How to find your perfect darts?
Well, in the last year I have learned a lot about darts. Difference shapes, weights, grips and designs and I have thrown a lot of different barrels.

Now friends, who wants to start playing, often ask me which set they should get first. So I thought I share my advices to them.

Well the first answer now is always, go to a shop and throw different darts, but that also has a few problems. When you never have thrown a dart before it is unlikely that you will throw long enough at a shop to find out what works and what doesn't.

You also may end up buying a higher priced that, as it felt good at the time. But as your throw develops, you will very likely notice things that are not perfect with your current darts and you will get another set, that suits you better. So the expensive darts are unused or you sell them and loose quite some money.

So I normally tell people two start with these two sets:

Sets to start with?

Harrows Bristow Ringed 24g Bristow-type Ringed Dart

Pentathlon T1 24g

Why start with these sets?

My personal opinion is that there are two major dart shapes. Straight and Bomb/Lowe style. They are the most common shapes and suit the most players. I advise to get the Bristow darts, because they are a long straight barrel with ring grip on the whole barrel. Ring grip is a good start for new players as it is a medium grip. A straight barrel nearly suits all grip styles. 24g to start with are also a weight that is pretty average, so people can adapt in both directions if they feel it would suits them better.

The Pentathlon T1 are a bomb style barrel with grip on the complete barrel, that is important. The famous Lowe darts have no grip at the rear, so they won't suit well for different grip styles. 24g to start with again.

Also both sets are well priced. You can get both sets together for £50.

Why to start with two sets?

I believe that it is hard to understand what dart style will suit you, when you have no other set to compare with. So I also advise people two start with two sets, so they will get a feeling for what suits them better. If you only have one dart at the beginning, you may feel that the dart is not right for you, but you also don't know what you should get instead. So start with the most common two shapes and it will be easier to know what works for you.

The Bristows

Someone has the Bristows and likes the straight shape and is feeling okay with them, but has some problems:

- The dart is slipping sometimes: It seems like the ring grip is not strong enough. I than advise to get a set with Purist or Shark grip. (Unicorn Taylor Phase 1/2; Unicorn Anderson Phase 3, etc.)
The grip feels too much: Also possible, if not very likely as ring grip is not very strong and aggressive. But if so, I advise to try a set with knurled grip or smooth barrels.  (Nodor; Designa; Red Dragon Thorntons; Red Dragon Valiant; Winmau Saracen; Unicorn Jenkins, V180 Andy Smith etc.)
- Grip level is okay, but shorter barrel:  Many options out there, no real advise. Try to stick to ring grip or darts with little grooves like the Target Norris.
- Grip level is okay, but barrel to short: Unlikely that you will know that longer barrels will suit you better without throwing one. Look at the Datadart Martin Adams darts.
- The weight is not right: If you like the grip, get the same set as possible in a different weight. No real sense to try a different weight and grip at the same time.

After that advises most people know in which direction their search is going or are already happy.

Pentathlon Bomb style

Not many advises if you like the bomb style but have problems with the grip level. First you should certain where you grip the dart, at the rear or at the front.

Less grip: Winmau Vendetta, Unicorn John Lowe
More grip: Bulls Grenade or Unicorn Phase 5/6, Designa Extreme

But here is my big adivse, really try to throw them at a shop. Bomb style darts have the problem that the dimensions are very important as they are mostly very short and if the dimensions are not perfect for you, they throw like hell as they simply feel wrong.

Also don't think about the Target Taylor Gen1/2/3. Yes they are bomb style darts, yes a 16 times world champions has thrown them, but they are really designed for Taylor and his setup. Also they are expensive, so only try them if you are certain, they could suit you.

A few don'ts:

Try to avoid darts with scallops at the beginning. If you're grip has not settled, they are pointless as the scallop has to be in the right spot for you to help.

- Also try to avoid darts with reference points unless you know that they are in the right spot for you.

- Don't buy Pixel, Cortex grip darts from Target. Yes they look nice and interesting. But both grips feel very unique and special and they are not made for everyone. They are simply to expensive to try at the beginning. When you have developed a steady throw, you know which length and shape you need, than you can think about trying these grip styles.

- Don't buy coated darts at the beginning. Start with natural darts. Coatings can be very nice, but the problem is, you never really know what you get. Some coatings make the darts grippier, some less grippier. So again, find your shape, weight and grip and than you can start to try different coatings.

- Don't think, that expensive darts are better than cheaper ones. There are only two things that matter. Dimensions and grip style. If they are right, get them. If not, than don't.

- Don't change darts everyday. Play a week or two with a new set before you drop it. Understand why a set doesn't suit you. It will help to avoid buying wrong darts.

- Don't expect that a set will make you a better player from one day to the other. Becoming a better player is all about training.

I hope this thread, will help on or another beginner to find the perfect set for him. It is not always easy and quick to find your perfect dart. And not cheap. It often takes years to be sure what is perfect for you. Also never forget, that your throw changes and so you maybe have to adapt your barrel.

Update: Aug. 2020

New link to a Bristow ringed dart.
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Winmau - Andy Fordham SE
Nice post ... I am sure it will be very helpfull for a lot of people!!
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Board: Winmau Blade 5
Darts : One80 Bavaria SG 21g
Stems: Short Deflectagrip
Flights: Ribtex Standard
Nice guide, +1 for that. I just started playing Darts 4 weeks ago and I will get bomb shaped barrels to try asap. Cheers
Nice tips and helpful! +1
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Couldn't agree more with post having started of with some hand me downs from my grandad which were his own county darts 90% tung simple ring grip nothing to pleasing on the eye with his custom flights I seemed to pick the game up quite fast from a relatively young age not hitting 180's but consistent on at the time 19's and double 16/8 fast faward a few years a house change and in and out of love of the game I ended up loosing one of the barrels resulting in having to try and recreate that dart in newer and more fancy barrels .....never quite happened and haven't really felt anything simalar so on to the now ...I've gave up looking and now trying to find my own trustys morale of the story I don't think any dart will feel as good as the one you've used trusted and tested and mainly won with the most so give them all time I say

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Really helpful tip, +1

@Mod....Possible Sticky for newer players?

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Darts currently used ....... Target Taylor 9five Gen3 26g with Harrows short Supergrip stems and punched Target Vision Flights.

Darts owned.......... Target Taylor 9five Gen2 quattro 26g, Harrows Fire 26g, Red Dragon Falcon GT 26g, XQmax MvG gold 25g, Winmau Steve Beaton 24g, Winmau Andy Fordham (Atomised grip) 23g, Winmau Andy Fordham (Onyx) 23g, Unicorn John Part (Silver Star) 23g, Winmau Wild Roses 22g.

Board used ......... Winmau Blade 5 DC
great post  :thumbup: :thumbup:
Set Up: 
Winmau Xtreme Dartboard Stand 2
Winmau Blade 6 Dartboard
Winmau Surround
Target Corona Vision Lighting System

Jonny Clayton SP Gold 22g

2022 180 count: 2
Highest Checkout: 91
Best 501 Leg: 16 Darts
Nice post

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26g Red Dragon Matra 
+1 from me too. Really helpfull for beginners, especially the comments about the "fashionable" pricy darts
Great post!!!
+1. I usually tell people to look over RD Flightmasters / A180 Glidemasters and pick two or three radically different sets that appeal, but your advice is more precise.

One thing I'd add is that it's ridiculous for beginners to worry too much about weight. Barrel shape (determining the right one for one's throw) is far more important at first than a gram or two either way. I've seen way too many relative beginners say "my best weight is 25 grams." Then you tell them to look over Flightmasters and Amberjacks and ask them which dart is the best for them, and they often have no clue. I grant you that I have thrown 26g darts 99% of the time over the past 26+ years, but it's all with one barrel shape / size and I can throw my lady's 24g Datadart Omegas just as well (or poorly, depending on the day) because that's the same barrel shape and size. I'd be willing to bet the same pretty much goes with my niece's 23g Steffi Lucks, although I can't say for sure because she won't let anyone near them. Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

Great post +1 Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
(02-04-2017, 03:44 PM)Tez Tickle Wrote: Really helpful tip, +1

@Mod....Possible Sticky for newer players?


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Great post, +1 from me too. That was how I did it too, I bought a set of straight barrels, then a couple of months later bought a set of bullets, and went from there.
Very good advice.
It's been literally months since I first started, but I started out with 3 different brass barrel shapes over a wide range of weights from 18g to 27g - big nose, straight, elliptical. Shortly after I bought the Winmau Series 8.0 in tungsten that I'd been eyeing in SD because of the high grip, and then I experimented with different barrel shapes and weights to try to find my feet. I think this helped me a lot to find a permanent grip which I'm comfortable with and which isn't so susceptible to radically change if I try out a totally different barrel shape, and which is also flexible enough to adapt.

I agree with Berlin180 that weight is much less important than barrel shape. I think barrel shape is everything because it either determines your grip or is determined by your grip. I've found it's easy to adjust to different weights after a few throws, but I think after about 2 months it is worthwhile doing what I did and buy a very cheap(less than £10) set of 10g-14g and one of 26g-30g to give a sense of scale and the bigger picture.

It may also be useful to choose a dart that includes more than 1 grip style.

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