How to Choose the Perfect Dart Shafts and Flights
New to darts? Intermediate player? Veteran tungsten thrower? This article will help inform you on the best decisions to take when choosing dart shafts and flights. So, if you're new to the game or simply tweaking your long-established setup then read on. We will help make sure that you understand how important the choice of shafts and flights is to your throw and the results you achieve.
When choosing darts flights it is important to learn how the size and shape affects the actual flight of the dart. Smaller flights cause less drag meaning the darts move through the air more quickly. Larger flights have the opposite effect causing more drag and slowing the dart down. It is advisable to use larger flights if your throw is gentler or if you throw with a lob. The larger flights help to stabilise the dart and improve the angle of entry into the dartboard by keeping the rear end of the dart at a slightly higher angle. It is also recommended that larger flights are used with heavier darts as this will help to keep the dart in the air for longer with a lighter throw.
Also, if you opt for long stems then the larger flight is the one to choose. Darts with long stems have a tendency to fish-tail in the air so a larger flight will help to stabilise the dart and correct this problem. If your throw is hard and you use small darts and stems then you will most likely achieve better results by also using small and slim flights. If for example you use a short-barrelled dart such as the Harrows Bomber 85% Tungsten Darts then it is likely that the angle of entry into the dartboard is affected by the strength of your throw. Small, light darts such as these require a harder throw in order to stick into the dartboard successfully. This sometimes results in the dart entering the board with the shaft pointing upwards at a high angle. Therefore, a small flight will reduce drag causing the dart to enter the board at a preferable angle.
The other benefit to small flights is that they help to reduce bounce-outs and also take on less damage when your standard is such that your darts enter the board in tight groupings. Another consideration to make when selecting darts flights is their texture. This is not something that immediately springs to mind but can be just as important as size and shape. A smooth darts flight helps to reduce drag whilst a textured flight will increase drag. If you find that your results are not quite how you want them to be then perhaps try fine-tuning your setup with either smooth or textured darts flights and experiment a little.
Darts shafts, or stems, are available in three common lengths: short, medium and long. The exact lengths of the shafts do of course vary by a few millimetres between different manufacturers. There are also many choices for the material of the shafts including plastic, nylon and aluminium. The main factors to consider when choosing darts shafts are their length and material, as well as where you hold the dart to throw. The actual effect that the shaft has on the dart relates to its centre of gravity.
A short shaft shifts the centre of gravity towards the front of the dart whilst a long shaft shifts it towards the rear. Depending on where you hold your dart to throw it then this can have a significant impact on the darts flight and entry. If you hold your dart towards the front then you should find that the best results are achievable with a short stem. If you hold the barrel of your dart towards the back then a longer stem should yield better results. So, for example, if you use the Harrows Bomber 85% Tungsten Darts mentioned previously then you are likely to find that your hand naturally sits at the front of the barrel due to its short length. Therefore, it is also likely that you will find that the best results come when the dart is combined with a short shaft.Following the advice on flights given above then this setup can be perfected with the addition of small, slim flights.
When selecting darts shafts it is also important to consider the material from which they are made. In relation to the way the dart flies the material only affects this by its weight. However, the shapes of the shafts are such that the difference in weight between plastic and metal is often negligible. There are of course many different designs available including some shafts that feature grip and some that spin when thrown. However, the most popular and successful stem designs are the most simple, straight shapes. The main reason for choosing between shaft materials is down to breakages. Cheaper plastic shafts are more prone to breaking if the plastic is hard and brittle, though some more premium plastic shafts are much more durable and break less easily. Aluminium shafts are of course much stronger but can bend rendering them almost useless. Some manufacturers now make nylon shafts which are designed to bend more easily and are less prone to actually snapping. And if your budget extends to it then the most recent premium option is in fact carbon fibre shafts.
Experiment with your setup
Despite all of the advice given here, and the many articles available online, the most important part of playing darts is the enjoyment of the game. The best advice anyone can really give is to experiment with your setup and find something that is comfortable and works for you. The tips and tricks we have given you are a good basis for making your selections but the most important thing to do is experiment with different darts shafts and flights until you find something that provides you with the best results.
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