Full Disclosure I ordered a Blade Wrap and Sniper Skin sent me the Sniper Wrap and the Grip for free to test. This review is based on the Blade Wrap I paid for and the free Sniper Wrap they sent me.
Update: Sniper Skin has released a new version called the Sniper Skin 3 which has been reviewed and can be found here: https://hockeyreviews.ca/2016/08/25/sniper-skin-ss3-blade-wrap-review/
The Enforcer and Sniper blade wrap that can be seen in this post and video can no longer be ordered. As of June 2017 you cannot order the blade wraps in colours other than black and white.
Unfortunately when I put on my first Sniper Skin Blade Wrap on I figured I’d leave more room towards the toe to get the maximum amount of toe coverage as possible. This lead to the end of the Sniper Skin Blade Wrap to stick up on the blade from the excess material. This was fine when I was shooting in the backyard but once it came time to use it on the ice it became a big issue getting in the way of the puck when digging in corners or trying to stick handle. I decided to try and cut the excess material off but I couldn’t get a straight cut all the way around the blade and it ended up cracking the Sniper Skin Blade Wrap. after making the cut the Blade Wrap lasted 1 skate (which ended up being basically a shooting practise for 2 hours). The Blade Wrap started to crack more and pieces were chipping off, I had to remove the Blade Wrap from my stick when I got home.
Shooting: Besides the issues with stick handling (which were totally my fault and not the fault of the Sniper Skin Balde Wrap at all) I was having some weird issues with my stick when I got on the ice. It felt like the stick I was using lost all of its kick and pop on shots, something I experienced with an older version of this stick a few years back… but this was far too early for it to happen with a relatively new stick. I played twice with the Sniper Skin Blade Tape on ice and both times it felt like my top of the stick became as good as an $100 alternative. I brought the stick back to the shooting pad in the backyard and noticed the stick felt new again, this made me extremely confused as to what was going on and I was thinking it was perhaps because of the height difference on skates and off skates. Since I didn’t want to take off the Blade Tape I decided to try something first to see if the Blade Tape could possibly be the issue.
I taped the bottom of the Blade Tape with normal tape to increase friction on the bottom of the blade with the ice. I immediately felt a difference in my shots and the pop and kick of the top of the line stick came back to me. I took the tape off and shot some more and felt my shots decline in quality again, but I have a hard time believing that the Blade Tape would have that much of an effect on my shots. Since the Blade Tape was cracked and falling apart because of my terrible trim job I decided to tape my stick normally for my next skate to see if my shot would come back. During that skate I recalled 1 shot that I felt I whiffed on and that is because I got stick checked while shooting, every other shot felt crisp and clean. It felt like I could properly load the stick and use the stick’s flex to launch the puck quickly off the blade, this was especially noticeable when taking slapshots. With this stick the majority of my slapshots come off ridiculously hard with very little effort to the point that I have to work to keep the puck below the net, but with the Blade Tape I had a really hard time getting the puck higher than halfway up the net. I believe that the Blade Tape is too slippery on ice and when I put force and a load on the stick the blade simply slips on the ice instead of actually flexing the shaft like it should.
Now I still have a hard time believing that the Sniper Skin Blade Tape this would make that much of a difference, so after that game I put the Sniper Skin Sniper Wrap on my stick and have been using it since. I am now 5 skates in on the new wrap and am feeling similar issues with my shots not kicking like they normally do, but I noticed the rate of disappointing shots was less than that on the original skin. Perhaps this has to do with how much smaller the Sniper Skin Sniper wrap is compared to the other one. Either way I was not satisfied with my results and needed another test to really confirm.
At ModSquad Hockey’s Summer Jam Warrior was on location with demo stick of the QRL, this was the perfect time for me to see if the Sniper Skin Blade wrap was having a negative effect on my shooting by doing a side by side comparison of a Warrior Covert QRL stick with the same flex as mine but taped. I found all of the shots with the taped version to behave exactly as I was expecting, and this included slap shots and shots while skating down the wing. Not every shot was perfect but I didn’t have any huge flubs and pucks sliding off of the blade in a pathetic fashion. Once I grabbed my QRL with the Sniper Skin Blade Wrap and my slapshots immediately felt off, about 1 in 5 came off my blade the way I expected them too and the rest felt sluggish or like I was not using a top end stick. Once I started skating down the wing in game situations is when I really noticed the difference. Far too many shots I would take would flub off my stick and miss the net by 10 feet to the right, and when I was hitting the net constantly with the taped version but having a very difficult time getting a decent shot of with the Sniper Skin version I knew this performance issue wasn’t all in my head.
I have a feeling the Sniper Skin Sniper Blade Wrap is too slippery to work properly with the ice causing my stick to slide out under load from a shot, and thus greatly reducing my stick’s shooting performance. 0/10
Durability: Unfortunately I cannot really comment on how long these last since I botched the first installation, the second skin got stepped on after the first skate but held up fine afterward. But after 5 more skates and my testing I decided I am cutting it off so I get my shot back with the Warrior Covert QRL so I cannot comment on how long the stick will last. N/A
Stick Handling & Passing: It is slightly thicker than tape and you can tell there is a bit more to your stick than if you use a single layer of tape. It doesn’t really dampen the stick feel but you do notice that you are not using tape. I did feel that pucks would roll off my stick a bit more than I was used to when stick handling, but at the same time the slippery wrap allows your stick to slide a bit quicker on the ice. 7/10
Summary: I like the green idea behind this product in terms of recycling a product instead of creating more waste and I like the idea of having the same tape job every time you put it on. Replacing it quickly on the fly is basically impossible at a rink since no one will bring a kettle with them to shrink the wrap, so if it gets destroyed during a skate you are taping your stick until you can apply a new one. The cost is also pretty high in my eyes for a tape replacement product. I believe $10 would be easier to swallow compared to the $15 these cost ($20 if you have to have it shipped). Sniper Skin mentioned they are working on a wrapped toe version for people that tape the toe of their stick (like me), but even then I cannot justify the purchase of this product. In my experiences it actively made my shooting less consistent and worse compared to when I use regular hockey tape and was making me frustrated with my game. I cannot justify or recommend purchasing a Sniper Skin Blade Wrap and would suggest staying away from it. Hopefully I’ll have better experiences with the Sniper Skin Grip. 3/10
The original skin with too much material over the toe.
Orignal back of skin before I cut it.
The orignal skin after I cut the extra material from my botched installation job.
View of the skin with about 8 ice times. The rip is because of my own mistake and not a problem with the skin itself.
Small knick in the bottom of the wrap.
Back of the original wrap, one of the holes expanded into a bigger cut here.
Freshly applied second skin, this one the Sniper variant.
Back of the freshly applied skin.
Skate cut happened during first skate, this is about after 8 ice times as well.
Back of the Sniper Wrap.
Damage from the skate, still held up for about 7 ice times after that.
The heel of the wrap.