Sponsored by: A Straight Arrow

By: Dan Lee Williams

Years ago most seasoned bow hunters would not have chosen a mechanical broadhead (also known as expanding broadheads) as their arrow tip of choice to hunt with. They were way too inconsistent as far as opening upon impact and in the amount of damage that they inflicted. Fortunately, that is no longer the case and they are now proving to be a reliable and effective means of taking down game when bow hunting. As a matter of fact, there is now much debate as to which one of these arrow tips is best to use when going after all different sizes of game.

How varied are the opinions on this matter? You don’t have to look any further than family in my case. My brother and I who bow hunt together regularly have completely different opinions on the subject. I like to use mechanical broadheads and he much prefers to use fixed broadheads.

In order to help you decide the best broadhead for your use, we will take a little closer look at the good and bad things about each type of these hunting arrow tips.


Fixed Broadhead Characteristics

Here are a few of the best things about these time tested and proven hunting arrow tips:

  • They have a more reliable cutting edge

Let’s face it anytime you have the word mechanical in a product description it means there is a possibility of failure and that is true with expandable broadheads. That is not a concern at all with fixed broadheads. When you hit a game animal with them you are going to do significant damage.

  • Easier to work on

Fixed broadhead arrows tend to be much easier to install and work on. They are relatively easy to change blades on and they do not require such things as O-rings to hold parts of them in place during flight.

  • Usually less expensive

On average the cost of fixed broadheads tends to be a little less expensive when compared head to head with their mechanical counterparts.

The new fixed blade Crimson from Grim Reaper.

Here are some of the biggest concerns when using fixed broadheads for hunting.

  • Less accurate in flight

The key to the accurate flight of any arrow is to have as little wind resistance as possible on that arrow so as not to alter its course in flight. Fixed broadheads have a lot of surface area which causes some extra wind resistance at the tip. They most definitely will at least slightly affect the flight of any arrow they are they are placed upon.

  • Harder to simulate when taking target practice

The key to getting good at shooting any arrow setup is to practice with it. Practicing with fixed broadheads is no fun. You will most likely break tips on a regular basis and they are also difficult at best to pull out of the target.

Mechanical Broadhead Characteristics

Here are some of the positive things about using mechanical broadheads for hunting:

  • Accuracy

Unlike fixed broadheads, mechanical broadheads have much less surface area in flight because their cutting blade edges are retracted until the broadhead impacts its target. That reduced surface area on the tip makes these arrows much more accurate to shoot as opposed to fixed broadheads.

  • Easy acclimation

It’s much easier to sight in your bow using mechanical broadheads. This is because the practice tips that come with them closely simulate that of the actual mechanical broadhead in flight. They are also easy to remove from the target when practicing with them.

There are definitely some areas of concern when using mechanical broadheads like those that follow:

  • Reliability

We mentioned that the reliability of mechanical broadheads opening on impact has improved substantially but it’s by no means 100% of the time. That is the big advantage fixed broadheads have over expandable broadhead tips.

  • Non-traditional Hunting

Hunting purists believe that when you use a mechanical broadhead you are deviating from the aspects that make bow hunting a more traditional and exhilarating way to hunt. Because mechanical broadheads are more accurate traditional bow hunters believe it takes less true skill to make a kill.

Grim Reaper is one of today’s most lethal mechanical brands Pictured is the new Carni Four.

Experimentation Is the Key to Selecting the Best Broadhead Tip for You

The simple fact is you can debate all day about which type of broadhead tip is best to use for hunting. Even after comparing the pros and cons of each it is not always enough to help you decide whether fixed broadheads or mechanical broadheads are best for you to use when going after game.

So what is the best way to decide which type of broadhead to use? The answer is to buy a few of each type of hunting arrow tip and practice with them. That is the surest way to see which type of broadhead nicely fits your individual shooting style. The results just might surprise you and it will really help you hone in on which is the perfect hunting tip to place on the end of your arrows.

About the author:

Dan Lee Williams is an avid target archer, bowhunter, and an outdoorsman from Sacramento, CA. When he’s not practicing shooting or hunting, he will likely be found sitting in front of his computer and writing for his passion site aStraightArrow.net.