Whereas in my first review (for the Performance Darts 50/50’s) I’d already seen pictures of the darts I was reviewing and so knew what to expect, with the Performance Darts Relentless, I knew nothing besides the name, and so when they arrived for me to review, I was going into the unknown as to what darts were hiding in the packaging.
My first impression instantly drew a comparison to the Alan Norris signature darts produced by Target, which I later found out to be the inspiration behind these darts. The three micro grip sections of the barrel, coupled with deeper groves similar to those on the aforementioned Performance Darts 50/50’s, provide a ‘comfortable’ level of grip. That is to say the grip isn’t a typical severe grip style at all, but it still provides a high level of grip to the thrower in comparison to the more common sharper, razor edge grip styles, due to the two contrasting grip styles that are intertwined along the length of the barrel.
The darts I’d been sent were the 24g version, with a 48mm barrel length and 6.8mm barrel width. They are also available in a lighter 22g version, with the same barrel length, but with a slightly slimmer barrel width of 6.4mm.
Now, I use a 21g straight barrel dart, and so for me, throwing these 24g bomb style darts should feel completely foreign to me, but that really wasn’t the case. The darts felt pleasant to hold, despite a lower level of grip than I was typically used to with my match darts. The perfect balance of the dart, something designer Jon Hayllor informed me was of paramount importance to the final design, meant the weight of the dart wasn’t an issue for me. Even when held near the front or back of the dart, I didn’t feel like the opposite end of the dart was dropping at all; the dart still felt very well balanced.
Inside the packaging, you’ll find the darts in a plastic case, equipped with a silver 32mm point, intermediate black nylon stems and a set of black and white Performance Darts No. 6 flights. Having used the flights and stems personally for a while now, I know them to be extremely durable, as well as the flights having a stylish design which, unlike many dart flights on the market, don’t draw your attention away from the treble or double you aim at.
My only complaint with the setup is the silver point, as personally I’ve always preferred a black coated point. However, after a quick rubbing down with sandpaper, the points weren’t an issue. If like me, you aren’t a fan of silver points, Performance Darts offer a free repointing service when you go to buy these amazing darts, with darts points starting at as little as 50p!
The setup I used while practicing with these darts was similar to the supplied setup, I just simply exchanged the intermediate stems for medium. The darts flew straight and direct, flying and landing in a very similar style to the way my match darts do. Despite the lesser grip than I am used to, no darts slipped from my grasp and I felt I had complete control over where every dart went.
It didn’t take me long to find my first 180 with the darts, and at many points while practicing with them, I felt I was throwing as well as if I were using my match darts. I honestly felt for me, a wider barrel would pose problems, but the darts grouped well, and there were times I felt I could’ve squeezed another 3 darts in the T20 after hitting a 180.
Now, as usual with my reviews, I take the darts out on a league night to find out what others think of them, and, unsurprisingly to me, my teammates raved about them, with one even using them in his game! Many comments about the balance, and that the grip felt aggressive enough that they wouldn’t slip, and yet still allowed for an easy release, with full control of the dart up until it leaves the hand.
I thought I’d try something a bit different when practising with these darts; I’ve been raving about the balance, but I’ve only been throwing with one setup (medium nylon stems, with standard shape flights). To truly show off the balance of these darts, I’d have to try something out of my comfort zone, so to speak. So I went with the polar opposite setup: Short Target Grip Style stems coupled with Target Phil Taylor Vision Edge flights. Now, with a setup like this, I hold the dart towards the point end of the dart, as I want the darts to land downwards in order to stack them in the same way Phil Taylor used to. It took a while to get used to, but I found myself scoring consistently well, and within quarter of an hour after many close calls, I finally found a 180.
The next challenge I set myself, I thought would be impossible. To hit a 180 using drinking straws rather than flights. To say this took a long time would be an understatement, but after a couple of hours of practice, the impossible happened. Don’t ask me how, because in all honesty, I still don’t know myself!
Appearance: 8/10 – The darts are, to look at, truly a work of art. The micro ring grip blending into the deeper Bristow-esque ringed groves looks fluent, and with the barrel being 90% tungsten, the groves are less likely to chip away. The silver points complement the plain tungsten barrel perfectly, to create the impression of a one piece dart – that is to say the point and barrel look as one, rather than two separate interchangeable parts. The supplied setup looks equally striking, with the black stem blending well into the flight, again giving the impression of a one-piece flight and stem setup. The flights, with the fading black-to-white central design, coupled with a carbon fibre design around the outside, doesn’t distract you when in the board, with the darker colours blending into one to allow you to focus on the segment you aim for.
Balance: 10/10 – Perfect. Now, I own a LOT of darts. And these are, easily, the nicest balanced dart I’ve ever tried. Wherever I seem to hold the dart, I never feel restricted by the weight, and the dart never seems to feel off centre. The darts fly in a consistent arc for me, and land sitting upright, as my darts have always done. Even trying different throwing actions, replicating pro player’s unique grip styles, the dart always feels comfortable to throw. Even experimenting with the aforementioned flight shapes, stem lengths and stem materials, the dart never felt off-centre.
Grip: 8/10 – This is all down to personal preference, and as to how much grip they player in question needs, and what they feel comfortable with. For myself, typically in a dart I look for a severe grip, and yet with the more muted micro grip on the Relentless darts, I never felt the dart slipping. The grip felt light and comfortable, and yet with a high enough level of grip that, in pressure situations when your hands begin to feel clammy, you can be confident that the equipment you’re using won’t let you down. The position of the grip along the barrel means that, whether you grip from the front, middle or rear of the dart, you will never just be holding smooth plain tungsten. The designer, Jon Hayllor, grips from the front, and so the darts may be more tailored towards a front-gripper with the micro grip running down the taper towards the point, however the middle and rear grip was positioned as such to create a grip that could “suit anyone’s style and feel”.
Quality: 9/10 – Everything about these darts, from the intricate spiralling micro grip, to the deeper cut ring grip, perfectly showcases the quality that you come to expect from Performance Darts. Before throwing the darts, I checked every inch of the three barrels to try and find a flaw, and failed. Even after hours of practice, there was very little damage to the barrel, with the only chipping of the grip occurring towards the point of the dart, where the barrels have collided against each other to grind away the front micro grip section. The plastic packaging was well designed, with a stylish blue and black colour scheme in typical Performance Darts style. The stems and flights, as well as the matte black case, were well made and all complimented each other well in the packaging.
Value for Money: 9/10 – For a set of darts such as these, with a unique grip style and barrel shape combination, they are priced very fairly at £31.95, keeping in line with the other darts that Performance Darts sells. For a 90% tungsten barrel, with a unique grip style, plus flights, stems and a plastic case, there are not many darts on the market today for less. In a market dominated by companies looking to squeeze every penny from consumers for overpriced, branded darts, companies like Performance Darts excel in providing well priced, high quality darts to help players find their perfect dart, without breaking the bank, and the Performance Darts Relentless are just another example of that.
I really hope I’ve managed to do these great darts justice in this review. The darts had a beautiful natural feel, with plenty of grip while still feeling like they’ve been ‘broken in’… I never really felt like they were a new set of darts, but a set that I’ve been throwing with for years.
I’d like to thank Paul Gillings at Performance Darts for the opportunity to once again review a set of their darts, and I’d also like to thank the dart’s designer, Jon Hayllor, for answering my questions about the design and inspiration, and for the support while writing this review. I’ll be continuing to use these darts on and off in practice, and so if anyone has any questions they’d like to ask concerning this review, or the darts, feel free to message me over on Twitter: @JoeReid180.