When asked whether there were any darts I was interested in reviewing from the Performance Darts range, these were at the very top of my list. With the sleek, stylish barrel, and a subtle, consistent grip, coupled with being a dart in my preferred match-weight – these were the darts I was most excited to review.
When the package containing the trio of darts for me to review (the Classic Performance Darts and Optimum Performance Darts reviews are already available to read) arrived at my door, I remember opening the envelope and looking specifically for these darts first. I’ve always been a fan of darts utilising microgrip technology, and so naturally these had caught my attention when browsing the fantastic Performance Darts website.
The High Performance darts come in 21g, 23g and 25g. The dimensions of the 21g version are 48.3mm x 6.4mm, with the 23g version measuring at 50.5mm x 6.6mm and the 25g version coming to 50.9mm x 6.8mm. The darts arrive in typical Performance Darts packaging – a stylish plastic outer sleeve, with a plain black case to hold the darts. Within the case, besides the darts, are a set of durable intermediate nylon stems, and a set of the Performance Darts Red Standard No. 6 flights. The darts are equipped with a standard silver 32mm point, yet Performance Darts offer a repointing service at no extra cost, should you wish to swap them out for coated or grooved points.
The first thing that struck me about these darts was how incredibly thin they felt to hold. I reviewed the 21g version, which measures up at 6.4mm wide, and yet because of the subtle, thin cut micro grip, they seem to feel thinner than the stem! The fine, intricately cut micro grip runs the full length of the barrel, with a 5mm gap towards the rear to allow for the Performance Darts logo. This varies from the Original Performance Darts, in which the micro grip stopped after reaching the central ring grip. This ensured that, where the Originals catered to players that grip their darts from the centre or the front, the High Performance can be universally used, to match any gripping position along the 6.4mm-6.8mm barrel.
The central grip is a mixture of two intertwined cuts – the aforementioned micro grip, overlaid onto a standard Eric Bristow style ring grip. This creates a similar feel to the ‘sticky grip’ utilised on many sets across the Performance Darts range, in which it feels like the grip locks your fingers in place up until the point of release. The deeper cuts can also encourage consistent finger placement, in order to allow you to grip the dart in the exact same place every time, giving you unparalleled levels of consistency to your throw. This has also been seen within other sets in the Performance Darts range, most notably the Adam Smith-Neale darts, which use a solitary, precisely placed ring to allow the player to pick up, and set the dart in the exact same place, every time.
I must admit, I really enjoyed experimenting with styles and setups using these darts. The thin, light barrel seemed to work with everything I tried, from pear flights to kite flights, extra short stems to extra long stems; nothing looked or felt out of place. Naturally, medium stems and standard shape flights worked best for me, as it’s a setup I’ve personally never changed in nearly 7 years of playing. However, one setup that shocked me in terms of how well it worked was medium stems, coupled with Sigma Pro flights. The darts flew perfectly straight for me, standing nice and high in the board, allowing plenty of room for me to fill the T20 bed!