My guide to keeping flights on stems.
I just want to say thank you for this guide. You suggested it in my question thread the other day, and it was extremely helpful. I had several questions still, and they were all answered. Great info, and really, really helpful.
I just wanted to follow up and say I took your advice on the proper punch, and rings. I couldn't be happier after having thrown plenty of darts with no punches, or springs, and what a difference. Even when I have got the RH, it's caught in the heavy Target ring and does nothing to it, nor the stem so far. I'm sure you can damage the stem, but so far with Harrows Supergrips (Transparent colors) nothing.

Thanks for this great tutorial, and if you don't mind a credit to Oldjoblo as well in the the other thread where you found me. Thumbs up!
Thanks to everyone for great input - It really helps a novice.  Just wanted to say I purchased the L Style Shell lock system a few months ago, and it actually works quite well.  I'm using the same set of Supergrip shafts (rings removed and shell locks put on) for 3 months.  They've taken some hits and have little lines carved into the tiny shells, but I have not lost a flight nor had a robinhood.  The only problem I have with the Shell lock system is it takes a little work to put them together, and I would not want to fuss with the process at a game, so I need a suit-case to carry darts and pre-assembled shafts/flights, just in case.
Target/Harrows punch and titanium slot lock rings. using this setup now with harrows marathon flights never had any problems great guide thanks.
Same setup here and no problem.
Great guide, thank you!
Thanks for this interessting and very detail review
Right now I'm looking for flight punch. Is there a best one? All of them (simple slot lock style not shell ones) look fairly similar. Do they differ in any way performance or durability?
(01-02-2017, 07:43 PM)Marcin P Wrote: Right now I'm looking for flight punch. Is there a best one? All of them (simple slot lock style not shell ones) look fairly similar. Do they differ in any way performance or durability?

They don't, Harrows or Target are or are pretty much the same thing.
I have had mine for over 3 years
but DC have a discount code for -7%
p[Image: GEpKdcf.png] 
Current Board 
ONE80 Gladiator 3 with Corona Surround and Unicorn number ring
Modified Unicorn Striker with RD medium sparkle stems, hardcore  charcoal flights and Target titanium stem rings   

Playing 40 years on and off and still barely average                 

great guide, thanks
Great guide! This answered a few of my initial questions before I even got to ask them!
(11-09-2014, 01:58 PM)Regulatori Wrote: Hey, how's it going?  I recently bought a Viper Flight punch but I am having reservations.  Wouldn't it be better to have the flight pop out and have the dart stick in?  With the flight attached I feel that sometimes the entire dart pops out when it hits another flight (already in the board).

Thx - Dennis

I did a search for a similar guide and couldn't find anything. If someone already made one, feel free to delete. No biggie.

It's 4AM (Pacific time) and I'm loaded up coffee to stay up for F1 racing and darts...figured this would be a good time to make a longer post.

One of the most asked questions I get from beginners do I keep my flights from falling off?

I'm mainly going to focus on plastic stems. I've never been a fan of metal stems for various reasons...we can argue for days about the advantages/disadvantages but there is a reason that just about 95% of the pros use plastic.

First of all, word of caution. This information only applies to a standard shaped plastic stem.

This shape.

[Image: designanylonstemtweenienaturalwhite.png]

This is the most common plastic shape in stems. You'll find this shape from A180 nylon, Target Pro Grips, Laros, Designa, Pure Dart Deflectagrip, etc.. It's usually the generic stem available from most large dart retailers.

This information does NOT always apply to stems that have tapered body such as Unicorn Grippers. They can use some styles of rings but not just know that not all of this applies to these types of stems (I don't use these so I can't tell you what works/doesn't).


[Image: unicorn-shafts-gripper-2.jpg]

The absolute budget/cheapest way.

Coiled stem ring.
It looks like a small coiled spring.

[Image: silversprings.jpg]

All you do is place this spring on your stem and then insert your flight as usual.
Since the coil spring is pinching on the flight tongs (that's how it holds the flight in tight), you may not be able to get your flight inserted if you have the spring pushed to the top.  

Instead, pull the spring halfway up the rear slotted area, insert your flight up to the spring, place the stem upright on a table (threads down), and then take your fingernails on each side of the ring and slide it down using the table as leverage. The flight may also take an extra push to get tight. Just be careful not to bend the flight by pressing too hard.

The good.. can buy 50 at a time.

-Often included free with stems

-Just about everyone has them laying around their dart bag

The bad...

-They will stretch out

-They can pop off and be lost forever when you go to remove your dart from the board and accidentally pull the flight off. The spring will typically go flying never to be seen again.

-They can be robin hood catchers. They have a great ability to catch the dart's point. You can then toss out that spring because it's stretched out/trashed (but who cares, they're cheap)

Metal stem ring (thin style)

Just a small metal ring.

[Image: titaniumprogripringset.jpg]

These are the rings typically found on Target Pro Grip stems. Personally I think they are the best bang for the buck. They work exactly like a regular coiled spring but have a lower profile and don't stretch out so much.

I have broken/snapped these before. If you want to get the best version, buy the Target Titanium pro grip ring (make sure it's the "Pro grip ring".....NOT "slot lock." )The titanium versions lasts a lot longer.

Buy 3-5'll see why in a moment. Example....

The Good

-Free if you buy Target Pro Grip rings

-Low profile

-Can get them in colors if you choose aluminum

-Won't stretch unless they take a few hard hits. I've never had a titanium version stretch.

The Bad

-These are the masters of getting lost. I know one of my local pubs probably has 15 of my Pro Grip rings somewhere on the floor. If you use any kind of grip points, make sure you grab the dart by the barrel. It's easy to casually grab your darts and end up yanking off the flight when the dart is still in the board. With these types of rings, 99% of the time you will be staring at a naked stem left in the board. These rings are TINY and almost impossible to find on the ground. Carpet? Fuggitaboutit

Pro-tip = take some florescent paint (orange/yellow, etc..) and do a light coat...easier to find (if you ever raced RC Cars, we used to do this with dogbones/ much easier to find if you toss one).

Slot rings. The thicker ring.

They also are sometimes just called generic "alloy rings." I'm going to refer to them as Slot Locks to keep it simple.

[Image: 8279-new-target-titanium-slot-lock-rings.jpg]

These can be used in two ways.

1. Use in the same way as the above rings.

2. Used with a flight punch (will mention in a moment).

Since slot lock rings are thicker, you won't be able to slide your flight all the way up where you normally can. It varies with stems but if you try to slide a Target slot lock ring on a Target stem, the slot lock ring will stop 2-3mm short.

BUT...this can be an advantage and a disadvantage.

Advantage: Say you're experimenting with different stem lengths and you can't decide between an intermediate and a medium....or a short and intermediate. If you put a slot lock ring on your stem, the flight will now sit 3-5mm further back. You now effectively have a "middle size" between each of the main three sizes. Like a short+ (between a short and intermediate size). Not a huge deal but it's fun to experiment if you feel a shorter stem is making your darts nose dive while the next size up is making the dart fishtail.

Disadvantage: Since your flight can only go halfway up the slot, you won't get the same firm hold as you would with a thin ring/spring.


-Usually cheap

-One of the best setups if combined with a flight punch.

-If you buy the aluminum Target versions, they come in a variety of colors like red, blue, yellow, pink, black, etc..


-If you're using it like a thin/Pro Grip ring or coil spring ring, you won't get the same hold since it can't fully slide up the stem.

-Thicker/bulkier than a Pro Grip style ring above. My standard alloy version were REALLY beat up/misshapen after a few months.

Pro tip = buy the Target Titanium Slot Lock rings. These are awesome and can take a pounding. No pretty colors though.

Pro tip Part Duex = If you buy Laro stems or ever come across "L Style L-Rings,"
you'll see it's a slot lock ring that's made of plastic. Toss them in the bin. They break/bend so fast. Just garbage.


Flight punch.

It's simply a hole punch looking device that punches a rectangular hole in your flights to be used with SLOT LOCK/thick rings.

Buy one that looks similar to this....

[Image: flight-punch.jpg]

Harrows, Target, and a bunch others make a similar style.


[Image: puti6.jpg]

Again, these are pure garbage. Physically they're smaller and could fit on a key chain.

Did I mention they are garbage? I've had 3-4 (most were given to me over the years) and they either....
-punch the square off center
-don't fully punch the flight all the way through
-a thicker flight will not even fit.

STAY AWAY. "Puti" is one of the brand names.

So now that you have a GOOD flight punch (Harrows, Target, or similar) punch away.

With a flight punch, you really want to use the thicker rings like the Slot Locks. You can use the thinner Pro Grip style rings or coil spring rings...but I find they tend to rattle and not keep the same amount of grip. Your results may vary.

But the best fit is the thicker Slot Lock ring above.

All you do is punch the flight, insert the ring in the slot when the flight is still folded, unfold the flight, slide the setup on.

The Goods...
-One of the best setups for pure grip force. You'll RARELY have a flight come off unless you're constantly pulling off flights for storage...the grip will slightly loosen after awhile. In my opinion one of the best setups.

The bad...

-If you're using a light dart, it may upset the weight balance. I noticed this with 14g Hankeys.

-If you pre-punched your flights and get to a match only to realize you forgot your rings, punched flights with no ring is not the easiest to slide on. That square slot now becomes a "crumble zone" and will often bend/get crushed rather than wanting to slide on the stem easily. If your friend has aluminum stems, forgot their flights and wants to use a set of your punched flights, good's almost impossible to not crumble them.

-Usually won't fold down flat for storage unless you remove the ring.

Pro tip: If you ever want to try the fancy non-folding flights from L Style (they always keep their shape), buy the STANDARD L Style flights, NOT the Champagne flights unless you feel like buying Champagne caps.

The Standard L Style flights are pre-punched. All you need is a good set of slot lock (preferably the titanium versions) and you now have a great setup.

Again...THIS style of L Style flight.

[Image: s_l1_g.jpg]

If you have $$$$$$$$

There is a couple different versions of this system. Whitlock has a setup, L Style, and One80 has one too.

I'm currently using the L Style version.

It's expensive but worth trying out if someone has one to borrow. Some shops will offer to punch your flights in this shape when ordering so it might good to test it this way instead of spending $50 on the punch.

It's a flight punch that puts a bullet shaped hole in the flight. This allows you to insert a cap instead of a ring that caps the end of the stem. The caps have ridges that supposedly keep your folding flights in a perfect 90 degree angle.

The punch....

[Image: lstylelshelllockpunch.png]

This little monster is $50.

Then you need to buy the SHELL LOCK RINGS (NOT "champagne cups"). The Shell Lock rings have slots in them to keep your folding flights at a 90 degree angle.

The Good
-I've used mine off and on for 6 months and have never robinhooded a flight. Typically I do it once a week with other setups.

-I find that the slots actually work and keep your flights at the right angle. I rarely fiddle with my flights even after a hard bounce off the floor.

-Lots of pretty colors if that's your, green, white, blue, etc..

-Flights seem to stay on tight. You'll push on the flight and at one point it makes almost a "click" sound telling you it's full seated.

The Bad...


-The stupid wire clamp that you use to keep it folded up for storage always wants to flop down when you're punching flights and locks the punch...I always find myself having to flip it back up. No biggie though.

-Some people say it's garbage, you can still robinhood, they don't hold on your flights, etc.. I've never experienced any of that myself.

-Storing flights can be a pain. Popping off/on the little cap is not always easy. The best way is to store the flights on your dart.

-Did I mention the cost?


-Best bang for your buck?
Use the thin rings like Target titanium pro grip rings or just buy Target Pro Grip stems and use the alloy rings that come with them. I would buy extras though because they will get lost.

-You want to experience minor stem length tweaks
Use the thicker Slot Rings like you would with regular rings.

-Best overall setup?
My opinion? A standard Target/Harrows punch and titanium slot lock rings. Some prefer just a standard alloy ring or coil spring.
You just have to mess around and see what works best for you.
(11-05-2017, 03:55 PM)denniscarrig Wrote:
(11-09-2014, 01:58 PM)Regulatori Wrote: Hey, how's it going?  I recently bought a Viper Flight punch but I am having reservations.  Wouldn't it be better to have the flight pop out and have the dart stick in?  With the flight attached I feel that sometimes the entire dart pops out when it hits another flight (already in the board).

Thx - Dennis

Several screens of @denniscarrig quote edited out for readability.  Top green arrow links to original post...

You will likely see more deflections with the slot lock rings, but that's the price you pay for the extra flight security. 

Many ways of dealing with it - switching targets perhaps the best IMO.  Some players use punched flights only during practice, switching to conventional setups during match play.  Much depends on the shape of your dart's nose.  Rounded noses tend to shrug off the blocking flight with less deflection then barrel noses that are squared off.  I keep both types of ring at hand so always have options.

It's really up to you, and what works best with your setup and game.  Personally, I hate chasing flights, so always play with slot lock rings.  And slot lock rings also help protect the stems, reducing equipment failures from that source  Smile

Lots more discussion here:

Nice thread- I use Cosmos - simplify Lol
Thanks for the info

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