A work friend of mine recently bought his first house, and although he’s pretty new to playing darts, he couldn’t wait to set up his first dartboard. He asked me about buying a decent set of darts, and I found him a ridiculous deal on a set of Harrows Assassin darts on eBay–$15 for a set that usually sells for around $50 – $60. In hindsight, I should have snapped these up myself. They would have made an excellent set of “house” darts.

Anyway, he got the darts, and they were as stated–unused and in the original packaging. He could barely contain his joy about owning his first set of decent darts. So all last week, he’s excited about getting his dartboard set up for the housewarming party he’s having that weekend, which I can’t go to because it’s Easter weekend and I’ve got to see family.

When we get back to work, I ask him about the party and how he liked his new darts. He told me the darts are great, much more accurate than the plastic ones that came with the board, but he wasn’t convinced they were such a great deal.

Puzzled, I pressed him to explain further, and he told me that all was going well until one of the darts bounced out, hit the floor and broke in half. Knowing full well what he was talking about, I asked him to elaborate a bit more, and he told me the plastic bit that holds the flight had snapped, and he thought it was a bit stupid that this would break so easily when normally the darts cost so much.

It was at this point that I could barely contain my laughter. What he didn’t realize was that the shafts on the darts are a replaceable part. After explaining to him that the shafts are threaded and it should be easy to remove the broken shaft even if it snapped off right at the base, I suggested he should look for a set of aluminum shafts, as they’re lightweight and tend to be more durable than plastic ones.

Now, it’s all very well me making fun of my friends, but it made me wonder if anyone else has been putting off playing darts because they don’t realize that darts are quite easy to fix. The first time you throw a dart into the back of another dart, you will undoubtedly think you are a darting legend. But trust me, it happens a lot more than you’d think, and it’s not good for your shafts or flights.

Shafts and flights are fairly inexpensive components, and whether you’re just learning how to play darts or you’ve been playing for years, it’s always a good idea to have some spare parts on hand so you don’t have to go back to using the crappy brass house darts. Going through a lot of plastic shafts can quickly get expensive, and there’s nothing worse than smashing them on the first throw. Experiment with aluminum shafts since they’re cheap, take a decent amount of abuse, and can often be bent back into shape. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, try out virtually unbreakable titanium shafts.

Dart flights can quickly become ragged, so it’s wise to use flight protectors. These clip onto the tops of the flights and protect them from dart hits. They will greatly improve the life of your flights, as well as provide protection to the shaft.

Another great product to check out are the SlikStik shafts from Unicorn. These unique, side-loading shafts combine the protection of a flight protector into a one-piece shaft, and are available in aluminum and flexible plastic.

Don’t forget that changing the length of the shaft and the shape of the flight will greatly affect how your darts fly. When you’re starting out is the best time to experiment with your darts and find the setup that fits your throwing style. Go out and buy a few different styles of shafts and flights, and mix them up to see what you like.

Just remember to keep all three darts on the same setup–you’ll never win if all three darts fly differently. You will, at times, break parts of your darts, but it’s not the end of the world. Happy throwing!