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Broadheads- Fixed or Mechanical

It’s an age-old debate among bowhunters, which has been the cause of arguments over the years. Truth is, there is no right or wrong, it simply boils down to personal opinion and preference.

For starters, what are we talking about?

Broadheads are a type of bladed tip, for your arrow, used for hunting. Not to be used for daily target use like field/practice tips. There are three types- fixed, mechanical, and hybrid. 

Fixed broadheads have been used since the invention of bowhunting.

 Fixed broadheads are exactly that, fixed blades with no moving/mechanical parts. Fixed broadheads are broken down into two categories: fixed and removable. Fixed blades are one solid piece, whereas removable blades require you to assemble them and allow the actual blades to be removed for replacement. Both options allow for re-sharpening of the blades. Fixed do require “tuning” as they fly different than your general field/practice tip. I recommend having an extra to practice/tune with and a set few strictly for hunting use to avoid dulling. Due to being fixed, they tend to have smaller blade diameter resulting in smaller impact areas, but are guaranteed to create an expanded hole. Fixed heads tend to be a good choice for those with a lower draw weight as well.  

 Mechanical broadheads are essentially like a field point with expandable blades that open upon impact.

Mechanicals tend to fly like your field tips, so tuning isn’t required, however having an extra on hand to practice with isn’t a bad idea as it’s not a guaranteed “perfect flight”. Mechanicals tend to be the choice for shooting farther distances due to popular opinion. This setup also allows for a larger and wider cutting diameter which has a larger impacted area, resulting in a larger trail for tracking. Mechanicals do come with pieces called “collars” that keep the blades from opening prematurely, if jumbled. You will need to check these remain in place to help avoid failure. They do require more energy/force than a fixed broadhead to open on penetration, so it’s recommended to be used with a higher draw weight.

 Hybrid broadheads are a fairly new option and offer a combination of both fixed and mechanical, essentially giving you the best of both.

 It flies like a field tip and upon impact has the guaranteed cut/wound of fixed blades and then upon further impact, opens like a mechanical allowing for maximum wound. It offers the minimum required diameter of 7/8, so if mechanical failure were to occur, it essentially has a failsafe. 

In polling fellow bowhunters, those who preferred fixed broadheads narrowly outnumbered those who chose mechanical or hybrid. The number one reason being: reliability and general peace of mind with regard to minimal risk of mechanical failure – meaning the blades not opening on impact. Those who chose mechanical chose them for their ability to inflict larger wounds and better shot accuracy. Only a few polled hunters used hybrids with the reasoning of being the best of both and having that fail safe if mechanical failure would occur. 

As previously mentioned, there really isn’t a right or a wrong choice.

There may be a few things to factor in, such as your draw weight and the size of the game you’re hunting. All in all, take time to do some research on ones you’re interested in. Reading product reviews, although opinionated, gives personal experiences with the product, both good and bad. The majority of archery shops are extremely knowledgeable on their carried products, don’t be afraid to ask staff’s opinions. You can explain what you’re looking for and they might even offer a better recommendation that you hadn’t seen or thought of.  

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