Getting You Started With Your Darts
It is said that the game of darts
can trace its roots back to the Middle Ages when English soldiers
threw shortened arrows at targets made of wine barrel bottoms. Today,
darts is a game played the world over both for recreation and
The rules of the game have not changed much since its medieval
beginnings since players still throw pointed shafts towards a marked
target. What has seen changes is the kind of materials used in the
manufacturing of darts and the way they are designed to suit
different levels of skill.
The traditional dart is made with lightweight wood has turkey
feathers for flights. They average around 12 grams in weight. If
you’re the type for the more traditional feel of the game complete
with the atmosphere of an English pub and beer this could be your
choice of darts.
Brass darts is the lightest metal used to make darts. The alloy is
composed of copper and zinc, both very malleable metals that allow
for easy shaping. Beginners are usually recommended this type, first
of all for its affordability and secondly for its lightness which
makes it easier to throw. Price range is about $5-15.
Nickel darts are actually made out of a metal alloy comprised of
nickel, zinc and copper. They are of average toughness, which makes
it suitable for middle-of-the-ground players who’ve been playing for
a while but do so primarily for recreation. More expensive than
brass darts at $ 10-30, it’s usually just right for intermediate
players, however, they can get bulky as the weight factor increases.
More experienced players and professionals prefer this material as
it is denser, which gives weight to the dart but keeping it slim and
compact (effective for tight groupings). It is also the toughest
material among the four mentioned which means it sees less wear over
Nickel is added to the tungsten in varying amounts, the higher the
concentration of nickel, the cheaper the dart becomes. A 50 to 60%
tungsten dart fetches around $20, 80% is around $30-45, while those
made with 90% and above is usually sold no less than $50.
Parts of a dart
The basic dart is comprised of
- the point,
- the shaft,
- the grip
- and the flight.
Each one contributes to the performance of the dart and a variation
of each feature adjusts the level of handling and throwing skills.
Dart points are made of either steel or soft tips and comes as
either a fixed or movable point. Fixed-point tip darts are the most
common types of darts you’ll find. Since its tip is solidly fixed to
the dart, the chances of a bounce-out from the board are greater.
A bounce-out is when the tip of the dart hits wires or staples (also
called spiders) on the dartboard causing it to bounce off the board.
To address this peeve, dart makers developed the movable or
retractable tip. When the tip of a retractable dart hits a spider,
the tip retracts slightly back into the dart body. The back end of
the shaft moves with the momentum of the darts throw providing
enough force to allow the dart to penetrate the board.
Soft tip darts are usually made of flexible material like plastic
and do not have as sharp a point as a steel tip would. These are
often used for electronic dartboards although most bristle boards
still work well with soft tip darts.
Shafts are commonly made out of plastic, aluminum and a combination
Plastic is the most inexpensive one and is recommended for beginners
since damage from hitting in tight groups is not an issue. However,
when plastic shafts are hit, they tend to break or crack at the
impact. These are priced at around one to 2 dollars each.
Aluminum shafts are more durable than plastic shafts and address the
tight group problem. When a shaft of this kind is hit, one need
simply bend back to repair. Average price is around $5.
Some shafts are made from a combination of plastic and aluminum.
They are commonly called composite type shafts. The bases are made
of plastic while the tops are of aluminum. These usually come at
Spinning shafts are said to help protect the dart from being hit
during a tight grouping. It spins in either way thus deflecting the
dart preventing damage. These are priced at anywhere around $2 to
This is considered the most important part of the dart. Most
experienced players will tell you that a grooved grip around the
shaft provides the best “push” for a throw.
Since the shaft is only as thick as it is, the grip gives the player
as much area to hold on to. The more area your fingers are in
contact with, the better the level of control you gain. However, as
to which groove works best is an open debate among players and comes
down to a matter of choice and preference.
Flights are the fin-like attachments at the end of a dart. Materials
for present-day flights have replaced the traditional feathers with
synthetic materials like polyester and nylon.
More than just making a dart look good, a flight provides drag to a
dart’s path giving it stability on its way to the board.
Whether as a hobby or pursued as a professional career, darts can
offer a person hours and hours of fun. And the selection of the
right set of darts to take to the game can only enrich the