The Snapshot Review: Unicorn Gripper 6. The Beresford Barrel.

Not many amateur players are asked to produce their own barrel design by a major manufacturer. Fewer still see that design released onto the market and be available for general sale. Darts World contributor Tom Beresford is one of that select group.

Tom’s design was modelled on two of his favourite players, Joe Cullen and Krzysztof Kcuik and their distinctive barrels.

  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand: Unicorn
  • Model: Gripper
  • Tungsten: 90%
  • Edition: 22g
  • Price: 35-60

Overview and First Impressions:

The barrels were originally marketed with Tom’s name and previous logo associated with them but are also part of the extensive ‘Gripper’ range. The ‘Beresford Barrel’ is the 22g version. The dimensions are relatively conventional at 45mm x 7mm, but its the grip sections that make the dart stand out. The dart has the same basic shape as the Cullen arrow but the front grip section is far more aggressive and has more in common with Kcuik’s Weapon of Choice’.

Open the Box:

  • One set of 3 90% Tungsten Barrels – Unicorn engraved.
  • One set of 3 Gripper Zero Degree’s Shafts
  • One set of 3 Gripper Flights
  • One set of 3 Finger Grip Points (Fitted)

These combinations of grip patterns give the dart a direct and aggressive look and feel. The slightly shorter, than Joe’s, dimensions are good for those who might describe themselves as ‘a bit wristy’. At 90% tungsten, they are a high-quality dart that will be long-lasting.

The price tag varies between 35 – 60 and is quite high for a ‘range dart’, best value can be obtained by hunting online. The finger grip points, supplied, are a nice touch and give the player a variety of options and ways for the dart to feel secure.

Test Results:

The testers found that both middle and rear grip players could get good performance from the dart. No front gripping player appeared comfortable.

“It took a while to really get the best from these, but they grew on me…..”

All the testers found the dart appealing and were eager to try them. The concept of a hybrid dart appealed to some who thought it may solve their personal needs.

Unicorn Gripper 90% Tungsten Darts 20g Designed With Tom Beresford
A180 still feature Tom’s logo as well as the Gripper branding. click to buy

Counterintuitively it was the players with the lightest grip who found the Gripper easiest to adapt too. They liked that they could feel it in their hand without having to actually ‘grip it’. The supplied set up is a very good place to start and the supplied accessories and spares are handy. However, a ‘Rockstar’ set up was very effective!

Downsides:

The split-grip proved awkward for more than one of our testing group. Those who persevered managed to find a manageable grip but it was not an easy task. However, more than one simply could not use the dart functionally.

Cullen himself simply said he had tried them

“but they were not for me”

Marks: 8/10

Overall this dart got 8/10. One tester marked very highly and one could not offer a mark. It seems that it could be thought of a marmite dart! An improving player in need of more grip may get on well with these if their technique suits.

SnapShot:

A highly specialised dart, popular with some testers and throw styles. Durable and interesting as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A highly individual dart that may suffer from being the combination of two styles rather than a single vision. A definite ‘try before you buy’ dart, not recommended for a beginner who is yet to settle on his/her grip or throw style.


Review and testing carried out by AIM: for an on behalf of Darts World Magazine.

The Science of Darts – How Tungsten got it’s Technology

The science, and history, of dart development is of great interest to players, and readers of Darts World, we often get asked “how the modern game has changed?” or “what made the difference in standard?”

Coach’ always says that they “last real change was the acceptance of tungsten in the 1970’s”. Red Dragon have produced a great ‘potted history’ here:

The Tungsten in your hand is so perfectly sculptured and comfortable to your grip, you probably won’t notice the benefits of this semi-precious alloy until you try picking up an old brass dart.

Tungsten darts evolved in the mid 1970’s with the invention of high density, tungsten alloy rods, known as billets. Tungsten’s massive weight to volume ratio offered dart players an unrivalled scoring advantage over traditional brass darts. Whilst individual machinists started to fashion the very first tungsten dart barrels, it was not long before a plethora of tungsten dart brands sprung up around this blossoming market.

Red Dragon’s very own engineers were pioneers at this hugely exciting time in the history of the sport. Experts in tungsten powder metallurgy, they were one of the first companies to successfully blend tungsten with other metals such as copper and nickel, in the early mass production of these revolutionary new darts.

Leighton Rees – The First World Professional Champion.

At the same time as tungsten was re-writing the rule book for scoring averages, a global industry was emerging as the game was watched on television by millions of viewers worldwide. When Leighton Rees doubled to victory at the inaugural BDO World Championships in 1978, the future of tungsten for darts was secure.

Over the last 45 years, Red Dragon has consistently remained at the forefront of new technology and innovation, focusing on the development of profiles, trajectory dynamics and grip biomechanics. It is this genesis of eighth generation tungsten, that offers the players of today such a huge range of grip and flight dynamics to perfect to their very own throw.

With staggering tournament prize funds, now estimated to exceed £10 million per annum, the technological advantages offered by tungsten have never been so important.

Each top professional is fastidiously aware of the advantage that the perfect feel in a set of darts can give them, almost to the point of an unfair advantage.

And so it is to the top tungsten technologists that the leading players turn in their chase for the most innovative, tournament winning designs.

Congratulations therefore to our three reigning World Champions, Luke Humphries, Wayne Warren and Peter Wright as well as our team of specialist engineers who continue to push the scientific boundaries of tungsten technology.

END


Original Red Dragon Article Here

Old Stoneface Gets The Special Edition Treatment!

Two for One? Lowe Classic & Phase 2.

One of the noticible things in the darts industry over recent years has been the growth of the special or collectors editions sets. Often they are simply a variation on the players current dart or specially packaged, souvenir type, product to mark an occasion or achievement. However, Unicorn have just released a unique pack. Not one but two sets of darts marking the remarkable career of John Lowe!

A Moment Of Darting History

In 1984 John Lowe MBE became the first person to achieve a 9-dart finish on television, in a match against Keith Deller at the 1984 World Matchplay. John hit two 180s with his first six darts, before finishing on 141 with treble 17, treble 18 and double 18 to complete the perfect leg. With this feat, John earned himself a place in darting immortality, as well as £102,000.

The John Lowe MBE Limited Edition darts are presented in deluxe packaging and come complete with two sets of darts, the first of which is a Limited Edition Replica of the dart John used to throw the perfect leg. His Phase 1 barrels are 90% natural tungsten, with Limited Edition 9 Dart engraving. The shaft and flights are a modern replica of those used on that famous day, a Silver Moulded SlikStik shaft and ULTRAFLY Rainbow Blue flights in Xtra shape.

2019 New Year’s Honours

Lowe receives his MBE from Prince William.

On the 2nd May 2019, the three-time World Champion was awarded an MBE by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, for services to the sport of darts and Charity at Buckingham Palace. John’s incredible career spanned across four decades of darting excellence, in which he became the first man to win three World Championship Titles across three decades, defeating Leighton Rees in 1979, Eric Bristow in 1987 and Alan Warriner in 1993.

The Phase 2 set of darts include a Limited Edition replica of the dart John used when he received his MBE. The 90% tungsten dart with gold titanium coating and Limited Edition MBE engraving also includes Gold Premier Aluminium Shafts and Gold John Lowe MBE ULTRAFLY flights in Plus shape.

The classic barrel with a 1984 set up.

In total there are just 501 sets of the John Lowe Limited Edition Set, spread across the three weights, meaning there are just 167 Sets each of 21G, 23G and 25G available. Available only from Unicorn at www.playwiththebest.com or from John Lowe MBE himself.

Each John Lowe MBE Limited Edition Box Contains-

  • Deluxe John Lowe MBE Packaging
  • 2 Sets of Limited Edition John Lowe Darts – 1 x Set of Phase 1 Natural John Lowe Darts and 1 x Set of Phase 2 Gold John Lowe Darts
  • Limited Edition Engraving
  • ULTRAFLY Flights
  • SlikStik and Aluminium Shafts

Full product and purchase details available here: http://www.playwiththebest.com/john-lowe-mbe-9-dart-special.html

Wayne Warren – Recreating the Perfect Dart.

New World Champion Wayne Warren was recently filmed discussing how he was able to take a brand new set of darts and turn them, and him, into World Championship winners in less than a month.

Three Wise Men?

The video features Wayne in discussion with Red Dragon’s Simon Hall and legendary dartmaker Lee Huxtable.

Now we know that a full discussion about the ins and out of darts design may not suit everyone. But within 10 minutes Lee, Wayne and Simon give a near perfect guide to dart selection, design and manufacture!

Background

Wayne had his original darts made by Lee at Red Dragon over a decade ago. The main elements were a ‘feel’ that Wayne had from his ancient copper tungsten originals and the weight. After much trial and error the perfect ‘replica’ was produced. This involved shotblasting the tungsten to give the feel of a old worn set despite them being brand new. After further experimentation Wayne discovered that 17.5g was perfect for him. As this is an unusual weight a more usual 20g set was released commercially.

Time for Change

Wayne was aware that he had been “been going downhill” following an injury and thought that a little extra weight might help. Lee confirmed that it was possible to keep the vast majority of the dart exactly the same and gain some inertia. As with the original set as soon as Wayne tested the new specification he new it was right for him and it was simply a matter of using them for the three weeks until the World Championship!

The video features other elements such as the grip style, specifications and tungsten percentages etc. It offers a very unusual insight into the process of making a professional’s set of tools and the knowledge, patience and complexity involved. Despite his natural modesty, Lee is a master at what he does and has vast experience to bring to the task.

Three World Champions do not come by accident.

Darts World’s resident Coach, and our product testers at A.I.M:, feel that this ten minute video contains years worth of experience and know-how hidden under a layer of slightly stilted conversation, its clear that Wayne is a little shy and unused to all the attention!

If your thinking of getting new darts or making changes give the video a look. But, pay as much attention to what does not change, and why, as to what does!


Wayne Warren darts here: http://www.reddragondarts.com/wayne-warren-20-gram

Featured Pic: PDC

FreeFlo Points – In Depth Review

  • Product – Collared Steel Point
  • Brand – Winmau
  • Variation – Grooved (Smooth also av.)
  • R.R.P – £6+
  • Marks – 9/10

During 2018, whilst on a visit to Winmau HQ, A.I.M: were assisting a major finalist in redesigning his dart. We had a number of aims, no pun intended, but a major one was to reduce deflections and their impact. It was important that the player had greater reliability in this area. In addition reduction in flight and stem damage would be a useful advantage.

The last element came into place when we were handed a prototype of a new point that was to be in the 2019 range. We were immediately impressed. It appeared to solve the issues that some similar points have had. We agreed to have them fitted to the early edition of the Pro’s darts and then began to test them in a serious way.

A.I.M: Tested some prototype FreeFlo points in our own dart.

In the six or seven months that followed we subjected them to rigorous testing in multiple dart styles, different players with a spectrum of ability. In total, they have had over 5000 legs.

It is safe to say that these are an exceptional product. A.I.M: has no doubt in recommending them to almost any player.

The FreeFlo Factor!

  1. Stiff & Strong Steel construction. This removed the issue with the over flexing of other collared points, especially in 30mm+ length.
  2. Perfect barrel fit. We tried them in many different barrel brands and had no issue with fitting them to the slot or with the join area.
  3. Sharper for longer. Many of the new point technologies get blunt quickly and can be difficult to sharpen well. Not the case with FreeFlo, they razor sharp, stay that way for hundreds of legs and can be conventionally sharpened.
  4. Strength. Many similar style points have a reputation for breaking easily and snapping inside the barrel. This is a major issue for customers and leads to new darts often being needed. FreeFlo dont seem to suffer at all. Our testers played in all the usual venues and circumstances and we have not yet needed a single replacement!
  5. Reduced deflections and flight damage. The addition of these points has reduced stem damage by over 30% and flight replacement by almost the same. Deflections have been reduced, with any deflections that do happen, seemed far less dramatic thus causing less pausing or re-aiming.

Downsides.

Believe it or not the first downside was for a player who actually rested his finger on the tip of the point. He could not cope with the sharpness and had to blunt them slightly. A slight wearing of the collar area takes place over time due to it being a softer metal.

Tester Quotes.

Pro – “Massive thanks to Winmau these have given me an edge I was looking for. It could be the last piece of the jigsaw”. (21g Signature)

Good Amateur – “Brilliant, I have full confidence in my dart and throw, these are superb”. (18g Tapered)

Enthusiastic Amateur- “First time I have been able to use this type of Point. Really happy to rest my finger in the same place every time.” (24g Zagato)

Many models are coming with FreeFlo fitted. These Gurney SE are a good example.

A.I.M Opinion

A huge bonus here from Winmau. A.I.M: believe that point tech is one reason for the increase in players hitting high averages and improving the professional game. Winmau have caught up moved it on again with FreeFlo.


Camaro by Red Dragon. The Snap-Shot Review

Camaro is a superb dart, popular with most testers and precision throw styles. Durable and enticing as well as superbly engineered and manufactured.

A sleek and smooth tapered dart with a touch of class. Available in 20 & 24g.
  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)  
  • Brand: Red Dragon
  • Model Name: Camaro (V2) 
  • Variation: 20g  (24g av.)
  • RRP: £26.90+ 
  • Marks: 8.5/10 ( Value: 10/10)

General:  Camaro were originally produced for Steve ‘The Game’ Douglas.

Steve reached the last 16 of the World Championship (BDO) in 2000, 2012 & 13. The dart has since undergone an evolution has some very devoted fans!

RD excelling in the constructors championship!

A superbly designed and elegant looking dart, Camaro have similarities to the Sigma (950) barrel, especially at the 20g weight. The grip is impressive and refined. The taper is completely smooth with rounded off nose to reduce deflections or minimise them.

Standard Red Dragon Packaging includes a high quality Flight & Stem Set Up.

What’s in the Box? 

As with most Red Dragon darts, these days, the pack comes with the set of Camaro barrels (20g) together with a set of (White & Black) Nitro stems and colour coordinated (Blue & white) set of Hardcore flights.

Spec Section:

  • 95% Tungsten ( Natural)
  • 45.9mm x 6.9mm (Widest)
  • 20.1g
  • Set-Up : Medium Stems % Std Flights or Shorter Side Loading Stems.

Tester Quotes: 

  • “…I loved the grip on the upper half of the dart. I can really feel it even with my light hold.” County Lady Player 
  • ” … there is a bit of my old Sigma’s in them but much better…” Super League player 
  • ” these are just so much better than I imagined. I was never keen on the tapered nose dart but this is just totally different…” Elite player

Debbie Downers As always the Camaro did not suit everyone’s taste, they were focused on the grip. Some players find it very aggressive and out of sync with such a smooth sleek design. Another player wanted the grip section to be smaller than the current segment. Often though these things are simply a matter of personal taste. 

Durability Camaro have stood up very well they have been used in over two hundred legs by a group of different players over a extended period. Only the grip area seem to show a few pits and dints.

Camaro from RD. A simple but high precision dart.

Coach Says: “This is a superb dart. It would will suit players who are very precise with each dart and those who group very closely together”. “They encourage concentration and focus.” One player has ordered a set in the heavier weight and is confident he may switch. A side-loading stem combo also worked well.

SnapShot: Camaro is a superb dart, popular with most testers and precision throw styles. Durable and enticing as well as superbly engineered and manufactured.

£26.90 really is exceptional value!


A.I.M: Independent Darts Consultancy based in the U.K.

Snakebite Euro 11 (Element Blue) – The SnapShot Review.

The latest of our “Choose Your Weapons” section features a world record hitting dart used, at times, by the new World Champion:

THE FINAL PETER WRIGHT PETER WRIGHT IN ACTION. PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG.
  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip) 
  • Brand: Red Dragon 
  • Model Name: Euro 11 – Element Blue (Peter Wright) 
  • Variation / Edition: 24g 

General Summary: Element Blue are a superbly built, and finely engineered, addition to the, Premium Player, section of the market. Originally commissioned to celebrate the World Cup Peter & Gary Anderson’s World Cup of Darts win. Also used by Peter Wright in setting his 2019 World Record Average from on-line specialist Red Dragon darts. 

For such a seriously gripped and engineered dart it has a remarkably slim feel and look. Later the Red Dragon Element (Fusion Diamond) Grip was added to an edition and know it has been coloured blue! The grip is both impressive and unusual.  

Element Blue will suit most players, especially those with a lighter grip. Direct throwers will be captured! 

Cost: At just under £70 (here), ‘Blue’ are a premium piece of design, production, and performance that you would expect.

What’s In the Box:  

Snakebite Euro 11 Element (Blue) come in the recent type, Peter Wright styled, pull-out box. Inside are three barrels, three nitro stems (White) and a set of Peter Wright, std shape, flights. 

Tester Quotes:

“MVG might get even better with these, especially worn in ones” ….Our Serious Amateur

“I love the grip, it’s quite aggressive yet, it feels less likely to stick than deep/sharp grooves” ….. Our Pub Player

Testing Process: A.I.M: used three different players, one elite, one strong amateur and one ‘pub’ player, and subjected ‘Blue’ to a variety of throw styles, conditions and set ups. In total over one hundred legs with a four-figure total of darts thrown. Our testers used ‘Element Blue’ in competitive practice, training drills, over a weekend for social games, a practise session and a league knockout. 

In addition to the supplied set up, Snakebite Flights & Nitro Stems, players were asked to try their preferred combination or any other set up they felt might work. 

The 20g (Soft Tip) version, also available.

Variations:  Element Blue is available in soft tip at 20g as well as the 24g steel tip tested here. The traditional silver/grey model is also available in a 20g version. 

The Results:  All three of our testers were impressed with the general look of the Element model. The diamond grip intrigued them whilst the blue/purple colour was deemed attractive and “not too harsh on the eye”. Two of our three players liked the initial feel of the dart in their hand. The words ‘different’ and ‘corse’ were popular.  

Downsides:  Our players rated the looks, production and initial feel, of the dart, very highly. However, it became clear that the ‘Element Blue’ took a bit of getting used to and that some players would not adjust. The diamond fusion is more a surface than a grip and some felt unsure of its feel. A firmest holder also felt it was just too aggressive, the sheer complexity of the grip gives the impression of a fatter, not consistent, middle section of the dart although he did accept that a worn set might be perfect! 

The Tech Bit:  For a heavily engineered dart ‘Element Blue come in at a slim 6.5mm wide. The distinctive cosmetics and grip pattern combine to create the impression of an even slimmer model. The 54.6mm length is at the longer end of the spectrum and is advantageous to the direct thrower. The slightly rounded ‘nose cone’ area is essential on a long dart with pronounced grip as it enables a confidence in “going at the target”. The diamond coated(blue coloured) ring grips provide high quality grip that will mould to the user over time. 

Set Ups: 

Blue are supplied with a ‘Player Set Up’ of Snakebite Blk Flights & Medium Nitro Stems. This set up works well for the majority of throwers and is very high quality for an included item. The length of the dart seems to lead to no nonsense set ups. Two of our testers preferred a shorter stem version of the set-up, claiming a significant improvement in fluency. 

Durability: Blue stood up very well over the 1000+ darts that we subjected them to. The diamond grip does cause an increase in marks to the smooth areas of the darts, diamond is seriously hard after all! The colour scheme, and styling, of the ‘Element Blue’ seemed to distract from this in a better way than the silver/grey versions. 

The Snap Shot: All our testers agreed that the ‘Element Blue’ is a superb looking dart, a considerable upgrade on the looks of std version. It was also agreed that those who throw very directly will buy in most. The grips are quite aggressive and take a little getting used to. The cost, whilst high, is definitely justified by the tech and design that has gone into the end result. A firm thrower, who has a lighter grip will benefit most ironically an MVG type might gain the most! It is possible that a worn set of ‘Blue’ may well be even better than a sparkly new threesome.  

Swiss Point 03 – In-Depth Review.

Product: Darts (Steel Tip) 
Brand: Target 
Model Name: Swiss Point 
Model / Edition: 03 (22g) 
RRP: £75+   
 
Content of the box for Target Swiss Point 03

General Summary

Swiss Point 03 is a superbly engineered, and finely tuned, addition to Target’s premium range. Straight barrelled and dual gripped to appeal to a wide audience. They feature the brand-new Swiss Point, an interchangeable point system patented by Target. 

The colour scheme and styling, (silver/grey combinations) ensure that the dart is visible in the board but not glaring/distracting. For such a heavily machined dart it has a remarkably slim feel and looks. The grip is strong, impressive and original.  

The SW03 will suit many players but especially those with a lighter grip who like a sharp feel. Relaxed, stylish throwers will be intrigued! The SW03 features the Swiss Point changeable point system, more of which later, but is a fine dart in its own right. 

At over £75 SW03 are a premium piece of design, production and performance for the higher end of the non-player market. 

In the Box: 

3 x Swiss Point 22g Barrels, 1 x Swiss Point Changing Tool, 1 x Extra Set Swiss Points, 3 x Pro-Grip Stems ( Medium) & 3 x Swiss Point badged Flights. 

Player Quotes:

“A seriously solid but stunning looking dart that combines solidity with ease and urgency of grip” 

“I love the grip, the front section is superb looking, but feels less likely to stick than deep/sharp old fashioned rings” 

….Great combination of style and performance, best I have seen for ages”. 

Testing Process: 

A.I.M used different players;  elite, strong amateur, youth and a lady player. We subjected the SW03 to a variety of throw styles, conditions and set ups. In total at least one hundred legs and close to two thousand darts were thrown. Our testers used the dart in competitive practice, training drills, over a weekend for social games, even an open knockout. 

Another model of the Swiss Point range is the latest iteration of Phil Taloy’s 9Five range (Gen6).

In addition to the supplied set up, Standard Shape Target Swiss Point Flights and Pro Grip Stems, players were asked to try their own or any other set up they felt might complement this type of dart. 

The Results:  

  • First Impressions: All three of our testers were very impressed with the general look and feel of the SW03. The milled and cut grips intrigued them whilst the subtle black/grey colour was deemed attractive and not “over done with gold and stuff”. Our players mostly liked the initial feel of the dart in their hand. The words stylish and weighty were used. Two players thought the dart would be heavier than the 22g it actually was. One player was weary of the grip, the new feeling felt sharp and he was doubtful as a result. 
  • Performance: Our youth player was most strongly positive about the SW03. In his view, the dart performed very well and felt very comfortable in the hand and was impressed by the styling. He felt his consistency level improved. In addition, our more social player liked the grip style as it “seemed grippy but not sticky” for their very loose hold on the dart. Both these players are quite relaxed (long) throwers and it seems the SW dart compliments this very well. Our female tester also liked the darts performance while having reservations over the grip level. 
  • Downsides: Our elite level player was intrigued by SW03 overall. However, as he uses a very strong grip, he did not find it as easy to get a regular, comfortable feel from SW03. After a while, he found a better holding zone, more toward the front of the dart and was much happier. 
  • The Tech Bit: For such a heavily engineered dart SW03 come in at a slim 6.4mm wide. The subtle cosmetics and grip pattern combine to create the impression of an even slimmer model. The 51 mm length is the middle point in recent times and allows many different throw styles to feel comfortable. The slightly rounded ‘nose cone’ area is essential on a dart with pronounced grip. The stem join area is superbly engineered, as is the nose area, allowing various Swiss Points point to be fitted whilst still allowing the “rested finger” to be consistent. The “Dual Force Machining” results in a square cut grip that acts more like a texture. 
  • Durability: Swiss Point (03) stood up very well over the 100+ legs that we subjected them to. Our strong amateur barely made a mark on them over a whole weekend. Our youth player is very direct and caused the usual surface marks.  Our elite player maximised the contact between the arrows. Yet, due to the colour scheme and styling, no difference was noticed to the appearance of the dart in the board. In the hand, the darts simply slightly used but not in a way that affected their appeal. It is possible that a worn set of SW03 may well be even better with those who hold the dart firmly being happier when they are slight worn in. It should be noted that the grips do seem to increase wear and tear on the flights. Two of our testers reported using extra flights over an extended period of use. 
A.I.M: Independent dart consultants.

A.I.M:  

After looking long and hard at these darts, and studying the players who tested them with us, we have concluded that they would be excellent for those who have a long throw and light or very light grip. If you think you’re a bit of a Barney or even a Terry Jenkins style thrower, then these may well work for you.  

Traditional style setups, medium stems and standard shaped flights worked best with the SW03. Shorter or more slimline setups seemed to affect the stability of the dart in flight. 

N.B. We will be looking at the Swiss Point System separately.  Check-out our stand-alone review. 

Harrows 2020 Launch. A Mixed Bag From a Hallowed Name.

This week Harrows joined the brands to have launched their 2020 collections. The usual email and advertising trailers were followed by a glitzy social media release of each model and their latest accessories.

Following their summer signing of Dave “Chizzy” Chisnall, and their recent success with Glen Durrant, it may well be worth keeping an eye on the brand that was home to both Eric Bristow and Dennis Priestley in their pomp!

Six dart main models of darts were released and seem to follow a pattern of being focused on the innovative looking grip and striking looking colour schemes.

The Avanti sets the pattern for the complex grip with three separate groupings of grips. The combination of the black and vivid green nitride produces a striking look. The barrel is reminiscent of a ‘Wolfram’ shape but with a much more pronounced grip that looks on the aggressive side.

Paragon is another striking model added to the range for 2020. It appears that the Blk and Red version of Wolfram has set a pattern. Paragon is an interesting looking dart with diamond shape indentations cut into the barrel in between the traditional ring cuts. The nose is not dissimilar to a John Part (Hero Edition) style.

Four more models have been launched, Noctis is an interesting duo of blk darts with silver highlights, one Lowe style barrel and one straight model, they are a nice looking but not especially distinctive barrel. It is noticeable that even Harrows have felt the need to improve upon their typical bomb style barrel and innovate in the grip area. Strix, Vice & Vespa make up this year’s new barrels.

Looking past the headlines of the product launch, which are always the main new models and any new player items, those of us sad enough to be interested in technical innovation have noted the point technology launches.

Harrows have seemed to be lagging behind in this area which is a great surprise. The UK based company have been behind some of the most popular, and innovative, accessories over the years. Dimplex flights, Alamo stems and various flight styles have all been championed by this no-nonsense manufacturer.

The various points launched for the 2020 collection, together with an obvious emphasis on promoting them, seem an attempt to both catch-up and surprise their competitors. Firstly the machine points reverse the standard of cutting grooves or patterns into the point and replace it with machining them to produce a raised pattern or grooves.

There are at least three versions in at least two colours of each point style. They are also available in standard and collared points in order to compete with Target’s Storm and Winmau FreeFlow. The first appearance suggests that they will do so. The conversion version is available in fewer options but may well prove popular with those who play both formats.

The final chapter of the launch was accessories focused, including an addition to the case range. It is a bulk 12 set holder and probably only useful to collectors or mini stallholders! The flights added were mainly specific to the new darts models and coordinated accordingly. Nice colour combinations were added and the Velos range was extended and promoted further.

The Avanti Range looked to most noticeable as it looked to combine the styling of the new range with the recent embossing tech being used on many new flights.

Overall this was a good tight launch. Keeping the numbers down to half a dozen, or so, on the new darts ranges, seems sensible and the focus on points and other improvements may well reassert Harrows in this area.

Wrighty Changes Gear, Again!

Peter Wright has gone in to the Grand Slam with yet another set of new darts, but the Black Strike 26 gram darts’ evolution has a very interesting tale of development.

Back in 2014 when Snakebite took the World by storm at the PDC World Championships, with his sublime run all the way to the final, Peter was using a set of 26 gram Snakebite 3 darts with a funky flight set-up.

At that time Peter was always insistent that it was this shape of a barrel, a torpedo style, which was the key to unlocking levels of his game that only the practice board has ever seen.

Ironically, Peter has won most, if not all, of his PDC titles and other notable successes with a Euro 11 Element parallel style dart in 22 gram, with an intermediate Crossfire carbon fibre shaft and Hardcore Snakebite flights.

Like longing for a long lost love, Peter re-visited the idea of the perfect torpedo dart back in 2018 when he took to the Winter Gardens stage for the World Matchplay. Designed in conjunction with Red Dragon’s technical team, the Black Strike is as stunning and complex in its mechanical grip functionality as any other barrel Peter has ever tried.

The birth of the Black Strike dart heralded in Peter’s own words what was to be the dart that he would go on to capture the coveted and obsessed about World No.1 rank. However, as well as the Black Strike went in practice, they always left Peter feeling he had not completed the perfect set-up around what he believed to be his perfect dart barrels at last.

The Peter Wright Throw.

After trying hundreds of combinations, Peter allowed the Black Strike a few months grace before a brain wave hit him less than two weeks ago in adding a fixed flight and shaft set-up that he has customised himself.

Peter said “I was working on the practice board as I always do and the thought hit me that all I needed with the Black Strike darts was a flight and shaft set-up that was as rigid as the Stealth fixed flight system but with way less flight surface area. This makes them quicker and more direct to the board, and the reduction in flight surface area let me place them in the board exactly how I want them.”

“My first few tests were still not perfect, but I managed to think back and feel exactly what it was that makes me love this torpedo style barrel, and it was the need for more speed.”

Peter has opened up the Grand Slam with three straight victories, topping Group F but he still craves more and said that the Black Strike with custom Stealth set-up has way more to offer.

Peter can progress deep into the Grand Slam, where he takes on Rob Cross in the last 16, providing us with immense entertainment through his already proven power scoring. Scoring that if matched by his trademark clinical finishing, could see him lift the amazing Grand Slam of Darts dual-code trophy.


Words: Red Dragon

Pic: PDC