As you become a better dart player and start to group your darts and throw with more accuracy, you’ll notice two things will happen. First, you’ll hit the number you are aiming for with more consistency (which is a good thing), and secondly, you’ll hit the flight and stem for darts that are already in the board (not so good).
This is incredibly annoying when practicing as it leads to bounce-outs and damaged flights which mean lost points and less accuracy when using a damaged flight. One useful accessory that I use and countless players worldwide use is a dart flight protector or flight saver.
Dart flight protectors are small aluminum, metal, or plastic caps that you place on the end of a dart flight to reduce damage from dart collisions. A flight protector is mainly used to stop a flight from becoming damaged during play but it also helps to keep the flight ‘square’ for increased accuracy.
In this article, I’ll cover why flight protectors are useful not only to preserve your darts and keep them in good condition but also to improve your practice time and improve your accuracy (even if it is by a small amount).
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What Are Flight Protectors For Darts
One of the main considerations when it comes to playing darts is getting the right dart flights. These parts come in different sizes and material components. Whether you need precision or stability, there are different types of dart flight for you. Once you get your preferred flights, you might not want to replace them again due to your playstyle.
Dart flights are usually made from plastic, enabling users to make a good throw using less force. However, plastic dart flights tend to break due to wear and tear. These flights are often pierced by incoming darts while sticking in the dartboard. If the flights aren’t working properly, it can be difficult for the player to get a good throw.
To avoid these problems, some dart players use dart flight protectors to prolong their years. Dart flight protectors are small, metal “clippers” attached at the end of the flights. By keeping the flights at an open 90-degree angle, it minimizes the chance of incoming darts piercing through. At the same time, this angle lets the user have an optimal drag.
Do You Need Dart Flight Protectors
This decision really depends on the player’s play style and experience. Players who are just learning the game can minimize missing their throws due to additional stability. If you care for your dart’s appearance, a fairly-matched colored protector can also improve the aesthetic appeal of your darts.
For beginners or casual players, dart flight protectors can help you during the learning phase. You will prolong the life of your gear while enhancing your performance in practices. And since these protectors are very affordable, you won’t need to worry about additional expenses. It’s quite a good idea if you want to continue playing, but don’t have the funds to get extra dart sets.
Pros Of Dart Flight Protectors
Flight protectors are an awesome tool for beginners and casual players due to their added benefits. It can even help professional dart players in their practice sessions. Here are the various benefits that you can get when playing with a protector in your dart flights.
- Increased durability – the dart flights will have a longer lifespan due to the flight protector keeping its shape correctly. It is less likely to be bent or twisted from bounce-outs or unlucky shots.
- It keeps the flight in its original shape– flight protectors keep the “square shape” by keeping all angles in 90-degrees. This enables a smoother and more consistent throw performance for the player.
- Easy to use – players can just “clip” em and “leave” em; there is no additional instruction to follow. You don’t even have to worry about maintenance. Unless manually taken out, the protectors will stay in the flights forever.
- Prevents Robin Hooding – this happens when the thrown dart lands directly into another dart in the board. It’s pretty annoying at practices or casual matches (see video below).
- It is very affordable – A set of three is only about $4, which is quite spendable, especially if you like a particular set of flights (I use this Winmau set but this basic set on Amazon will also do the job and comes as a large bulk buy option).
Cons Of Dart Flight Protectors
Most pro players and competitive enthusiasts tend to avoid flight protectors during the tournament or serious games. It can have a lot of impacts that might be game-breaking. You can use these products on casual matches, but avoid using them on serious matches.
- Increased chances of bounce-outs – The increased surface area that a flight protector creates (even a streamlined option like a Winmau or Target set) increases the chance of bounce-outs. In a professional match, getting the point is better than preserving the flights.
- If you lose it, you lose it forever – flight protectors are designed to be lightweight and small. Its miniature size keeps it functional without reducing its benefits. But because of this size and weight, it would be hard to find if it falls to the floor.
- Flights are as cheap – dart flights are pretty affordable and considered consumable by most players. Unless you have a set of flights that you want to preserve, changing flights can be more convenient.
How To Put Flight Protectors On Darts?
Get your flight protector package and split them into individual pieces (depending on how many protectors do you need at the moment.) Most packages use a circular design to keep the protectors intact together. This also ensures that it can be kept on dart boxes, along with other dart accessories.
Get your dart flight and spread its wings at a 90-degree angle. Clip the protector in the middle of the flight, right where the flat section is on top of the flight, where all its wings meet. It should work on other flight types and not just the standard flights. If you’re using the same protectors, you might want to avoid changing the flight type to ensure that the protector will still fit snugly.
Can You Use Dart Flight Protectors For Pro Tournaments?
While casual players can benefit a lot from dart flight protectors, the same thing cannot be said with pro players. In reality, dart protectors might only be helpful in casual games or practices. With money in the line, pro players in the tournament make getting points their top priority. Hence, they want to avoid getting bounce-outs as much as possible.
Bounce-outs happen when a dart hits another dart sticking on the dartboard already. Instead of piercing through the flights, the dart can hit the protector and falls off. This is not ideal in tournaments since it decreases the possibility of getting points.
Pro players would instead rather pierce their dart flights and replace them than miss the opportunity to get the point. And in practice, these professionals would likely have spare flights on their accessory case just in case it is needed to continue a match. When you’re playing for a living, you’ve come prepared with excess accessories to ensure a bigger chance of winning.
And lastly, flight protectors tend to add a little weight to the dart. In most cases, the added weight will seem unnoticeable. But for professional players, a weight shift can affect their performance in-game. Additional weight can change the dart’s trajectory in the air, which can be a game-breaking experience.
Dart flight protectors might seem like a small and insignificant addition to your darts set but unless you’re a professional player (which I doubt you’d be reading this if you were), then the pros of using them far outweigh any downsides.
Dart flight protectors (or flight savers) are inexpensive accessories that not only reduce the damage your flights take when you start playing at a decent level and can group your darts but also keep the flights spread/fanned at the optimal angle for a more consistent and accurate throw.
Even if you just use them for practice to make your flights last longer, it’s hard to make an argument for not using them unless you really are a high-level player and don’t want the extra weight or risk of a bounce-out.