Darts Equipment Class 101

Today there are literally thousands of different styles of darts made each year! Why?! Great question! Please pay attention here! If there were a perfect dart, there would be many more satisfied dart shooters in the world and they would be buying less darts! Please pause a minute or two here and think about what you just read and also how fewer darts, dart manufacturers would be selling! Also, while you are at it, ask yourself, wouldn’t dart manufacturers benefit more from darts shooters knowing less about how the mechanics of shooting a dart works and what beneficial features are important to have when picking out a set of darts! The world annually spends, just for darts alone, in the neighborhood of about 500 million dollars (U. S.)! Wow! Want to hear another wow? Of the estimated 100 million competitive darts players there are in the world, a staggering 15%, or 15 million darts shooters own, on the average, about 18 sets of darts each! Double Wow! Do you think that there might be something wrong here?

The Barrel
The most important feature of a dart, that determines quality and worth, is the barrel’s grip. If you have the best grip, you are going to get three things: control, consistency and accuracy. If you don’t have the proper grip, then those three items go out the window no matter how much knowledge you have and practice you perform.

What is the best grip to have on the dart’s barrel?

There are two concepts that you need to know about. The first is the mechanics of what propels a dart. In essence, where the best accuracy lies is in your ability to push the dart forward in the same way one would throw a ball or shoot a basketball. Basically you need a surface to push up against. You don’t want a large surface, because you couldn’t throw tight groups, but at the same time you don’t want to be “pulling” a ten-penny nail either. Most darts on the market today are “pullers,” the worst kind of dart to have! I wonder why, lol!

The muscles you use to push, and the muscles you use to pull are different. It’s all in the feel. Test it out yourself, please! Find a wide grooved straight barrel dart and another one that maybe even has a “diamond knurl.” The difference is very noticeable!

You are only going to get the best grip and control from a grooved dart. These grooves incidentally, need to be wide enough for the skin on your fingers to get into. It’s the leading edge (point end) of the groove that your skin is pushing against when you are propelling the dart! By not having the grooves in the front area of the dart (where you aren’t gripping), this will throw off the balance needed when your dart is airborne. Because the flight is in the rear of the dart, the dart itself is always going to be nose heavy and unless thrown perfectly every time, it will enter the board at a slight angle with the flight closer to the ceiling then the point.

Testing a Darts Grip
Take the dart that you want to test and put in your throwing hand. It doesn’t need to have a flight on it. Just to simulate the situation of when you throw a dart, hold it as if you were actually going to throw it, and grip it in the exact same manner you would if you again, were going to throw it. Next, take the dart in that frozen position in you hand, and hold the point down against a flat surface, like a table or even a wall. Now, with the same effort that you would use when you would throw a dart, attempt to penetrate the dart into that flat surface, much the same way you would press a thumbtack. Important – you need to pay attention to the feel of what happens to your fingers. One of two things is going to happen. The worse thing is that your fingers are going to slip and move towards the front of your dart. This is bad. If the dart slips here, then it is not going to give you the control you need when you are projecting it at your target! If your fingers doesn’t slip, then the barrel passed the test!

The next important feature to have contained within a darts grip is pivotability. What is pivotability? Hold a dart in your hand and grip it as if you were actually going to throw it. Now, slowly make the arm motion as IF you are going to throw it. Watch your thumbnail! As your hand comes forward, notice that the thumb is pivoting on the barrel as the dart barrel is staying relatively horizontal. This is imperative in consistent throwing because if your grip was too good, the dart wouldn’t come off your fingers naturally due to it sticking to your skin, and if the surface was too slick, the dart would also come off your fingers in an even more uncontrolled manner.

Testing a Darts Pivotability
Take a dart and hold it as if you are going to throw it. Instead, take the point in your non-throwing hand and move it up and down, so that the barrel is pivoting between the thumb and index fingers of your throwing hand. Important – Here you need to pay attention to the feel that is happening on the surface of your thumb and index fingers of your throwing hand. If you feel a lot of resistance on the entire surface of your fingers where the dart is touching then, this dart will not come “off” your fingers naturally and will be doing some funny things. Next, try this with a grooved barrel that has a smooth surface between the grooves and you will notice that the dart will pivot easily. Easily is the other end of the spectrum, where easily can be better described as “slippage.” This is just as bad as having too good of a grip. The dart will “come off” your fingers just as inconsistently! I wonder why most new darts have a smooth polished metal surface? Lol! Read on, there’s more!

Well, lets say you have had all the right equipment all along and when you first started shooting this set of darts, you were hot all the time! But, over the last year or two, your stuff just isn’t what it used to be. What’s happened? Well it’s tough to see, literally! Darts, whether they are tungsten or not, will show age, and will chip and decay over time! But it’s very difficult to see with the naked eye! When you are throwing tight groups and there is one dart already in the board, the following incoming dart or darts, is going to strike the leading edges of the grooves, which is the most important areas on a dart! This is the area that you are pushing against for control and accuracy! This edge will deteriorate over time and the difference is so slow that it will sneak up on you! The only way to stay ahead of not letting this wear ruin your game is to make constant monthly inspections of all three of your darts by way of a special magnifying glass that we sell in out catalog. This is the same magnifying glass that IBM uses to make spot checks on their computer chips! Seeing is believing!

Tungsten vs. Other Metals
Let the buyer beware! You aren’t kidding when it comes to darts! I just thought of a great idea (just kidding, but just follow along and you’ll get the point)! I’ll come up with a dart that is so thin that you can put 10 darts in a tight grouping about the size of this letter “o” but they are so thin that the barrel resembles a human hair! Unfortunately, you won’t have much surface area on the dart to control them. On the other hand, I could think that a large surface area of a barrel would give me some great control, but they would be so heavy that I not only couldn’t throw tight groups due to the barrel diameter, but I’d be too tired to play more than one game! Lastly, a long thin dart is great for both weight and throwing tight groups, but there is a distinct problem in controlling the dart due to the fact that it’s very long! A good rule of thumb here is to only shoot with darts that are no more than 2 inches! There are quite a few darts that are in the 3-inch range and up. I know one manufacturer that doesn’t have anything less than 3 inches. I wonder why!

Obviously, for control, we need the maximum surface area for control. Secondly, for grouping, we need a relatively thin dart. Thirdly, for longevity, we need a dart that will not be so light that we lose the control nor a dart that is so heavy that it becomes tiresome after a few hours of play.

What is the answer? Tungsten! It’s dense, durable, and it has more feel to it! Don’t waste your money on anything else! If there is a metal out there that’s more dense, and doesn’t have any flaws, then go for it! Don’t buy cheap darts. The price you pay for two sets of garbage darts will more than pay for one great set of darts! By the way, ask yourself this question and be totally honest. How many sets of darts do you buy in the course of a two-year period? If your answer is 2 or more, DartSmarts.com will save you some serious Moo La and, you are going to love DartSmarts.com for the rest of your life! Guaranteed!

The Point
The second feature of the barrel that determines quality and worth of a dart is the point! If you don’t get the following point, your board won’t either! In steel tipped darts, it is inevitable that the tip of the dart is going to hit the wires that separate the dart boards’ targets. It is a fact of life, and you need to accept it. If you don’t you are going to lose countless darts falling on the floor and, they tend to happen a lot more at crucial times. Darts are not going to do you any good on the floor. However, there is one thing you can do about it. The next time you go to buy a set of darts, spend a little extra money and get a set with a moveable points! Darts is a game of adjustments. If you can’t adjust and adapt, your losing percentage is going to climb high! Don’t be “An old dog that can’t learn any new tricks!” One of my old dart team mates, who is a great shooter, shoots with a fixed point dart. I tried to get him to change over to a moveable point and he never took me seriously. It’s ok to not to change, or adapt as I prefer to call it, but what was really sad was that every time he had a bounce out, he always would mention my name and try to make fun of me. Who needs a reality check here?

DartSmarts.com at this time is developing the perfect dart and it comes with a moveable point. We feel that it is flawless and 99% guaranteed on bounce outs, unless the point hits the intersection of two wires. There are flaws in most of the existing moveable points that are out in the market today and we are pleased with what we have in store for you in the very near future! This is definitely top secret! Coming soon!

The Shaft
When you get a new set of darts, you will get, 95% of the time, a set of aluminum shafts of medium length and a set of standard flights. There are three things that affect the aerodynamics of the dart, and they are: 1) the weight of the barrel, I won’t mention the shape due to the fact that most are a “straight cylinder,” except for the torpedo shapes, and there isn’t much of a difference between the two, 2) the shaft and 3) the flight. Shafts are made of a handful of different materials. Aluminum, nylon, plastic and a couple of others I won’t mention. Most dart shooters of the brand new, beginner and intermediate caliber tend to be trusting when they get their set of darts and just continue to believe that they were given the best equipment to aid in their search for darts excellence! Maybe, and maybe not! Don’t take things for granted! Experiment! After all, aren’t you doing that during your practice sessions? Keep an open mind and try different dart components. Throw your darts with aluminum shafts for five minutes, and then try nylon shafts for the next five, and then the next and then the next and so on! What I am about to tell you, I don’t want you to take for granted either so you need to check it out for yourself! I feel that the best shaft for a dart is the nylon shaft. To me, it gives me a more natural feel for the flight, trajectory and control of the dart! Want to know something that’s very interesting? Aluminum shafts are more expensive! I wonder why they put them in the packaging if the cheaper nylon ones work better? Again, don’t trust me either, test it out yourself!

The length of the shaft is as crucial as the material of which it is made of. Most all darts come with shafts of medium length. The longer the shaft, the more the drag sets in, and the more difficult it is to control the dart. So now, you have to arc the dart more, giving more opportunity for error during the trajectory. On the other hand, short shafts, micros, extra shorts and shorts are difficult to control. Wow! What’s left? Well, want to hear something else that’s very interesting? Well, if you look at the lengths of the three smaller shafts: micro, extra short and short, you will notice that there is a definite proportion between the three of them! The medium length, which is too long, has a double of the proportion that’s between it and the short!!!!!!! It’s as if there were one that was missing. Strangely, that size is not available! Interesting? I certainly think so, and I hope you do too! DartSmarts.com is currently working on manufacturing this specific size and in nylon, so that it’s cheap and it actually works better than aluminum! We are here for the long haul!

If I haven’t opened the proverbial “Can of Worms” before this, this should certainly do it! Some 41% of all dart shooters shoot with the “standard” flight. Incidentally, 47% shoot with aluminum shafts too. Those numbers are awfully close together! There might be a correlation here! Well, if there was one specific, significant component that affects the control, consistency and accuracy of shooting a dart more than anything else, it would have to be the flight!

Correct me if I’m wrong. The longer a dart has to fly the more chance an error could occur during the flight. Do you believe that? I do! Well, I also believe that the larger the surface area of the flight, the more drag that will occur during flight. Testing time! Please do so! Get out that set of coal crackers that you have in the bottom of your assorted darts supplies box and give those babies a try! Remember to keep an open mind at all times! The only thing you have to lose is the possibility of losing fewer games! After all, that is why you are all here! In comparing the two different flights, you will find out that you will have to throw the standard flight darts harder, although the coal crackers will still, not feel that great! Remember this fact and don’t put away those coal crackers yet!

Next, I want you to find a set of those standard flights with the bumps all over them. You know the ones that I’m talking about. They’re the ones that are made like that so they last longer! Big deal! I would rather go through a set of lights per day and shoot well than have flights that last forever and shoot with mediocrity. Wouldn’t you? There are a couple different kinds of them and you should have at least one set of them! Okay, now I want you to again compare the difference between the bumpily standard flight and the smoothed surface standard flight. You’ll notice that you will even have to throw the bumpily standard flight darts even harder than the other standard flights! Feeling the difference yet? Just for giggles, compare the bumpily standard flight with the coal cracker flights. They will be a lot easier! Right?! Well we aren’t finished yet! Grab those coal crackers again and next, I want you to get a pair of scissors and in cutting off as little as possible, cut the very rear edge of the flights from the center where all the wings meet, to the outside of the wing and by doing so, you will totally eliminate the “rounded” rear corner of the flight. Take your time and try to do it the same on all four wings, and do all three darts. If you have another set of the coal crackers, you first want to compare those first, and then the ones you just cut!

Well? How did it go? Surprised? Well, my curiosity is not so much about how much better the throw of my darts felt, but that with all the darts bought in the world, why wouldn’t a darts manufacturing company be testing these flights out themselves first and then put the better flights in the packaging with the darts that dart shooters are purchasing at some very steep prices? Or my next question is even more interesting, if they actually have done this common sense testing, then why in the world are they actually selling them?

Is all of this making any cents yet? I hope so!

In looking for a flight that will compliment your game, rather than deteriorate it, look into our online catalog. We don’t sell the Hollywood type, but they are performance rated for throwing flatter trajectories, that will give you more control and accuracy due to a smaller margin of error!