How to choose the right darts and setup
(06-09-2013, 06:58 AM)DIRTY G Wrote: If you are new to the game of darts and are looking for the right setup then this is my humble opinion.

I see a lot of new players asking "what darts should I bye", and throw in a few suggestions all of which seem to be big name brand darts that of course are accompanied by a big price tag.
Now It is nice to have the best of the best in your arsenal but as a new player you have to find the right dart for YOU and to do this you have to experiment with cheaper brand darts else you may find yourself out of pocket for no reason other than the trap of "those darts are expensive they must be good"
Even if you are lucky enough to be able to try out a set in the shop before you bye, It will still take weeks of throwing and tinkering with flights and stems to really get a grasp of if that dart is going to be the one for you.
There are some great quality made and very under estimated darts on the market at a fraction of the price of the big name brands that you can purchase a few sets for the same price for one set of over inflated labeled dart's. Some of which do copies of the big named brands and even out perform them!!!!! Here are the ones that come to mind with McCoy being my preferd quality brand.

Step 1: Weight
 First you have to find the right weight for you! Try to borrow your mates darts for this part.  I would advise a setup of a standard flight and medium stem, throw your dart at your natural pace at the bull, don't try and hit or force the dart in the target, you are looking at letting the dart get there from your natural stroke. See if the dart is landing above or below the Bull, If the dart is too low then use a heavier dart if the dart is too high then use a lighter dart, It wont take long to find out your preferred weight give or take a gram or two. When you have found the weight use it for a while in a game situation or in practice  and take note of where the dart land the majority of the time, meaning high or low of the target then adjust weight accordingly.

Step 2: Barrel shape
Now here comes the hard part. We have to find out the right barrel shape for an individuals throw, dart barrel shapes are designed to correct the throwers mistakes. There are three main barrel shapes, which for argument sake I will refer to them as front loaded (bulky at the front), straight barrel (speaks for its self) and rear weighted (less weight at the front) here are some examples.
Straight barrel[Image:]

Front loaded[Image:]

Rear loaded[Image:]
(Some will say that the above dart is center balanced but to me less meat at the front = rear loaded)

We are looking to get the dart relatively flat in the board for stacking of other darts on top of first and second dart and not blocking targets with an extreme tail pointing upwards dart. Thats my method anyway, if you like more angle then simply adjust accordingly.
Now this technique seems to work with the majority of throwers but not all. It depends on how much kick you have in your throw due to the release of the dart being slightly tip up or tip down, slightly up is perfect but slightly down will give the dart some kick but is something you may have to live with because its more important to throw natural rather than force yourself to correct it (the barrel shape will do this for you).
We will start with a straight barrel design medium stem and a standard flight setup and in the same way as you found out your correct weight in step 1, throw your dart at the bull and take note of the angle it lands in the board e.g. tail up or tail down.
If your dart lands relatively flat then this is the correct setup for you.
If your dart lands tail up then you may want to try a smaller flight and shorter stem or a rear loaded dart with a longer stem and standard flight.
if your dart lands tail down then a front loaded dart will be the barrel you are looking for which is a good thing as a front loaded dart with a longer stem and standard flight is the most forgiving setup of them all but you will have to live with a fatter barrel diameter.

Step 3: Fine tuning
By fine tuning I mean flight and stem setup.

Kick in your dart:
Learn to live with it. Its more important to use your natural throw than to throw unnatural. Flights size and stem length will change the timing of a kicking dart as to when it hits the board at a flat angle e.g. slow the kick down with a long stem or big flight or speed it up with a short stem or small flight, and as I said before a small or large flight will speedup or slowdown your dart so you can get it to the board at the right time for it to land flatter.

Standard flights will give you the most control and are more forgiving but tend to wash off some speed forcing the dart to lose momentum and land tail up in the board if you are a soft thrower, if this is happening then a smaller flight will get to the board faster and the dart should land flatter.
Or if your dart kicks allot through the air try and find the flight that will get to the board at the right time for it to land flat be it a large or small flight.

Longer stems are more forgiving than shorter and I find that shorter stems seem to flatten the dart out a bit. Then there is the weight factor as a weighted stem will flatten most darters throw but is unforgiving if released wrong.
If your dart kicks allot through the air try and find the right stem length to get it to the board at the right time for it to land flat.

Now that you are some ware in the ballpark its all about finding the right combo that works for you be it if you like your darts to stand up or sit flat, there will be a recipe of barrel, stem and flight that will achieve this. You will only find this combo over time and through experimentation with many barrels, grips, flights and stems until you find "The one" set and setup that works best, then lash out on the Ferrari and stick with them, until then why throw away your hard earned cash on big named brands when there are cheaper quality alternatives out there for a fraction of the price of the big namers with pretty holes or blue paint on it. Then you can sell or lend your cheap dart collection to your mates or use them to analyse there throw so they dont have to spend the Bugs Bunny.

Once you have found what you are looking for then by all means lash out on a set of top shelf arrows.

Best of luck to the new throwers out there and I hope I didnt confuse you to much lol

May the darts be with you!!!!

Out of interest this is the resulting angle of penetration when I turn a kite shaped flight around the other way with MY THROW, It might not be the same for all of us due to an individuals natural kick in the dart. Even though the flight has the same surface area the majority of surface area is at the back of the flight, the shape of this flight acts as though the stem is longer, turning it around acts as though the stem is shorter, changing the position of the kick when it hits the board, IMO.
These angles are replicated in 99% of my sets, the remaining 1% is due to a bad release.

Below is the angle of penetration with weighted brass stems vs a nylon stem, I gave up on weighted stems as they are very unforgiving with a bad release.

Courtesy of rich345
Flight and stem Trajectory analysis

Below is an analysis of the angle of penitration with Harrows flights and stems.
This is not law and will not be the exact angle for everyones throw but USUALLY will work as a guideline for most.

If you look at the angle of the Harrows "Heavy Metal" stems below, and my pic directly above, it will show that I throw these stems at a flat angle with small flights. cuz i'm an individual lol.

Would be great to see the photos in this popular post  Sad

Match Darts=Target Darryl Fitton,s® 22g

Back ups= Hmmmmm??? ®

 And..A few sets of spares .®   Rolleyes
Thank you this was very helpful!!!
Thank you
great post this is going to help me alot
Thanks for this awesome resource, perfect for beginners like myself!
Very helpful post. Thanks
Stumbled across this post from google and it's been brilliant. Looking to buy a new set of darts and I guess want to find something different to what I have, to actually compare.

So this has helped me big time


Had a throwing session last night and found my darts all finishing relatively flat, marginal tail up. And when aiming bull there was no consistent or dramatic dropping too low or firing to high, when I was missing(drastically more often than hitting) I found the throws going on the level with bull just missing right or left. And the dramatic ones, I could feel it in my throw. Wasnt a case of "oh that felt a consistent throw but random result".

Went ahead purchasing these as they might fit the bill, keeping things the same but just a thicker barrel for comfort

But thanks again. I've struggled to kinda work out how to look at equipment relative to the impacts I'm seeing. And while I know developing a consistent throw is the most important, I'd like as a new player to just have a few sets to see early on what feels comfy in my hand.
This was very helpful, thanks!
Thanks for sharing that information. Depending on who I ask, I always get different response, as there is allot of person preference in what need to buy, I did visit this dart shop that has a try before you buy, so you are able to test out all the different types of barrels, and pull things out of its box, as sometimes there is a big difference to what you see on a poster and the actual product.
Thanks for the information, still getting things set up here Smile
Great post and thread!  Made me firm up a decision at least.

I've been throwing exclusively straight barrels until now and whilst they feel comfy to me, I have to admit that having not experimented with any of the bomb style barrels, I can't say definitively which style I really do throw better... I got one space to fill on the dart caddy too so I better start shopping around for a cheap n cheerful (not nasty cheap) set to have a throw about with... I don't wanna spend loads as I pretty sure I won't like them but at same time I wanna give them a faircrack so say min 80%T between 21-24g, ringed full length grip preferably.... Sound easy enough! Lol

I'm sure I seen a set of harrows(?) Sonic? Or was it atomic? The other day that were front loaded and looked nice but iirc they had a slight scallop. So that would be introducing 2 new variables at same time which doesn't lead to accurate measurement of progress...

Decisions decisions aye...!

Any recommendations welcomed.

Nice 1 Gaz

Edit2+ I pushed the button on a set from dartsclearance in the end. Less than a tenner. Kicking myself now though because after I checked out I carried on looking and there were better suited sets for exact same price! Doh!
Can't be arsed to faff them around changing the order now. I'll try these and if no good just order another set. At the price they're at its kinda rude not too I reckon! Lol
Just such a big +1 for this thread. It's been so helpful in terms of working out what sort of darts to be looking at.

Having used two sets of straight barrels, figured I'd try this bomb style typed dart mentioned. Seems logical to try the different styles and see if there is any immediate response or feedback before then settling on "my type"

Well, strolled down to ARgos this morning and picked up

Having used two sets of straight barrels and been happy and content and seeing myself improve, this was mind blowing. Two games of around the world took less then 30 darts each time. Thats massive for me. Anywhere I aimed these just went (in terms of numbers, not at the point of aiming trebles or doubles).

The flight is crisp and looks brilliant, they feel great in the hand, and I'm absolutely delighted.

I've two sets now of two types which I feel confident and happy with moving forward, but think I'll move forward with the bomb style and see how I go
Thanks mate, great post!

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