I was very kindly sent these darts by Paul at the DPC (Darts Performance Centre) to review. These are the newly released Level 5 model, as designed by Neil 'The Bear' Birkin, and they come in 22g and 24g. The model I am reviewing is the 22g model - the model that Neil himself uses. They are available from the Darts Performance Centre Shop and retail for 24.95 Pound.
The darts are 90 percent tungsten and have been designed with the intention of having a high level of grip without having sharp edges so that the grip lasts. Let's see a picture of how the darts are supplied:
The darts come packaged in the usual DPC way with the plastic clam shell outer and the paper insert that contains all the details behind the design of the darts and the man himself. Inside this the darts are packaged in a hard plastic case that contains the 3 darts in a point protector with medium length black nylon shafts and standard size black and red flights. All you need to get going with the darts!
Let's take a look at the darts in some detail. The darts come fitted with a standard silver steel-tip point that leads up to a very gradual bull nose. This is designed to minimise impact damage to flights and the barrels grip as well as reducing deflections to allow for tighter groupings. The main barrel itself is a straight barrel dart with 2 grip regions separated by a smooth band containing the DPC laser etching just beyond half way along the barrel.
The grip itself is indeed a high level grip as intended! Also, there are no sharp edges, but rather the grip is a thicker double ring style. So, you have a thin groove, then a large deep round bottomed groove, followed by the thin groove, repeated along the barrel. There are 5 of the larger round bottomed grooves before the smooth section and 3 after. Due to the thickness of the grooves and the lack of sharp edges the grip should indeed last a long time.
At the rear of the barrel there is a smooth tungsten section that tapers down to meet the shaft.
Now to take some measurements and weigh them for manufacturing quality!
On my scales the darts come in at 22.1g, 22.0g and 22.1g which is pretty much bang on the mark - no quibbles there. The total weight of the supplied setup is 24.1g.
On the callipers the darts come out at 49.9mm in length with a uniform thickness of 6.37mm. The darts are drilled out 9.43mm in the rear.
The darts for me landed in the board with my usual just above flat angle using the supplied setup.
To date I haven't been able to spend as much time with the darts as I would have liked. I hope to rectify this over the coming days and weeks and will be able to provide further feedback on the darts over the next couple of weeks when I have been able to properly give them a good go.
My initial feedback on the darts then. The grip on the barrel is superb. It is a high level grip, but without being intrusive and catching on the fingers due to the lack of sharp edges. The grip provides security and stability in the hand while allowing for a clean release. The darts have been manufactured to a very high standard. I see no imperfections in the barrel, the weight matching is superb and they feel like a high quality piece of kit.
I like the shape of the bull nose on the dart. It will do what it is designed to do, but for those that like to use storm or tornado points or the little tridents the taper on the nose will allow for these to sit flush to further reduce impact and deflections.
As usual I have been gripping the dart on the front grip section and the size of the grip section there is more than ample for my hands. The smooth tungsten band is relatively small, so most players should be able to find a grip on the barrel that will suit them. A very good all round design and dart for sure.
As I place a finger on the point as part of my grip I am not a fan of the plain silver points - I find them to be too slippery! I will be changing these out for some black or finger grip style points and putting my usual shafts and flights on to give these darts a real workout. I will provide more feedback in a couple of weeks when I have fully tested them and will be able to report on how the grip holds up.
On first impressions I am very impressed by the darts and the reasoning behind the design. Another top dart from the DPC and at a very reasonable price too. Top marks from me!!!
Author: Barry Gribben