Recently I was asked by a master’s thrower for advice in selecting and purchasing a 5kg shot put to practice and compete with. Here are my thoughts:
Shot selection for indoor shots is pretty limited, the only real choice anymore, is hard shell or soft. I prefer the hard shell shots as do the majority of my throwers. They hold up much better. I think Dominator makes the best indoor implements on the market right now. If you want to spend significantly more, you could opt for a tungsten filled indoor shot instead of lead. This makes the diameter of the shot nearly the same as an outdoor shot. I haven’t found this to be practical, as we simply don’t have the budget to buy multiple tungsten shots, and I have seen multiple times now where athletes get used to training with the tungsten and then it does not certify at a championship meet for whatever reason and there is not another available to throw, forcing them to throw a larger diameter shot that they are unaccustomed to.
As for outdoor shots, I try to only order turned steel in the largest diameter allowable. The maximum diameter for the 5kg shot put is 120mm, 4kg is 110mm and 7.26kg is 130mm.
Turned steel means that it has been turned on a lathe versus poured in a mould. That means that turned shots are always round and generally free from pits or mould marks. They also generally have a plug that can be unscrewed so that if the shot were ever to become light, it can be opened up and have some additional weight added.
I don’t pay attention to practice vs competition shots or brands nor would a pay more for stainless steel. The turned steel shots are more expensive, but knowing that it will be round and certifiable at meets for an extended period of time is worth the added expense to me.
Turned iron shots are acceptable, but are more prone to rust and there are often surface imperfections that are covered with the paint. The paint will wear off after a week or so of throwing.
Brass shots are smaller diameter, but the brass is much softer so it is very prone to dents and scratches. Cast iron are cheap and it is shown in the quality, they are often not very round and it is not uncommon for a cast iron shot to not certify at a meet even right out of the box.
The larger diameter generally gives you more surface to push against, which saves some wear and tear on your fingers, and makes the transition from the indoor to outdoor implement somewhat smoother.
If you are looking for portable circles to throw your shots or the weight throw, Jon Kruchoski is the best craftsman of throwing circles and other custom fabricated equipment. He makes a great discus circle as well. Check him out at JonySport.com.