Steel tip dart barrels are made of brass or nickel-tungsten, and come in a variety of barrel grips. Dart barrel grips will affect your grip, while dart barrel shape (pencil, front-loaded, torpedo, etc.) will affect both grip and flight pattern. Steel tip darts are played on dartboards made of many sisal fibers that make up the bristles. These bristles are self healing, so the hole caused by the steel tip dart closes once another dart lands near the initial puncture. With the nature of these fibers, steel tip dartboards can be long-lasting. The weight of a steel tip dart is determined by weighing the tip and barrel. If you’re a habitual dart player, you will usually use a brass dart that weighs 18-23g, or a tungsten dart that weighs between 23-26g.
Soft tip dart barrels are made of brass or nickel-tungsten, and come in a variety of barrel grips. Dart barrel grips will affect your grip, while dart barrel shape (pencil, front-loaded, torpedo, etc.) will affect both grip and flight pattern. Soft tip darts must be played on electronic dartboards due to their plastic points. They wouldn’t be strong enough to stick in the sisal fibers of a regular dartboard. Electronic dartboards may not have fibers, but are made up of hundreds of holes in each wedge. These boards are also the same shape as steel tip dartboards. The weight of a soft tip dart is determined by weighing the whole dart, shaft and flight included. Most soft tip darts used for games will weigh 16, 18, or 20 grams. Soft tip darts are used on electronic dartboards because they’re more lightweight than steel tip darts.
There are three main barrel metals: tungsten, nickel-silver, and brass. Tungsten is most commonly used because it is a highly dense metal, resulting in a heavier weight in a smaller mass. Typically, a barrel made of tungsten will be three times smaller than a brass barrel. Barrels nowadays are usually made with tungsten and nickel, so darts will list how much tungsten to nickel there is in the barrel. Tungsten barrels are the material of choice for pro players or those more serious about the game, while brass barrels are more recreationally used. Nickel is quite similar to brass, except nickel is more scratch resistant.
Darts have a multitude of grip types. When the barrel of the dart is crafted in a certain way, grip increases. Grip types include: smooth, knurled, dimplex, razor, stone, and shark fin. Players choose their grip of preference, which usually leads to better and more consistent gameplay. If you have a good grip, you will have consistency, control, and accuracy. You can only push grooved darts. Having grooves cover the whole barrel leads to consistency. You know you have a good barrel if your fingers don’t slip.
Smooth, ringed grooves are etched into this barrel.
When there are cross-hatched etchings on the barrel. These are easiest to grip.
When the barrel has a sequence of protruding dimples all around it.
Little cuts are etched into the barrel, lending to a tactile grip.
When a barrel uses two materials fused together, which creates a stone-like grip.
Barrel is shaped like a shark fin with its series of broad grooves with angled edges that head towards the shaft. Shark fin grips provide maximum strength upon the forward-action of a throw, and less grip on the pullback.