We have had some brilliant reviews of our darts before the Performance Darts brand was born so we felt it was time to go through our darts portfolio and get some up to date reviews of our range. Here is the first one by Joe Reid on our Classic Performance Darts. Enjoy!
In these uncertain times, the game of darts has flourished. With the sharp upturn of players trying their hand at the game, as well as experienced players competing in online tournaments, darts is still as popular as ever. One thing most players, new or old, have been guilty of throughout this period is experimentation. Whether it’s trying a different size stem, or different shaped flight, we’ve all been looking to perfect our individual game. I can’t help with stems or flights, but thanks to Performance Darts yet again sending me some darts to review, I can hopefully provide you some insight into darts to consider, should you wish to further explore ways to perfect your setup!
The first set I’ll be reviewing are the Performance Darts Classic, in 22g. These are a bomb style dart, with two contrasting grip styles. The first is what Performance Darts calls ‘Sticky Grip’, which is a wide cut ring grip, with micro grip added to the rings to create a sticky feel, hence the name. The second grip style is a simple micro grip, a grip style I am very fond of. The sticky grip is sandwiched in between the micro grip, with the front micro grip following the taper of the dart right down the point. The rear micro grip stops just before the rear taper, leaving the back of the dart completely smooth.
For a middle gripper who prefers a Phil Taylor, or John Lowe style barrel, these will be perfect for you. The aptly named Performance Darts ‘Classic’ are reminiscent of many classic styles of dart, with the aforementioned Unicorn John Lowe World Champion Darts bearing a strong resemblance. From further research conducted by speaking to the designer of the darts, Martin Crocker, who initially approached Performance Darts for help with his setup, I found out he was at the time using a John Lowe ‘bomber’ style dart, and yet struggled for grip, and so the idea for the Classics was born.
The darts come in 22g, 24g and 26g, and come equipped with a set of intermediate nylon stems, and a set of Performance Darts flights, as well as 32mm silver points and a smart black case for storage. The 22g version I reviewed are 37.5mm in length, and 7.7mm in width. The 24g and 26g are both 7.8mm in width, however the 24g version is 40mm in length, and the 26g is 42mm in length.
As I feel I say in every review, I personally am not a fan of silver points, as I find they don’t grip the board as well with lighter darts. You may need to look at getting some sandpaper or a sharpening stone for the points, or failing that, Performance Darts offer a free repointing service with darts bought directly from them, with a set of black coated 32mm points starting from as little as 50p!
In a quick interview with the man behind the darts, Martin Crocker, I began to piece together just how these stunning darts were developed. As I previously mentioned, the darts are based on a John Lowe style dart, with added grip. Martin felt he was “struggling for grip”, as he holds the “middle of dart, just behind the bulge”, and so Paul Gillings, the man who brought these darts to life, advised on a micro grip to aid Martin in his search for more grip. He found the grip to feel “very aggressive”, which was exactly what he wanted.
After a few tweaks in order to bring them to market, the design was finalised, and released shortly after. As I do with every set I review, I firstly try them with my match setup. And so, with medium nylon stems, and Performance Darts flights, I was underway. I personally use straight barrel darts, and so was surprised to find these flew well for me. The darts landed straight, yet I did find it took me a while to get comfortable when holding them.
Going from a 50mm barrel to a 36.5mm proved to be a struggle, and in my attempt to use as much of the 36.5mm barrel, I found my point of grip to be on that rear smooth section. Nevertheless, I quickly found my feet with them, and after many close calls, the first 180 made an appearance.
Experimenting with setups, I found one in particular that worked really well, which surprised me as there were three clear differences between the setup I used, and the setup I usually use on my match darts. The first difference was the shape of flight. For these, I threw on some pear flights.
The idea of this was to keep the tail end of the flight down, so I could try stacking the dart, rather than having them sit high. The second difference was the length of stem. I tried an aluminium stem with the pear flights, in order to increase the weight to aid the flights in helping the dart to sit flatter, which I found seemed to counteract each other, as they still stood up when in the board. The third difference was the stem length, trying a shorter stem. I felt that with a shorter barrel, a shorter stem may work better for me, as it did for designer Martin Crocker, who too used short stems with these darts, (though nylon rather than aluminium)… surprisingly enough it did! Equipped with this mismatched, makeshift setup, I hit one of the most unusual and impossible 180’s I’ve ever seen, let alone hit! Definitely worth checking the video out here:
Appearance: 7/10 – To look at, they are a very simple, yet attractive dart. The two contrasting grip styles compliment each other well, to create a dart that looks truly unique and unparalleled by any other. The silver point blends nicely into the barrel to create a ‘one-piece’ feel to the dart. Coupled with a silver Target Nano-Grip point, I’d say these darts could easily be a 9/10 with the front micro grip blending seamlessly with the point.
One drawback for me with these darts visually, however, was of that aforementioned front nano-grip. The issue with such a fine grip being towards the front of the dart brings the risk of chipping due to contact with the other two darts when grouped together. While the feel of the dart felt unchanged, I did notice after a few hours of practice, the front of the dart had many little dinks here and there. While unaffecting the grip, it did detract from the dart visually very slightly, though I only discovered them upon close inspection, and under direct light, and so when throwing and using them, it’s impossible to notice.
Balance: 8/10 – For me, this was a hard one to rank. While the weight of the dart was near perfect for me (I use 21g – the set I reviewed for this are 22g), the shape is the polar opposite to what I use day in, day out on the practice board. However, even though the shape of the dart, as well as the length, are so far from what I use, these still flew very straight and direct for me, despite the near 13mm difference in length, and 1.1mm difference in width. Holding from the rear, centre and front, the darts were unaffected, still flying direct with minimal ‘kicking’ out to the side, though with slight differences in the way the dart sat up in the board. Obviously the darts, with the position of the grip style, are suited to a middle to front gripper, and yet from the rear of the darts they still flew just as well. A dart for all, indeed!
Grip: 8/10 – On the subject of grip, I can rank these a solid 8/10. The grip was the main reason I was interested to try these darts, as they feature two grip styles I’ve very much considered when attempting to design my ‘dream’ dart. For me, I’m a huge fan of micro grip. The grip on the Performance Darts Classic feels comfortable and light, which leads to an easy release, aiding in the smooth and direct way the darts flew, as I commented on earlier.
The ‘Sticky Grip’, however, was what I was most intrigued to try out. In person, and in pictures, it looks an overwhelmingly aggressive grip, with deep cuts into the barrel, and yet to throw it feels just as light and comfortable as the rest of the micro grip. What sets this apart from just a normal micro grip however, is the fact that when you grip directly on the sticky grip, it just seems to lock your fingers in place up until the point of release, in which the micro grip takes over in an instant, allowing the dart to be propelled towards the board as if they were smooth. It really is a ‘try it to believe it’ situation, it’s impossibly difficult to describe!
Quality: 9/10 – The darts are made from a 90% tungsten billet, meaning that through relentless punishment at the oche, the grip will stand the test of time. Even while crashing the darts together in practice, there felt no difference to the grip than when I first threw them, despite some grouping marks at the front of the barrel. The packaging was in typical Performance Darts style, with a stylish plastic casing holding a standard black plastic pouch, which held the darts. The stems, through a year of using them, I know to be of very high quality, the same with the flights, which are guaranteed to stand the test of time!
Value for Money: 10/10 – In an age of highly priced, premium darts with intricate grip styles, certain barrels can go for upwards of £70! Madness! And the Performance Darts Classic could be well justified to match the price of those said darts, with the unique sticky grip giving them their own unique selling point. However, these darts are available at a fraction of the cost, at only £27.95. Comparing them to similar darts, it’s clear these are an absolute steal at this price.
John Lowe branded darts can go for around £50, nearly double the Performance Darts Classic, whereas Phil Taylor branded darts can tip nearly double what the John Lowe darts are selling for! Why potentially pay an extra £70, just for a name on the dart? For value for money, once again, Performance Darts can’t be beaten.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my review, and hope I’ve encouraged you to check out the Performance Darts Classic, and perhaps try them out for yourself! Released in 2016, these darts are still standing the test of time, with a timeless design re-imagined for a new breed of darts player, that is constantly striving for perfection in the equipment they use.
Thank you once again Paul Gillings and Performance Darts for sending me these fantastic darts to review, as well as Martin Crocker for answering my questions for this review. Two more sets to go, looking forward to bringing more reviews to you all! Any questions about the darts, please feel free to message me over on Twitter, @JoeReid180! I’ll continue to throw these, as for me, I’m a huge fan of the grip style.
Can’t wait to get writing the other two reviews and get them out for you to read – got two more great sets lined up! Hope you all continue to stay healthy and safe – hopefully soon we’ll all be back at the pub, with our darts in one hand, and a glass in the other. Until then, happy darting!
Thanks Joe, awesome review and if Joe has tempted you in to trying a set check out our suppliers here!