A project I was first told about back in October 2019, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the launch of the Performance Darts Grip Shafts! Having used Performance Darts flights for well over a year, I’ve always wanted to upgrade my setup to incorporate branded stems, as opposed to the unbranded nylon stems I’d used previously.
Released just over a month ago, the Performance Grip Shafts are proving a popular addition to the range of products sold by Performance Darts, with those purchasing new darts having a new set included in the box, ready for use! As I mentioned previously, these will replace the unbranded stems typically supplied with Performance Darts sets, completing the Performance Darts feel, and showcasing the quality of the brand throughout.
The stems come in three lengths, and two colours. They come in both black, and white, and feature the ‘PD’ Performance Darts logo halfway up the stem, in an alternate colour to the shaft itself (black on white, or white on black). They are produced in medium, tweeny and short lengths, and supplied with a metal ring in order to better protect the spokes of the stem.
The medium stems are exactly 54.5mm including the thread, with the stems adding an extra 48.5mm to the length of the dart. They weighed in at 1.38g, with none of the stems coming over 0.01g of that figure. The section of the stem that grips the flight is cut to exactly 15mm. The metal ring sits around 11mm into the stem, meaning flights will only be able to be pushed around 10mm into the spokes before risking damage to the spring or stem itself. When the ring is removed, or the flight hole punched with the ring inserted into the flight, the flights will go down the full 15mm into the stem, without fraying the spokes as seen on other branded stems. The ring itself weighed around 0.005g, and so won’t affect the flight in the dart in the slightest, compared to the thicker springs, which can weigh around 0.09g, very slightly affecting the balance of the dart.
The tweeny stems are 47.5mm in length including the thread, with the total length being 41.5mm added to the dart once screwed into the barrel. They weighed 1.18g, again with no stems coming over 0.01g either side of that weight. The short stems are 40m in total length, with 34mm protruding from the dart when screwed in. They weighed 0.98g, with every set within 0.01g of that figure. All three lengths, across both colours, keep a consistent 6mm thread, spoke depth as well as all other various characteristics – a job well done from the Performance Darts manufacturing team!
On close analysis of the 30 sets I was sent to try, I found no flaws at all with the stems themselves. Sure, there was a little inconsistency with the logo itself, which is to be expected with such a finely printed logo, with such a small separation gap between the ‘P’ and ‘D’ of the logo itself.
For the majority of this review, I will be reviewing from the perspective of using the white, medium stems, as they are what I will be using in both practice, and competitively. I took two weeks to compile this review, using the exact same set of stems – not one spoke broke off! Fantastic durability!
I initially just used them as they came, with the ring sitting below the flight. I found that after a while, the ring had begun to damage the stem slightly, cutting into the spokes somewhat, creating a small indentation. While not a huge issue, I worried it would begin to weaken the stem somewhat – though in reality, it seemed to have the opposite effect! The indentation allowed the ring to sit in the same place, reinforcing the stem and locking the ring and flight in place.
After a while of using this setup, I switched over to a more natural setup for me – hole punching the flights, with a thicker spring. I found no issues at all from this setup, with the duller rounded springs not causing any damage to the stems. The stems lived up to their name well, gripping the flight well to reduce the amount of times the flight flew off after contact with another flight in the board. In a solid two hour practice session, just one flight flew off, courtesy of a particularly aggressive 180 attempt, when I may have been better suited switching for a 177 instead!
I found with the older stems used, I was taking chunks out of them with my points – with the new Performance Grip stems I noticed a clear difference. My points (reasonably long, at 38mm), were not damaging the stems anymore, with all three, after two weeks use, looking and feeling identical to the day I took them out of the package. For me, this is a huge upgrade, as I’d begun to get frustrated at sanding down my stems, in order to keep them smooth.
The stems are available in packs of 5, direct from the DartsPerformanceCentre website (or from the Performance Darts website for trade). They retail at just £3.95, which works out at just 79p a set! Why not take a look at the extensive range of darts and flights on offer too? I recommend the white stems, coupled with the grey standard flights!