Whether you have just started throwing darts, are thinking about it or have been playing in leagues for years, you need three things………………….DARTS.
In the beginning, when the founders of our sport played darts in the days of wooden barrels and feathered flights, I dare to assume that there wasn’t much of a choice. You couldn’t select the weight of your dart down to the gram, or what type of material, color and length you wanted the shafts to be. There weren’t endless possibilities for different trademarks, logos or anecdotes on your favorite flights. These days you do have a choice, and the choices are never ending.
So where do you start? The key to improving your accuracy, along with your score and consistency, is to select a dart that matches your particular throwing style. When you choose a dart that you enjoy throwing, reliability and consistency will follow.
Do you prefer a heavy dart, or a lighter dart? You will find an almost endless selection of darts on the market in a variety of weights that top out at 50 grams, and can be found as light as 3.5 grams. The most popular weights used by avid dart players are typically in the 16 to 26 gram range. The selection of your dart weight is one of the more important choices you will need to make. The only reliable method to determining this is to throw darts of various weights and discover what feels the best to you. A great opportunity to do this would be through a friend that plays or any local venue that has dart leagues and/ or tournaments, such as the nearby bar. I've had many occasions to throw other people's darts. I've found other people to be very open in giving their opinion regarding their darts, and more than willing to allow me to throw them once or twice to get a feel for them. Most passionate dart players are proud of the darts they use, and take advantage of the chance to show them off. Many darts allow you the ability of adding weight in one, two and three gram increments. A heavier dart will require a harder throwing style compared to a lighter dart.
The material of which darts are made from today will be yet another determining factor in your dart selection process. For the last several decades you had one choice in barrel material, brass. Today, darts with barrels constructed from tungsten along with other alloys are readily available. These new metals came into common use as a result of added merits they provide.
Tungsten darts have barrels which are slimmer in diameter compared to darts made with brass barrels. The advantages of using a thinner dart come from the fact that you can position additional, thinner darts inside a tighter spot than you can place a larger diameter dart. For instance, there is only so much area within the bulls-eye of a dart board. Just how much easier might it possibly be to put 3 slim darts, compared to 3 thick-barreled darts into that compact spot? Since they take up a much smaller area on the dart board, they are usually less likely to result in deflections of your second and third darts.
Tungsten dart barrels tend to be denser, and the tungsten matter is heavier in order to maintain a confident weight, while still achieving the smaller diameter. I dare to say that most dart players today throw tungsten barreled darts. The advantage of a slimmer dart in a weight that allows you to throw comfortably is worth its weight in tungsten.
Ultimately, you must evaluate the feel of the grip that you prefer. There are various kinds of “knurling” that alter the feel and grip of the barrel. You will see barrels today with the standard smooth finish, with rings present on that barrel. Examples of these are an accepted design; however it seems that more and more dart players are favoring a harder, coarser finish. The coarseness of the barrel will help offer an improved, more confident grip and slippage is drastically decreased. Fine knurling and coarse knurling are both popular, with various levels of style and patterns.
Once you have an idea of exactly what style of dart you are searching for, you will find lots of options. Whether you are interested in an inexpensive set of darts, or a high quality set, you might be shocked by the number of completely different models available to choose from.
Last year I was invited by some friends to join an ADA dart league and of course I needed some darts. Up to this point, the only darts I recall throwing were “house” darts and lawn darts, neither of which I was very accurate with. Like a lot of new dart players, I went to where they sell darts in my town……… Wal-Mart. They had 3 different sets of darts, each included extra tips, flights and even an additional set of shafts all in a special, plastic, see-through case. I got the red ones.
The next night I showed up for an orientation /interleague tournament and by the end of the evening I had discovered that there were other darts to choose from other than the three sets that existed at Wal-Mart.
A friend suggested that since there was not anywhere local (other than Wal-Mart) that had a selection of quality dart supplies to choose from that I look online. He suggested Dartbrokers.com.
When I first logged on to DartBrokers.com I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and appearance of the website. I know a little about building websites, and at this point I was still wondering why a company that specialized in just darts and accessories would need such an elaborate website. After about five minutes I had an answer and was amazed at the enormous selection of darts out there.
Dart Brokers website is well laid out and set up so even if you don’t have a clue as to what you are looking for the pages are easy to navigate with large, color pictures and complete product specs. If you know exactly what you are looking for, which I assure you they carry it, you can get on, find it quickly, place your order and get on with your day. They carry all the big names including Bottelsen, Dynasty, Monster, Laserdarts, TIGA, Viper, Harrows, Unicorn and their own signature Pure Shot darts just to name a few. They are also the U.S. distributor for L-Style which, as far as I’m concerned, is the only shaft and flight system I will ever need.
DartBrokers.com boasts an endless supply of soft and steel tip darts, flights, shafts, tips, cases, boards and any other accessories you may need or want. With more than $7 million of dart supplies in inventory, whether you are a pro or a beginner looking for your first set of darts, they have you covered.
The website has different articles and videos covering everything from dart etiquette and dart terminology, to how to actually throw the darts and a helpful dart buyer’s guide. I was so surprised at the complexity of this “simple” sport and current popularity that had somehow, up until now went undetected by me, that I ended up spending a couple hours on this expansive website. I have to admit, even though I was just looking to spend less than $100 for a set of darts that would just allow me to shoot a little better than my current Wally darts, I was still a little intimidated.
Dart Brokers currently sponsors 17 pro dart players and their in-house pro is a guy that I am sure a lot of you know or have heard of personally, Joe “Millionaire” Mateja. Dart Brokers is owned by a gentleman and fellow darter by the name of Thomas Schude. These two guys are tirelessly striving to make Dart Brokers and Dartbrokers.com the number one dart equipment supplier in the country, and they are not far off. Their showroom is in Aurora, IL and as I mentioned, this is where they house their $7 million in inventory which includes over 16,000 unique items. To their customers, that means that there is a very slim chance that they don’t have what you need and on the outside chance that they don’t have it in stock, they will get it for you. Their prices are very competitive and cheaper than most places even with the shipping. They ship nationwide and in most cases you can have your order shipped the next day. Together they have almost 30 years darting experience.
I called Dart Brokers hoping someone one would answer the phone and could possibly answer a question or two and assist me in buying my first “real” set of darts. Thomas, the owner was the one that actually took my call and after asking me a few simple questions was able to explain more to me about the mechanics of the game of darts that I thought would take me years to learn. He spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with me, I never felt like he had something better to do and he answered every question I had. After explaining to Thomas how long I had been playing, my throwing style, how I stood at the line and what types of darts I had thrown, he helped me select a set of darts. He suggested a dart that his in-house pro throws and actually put me on the phone with him.
I had actually heard of Joe “Millionaire” Mateja two weeks before our conversation. He was in St. Louis playing at an annual tournament they have here. On the phone he was just as helpful as Thomas had been and we went over a couple things to make sure I was getting the correct set of darts. He went over weight and shaft length with me as well as the shape and material of the flights. He told me about the shaft and flight system that he uses which is L-Style. Joe gave me some throwing tips on the phone, gave me his email address, and told me that if I had any additional questions or needed any help with my game that I could contact him anytime. That’s not something I experience on a regular basis, but I had a feeling he meant it.
The next day I received my darts and a few extra goodies Tom and Joe threw in for me. I don’t know if dart players tell colorful tales about their shooting abilities when no one is around like my fishing buddies do, but I don’t. I will just tell you that I am thrilled with the Joe “Millionaire” signature darts and L-Style shafts and flights that I got from Dart Brokers. I have to attribute my vast improvements to the new darts, the practice and the shooting tips my new friend Joe Mateja has given me. I have since retired the Wal-Mart darts, stocked up on all L-Style shafts and flights and I just finished my first ADA league session in which I won Member of the Week in for the session. One thing I have noticed after I have gotten a few months of playing under my belt, I understand that barrels are a very personal, person to person choice. All the different knurling, front weighted, back weighted, center weighted, I get it now. And I have also noticed that there are a lot of darters that throw very long darts, which again is a personal preference and that’s why they make longer barrels and different length shafts. The one thing that I don’t understand is why everyone isn’t using L-Style shafts and flights with the champagne caps. They come in all the shapes and sizes that the “normal”, plastic flights come in.
When I first started throwing I must have purchased 20 different flights for $1.50 a set with cool flames on them or my favorite sports team. It seemed like they lasted one night of league play and a couple days of practice and they were trashed. I must admit, I was skeptical about shelling out $7 or $8 for a set of L-Style flights, but when they lasted me longer than a dozen sets of the regular flights would have lasted me and always stayed at a perfect 45 degree angle, I was sold. My darts fly straighter than ever, no Robin Hoods, and I spend less money on shafts and flights. For me there is nothing else until someone invents something better, which might be awhile. If you’ve never seen them, check them out. They don’t pay me, it’s just an obvious choice, and I can’t believe how many old timers in my league have changed to what the new guy is throwing.
One thing I cannot say enough about is the service that I received from DartBrokers.com. If you don’t have a dart shop in your area where you can go try out several styles of darts and accessories and get dart supplies at a reasonable price, or even if you do, check out www.dartbrokers.com or call 630-566-7881 and talk to Joe or Thomas. Tell them Chris Fagin sent you. Shoot well!
Please let me know if you enjoyed this story. I am considering writing regular reviews on dart products and dart venues as well as major darting events. If there is a product or a venue you would like to read about you can reach me at email@example.com