Darts, what you should know.

Darts have come a long way since the wooden darts that were used originally. They had a torpedo shaped wooden barrel with a steel tip and turkey feathers as flights. These days the darts are mostly made from tungsten with the 80% tungsten alloy being the most common. Since the advent of tungsten darts the scores of the pros have increased due to their slimmer design. You can make much slimmer darts due to the greater density of tungsten compared to brass (approximately twice as much as brass, so that you can make tungsten darts half the thickness of brass for a given weight.)

Made from the ore wolframite tungsten has the highest melting point of any element on earth at 3000 degrees C and is incredibly hard. The reason you don’t get 100% tungsten darts is because pure tungsten is a very brittle metal and is commonly mixed with nickel to make the dart less brittle and easier to manufacture. 95% tungsten is the highest alloy level so far sold by Bottelsen and are a tad pricey. It is not really worth paying the extra for 95% tungsten darts, if the pros are winning tournaments with 80% darts thats proof enough.

When it comes to the grip on the barrel of the dart there are many types to choose from diamond pattern knurled barrel to plain and now the new edge grip. Just get a design you are comfortable with, try out your mates darts to see what suits you.

Dart tips come in two styles, a fixed steel tip for use on Bristle dartboards or replaceable soft tips for use on electronic dart boards. It is now common for darts to be convertible, with 2BA threads on either end of the barrel, which means you have the best of both worlds, both soft and steel tip options. One point to note here is that usually the maximum weight of dart allowed on electronic dart boards is 20 gram, so if you want your darts to be used on all type of boards, do not go over 20 gms for your dart barrel.

Next comes the shaft to hold the flights, it should be light to keep the weight of the dart forward and are made from plastic, aluminium, steel wire or even titanium! The only thing to worry about with the shafts is that they are straight and undamaged so the flights are held in place properly. The newest shaft is a spinning shaft, which doesn’t spin in flight like you might think, it simply moves the flight out of the way if another dart hits the flight in play. This seems a great idea to me, it helps to protect the flight as well.

That just leaves the flights, which come in loads of amazing designs and materials. The shapes include the classic “kite” design, which are relatively large to the pear drop and all stages in between. Ensure you use the same style of flight on all 3 darts and keep them spread so that there is a 90 degree angle between the four flight pieces to aid in consistency of your throw. Also use flight protectors, not only do they protect your flight; they will keep the flight at the optimum shape as a bonus.

So to sum up, get yourself some tungsten darts, the average weight is 18 – 20 grams. If you want to go heavier, remember the heaviest weight allowed on most electronic dart boards is 20 grams. (You can have up to 50-gram darts on Bristle boards) Nylon shafts are ok to use, spinner shafts are a good idea as well and use the kite style flight if a beginner and always use flight protectors. If you have steel tip darts keep the point sharp for easy entry into the dart board. A simple strip of grinding paper will do. For soft tip darts take along plenty of spares and your dart tool.