Nitro Stems “Blow Opposition Away” in Trials.

Red Dragon’s Nitro stem came out top of the heap recently after being subjected to independent testing. Overall, players of differing styles and standards, including a multiple major finalist, found Nitro improved their game and provided the best value. 

Having used the same style set up for over 15 years, I was very surprised at the immediate difference Nitro stems made. The improved flight, and reliability has added something to my game. I will not be going back.” 

Often the Nitro Stem is paired with Hardcore flights as Red Dragons’ default set up.
Pic: A.I.M:

The guys at A.I.M: subjected many of the top branded stems, flights and setups, to rigorous testing. This involved, players ranging from enthusiastic amateurs through to major finalists using the various accessories for the equivalent of 60 legs. Various drills and games were played in order to simulate general usage. Red Dragon’s Nitro stem was praised by all players and most preferred it to their original set up. Two of the players, previously wedded to standard setups, have switched to Nitro on a permanent basis.  

Advantages. 

Four main advantages were reported by players, the flight of dart, flight security and deflection reduction:  

  • Flight: Players noticed immediately that the flight of the dart seemed to improve. We this may well be because of the steady but pronounced taper from barrel to flight. The tail of the dart appeared to lift easier and leave good vision for the following arrow.  
  • Flight Retention: The ‘flight lock’ system works very well with few flights becoming detached. There was a substantial improvement from the standard stem & ring setups.  
  • Target View: visuals, and the ultra-narrow rear profile, appear to encourage the player to hit the visible space. This reduces the number of deflections. The taper and solidity of the stem seem to make those deflections that occur more predictable and easier to adapt to. 
  • Economy: Finally, all the players noted that the combination of these factors meant that they used fewer stems & flights, over the same period when compared to a standard flight, stem & ring combination. 

Downsides:

Players noted that the stems seemed a little shorter than other designs. Some also mentioned that fitting flights into the stem could be tougher than with other stems.

Comments: 

A.I.M: “Of all the stems tested these had the best feedback, across style & ability, from players who previously would not have thought of changing” 

Major Finalist: “Having used the same style set up for over 15 years, I was very surprised at the immediate difference Nitro stems made. The improved flight and reliability has added something to my game. I will not be going back.” 

Amateur Player: “Loved these, I have already ordered more. It feels like I see the target so much better…” 

Has Target Discovered the Holy Grail? Will Swiss Point Prove A Game Changer?

Target’s latest product launch included what appears to be a revolutionary new pointing system. The ‘Swiss Point’ has been included within the latest Phil Taylor dart (Gen 6) and in a range of self-titled Swiss Point models.

The first signature Swiss Point dart.
Pic: Target Promo

dartsworld.com has been lucky enough to get our hands on a set of Swiss Point (03 22g) and has asked independent testers (AIM:) for an in-depth review. We will be very interested to hear their views on whether Target has cracked one of the longest puzzles in darts manufacture.

AIM: Will be putting the SP03 through its paces on behalf of dartsworld.com

Since at least the 1980s players and companies have been attempting to make it easier to change points. Unicorn had the ‘Tri-Point’ and others had ‘Power Points’ etc. Previously this was mainly to either change the point length or to replace a broken or damaged point. However, thanks to huge recent innovation players are demanding more and more individualisation and technical flexibility. Our resident coach, for example, is of the view that ‘Point Tech’ is “the only true advance since tungsten”.

The tool for changing points looks simple & easy to use.
Pic: Target Promo

Some players even use different points according to the conditions. Preferring a more grippy point if the conditions are warm and humid or a stiffer one for hard boards.

A final area of curiosity has always been the use of the same darts for different formats. Up to know the idea of simply changing your points to play soft/steel tip has not proven possible. Could ‘Swiss Point’ also be a step in this direction?

Like all products, the final say will rest with the player/consumer. But it will certainly be interesting to read and share the AIM team’s reports and see if Target has indeed cracked it.

Whizlocks, Stem Caps & Flight Punch. An Alternative to Moulded Flight Systems?

Occasionally a product can be initially overlooked but grow into its time. Whizlocks may be one such innovation. The guys at AIM: tested and reviewed these in the days they were strongly linked to Simon Whitlock. They have recently updated their review for dartsworld.com.

Name: WhizLocks 

Product:

Stem Cap & Flight Punch System

Brand: Winmau

Price: £11.90  (Additional Caps £1.50 set of 3) 

Mark: 9/10

You may have noticed the recent trends for fixed/moulded flight & Stem systems. Cosmo, L Style and many others are available and have proven very popular. However, these sets do have their own drawbacks. They are costly and are limited in shape and colour etc. In addition, weight and distribution can be difficult to adapt to. 

Tucked away within the accessories section of Winmau’s catalogue, & their website is a hidden gem of an alternative solution. Whizlocks & Flightpunch can be used on most flights and with most stem types (with a standard-sized flight zone). They are solid and metallic and fit nicely over the end of the stem. The punch puts a Whizlock shaped hole into the lower section of the flight. This makes for a very solid set up, protects the stem from collision and locks the flight into place and preventing fallouts. 

Testing & Results: During heavy testing A.I.M found Whizlocks to be superb for stem preservation and did not suffer a single flight fallout. If a strong flight, such as a 100+ micron, is used the effect is very similar to a fixed flight system. We used them with Kite, Standard & Oversized Pears, the Whizlocks worked well with all of them. After over 200 legs we have only used 1 set of each size stem and the Whizlocks were still in virtually perfect condition.  

Flights were preserved quite well although some wear and tear was still present. The shape of the flight was preserved very well, especially if the full set up was stored intact. 

Downsides: There a couple of small issues. Firstly Whizlocks cannot be used with stems with very narrow flight zones, mainly aluminium ones. They are also a little fiddly to fit at first. Bit these are minor matters and are soon gotten over.

Overall: The cost-saving repaid the cost of the Whizlocks very quickly due to stem preservation. Choice of flight style & pattern combination is hugely increased. Whizlocks can make an excellent alternative to costly and awkward fixed/moulded systems. 

AIM is an Independent Darts Consultancy based in the UK

Jelle Klaasen Silver Star – Premier Darts for Championship Price Tag.

Jelle Klaasen – An Unusual Product for the Silver Star Range
Pic: Unicorn Promo.
  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand: Unicorn
  • Model/Player Name: Jelle Klaasen
  • Variation or Edition: 21g (Silver Star)
  • Grade or Results: 8/10

General Summary:

After Jelle moved to Unicorn in 2018, his main signature dart underwent a sever redesign. Unicorn may have been reluctant to lose the popularity of The Cobra’s distinctive, and successful, previous design. The 2018/9 Silver Star version of his dart has much in common with Jelle’s previous models. It is also 90% Tungsten whereas many in the series are 80%.

Unusually for a SS series dart, it is quite complex and has three separate sections of multiring type grip. The contoured barrel has a lower stiletto shape section, a mid barrel scallop and a ridged stem sector. At around the £40 mark, they are costly for a second stream dart. However, being 90% Tungsten and very complex manufacture, it is perhaps better to see them as a great value first rank product.

Testing Process:

Elite players tend not to be keen on using other players signature darts! So for this test, we drafted a county standard amateur, an up and coming lady player and a keen, if limited amateur. The Jelle SS were put through their paces over a couple of weeks and in a variety of circumstances. Everything from a boozy midweek practice to a decent standard open event. 100+ legs and somewhere around 2000 darts.

The supplied set up, of Gripper stems and Unicorn Std Flights (Silver Star livery)was tested along with any that players thought might prove successful.

Packaging and Design of JK Silver Star – More like a signature dart than and endorsed range.
PIC: A.I.M:

The Results:

  • First Impressions: All of our testers were impressed, and slightly surprised, with the look and complexity of the dart. They fancied trying this style of the barrel and were impressed that they could each find a way to comfortably hold it. “Interesting and unusual” were the most heard words.
  • Performance: Our serious amateur was, perhaps, the least impressed. Initially, he struggled to get the dart to consistently fly in a way that he was comfortable with. Our female tester was surprised and very impressed. After a very short adaptation period, she was able to get very close grouping and feel very comfortable indeed. Our keen, but limited, player enjoyed trying out various ways of throwing the dart and soon found a method that suited.
  • The Tech Bit: This heavily engineered and shaped dart has a multitude of dimensions but is 47.3mm long and 7.3mm wide at its widest point. If you have seen Jelle or Simon Whitlock, throw you will know it is still possible to group these together very well indeed. The ridged section toward the rear is unusual and may not suit all throwers. The section between mid scallop and point is more traditional and has simple ringed grip. Some players use the scallop to place their thumb and generate force from that area. This is a very flexibly designed dart that may require a little patience to discover your perfect grip. It is also a great way to see if your throw can suit this style of dart without going to the extremes of expense and styling.
  • Downsides: The barrel style and the differing pronounced grips do tend to increase wear on the flights and regular change was needed, even from our less able players. The Jelle SS can take a little while to get used to and will not suit all styles.
  • Durability: These Jelle SS survived the 100+ legs in very good shape. They do begin to look a little dulled and dinted after a while but clean up exceptionally well very quickly. The more social of our players barely made a mark on them. The serious level player made a few surface marks and the odd dint. This is not surprising due to the increased contact.
  • Out of 10: The 8/10 is a reflection of the ‘love it or loathe it’ factor this type of barrel inspires. Our female tester was very impressed and has switched to a very similar barrel in her preferred weight. Meanwhile, one of our two amateur players was also impressed and enjoyed finding his way of getting the most out of the dart. Our other more serious player was totally unable to adapt to the dart in a consistent way.
Jelle Klaasen
Set-Up may be important with this dart and it is worth trying different ones. Even Jelle himself has struggled with changes.

In conclusion, this is a very unusual set of dart for this type of range. They are more like a premium dart in many ways. There are also similarities between Jelle SS and the post-2016 Whitlock darts from Winmau but are these slightly more ergonomic.

The Gripper Stems and Silver Star Series flights are fine but a fixed-wing set up helps to give these some stability, L Style or similar seems to do a good job. A tapered stem seems to give a little more lift for some throwers.

A.I.M: would recommend testing these in a dart store before purchase or trying a similar shape set used by a friend or teammate.

Loopy or wristy throws seem to be naturally well suited to this dart, others have to work more. We would recommend ladies with a very low to high throw give them a go as well.

Rogue – A Muscular Dart That Lives Up To Its Name.

AIM Darts, Darts Review, Red Dragon Darts, Rogue

Product: Darts (Steel Tip)

Brand: Red Dragon

Model Name: Rogue

Variation / Edition: 22g

Grade: 8.5/10

General Summary:

Rogue is a superbly built, and finely tuned, addition to the mid-premium range, straight barrelled darts, market. The colour scheme and styling ensure that the dart is visible in the board but not glaring or distracting. Brand New for 2019 from on-line specialist Red Dragon darts.

For such a heavily machined dart it has a remarkably slim feel and look. The grip is both impressive and original. Rogue will suit most players but especially those with a firm grip and quite a powerful throw. Direct throwers will be captured!

At less than £45 Rogue are a premium piece of design, production and performance for a mid-range price tag.

Testing Process: A.I.M used three different players, one elite, one strong amateur and one social player, and subjected Rogue to a variety of throw styles, conditions and set ups. In total over one hundred legs and close to two thousand darts were thrown. Our testers used Rogue in competitive practice, training drills, over a weekend for social games, a team practise session and even an open knockout.

In addition to the supplied set up (Hardcore Flights & Nitro Stems) players were asked to try their own or any other set up they felt might work.

AIM Darts, Darts Review, Red Dragon Darts, Rogue

The Results:

  • First Impressions: All three of our testers were impressed with the general look of the Rogue model. The milled grip intrigued them whilst the subtle black/grey colour was deemed attractive and not “flash like some”. Two of our three players liked the initial feel of the dart in their hand. The words solid and muscular were popular.
  • Performance: Our strong amateur tester was most strongly positive about Rogue. He was of the view that the dart performed very well and felt very stable and reliable both in the hand and in the flight. He felt his consistency level improved. This was the case even though the test set was lighter than his usual 23g set. In addition, our more social player liked the grip style as it “seemed less catchy” for their tight hold on the dart. Both these players are quite firm throwers and it seems Rogue compliments this very well.
  • Downsides: Our elite level player was quite impressed with Rogue overall. However, as he uses a very light grip, he did not find it as easy to get a regular, comfortable feel from Rogue. As the session wore on this became more and more prominent. As always it is difficult to know how much of the impression was actual and how much purely psychological.
  • The Tech Bit: For such a heavily engineered dart Rogue come in at a slim 6.5mm wide. The subtle cosmetics and grip pattern combine to create the impression of an even slimmer model. The 50.8mm 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 is superbly engineered, as is the nose area, enabling a collared 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: Rogue stood up very well over the 100+ legs that we subjected them to. Our social player barely made a mark on them over a whole weekend. Our strong amateur caused the usual surface marks and 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 appeared even more rugged than before. It is possible that a worn set of Rogue may well be even better than a shiny new trio. It should be noted that the milled grips do seem to increase wear and tear on the flights. Two out of three of our testers reported using a few extra flights over an extended period of use.
  • Out of 10: The 8.5 out mark consisted of very high marks coming from our serious and casual amateur players but a slightly lower one from our elite player. Overall the Rogue was a popular product that we felt was a good value for money.
AIM Darts, Darts Review, Red Dragon Darts
A.I.M: Are an independent darts consultancy based in the U.K.

What’s the Point?

The battleground, between major darts manufacturers, has shifted in recent years. One of the major new areas of competition, between rival firms, is the technology being applied at the sharp end!

Our resident DartsWorld coach feels that ‘point tech’ is possibly the only genuinely significant advance in darts tech since the use of tungsten was mainstreamed in the 1970s.

The main changes have been the implementation of collars, to smooth join to the barrel, and the systematic addition of grooves and grip.

In the coming weeks and months we will be examining a wide range of these products, and publishing the results and our views, in order to assess their performance and value for money. ( Check out our: Choose Your Weapons Area)

Red Dragon Darts, and their sister company Winmau, delayed their entry into this market. Instead, they have developed a range of products that have slipped into the market over the past year or so.

In combination with the sale of their products they also discussed the reasons for the developments and sought the opinion of some of their biggest name players.

Abridged and republished from reddragondarts.com:

Long gone are the days when a dart point is a simple steel tip on a dart. Dart players lead by their TV pro-counter-parts have engaged in vast technological changes that suit each player’s individual demands, at the business end of the dart.

Historically, new points started to appear on the market in response to home-made prototypes that top players were to starting to use. The early points tended to be geared on providing grip right where the barrel and the point met, thus providing a perfect reference point for those that hold the dart at this exact point.

From these early incarnations demand for a plethora of points rapidly outstripped the ability of manufacturers to keep up with this seemingly ignored category.

Fast forward and in response to the increased demand, there now exist hundreds of point options ready to suit whatever dart players demand.

In assessing what point could help your game, it is vital that you understand exactly what you want your points to perform.

The key areas that all specialist points fulfil are:

  • Finger grip placement
  • Dartboard retention
  • Reduce dart-on-dart deflections
  • Reduce dart-on-wire deflections

Once you’ve highlighted exactly why you need more than standard points, you can then look into the plethora of options available. And to help you in this quest, we asked a couple of our top pros to give you some guidelines.

Peter “Snakebite” Wright

Peter Wright German Darts Masters 2019 Winner

“What’s the point Peter!?”

“Very good question as my points can change relative to the set of darts and the set-up that I’m using not to mention exactly where and under which conditions I’m playing.

Peter went on to elaborate, saying; “Sometimes I’ll need a shorter point so that it counter-acts the longer and lighter barrel of a dart I may be using as shorter points fly straighter but the trade-off is less board retention and treble area to aim at”.

Peter has used the Raptor point, as it enables him to get as many impact advantages as possible whilst allowing him to flight his darts exactly as he sees but always subject to change depending on the exact conditions.

Gerwyn “Iceman” Price

Gerwyn Price, Grand Slam of Darts, Red Dragon Darts, Gary Anderson

“What’s the point Gezzy!?”

“Being totally honest I’ve never changed my points set up in the last five years since being custom-fit at Red Dragon, and I’ve never had any issues with grip or bounce-outs of any kind so I guess I can consider myself very lucky that It’s just a standard point for me.”

So with points seemingly being the hottest topic in darts right now, it leaves YOU the option to consider if a point change can help your game.

A Raptor Point – Red Dragon’s entry into the collared point market.