A big thank you to Paul from Performance Darts for very kindly sending me this set for review. These are the darts of recent Performance Darts signing and 2018 World Masters Champion Adam Smith-Neale, aka Big Dog.
These have been subtitled Smooth Performance Darts as Adam’s preference is a smooth dart barrel. I have never been inclined towards a smooth dart myself so this will be a new experience for me in reviewing and throwing these.
These darts come in 22g and 24g, are 90% tungsten and are coated in a nice black PVD coating.
The darts come in the usual Performance Darts clamshell style packaging with the nicely designed paper inserts including the detail on the Performance Darts range and principles on the rear insert.
Inside the outer packaging you get a hard plastic case that contains the 3 darts in a point protector, a set of in-between length black nylon stems and a set of standard size Big Dog flights, which are pretty cool with the black background and white dog bones! The darts come fitted with 26mm (protruding) plain black coated points as standard. The darts themselves are pretty striking with the all black look. I am a fan of black darts so to me they look great.
In terms of the style of the dart they are a straight barrel, with a rounded bull nose, the PD logo in gold on the rear and then a slight taper to meet up with the stem. The only non-smooth section on the barrel are 2 thinly cut rings just before the PD logo. For me these don’t really offer any additional grip, but would act as a good datum point for someone that grips near the rear.
First impressions on the darts are that they look pretty slick with the all black setup. In terms of grip level there is certainly no mechanical grip, but the smooth tungsten has a nice feel to it and the coating offers additional feel and when they warm up after use they do offer a nice level of grip. With them having no mechanical grip they never stick to the fingers on release.
Let’s see how these darts match up with the provided weight and dimensions.
All bang on the money at 24.0g – remarkable!
The darts measure out at 48mm long and a uniform diameter of 6.4mm. They are drilled out on the rear around 10mm.
On to throwing the dart. As I stated at the start of the review this is a new venture for me into the world of smooth darts barrels. I am more used to throwing a dart with quite heavy mechanical grip so they definitely took a little getting used to. As I threw more and the coating warmed up they started to go quite well for me. They feel superbly balanced and stable in flight. The supplied setup works well with the darts and I saw no reason to tweak it.
In conclusion, this dart was a real pleasant surprise for me. The balance and feel of the coating, especially when it has warmed up, makes for a really satisfying and enjoyable dart to throw. With the dart being smooth there is no grip to wear down over time, the only element that could wear is the coating.
However, having had these for over a week now and thrown them on and off during that period I can see no obvious damage or wear to the coating, which is a good sign and a sign that these could last a very long time so you will get top value for your money. The dimensions are in that region where they would suit a lot of people and I would highly recommend these whether or not you are a smooth dart lover.
The darts are released on 22nd January 2019 at 12 noon and more information can be found on the Performance Darts websites and all good retailers.
Enjoy, happy darting and of course all the best of luck to Adam Smith-Neale in the coming season with these great darts.