Category Archives: Dart Reviews

Special Weapons? Jose de Sousa’s Arrows

Jose de Sousa’s superb efforts throughout 2020 have increased interest in the equipment used by the Portuguese. Along with Devon Petersen, Jose uses a combination of Trinidad barrels and Condor AXE set-ups. Our testers have been getting to grips with the Jose (Type 2):

Product: Steel Tip Darts

Brand: Trinidad

Materials: 90% Tungsten

Dimensions: 55mm x 6.2mm

Weight: 18g

RRP: £69.99

General:

The Jose (type II) is the signature dart of the latest PDC major champion Jose De Sousa (Portugal). They are a parallel barrel with two main grip zones and a slight snub/curve at the nose. There are small centre name blanks and an even smaller one at the stem junction.

Open the Box:

The type II are supplied as three barrels etched with the Trinidad name and mounted in a branded point protector. Inside the standard retail packaging are three Trinidad phased colour poly stems and three Trinidad standard shape flights. Standard stainless steel points are fitted and are a good place to start before any personalization.
 

Tester Quotes:

“These are a very unusual dart, I love the grip contrast between the section” (Elite player)

“ I throw quite a soft dart so these seem to work nicely for me, once you get used to the length” (Serious amateur)

“You can hold them in so many different ways and places, it takes quite a while to work out what’s best” (Youth player).

Assessment:

The grip zones, on this unusual dart, are excellent. The higher zone is grippy but creates an impression smoother than reality. This allows for either firm or light holding styles. The lower section is more aggressive and is handy for light grippers or those who steady the dart with a lightly placed guide finger. Both are superbly machined and the overall impression is one of excellent manufacture and design.

Set-Ups:

The standard supplied setup works ok but the Jose seems to come to life when you start to adjust them to your style. Direct throwers used a short stem and small standard flight to great effect and the more arc style players found a molded fixed flight set up to be the best by a long way.

The Condor AXE set up that Jose puts his name to was outstanding and seemed to have been made for the light but long dart. We recommend at least trying this if possible.

Durability:

After over 100 legs the darts have very few wear marks and event the more delicate grip zone appears in perfect condition. The lower grip zone can cause flight and stem wear but only in similar ways to many other similar models.

Debbie Downers:

The length of these can be difficult for those who use a wristy technique as getting over the dart before release can be hard to master. Also, the fact that they can be used in so many different ways leaves some players struggling to pick a method and stick to it. 

Results:

Our testers were very impressed with this dart most had not used or seen Trinidad dart before and were happy to consider them in the future. The overall quality was excellent and the packaging and presentation, while simple, was professional and effective.

The grip zones were universally praised with the stem/top section being especially admired. The lower section was more individual and may suit some more than others. The blanks and grip areas were well located and suited to many types of throw.

The length and width of the dart gave it a surprisingly solid feel for such a light end dart. Players who usually use 21 and 22g models were quite happy to throw the Jose II and one or two used them in practice and match scenarios.

Value: 

At almost £70 these are toward the premium end of the market and there was some debate at whether this represented value. Much of this concerned cosmetics and was really opinion. For a specialist style, highly unusual dart, with a high design and machining spec, we feel you could not expect to pay much less.
 

Marks: 9/10

The four main testers were split between eight and the maximum ten, and thus the overall score averaged out at nine, put simply if you can find your way of throwing these you will love them. If not you may be less keen but still appreciate their quality.

SnapShot:

The testers agreed that Jose II is an impressively designed and manufactured barrel. The length to weight ratio is an unusual and welcome addition to the market. Although at the higher end the manufacture and originality of the dart and the machining and design standard justify the costs. The player who will benefit most is the lighter, more direct style with less loop in their trajectory.

———-Ends———–
Testing and report by AIM:ltd (@aim180ltd)

Appeared at dartsworld.com


Quantum: Aphelion 25g

Aphelion, named after the point of orbit furthest away from the sun, is a serious dart from a niche company with a devotion to design. The rapidly developing Welsh firm has a select range of which this is one of the standouts. 

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)   
  • Brand: Quantum 
  • Model: Aphelion 
  • Variation: 25g  
  • Material: 90% Tungsten  
  • RRP: £32.99+ 

General: 

This mid scalloped 50.9mm long dart is slim, at 6.9mm, for a 25g dart and has a very distinctive look about it. The smooth elliptical nose cone is a proven winner, whereas the dimpled scallop is unusual in placement and style.  

They are a beautifully designed but simple to use dart. The scallop area looks intriguing and practical with the grip choice, and natural finish, signaling a no-nonsense bit of kit.  

The grip is noticeable, impressive and well placed. Shark grip sections above and below the scallop are used to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similarly shaped barrels. These sections mean that the grip is pronounced and excellent for those who like to really feel the interaction between fingers and barrels. A number of different skill level players took part and enjoyed trialing it.  

The traditional steel point is black and stands out from the board wires well. It’s a solid choice, for a solid weapon. 

No nonsense set up and packaging from Quantum Darts.

Open the Box: 

As with all Quantum darts, the pack comes with one set of (Aphelion) barrels (25g) in a point protector, together with a set of (black) nylon stems and Quantum logo (multicoloured) standard flights. The set up can be easily replicated via Quantum or almost any darts store. 

Tester Quotes:  

“…I can just rest my finger in the scallop. It feels like I can put my fingers where they fall naturally…” County Player  

” …the grip is brilliant and the balance is Perfect ” Elite PLAYER  

” these are just so much better than I thought. They can be thrown in at least three different hold styles including in a ‘Tayloresque’ manner…” Coach .  

N.B. Testers found improved performance with larger surface area flights and more tapered stems.  

Debbie Downers: 

Only minor, personal taste, issues were noted. Any scalloped dart can take a little getting used to, so give your Aphelion a little time. One tester was less happy with the taper toward the stem and one loved the shape and design but could not adapt to razor/shark grip. 

Durability: 

We suspect Aphelion are going to prove ultra-durable. After more than 60 legs from a variety of players, including tour players and a major finalist, they look almost untouched. There is no coating to wear and no vulnerable zone for damage. These may be passed down through families! 

Value: 

Just over £30 for a precision design, and highly engineered, dart is exceptional value. All AIM: testers acknowledged that they would part with such a sum.  

Marks: 

Aphelion scored well in almost every area. Indeed, a 9 and a 10/10 were awarded by totally different style testers. Not every player will be fond of a scalloped dart with an aggressive grip. Aphelion did better than almost all in its class. The average mark came in at a very solid 8.5/10.  

SnapShot:  

A very well-liked dart, popular with most testers and throw styles. Durable, original and very high quality. A superb example of how smaller, more responsive, companies can make a big impression with darts players. Surely Aphelion is worth its day in the sun. 


Review first published in Darts World Magazine (571) 2020. Order the latest issue, here.

SnapShot Review: Peter Wright World Championship Edition

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)  
  • Brand: Red Dragon 
  • Model Name: Peter Wright (World Champion Edition) 
  • Variation: 21g 
  • Material: 90% Tungsten 
  • price: RRP: £49.90+ 

General: 

This edition was commissioned to celebrate Snakebite’s victory in the World ChampionshipsIt has gone from strength to strength since and proven very popular. Despite conventional dimensions (54.6mm long x 5.9mm wide (widest)), the World Champion Edition is certainly not conventional in other ways! 

It is a superbly engineered but simple looking dart. The rainbow areas look sharp and practical with the lurid colour flashes adding a dash of flamboyance. The grip is impressive and well placed. Cuts to the barrel are used in a traditional pattern in order to produce a dart that looks and feels grippier than most similar barrels. 

These sections mean that the grip is very flexible, and suitable, it appears, so far, from testing, for almost any type of player. A very wide cross-section of players  liked this dart and enjoyed trialing it. 

The tradtional steel point is black and lends into the barrel visually. It’s a solid addition and rounds off the dart of well.

The retail set available here.

What’s in the Box? 

As with most Red Dragon darts, these days, the pack comes with one set of (Peter Wright WC) barrels (21g) together with a set of (black) Nitro-Tech stems and Snakebite coordinated (Purple, Black & White) set of Hardcore flights. The set up can be easily replicated via the Red Dragon store. 

Tester Quotes: 

“…I loved the grip on the lower half of the dart. It feels like I can put my fingers where I want and it feels the same…” County Lady Player 

” … there is a bit of my old Bob Anderson’s in them but much better…” Youth player 

” these are just so much better than I imagined. I was never keen on this style of dart but this is just totally different…” Elite player

Debbie Downers: 

They seem very few negatives here though. One player was not keen on the lurid nature of the coating that highlights the top end of the barrel. Another would have preferred the blank in the centre to either be moved or removed. In honesty these things are simply a matter of personal taste. 

Durability – So far, the Snakebite (WC) have stood up very well they have been used in close to three hundred legs by a variety of different players over quite a few weeks. 

Value – At under £50, for World Champion’s dart, these are excellent value for money. All testers agreed that they would happily purchase at this price. 

Marks – 9.0/10 – The SWC has received one of the highest marks of any dart we have tested so far. Indeed, a maximum 10/10s was awarded with nothing negative to say. One player has switched to them and we suspect another is hoping for his weight to be released! 

SnapShot: An Outstanding dart, popular with all testers and throw styles. Durable, exciting, and flexible, as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A truly Worthy, World Champion Edition! 


Testing & words by AIM:

Review originally appeared in Darts World Magazine 570 & dartsworld.com

Check out Peter Wright’s full product range, from Red Dragon Darts, here.

Snapshot – AIM: Imperious

One of the biggest compliments AIM: receives is when our work with players is translated into products that can be used by players across the globe. The latest is the adoption of our ‘Imperious’ design by a major manufacturer. It looks like a superb edition of the darts we helped develop for Challenge Tour player Anthony Urmston Toft.

  • Products: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand: AIM:
  • Material: Tungsten (90%) Natural Finish
  • Dimensions: 50.8mm (L) x 6.3mm(W)
  • Point: 32mm Collared Fire (Grooved)
  • Price: £59.50

General:

Imperious is a no-nonsense dart. It’s natural tungsten with two different grip zones. The barrels are straight but with a short reduction/taper toward the point. Designed to assist a tour player to gain the most from his powerful throwing style whilst being able to be produced by his sponsor for the consumer market.

Open The Box:

A simple set of the three handmade 23g barrels each fitted with Target’s Fire points to complete the aggressive approach taken with this design. An unusual set of of Harrows Vibro stems and coordinated Dimplex flights complete the package.

Testers Views:

  • “These are a serious dart for any player who means business, they really benefit from the aggressive approach”
  • “It is a rare dart that I would not change a single thing on, these are one. Fantastic”
  • “I love the grip on the main zone, its very grippy but does not feel as harsh as looks. Very impressive”
  • “The setup and balance are superb. I would recommend these to any direct style thrower”

Debbie Downers:

One thrower did not like the wider grooves near to the stem end and another tester was not comfortable with the fire points. Both players accepted that the dart just did not suit their more delicate style of throw. A different set up also appealed to some.

Set Ups:

The supplied set works very well for a more methodical thrower. However, quicker or more rhythmic players did not seem to like the vibrating stems nor some of the positions the flights ended up in. It was soon discovered that a fixed system such as Taro flights (Standard) with AK Stems (Tweenie) was an excellent alternative. The stability and predictability of this setup were very popular.

Value:

For a handmade set of high-quality darts including delivery and accessories £60 is a fair price and seems in the right range for such a stylish and effective product. they come in considerably less than similar designs from Cosmo or other premium manufacturers.

No description available.
Coming soon – Imperious goes mainstream.

Snapshot:

A very solid feeling dart. Designed for heavy scoring and a bold direct style. ‘Imperious’ live up to their name by combining a careful design with highly skilled manufacture. great grip across two-thirds of the dart for reliable pick up and a differentiated grip at the stem section for accurate placement. Highly recommended for the strong direct thrower who does not want a distraction.

Marks: 9 / 10


Snapshot: MVG Adrenalin (Winmau).

A distinctive set from the current MVG Design range by Winmau. For the first time, there is an extensive range of Van Gerwen darts, and other products, that are intended to suit a broad cross-section of the darting public. Can they improve on Michael’s ‘Authentic’ or previous signature models?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is s-l1600.jpg

Dimensions: 22g, 54.6mm x 6.1mm barrels.
Grip Style: Multi-directional ring cut grip.
Variation: Soft Tip Edition.
Price: RRP £69.90

General:

Adrenalin may be the best dart in the 2020 MVG Design range. They launched shortly after Michael signed with Winmau. It seems to us that Adrenalin seeks to retain the key features of the Van Gerwen dart while increasing their visual appeal and removing some of the less popular aspects.

Open The Box:

Image 5
Tempted by Adrenalin? Grab a set here.
  • 3 Black Onyx Coated 90% Tungsten Barrels
    3 x Prism Force Stems
    3 x Prism Flights
  • Full retail packaging.

Tester’s Views:

These are a superb looking dart. The black onyx and MVG green highlighted cosmetics ensure a sleek premium appearance.”

The grip is brilliant. I use the the middle blank and the front grip section to get the best control without either slipping or sticking.

These are a superbly balanced dart, I did not even notice that they are longer than my normal darts.

Soft Tip Edition:

As you may note from the pictures of these darts, Adrenalin are almost indistinguishable in Soft/Steel tip. They are excellent as a soft tip choice, they land well in the board and, due to the balance, do not seem to wobble or droop as much as some. But, with high quality conversion points (not supplied) they become a tremendous steel tip model.

The collared style of conversion point (Target for example) ensured a seamless transition from barrel to point. This ensures a predictable flight and minimal deflection/distraction.

Debbie Downers:

One tester was not as happy with the rear section of Adrenalin claiming the transition to the stem was too pronounced. There is a limited weight range in the soft tip version of Adrenalin which may limit its popularity. Finally, it should be remembered that more wristy players may find 54mm long darts more awkward.

Value:

Unusually for an elite player, MVG’s signature model is not the premium dart in the range. Winmau has produced a very good value version of Michael’s standard dart (‘Authentic’) for around £40. However, for those who feel that the standard darts is not for them, Adrenalin could be the solution. With the extra features and coatings etc these are the ultimate MVG Design set. While £69.99 is toward the top end of mainstream pricing Adrenaline still costs less than many sets endorsed by Phil Taylor or Raymond van Barneveld and others.

Image 3
Adrenalin (Steel Tip)

Snapshot:

AIM: testers were very impressed by Adrenaline. Excellent grip feel and balance are complemented by superb styling and seemed to suit a variety of players. More direct throwers will find these easy to use and may see an improvement in their game. The grip zones are well placed and all testers found them easy to get used to. Both soft and steel tip editions perform at a high level in their arena. The steel tip edition comes in 22,23 and 24g weights which should suit the majority of players.

Marks: 9/10


Featured Pic: L Lustig

A full range of MVG Design products can be viewed and purchased here

Snap Shot Review – Monster Peacemaker.

The Peacemaker combined Monster’s signature features of mixing high end machining and unusual design with multiple grip styles. The lower end is a smooth nose cone with ring grips above and vertical twists. Then three sections of differing grips toward the stem.

Specifications:

  • ONE80 Peacemaker
  • 20.2g
  • 90% Tungsten
  • 51mm x 6.4mm (widest)
  • RRP – £53+

These darts are premium build quality and have a very nice feel. They seem to appeal to the front holding player and can be gotten used to very quickly. They have something of the Jelle Klaasen style about them but less pronounced and with more grip zones.

Black Authority on Twitter: "She is 23 yrs old but, the article says, is  engaged to THIS guy, Chuck Pankow. A "professional dart player." The  article says he's 47 but Google shows
Designed by successful USA player Chuck Pankow, winner of many ADO events

We paired them up with Monster (Tweenie length Blk) stems and Blk & Silver standard flights. An alternative set-up with long wire Stems with oversize pear stems, both set ups worked very effectively with the later producing a flatter trajectory.

Value:

These were a premium dart of their time and came in at around £53 or more. Currently trading second hand in the £20-25 region depending on condition.

Snapshot:

All in all these are very impressive. Well designed with a high quality build. Well worth a trying out if you like a high quality, slightly bulbous dart, at lighter weight than most.


Swiss Point System – Change Your Points in Under 1 Minute.

A Holy Grail?

Swiss Point – Target 

Interchangeable Point System (Steel Tip) 

Elsewhere within on A.I.M: you may have come across our review for the SP03 Darts from Target. The SP Range is brand new and offers some interesting and original designs. Its most attractive feature is what those initials (SP) stand for, Swiss Point

For many years darts players and manufacturers have sought to make the replacement, or changing, of points a simple and attractive feature. In short, they failed. It was usually a fiddly task involving quite a lot of effort and a good few minutes per point. Not exactly ideal during a game or in between rounds. 

Modern point innovations have made this quest even more urgent than previously.  Has the Swiss Point solved these issues and will they catch on?

 

Introduction

As can be seen, from the shot below, the Swiss Point is an all-round system with the barrels, the points and a specific tool, all designed and made for the purpose of swift, secure and simple point change. Each point is exactly the same as a standard version until the blank near the blunt end. A unique screw-in system is incorporated to the last section. 

Swiss Point barrels, regardless of model, have the reverse of the screw within them. This ensures a perfect fit and a very solid feel.  

There is a slot just below the blank. This is for the SP tool to grip and to ensure that a broken point can still be swapped in and out in very quickly indeed.  

The current range of SP barrels is restricted to a range of specific SP darts (01-03) and the latest Generation of Phil Taylor’s darts (Gen 6). Phil himself seems very impressed: 

“Swiss point is the biggest innovation in darts since Tungsten”  

16 X World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor 

The retail price of around £5 per set of points and £3 for a point tool represent good value and seems to have been pitched to include all. The comparative price of player models will be interesting to note. 

Testing:  

We subjected the SP to rigorous testing with a variety of styles and players. We have a player who wanted to change his points according to the hardness of the board. He therefore changed them twice during a practice match. It took him less than 1 minute to change all three points and he could not tell the difference between these and his normal set-up. 

We then introduced an amateur, who has only played twice, to try and change the points with the minimum of instruction. They also succeeded and did so within two minutes. The SP Tool simply fits over the point and locks onto the slot end of the point. A very few turns ensure the point can be detached and then  

Even world champions seem to agree;  

“I use Target Firepoints; as I like that extra grip for my finger on the point. With Swiss Point I can now swap out my points in seconds.” 

Rob Cross 2018 PDC World Champion 

We then deliberately broke a point, by dropping on hard tiled floor, and indeed we changed the point just as easily with no problem whatsoever. Every change resulted in three perfect points, the same length and fit etc. with no variations or difficulties. 

All three players reported no difficulties with the feel of the point and reported that they could not feel a difference at the point/barrel intersection. 

Marks: 9/10 

All three of our testers gave the idea and the execution at least 8/10 and one of the 10/10. All could change the darts perfectly and in no more than two minutes. Their only question was how soon we thought they would get more models, and players darts, available. 

The Future: 

It is always difficult to predict the success of an innovation, especially when it is only available on restricted models and from one company. Target have big plans for the SP; 

 “Our vision is to make Swiss Point the new standard and we see all our darts coming with Swiss Points as the new standard in the future. For me, Swiss Point is the biggest innovation Target has ever done and the one I am most excited about.” Garry Plummer MD Target Darts 

Testers View:  

A.I.M can see the SP being a huge success. If it is introduced to a wider range of models as quickly as possible, and not over-priced, we predict very high demand. Our only question mark is how the system/points will wear over a long period of time. Will the internal screw loosen, if changed often will the points wobble and clink. The build quality appears to be very high indeed and thus the problems are unlikely. But as with all things, the more moving parts, the more there is to go wrong. 

We look forward to reporting back with a Swiss Point update in 6-12 months. 


Article and testing produced for Darts World Magazine 2019.

Snakebite Euro 11 Element (Blue) from Red Dragon – In Depth Review

Snakebite Euro 11 (Element Blue) – The SnapShot Review.

By CJ Harris-Hulme -January 15, 2020

A.I.M: contributed to the “Choose Your Weapons” section of http://dartsworld.com. Darts World Magazine kindly provided the test set.

Snakebite set a World Record with his ‘Element Blue ‘ during 2019
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG.
  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip) 
  • Brand: Red Dragon 
  • Model Name: Euro 11 – Element Blue (Peter Wright) 
  • Variation / Edition: 24g 

General Summary: 

Element Blue are a superbly built, and finely engineered, addition to the, Premium Player, section of the market. Originally commissioned to celebrate the World Cup Peter & Gary Anderson’s World Cup of Darts win. Also used by Peter Wright in setting his 2019 World Record Average from on-line specialist Red Dragon darts. 

The element (diamond) grip is complimented by colourful a ‘Snakebite’ theme

For such a seriously gripped and engineered dart it has a remarkably slim feel and look. Later the Red Dragon Element (Fusion Diamond) Grip was added to an edition and know it has been coloured blue! The grip is both impressive and unusual.  

Element Blue will suit most players, especially those with a lighter grip. Direct throwers will be captured! 

Cost: At just under £70, ‘Blue’ are a premium piece of design, production and performance that you would expect. (http://www.reddragondarts.com/peter-wright-snakebite-euro-11-blue-element-world-cup-se-24-gram)

As supplied, the 24g edition.

What’s In the Box:  

Snakebite Euro 11 Element (Blue)come in the recent type, Peter Wright styled, pull-out box. Inside are three barrels, three nitro stems (White) and a set of Peter Wright, std shape, flights. 

Tester Quotes:

“MVG might get even better with these, especially worn in ones” ….Our Serious Amateur

“I love the grip, it’s quite aggressive yet, it feels less likely to stick than deep/sharp grooves” ….. Our Pub Player

Testing Process: A.I.M: used three different players, one elite, one strong amateur and one ‘pub’ player, and subjected ‘Blue’ to a variety of throw styles, conditions and set ups. In total over one hundred legs with a four-figure total of darts thrown. Our testers used ‘Element Blue’ in competitive practice, training drills, over a weekend for social games, a practise session and a league knockout. 

In addition to the supplied set up, Snakebite Flights & Nitro Stems, players were asked to try their preferred combination or any other set up they felt might work. 

A 20g (Soft Tip) version is also available.

Variations:  Element Blue is available in soft tip at 20g as well as the 24g steel tip tested here. The traditional silver/grey model is also available in a 20g version. 

The Results:  All three of our testers were impressed with the general look of the Element model. The diamond grip intrigued them whilst the blue/purple colour was deemed attractive and “not too harsh on the eye”. Two of our three players liked the initial feel of the dart in their hand. The words ‘different’ and ‘corse’ were popular.  

Downsides:  Our players rated the looks, production and initial feel, of the dart, very highly. However, it became clear that the ‘Element Blue’ took a bit of getting used to and that some players would not adjust. The diamond fusion is more a surface than a grip and some felt unsure of its feel. A firmest holder also felt it was just too aggressive, the sheer complexity of the grip gives the impression of a fatter, not consistent, middle section of the dart although he did accept that a worn set might be perfect! 

The Tech Bit:  For a heavily engineered dart ‘Element Blue’come in at a slim 6.5mm wide. The distinctive cosmetics and grip pattern combine to create the impression of an even slimmer model. The 54.6mm length is at the longer end of the spectrum and is advantageous to the direct thrower. The slightly rounded ‘nose cone’ area is essential on a long dart with pronounced grip as it enables a confidence in “going at the target”. The diamond coated(blue coloured) ring grips provide high quality grip that will mould to the user over time. 

The supplied set-up: Snakebite Flight & Nitro Stem.

Set Ups: 

Blue are supplied with a ‘Player Set Up’ of Snakebite Blk Flights & Medium Nitro Stems. This set up works well for the majority of throwers and is very high quality for an included item. The length of the dart seems to lead to no nonsense set ups. Two of our testers preferred a shorter stem version of the set-up, claiming a significant improvement in fluency. 

Durability: Blue stood up very well over the 1000+ darts that we subjected them to. The diamond grip does cause an increase in marks to the smooth areas of the darts, diamond is seriously hard after all! The colour scheme, and styling, of the ‘Element Blue’ seemed to distract from this in a better way than the silver/grey versions. 

The Snap ShotAll our testers agreed that the ‘Element Blue’ is a superb looking dart, a considerable upgrade on the looks of std version. It was also agreed that those who throw very directly will buy in most. The grips are quite aggressive and take a little getting used to. The cost, whilst high, is definitely justified by the tech and design that has gone into the end result. A firm thrower, who has a lighter grip will benefit most ironically an MVG type might gain the most! It is possible that a worn set of ‘Blue’ may well be even better than a sparkly new threesome.  


A version of this review appeared in Darts World Magazine (Feb 2020) and online here: http://www.dartsworld.com/category/choose-your-weapons/

Premium Darts for Bargain Price – It can still be done.

A.I.M: Produced this Top 5 for Darts World Magazine a couple of months ago. Many of the deals discovered are still available!

Darts World has noticed that the costs, especially player and premium, of darts have increased substantially over the past few years.  Increased and improved cosmetics, together with some technical innovations, can be blamed for some of this. But, the increased popularity and worldwide expansion of darts seem to be resulting in a golf or tennis like spiralling of some equipment costs. 

Not quite within our bargain criteria, but the Pro-Line is an excellent dart for a mid-range price.

Less than five years ago very few sets of darts would cost more than £50 and the vast majority were between £20 & £35. These often included accessories such as a case and or spare flight & stem setups. Today, a brief look at any of the major sellers reveals thirty or forty different models with an RRP of over £60 with a handful of models on or around the £100 mark. 

Does all this mean that darts is becoming a rich pursuit for those with more disposable cash? Can the average young person still get a decent start and does all this extra cash actually make much difference? 

Darts World asked A.I.M: to look into the best value darts available and to put them through their paces. We set them a maximum of £25 per set and asked them to assess quality, performance, value, and accessibility.  Here is the first summary of what they found; 

1) Pro-Style (21-26g) – Darts Clearance £12.99-14.99http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/dartsclearance?_fsub=7330512015& 

These are a lovely dart for the £15 cost.  The 22g model is 48mm x 7.2mm (widest) and has a slight taper from the front to rear. There is a small blank near the stem and the grip is what could be described as an original Bob Anderson style grip but slightly more aggressive. They have a slight front weight but still, feel well balanced. Almost indistinguishable from the McKicks Alan Glazier darts. 

The darts come with nothing but a point protector in order to keep the costs, and postage fees, at an absolute minimum. They were popular with all our testers and all standards. Even our elite player was very impressed. The ‘Pro-Style’ compared well with other models even those of higher cost. The tungsten content will be at least 80% and may be higher.  

Pro-Style – Excellent value at a bargain cost.

2) Winmau Diamond 23g – Red Dragon Clearance £24.90 (RRP £55)  – http://www.reddragondarts.com/winmau-diamond-3-23-gram-12105.html

These are a serious bargain. Originally £55+ they represent the combination of high-quality tungsten and a diamond fusion grip. Winmau seems to have abandoned this grip style and thus you can now pick up some serious bargains. 

Winmau Diamond Grip – Currently less than half price.

These have a great deal in common with John Lowe or Andy Fordham shape darts. The extra grip near the nose can be handy. They are 90% tungsten and measure 40.6mm x 7.7mm. The diamond grip was very popular and will be missed by some serious players. However, after a while, it can rub the other darts into looking shabby and wears itself down. 

In short, these are a premium dart for a one-off price. I doubt these will last long. Well worth a try or even to get yourself an extra set if you use them already. 

3) Designa Dark Thunder – £22.95 – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=42991 

A lovely dart, in a classic style, for under £25.

These are a very good value, 90% tungsten dart. They have a lot in common with Unicorn (Taylor) Phase 1. The black barrels with natural highlights are a popular look and have a touch of the Noir range about them. A very grippy dart that is not chunky in the hard or over-complex in design. Various weights are available with 22g and 24g being the most popular. With Darts Corner moving their priorities to Mission darts these may not be around forever as the Designa badge may fade away. 

Monster – The Cobra – £24 (RRP £50+)  – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=1190_1692&products_id=31539

These are available in the clearance section of dartscorner.com and may not be for very long at this price. This model became Jelle’s signature shape and style for quite a few years and during his most successful PDC spell.  

The Cobra – A £50+ premium dart for a
clearance price.

90 % Tungsten, superbly designed and engineered to be a superb combination of aerodynamics and style. 42mm long x 7mm (at the widest) they are highly individual and you might wish to try before you buy! Although badged as 22g this is misleading the barrel weight is only 20.4g. 

Two of our testers loved these and one has kept them! However, our third player could not get used to them at all. It seems that ‘The Cobra’ is a bit Marmite! 

Alan Tabern – V180 – £20– http://www.a180.co.uk/product.php/10304/v180-alan-tabern-90-tungsten-darts-21g

A classic player dart for only £20. Alan Tabern’s simple barrel.

You don’t get many classic player darts for under £20. However, V180 makes a small range, all of which are pitched at a great price. Perhaps the best of these is the Tabern dart. These could be made by Target, Alan’s old sponsor, they are a classic style ring grip dart. Only Alan’s 21g edition is available. They are a little over 47mm x 6mm wide they feel very well balanced and are 90% tungsten. 

Our players thought that these were a lovely dart. The only downside was that they are not as heavily gripped as some current models. Our more traditional testers were fond of these darts, whereas our younger player, seem to find them over delicate and harder to control. 

It can be seen from the above, that despite the recent increases in the cost of premium products, high-quality darts can be sourced. A little creativity and patience can result in darts of the same very high standard for a lot less of your hard earned.


Red Dragon Raptor (GT)- ‘The SnapShot’ Review.

  • Product – Raptor (Points)
  • Brand – RedDragon
  • RRP – £8.90
  • Dimensions – 33mm (28mm exposed)
  • Features – Collared, Grooved & Barbed

A.I.M: are strongly of the opinion that “there has been little, or no, beneficial innovation in darts since the tungsten barrel”. He does, however, allow one notable exception, points!

We have been are currently conducting extensive tests on the various types of points on the market. Collared, coloured, grooved, coated and almost every other option available are being put through their paces. Some things have become obvious early on in the testing. The first is that Raptor from RedDragon is an exceptional product.

First Impressions: These points don’t come with flash packaging or attached to their own range of dart. However, it is immediately noticeable that they are unusual. They are plain and appear very well made indeed. They are 33mm long with 28mm exposed after fitting. The point is collared in style (to eliminate join between point & barrel), there are 4 grooves, from the collar downward, that allow for exact finger placement/grip. The lower section is slim and sharply tapered, for good board penetration and there is a small (2mm) barb for both finger feeling and board retention.

Fitting: We fitted Raptor points into three different brands of darts. The fitted easily and snuggly into all three with no complications.

Grooved Section: The grooves worked excellent for those who like to feel their finger in the same place but not to slip during delivery.

Lower(Smooth) Section: Testing showed that this penetrated the board well and was a good alternative resting point for those who like their finger on a smooth area.

Point Barb: Very unusually Raptor has a small, less than 2mm bard at the very tip of the point. This proved excellent in improving board retention, even the gentlest thrower had full confidence that their dart would stay in place. In addition, it proved very useful with those who naturally rest their finger at the point, Dennis Priestley style, for control.

Durability: The Raptor seems to have overcome one of the problems of newer complex points. Despite heavy usage, and a few drops, we have not broken one yet!

Player Quotes:

  • “Brilliant, much stiffer than my current collared point” – Serious Amateur
  • “Nice and not all flashy” – Elite level player
  • “All round winner” – Coach

Downsides: The only recorded downside was that they seem to be only available in this length. At least one player would move to them if a 30mm (external) option was provided. Raptor do increase wear on your board espcially if its of the softer variety.

The SnapShot: First impressions, and initial testing, reveal raptor to be an exceptional product, that raises the bar for modern points. The problems of over flexibility, breakability and clumsiness that affect some complex, or collared, points are solved in one go. Red Dragon have produced a superb product and the fact that it can be added, at point of purchase, to a huge range of darts, is a boon.


An edition of this review first appeared at http://www.dartsworld.com in 2019.

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