Winmau MVG Exact: The Ultimate Equipment Evolution

Red Dragon Darts

While many PDC professional players seemingly change their equipment on a weekly basis (Peter Wright, I’m looking at you), one player in particular has become rather infamous – up until recently – with his adamant refusal to replace his match darts. I am, of course, referring to the former World Champion, Michael van Gerwen.

While the jury is out on what darts Michael was using in his reign of dominance, one thing is for certain – they had gone well past their sell-by date! After careful research, I believe the darts used by MVG to win his three World Championships were a set of McKicks Mighty Grip. According to internet rumours, MVG purchased his darts from a local darts shop back in 2006. The shop itself was owned by Bulls, which shared a factory with McKicks.

Michael’s former sponsor XQMax only began their own darts production back in 2014, which rules out the possibility he ever used his own XQMax branded darts. There is a possibility he used his own Masterdarts, but I was unable to find any evidence to back up that argument.

Much like in my Devon Petersen ‘Equipment Evolution’ piece, I’ll be taking a look at the darts associated with MVG in the past. I have managed to acquire five of Michael’s darts, including one rare set you may not have seen before! While they may be darts most commonly associated with the ‘Green Machine’, I will not be including the aforementioned McKicks Mighty Grip, as they are not strictly MVG branded darts.

Masterdarts Michael van Gerwen 21g

The first darts produced for MVG courtesy of former sponsor Masterdarts, these darts feature the typical MVG style of grip, with two focused areas of coverage for consistent finger placement. As a player that relies on the ‘feel’ of the dart, the grip placement was of paramount importance.

Compared to the more recent MVG branded darts, the Masterdarts are rather short, at just 49mm. The barrels are thin too, at just 6.4mm thanks to the 90% tungsten billet used in production. The balance between width and length I found to be interesting when comparing the dimensions of the three available weights (21g, 23g and 25g), as it seems that rather than increasing the width for the greater weight, Masterdarts have instead substantially increased the length of the barrel by up to 4mm, as well as the width for the 25g weight.

The groves themselves are the thinnest of the five sets I own, which in turn offers a very high level of grip. Surprisingly, in terms of grip surface area, the Masterdarts offer the smallest area of grip out of the five, with the central separation area larger than all but the Winmau MVG Exact, of which it is equal to. 

XQMax MVG Originals 21g

Perhaps the most popular set attached to the MVG name – Michael’s XQMax Originals are an instantly recognisable dart. Sharing a similar profile to his prior branded darts, XQMax made a few subtle changes – whether at Michael’s request, or due to marketability, we may never know.

The groves, while very slightly thicker, offer the highest level of grip of all the sets I’ve tested. Despite feeling much thicker, the darts actually share identical dimensions to the Masterdarts I looked at previously. The barrel is slightly shorter, much like the central grip divider, which means that by pure surface area, the XQMax offer themselves to a greater range of players with a greater range of grip and throw styles.

The taper has been slightly changed too, with the XQMax adopting a bull-nose similar to that of James Wade’s Unicorn darts. This means the barrels and flights are more susceptible to damage, and that grouping the darts closer will be slightly more difficult, unless you decide to swap out the points for something longer.

Winmau MVG Authentic 22g

The Winmau MVG Authentic’s were the first ‘match-designed’ set of darts under new sponsor, Winmau. Used by MVG infrequently in both televised and floor tournaments across 2020, the Authentic’s were the first dart that Michael viewed as a potential successor to his long-standing and, by now, well worn match-darts. 

The darts feature thicker rings, with an atomised coating in-between the groves, helping to recreate the worn feel of Michael’s former darts. Produced in 22g, 23g, 24g and 26g, Winmau took a step back from the usual 21g, 23g and 25g weights that Michael’s darts have typically been produced in. The darts have also dropped to a lower grade of tungsten, now at just 85%. 

Utilising a far more rounded taper, the darts glide past each other in the board, allowing for close-knit grouping. Winmau seems to have drawn more inspiration from Masterdarts than XQMax with the Authentics, as the darts share a similar profile, but for a slightly elongated rear section. The darts are 50.8mm in 22g, and so a near 2mm difference in length compared to previous designs.

Winmau MVG Exact 21.5g

Could these be ‘the ones’? Has Winmau finally cracked the code and designed Michael his perfect dart? All the signs seem to point that way…

Released as part of their 2022 product launch, the MVG Exact’s are, as you can guess, the EXACT darts the man himself uses in competition, in his EXACT weight of 21.5g. They are also available in 23g, 24g and 25g, as well as in 18g and 21.5g in soft tip.

The darts have been atomised, creating a worn feel, but with maximum grip – exactly as requested by MVG in order to propel him once again to the top of the world of darts.

Both the thinnest, and longest released match-designed darts released under the van Gerwen name, the 21.5g version are 6.25mm wide, with a length of 53mm. Winmau used 90% tungsten, allowing them to develop a thinner dart while still retaining the correct weight for what Michael uses.

The additional length to the barrel has been added to the rear smooth section, which brings the balance slightly further back. This allows Michael’s darts to sit slightly flatter in the board, as no major changes have been made to his setup, besides the switch of stems to the new Winmau Vecta shafts.

These, for me, are my favourite MVG darts to throw, and I highly recommend investing in a set if you’ve ever been a fan of any of the previously mentioned MVG darts. The darts sit comfortably in your hand, with the atomised coating ensuring the darts are hard wearing, and that the feel of the barrel remains consistent, time after time. 

In answer to my question, “Could these be the ones”? Yes – I think they may just be!

Truly an iconic player, with a design of dart that has inspired many professional, and amateur players in their hunt for ‘the ones’! 

Grab Your Set of MVG Exact here

A huge thank you to Winmau and Darts World for supplying the Winmau MVG Exact 21.5g darts used in this piece! The darts are priced at just £46.95, and are available directly from Red Dragon Darts via the link!

Which player should I do an ‘Equipment Evolution’ piece for next?

Let me know over on Twitter, @JoeReid180!

Words: Joe Reid, Lead Image: Winmau

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XQMax MVG Premier League Limited Edition 21g

I thought I’d include a little ‘bonus’ dart that many of you readers may not know even existed – Michael’s XQMax Premier League Limited Edition! Designed to celebrate his PDC Premier League success in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the darts feature a slightly modified design, with added coating and paint.

While keeping equal dimensions to the XQMax Originals, the Limited Edition features two additional rings, cut into the rear of the dart, as well as the grip shifted slightly further forward towards the point.

The front and rear of the dart has been left plain silver, as well as two rings at the centre of the grip, surrounded by rings of green paint. The rest of the barrel has been coated black, with markings of the PDC Premier League trophy and MVG’s logo, as well as the set number – each set was marked with a specific number, mine is 354/501.

Truly an iconic player, with a design of dart that has inspired many professional, and amateur players in their hunt for ‘the ones’! 

A huge thank you to Winmau and Darts World for supplying the Winmau MVG Exact 21.5g darts used in this piece! The darts are priced at just £46.95, and are available directly from Red Dragon Darts via the link below!

MvG ExAct

Which player should I do an ‘Equipment Evolution’ piece for next? Let me know over on Twitter, @JoeReid180!

Joe Reid


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