Kudos to Unicorn for making a pretty slick product and kudos to SeaHag for suggesting I try them. I am talking of course about Slik-Stiks, which, if you have never heard of them is a stem designed to hold a flight securely by slipping the flight into it and then providing a built in flight ptotector to boot. I picked these up a long time ago and then stuck them in my dart box and promptly forgot about them for a long time. I rediscovered them tonight and decided it was time to give them a toss. As you can see in the photo below I have the short MX version which is still a little bit longer than a short nylon stem.
I threw a few practice games with them tonight and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by them. I had some ill concieved preconcieved notions which prejudiced me against them for a long time. Now tyhat I have tried them I can say they are a pretty good product. I bought the nylon version since I prefer nylon these days but I am aware that they are done in aluminum as well for you aluminum afficionados.
One thing that worried me about them is that they are a one sslot device which made me think there would be nothing keeping the flight square (flight wings at a 90 degree angle to each other) and that the flights would have a tendency to be flat. Well as it turns out this is not the case and since flights are sold completely flat, the trick is to use the single slot to your advantage. It is done like this: in most flights you get thye phenomenon where two sides of the flight are about 95 degrees open and the other two about 85. Just squeeze the wider side together and slip it into the Slik-Stik and this will help keep the flight more square.
Another notion I had was that the slik-stik would be too long for my favorite flights (pear shaped) but this turns out to not be true either. I guess flights all come in a very standardized length (which is a good thing I guess). At any rate there was only one flight I could find that did not fit in the Slik-Stik. But since it is aa flight I am not tht fond of I really don't care.
One thing I can say about the slik-stiks is that with the exception of nylon flights, flights load into them very easily. In fact, I can see where this would be a hge advantage later in the evening when most of us are slightly less sober. Another apparent advantage would be that it seems like it would be really difficult to robin hood these stems. There is nothing for the incoming dart to really catch on.
I also thought that the single slot aspect of these stems could be a potential solution to the nylon flight problem. And that problem, as anyone who uses nylon flights is aware, is that they are almost impossible to keep square!! They are already almost too thick to be used in aluminum stems and once you squeeze them in the aluminum shafts will only keep one end square. And have you ever tried to get a flight protector on the nylon flights? Slik-stiks do solve this problem. It is aa little bit hard to jimmy the nylon flights into the Slik-Stiks but one you have them in there straight (as you can see form the photo below) they stay very very square. I could not fit the standard shape nylon flight into the slik-stik though. It was too tall by a micron.