Mapex Black Panther Sledgehammer Snare review

A heavyweight drum that packs a serious punch

  • £379
  • $649

MusicRadar Verdict

It might look heavyweight and imposing, but this is a surprisingly sensitive drum.


  • +

    Refined tone with musical rim shots. It looks like a beast.


  • -

    Nothing of note.

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The name Black Panther, conjuring up speed and power allied to velvety sleekness, has been a winner for Mapex over the past decade. Now Mapex has given the entire range an overhaul with 14 brand new models. You can read every Black Panther snare drum review here.

Each drum has either single-ended shield-design cast lugs, or elegantly sculpted twin-point mounted tube lugs. The patented 'Sonic Saver' hoops lie between flanged and die-cast hoops. Recalling the classic Slingerland 'Stick Saver' concept, the top lip of each pressed stainless steel hoop bends over and in, not out as on standard hoops.

The handsome throw-off is a smoothly operating pull-away lever with adjustable strainers at both ends. Micro lock knobs click silently as you turn them for sensitive adjustment of the stainless steel wires. There are several new bearing edge profiles, and capping it all a new die-cast, chrome-plated Black Panther badge.

You can watch a video overview of the new range with Craig Blundell and Steve White below. Scroll down for the full review.

Black Panther Sledgehammer


The Sledgehammer is one of the biggest bruisers of the bunch, with a 14"x6 1/2" shell of 1.2mm gauge brass, hammered with large dimpled craters for a more complex tone.

The finish is dark-ish antiqued brass and the shell has a vertical weld join which is invisible from the outside. The bearing edges have the traditional 45 degree turnover and all the hardware again has the antique brass finish for a unified, imposing look.

Hands on

Brass is seen as the tasteful option when it comes to metal snares. We therefore feel Sledgehammer is a rather crude title for this drum, since, while it will undoubtedly give you plenty of clout when you need it, it is also capable of sensitive playing and the tone is refined.

Sure, it will power the rocking-est of situations, but the tone is dark and fat with the extra depth that you expect from a 6 1/2" shell. And rim shots have a musical, bell-like ring to them. So while all you metal hammers out there might reasonably gravitate towards this beast, it certainly won't let you down on musical tone.