Not many amateur players are asked to produce their own barrel design by a major manufacturer. Fewer still actually see that design released onto the market and be available for general sale. Darts World contributor Tom Beresford is one of that select group.
Tom’s design was modelled on two of his favourite players, Joe Cullen and Krzysztof Kcuik, and their distinctive barrels:
- Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
- Brand: Unicorn
- Model: Gripper
- Tungsten: 90%
- Edition: 22g
- Price: 35-60
Overview and First Impressions:
The barrels were originally marketed with Tom’s name and previous logo associated with them, but are also part of the extensive ‘Gripper’ range. The ‘Beresford Barrel’ is the 22g version. The dimensions are relatively conventional at 45mm x 7mm, but it’s the grip sections that make the dart stand out. The dart has the same basic shape as the Cullen arrow but the front grip section is far more aggressive and has more in common with Kcuik’s weapon of choice.
Open the Box:
- One set of 3 x 90% Tungsten Barrels – Unicorn engraved.
- One set of 3 x Gripper Zero Degree’s Shafts
- One set of 3 x Gripper Flights
- One set of 3 x Finger Grip Points (Fitted)
These combinations of grip patterns give the dart a direct and aggressive look and feel. The dart is slightly shorter than Cullen’s, the dimensions suit those who might describe themselves as ‘a bit wristy’. At 90% tungsten, they are a high-quality dart that will be long-lasting.
The price tag varies between £35-£60 which is quite high for a ‘range dart’; the best value can be obtained by hunting online. The finger grip points that are supplied are a nice touch and give the player a variety of options to enable the dart to feel secure.
Our testers’ view is that both middle and rear grip players could get good performance from the dart, but no front gripping player appeared comfortable.
“It took a while to really get the best from these, but they grew on me…..”
All the testers found the dart appealing and were eager to try them. The concept of a hybrid dart appealed to some who thought it may solve their personal needs.
Counter-intuitively, it was the players with the lightest grip who found the ‘Gripper’ easiest to adapt to. They liked that they could feel the dart in their hand without having to actually ‘grip it’. The set-up supplied is a very good place to start and the accessories and spares provided are very handy. However, a ‘Rockstar’ set up was also very effective!
The split-grip proved awkward for more than one of the players in our testing group. Those who persevered eventually found a manageable grip, but it was not an easy task. However, some simply could not use the dart functionally.
Joe Cullen himself, simply said he had tried them…
“but they were not for me”
Overall we score this dart a strong 8/10. One tester marked very highly and one could not offer a mark at all. It seems that it could be thought of as something of a marmite dart! Our view is that an improving player in need of more grip may get on well with these, if their technique suits.
A highly specialised dart, popular with some testers and throwing styles. Durable and interesting as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A highly individual dart that may suffer from being the combination of two styles rather than a single vision. A definite ‘try before you buy’ dart, not recommended for a beginner who is yet to settle on his/her grip or throw style.
Review and testing carried out by AIM: on behalf of Darts World Magazine.