hazmat clears the fronts in oil would work, as well.  I keep my layouts close to each other so get a better idea of what each ball does and how I would adjust them later. Once I got to 25/15/9 the BW 2.0 Hybrid left a 2-4-5. The Hazmat continued and struck. Moving 2/2 more the Hazmat went longer and again went a touch forward with my starting hand position. Adding more rotation, it was back to striking.

These are my observations on how I compared the balls on a 12:1 42’ daily pattern with added buff to 48’. Your results may vary depending on your release specs, skill set & lane environments. Ball choices, surfaces and layouts should be considered before making a purchase to get the benefits of every bowling ball.

As always, what you bowl on and more importantly your release numbers and skill set will determine your choice in equipment. You can always contact me with any questions or schedule a consultation session on your personal release specs or current equipment. For more information, please visit the Coaching & Consulting page on our website at or you may call or text me at (310) 784-1901. Thanks, be well & safe!

Juan Fonseca
Fill The Frames Bowling Services

Search Past Comparisons

Comparison Report Introduction

Follow this link to get a deeper understanding of how we compared the new equipment to a baseline ball.

FTF Ball Comparison Intro