Choose Your Weapons: Cuesoul AJ

By AIM180 23/02/2021

CUESOUL has been edging into the steel tip darts arena more and more during the past few years. Extensive efforts throughout 2020/21 have increased interest in the equipment offered by the Chinese company. The turn of the year has also seen them begin to increase their roster of playing staff from across Europe. One of their 'up and coming' names is Anthony Urmston Toft. The challenge tour player impressed many with his recent efforts at Q School and although he did not obtain a Tour card he may well be one to keep a sharp eye out for.

CUESOUL recently released AJ's signature dart and we persuaded him to loan us a set for testing:
 

Product: Darts (Steel Tip) 

Brand: CUESOUL

Model: AJ Urmston-Toft (Signature)

Material: 95% Tungsten

Variation: 23g

 

Open the Box:

Cuesouls's signature barrels range comes in a gold alloy box/case with the three barrels mounted in a foam/neoprene bed. Each barrel is supplied pointed, in this case with a simple stainless steel point. It seems Cuesoul has adopted the idea of having each player design their setup which is then sold/marketed separately. AJ's Taro AK4 flights and your choice of suitable stem are also available. The barrels are etched with the company logo and the AJ's also have the Manchester symbol of the 'worker bee'.

Specs:

50.85mm length is very popular and these days may even be described as standard or medium length. The 6.3mm width is slim for a 23g parallel barrel and gives the dart a precision feel. The name/brand blank is closer to the stem end and is 5mm wide. There are two distinct grip styles/zones on the barrel; the lower section is a combination of ring cut grooves with micro style additional grip. The s,maller section nearer to the stem is made up of five wider cut bands without the micro addition.
 

Tester Views:

Our testers have been highly impressed with this model, players of differing standards and styles all seemed equally keen. This may be because they are simple but superbly designed (based on an AIM:180 prototype) and manufactured to exact specifications from AJ's team. The darts have quite a lot in common with early Darryl Fitton models but with more of a modern grip combination.

The two grip zones enable many different throw styles and hold positions to use this model to great effect. The simple reduction to the point acts like mini taper and enables precise grouping and the low profile grip ensures minimized deflections. 
 

Player Quotes:

"These may be the best I have tested so far, really well made, no fuss and bother just premium in every way." (County std player)

" I love the micro grip, it's not too sharp and really works for me..." (Improving player)

" They work really well for me as I throw quite flat, they are not easy to deflect and do exactly what I want them to..." (Tour player)
 

Debbie Downers:

There were very few negative sides with the AJ's. Our youngest player wanted a bit more colour and another player would have preferred microgrip all the way through the barrel. Our only real quibble is that not supplying a setup, and using basic points, lowers the initial impression. Such a premium piece of kit should have premium extras throughout.
 

Set-Ups:

On the upside, a barrels-only product ensured that we experimented heavily to get the best from these. After many variations, we sided with two. If you like your darts to enter the board at an angle, tail up, then a tapered stem and larger wing flight seem to work very well. If however you are more direct and don't mind a flatter trajectory, then an in-between or short stem with a smaller standard shape flight is ideal, AJ's own setup ( AK4 flights with a self-designed colour scheme and Tero stems)  favours this approach.
 
 

Durability:

One of the benefits of a no-nonsense dart, such as this, is that there are no cosmetics to chip, wear or fade. Indeed after some serious testing, we cannot spot any real impact on the AJ's that we used. The microgrip and rugged sections can wear flights but no more than any similar dart. If you maintain these with regular cleaning then they could end up an heirloom.

 

Snapshot summary:

These are an excellent dart and should suit a wide variety of throwers. CUESOUL and AJ clearer concentrated on functionality rather than flash and have got it spot-on.  If you think of yourself as a Barney-style thrower or perhaps a more deliberate style like Darryl Fitton, then these should be well worth a try. One of our elite level players has adapted his own model after using these and at least one more is considering a purchase.
 

Marks: 9/10


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