When asked to do a review on the Performance Darts 50/50 darts, I jumped at the chance, after all I had heard about them, I was intrigued to see how Performance Darts would go about designing and manufacturing such a revolutionary dart.
My first impression when taking them out of the package was… wow. They’re a dart, visually, so different to any set I’ve used before. With the silver tungsten rear, and a black titanium nitride coating towards the front, coupled with a standard black point, the darts look striking!
The graphics on the packaging are stylish, with a black and white background in typical Performance Darts colours and keeping in theme with the overall look of the barrels.
The darts came in a plain black case, which held everything securely. Included in the case were a set of the new branded standard Performance Darts No. 6 flights, a set of intermediate black stems, and obviously the darts themselves.
Taking them out of the case, the first thing that struck me was the level of grip. The rear offered an extremely high grip, with the style resembling the popular Bristow-style ring grip, yet on these darts, the groves were deeper, and wider apart. I found this helped with finger placement, as I tend to throw my darts from the rear.
The front grip however, came as a big shock to me. I’d heard about the ‘invisible grip’ on the Adam Smith-Neale darts (the inspiration for the front section of the dart), but never quite believed it – how can you get any grip simply from a smooth coating!?
To say I was surprised when I first felt the grip was an understatement. The grip felt great, with minimal slipping. I even tried throwing to the front of the dart, using just the titanium nitride grip, and to my surprise they still released from my hand just as well as when using my natural throwing action.
I put a set of medium stems and standard flights on the darts and threw my first dart: Treble 20. The next two landed in the single 20 and the single 5, but we won’t talk about those… While throwing, I found I was scoring consistent tons, and that the darts, for me, were sitting nice and high in the board, meaning I could use them as marker darts if I could pitch them on the top wire of the T20.
I found that darts weren’t slipping from my hand, and that, thanks to the rear grip, I was consistently picking the dart up in the same way, meaning the darts landed in the same angle when entering the board with this change, after about 5 minutes of using the shorter stems, that I found my first 180 with the darts.
Obviously, we all have one style of throw, and as I have a more central to rear grip, I can only really effectively review that. However, for a front gripper, these darts will fly well.
The grip at the front, with the titanium nitride coating, offers enough grip to securely set and throw the darts, while allowing for a smooth release. The front of the dart is very slightly thicker than the rear, giving the dart a slight front weight, depending on the flight and stem setups you choose to use.
The transition between the smooth and grooved sections of the dart works well, and so for middle grippers, you won’t be torn between two contrasting sections of grip, instead feeling comfortable between the two. For those who shift their grip, like myself, while throwing (think Simon Whitlock, and how the way he sets the dart, and the amount of movement the dart does in his hands before he releases), there is leniency in the grip to do this, as well as offering the grip when you go to actually throw the dart.
The darts themselves feature very familiar and simple grip styles. The rear of the dart is a popular design, featured on many darts such as Eric Bristow’s famous ‘Cocked Finger’ darts, Target’s Rob Cross Generation 1 darts and Unicorn’s Dimitri van den Bergh Contender darts.
However what sets these apart is the depth and width of the groves. The groves dig deeper into the barrel, creating a severity unseen in this style of grip. The ring grip, popularised for its simplicity and feel, with it providing a sufficient amount of grip for a player, while still allowing for a smooth release, means the 50/50 darts are timeless in their design.
The groves themselves, thanks to the rounded nose of the dart, won’t chip, meaning that throughout the years, the level of grip will stay consistent, in turn allowing the players throwing action and grip style to develop freely, without developing unnecessary habits such as gripping the dart firmer in order to find that extra 10% of grip typically lost on darts throughout the years.
As for the front section of the dart, the smooth feel, for me comparative to granite, is again a style of grip that will feel comfortable to many a player.
The grip, inspired by the darts designed by Performance Darts and the 2018 Winmau World Masters champion, Adam Smith-Neale, is designed to last, and with the hard titanium nitride coating, you can be assured the darts will not chip.
Appearance: 9/10 – These darts are visually, in my opinion, stunning. The look of the raw tungsten, contrasted with the coal-like coating towards the front of the dart works perfectly. I threw on some different colour stems and flights to find a setup that looks bad and failed miserably; these darts work with any colour combination. Though saying that, I feel black stems look the best on this dart, with your choice of flight.
Balance: 9/10 – When thrown from the rear of the barrel, these darts are perfectly balanced, flying straight and level. Even with shorter stems, the dart still landed straight for me when trying to experiment with different setups, throwing actions and grip styles. When gripping from the front, the darts kicked at an angle, though quick adjustments to my stance and elbow positioning quickly corrected this. As a middle-to-rear gripper, I found throwing the darts from the front of the barrel still felt quite natural, even though I have little experience in doing so.
Grip:10/10 – This ones all down to personal preference. Me? I like the level of grip. The Bristow-esque ring grip isn’t my preferred choice of grip (I prefer a thinner, sharper ring grip rather than the wider rings on the 50/50 darts) but I never once felt like I was lacking anything. The rear of the dart offers a rough grip, without feeling uncomfortable, and the front of the dart offers its own unique style of grip (once warmed up). The grip didn’t feel as if it faded at all, with it still feeling as if I’d just got them out of the box every time I went to use them. With my minimal understanding of the popular grip scale devised by ‘The Bear’ Neil Birkin, I’d say the front section of the dart is a 3/5 level grip (when warm, perhaps a 1.5/5 when cold), and the rear is a 4.5/5 level grip.
Quality: 8/10 – The darts showed very little wear in the time I used them. There was some slight chipping at the nose of the dart, though I only noticed that as I was checking the darts for this write up; In truth it’s next to nothing. There were also a few minuscule chips on the ring grip itself, again only noticed when I put them under the microscope, so to speak. As for the points, there were some small scratches where they’d hit the wire, but apart from that, along with general wear, they were fine.
The thread aligned well, meaning there was minimal overlap on the stem when screwed into the barrel. I did find on one dart the thread was slightly off centre, but that’s to be expected, the odds of getting 3 perfectly central threaded darts are huge. The slight lip on one side made no difference at all to the way the dart felt, and unless you hold the dart on where the stem and barrel meet, you won’t notice any difference, should there be a similar problem on one your darts. Overall, the quality of the darts was to be expected from a 90% tungsten dart made by Performance Darts, in which quality takes a high priority.
Value for Money: 8/10 – These darts are priced at a very reasonable £34.95, which considering what you get, is very well priced for a 90% tungsten dart, with a revolutionary titanium nitride coating, precision engineering on the rear grip, as well as perks from Performance Darts such as a free repointing service when ordering directly from them.
Performance Darts continues to deliver value for money unseen in some of the market leaders at the moment, with various companies in the habit of releasing player replica darts for £000’s, with very little to offer the buyer other than a name on the packaging and a logo on the barrel.
These darts could, in my opinion, easily be justified going for double the price they are now, and yet the darts, with a set of Performance Darts No. 6 flights and intermediate stems (around £1.50 in value, plus a plastic case to store them), are being sold at an affordable price, and are definitely worth the investment.
I hope I’ve managed to cover everything you’d want to know about the new Performance Darts 50/50 darts. I must admit, I really enjoyed using them. The shape of the darts suited me perfectly, I wouldn’t change a thing about them. The grip, while not my style, again was something I would feel comfortable using.
The front grip really surprised me, and has made me really intrigued to try the dart that inspired it, the Adam Smith-Neale darts made by Performance Darts themselves. I’d definitely recommend these darts to any kind of player or collector. The grip suits all, and the darts themselves are definitely worth being a centrepiece in any collection.
I’d like to take this chance to thank Performance Darts for giving me the opportunity to review these stunning darts. I will continue to use these darts on and off in practice, and so if you have any questions you’d like to ask concerning the darts, feel free to message me on Twitter – @JoeReid180.