When it comes to broadheads for bowhunting, there are basically 2 types you’ll have to choose from – Mechanical or Fixed blade. When asked most archers are unable to agree upon or answer the question “Which is better?”. In this article I am going to explain the difference between the two and discuss the pros and cons to both the fixed and mechanical blade broadheads.
A broadhead with blades that are constantly exposed. These broadheads usually come with 2,3 or 4 blades and are the simplest form of broadhead that has been around since the beginning of archery.
A broadhead with blades that are hidden (folded into the broadhead housing) either held in with elastics, o-rings or pressure fittings. These broadhead blades have tips that cause the blades to expand upon impact pushing the blades into a fully exposed cutting position.
Now that we have an understanding about the differences between mechanical and fixed blade broadheads, I would like to take the time to go over some of the main pros and cons of each to give you a better idea of what each is capable of and to help you in deciding which to chose.
- More effective for steep angled shots.
- Less chance of mechanical failure (blades not opening/parts breaking).
- Increase in penetration at lower poundage.
- Efficient cutting ability(begins to cut on contact).
- Decreased accuracy under certain conditions (windy.thick brush)
- Greater risk of personal injury.
- Flies differently than field points which means increased setup and tuning time.
- Flies similar to field points which means less tuning.
- Less chance of accidental injury.
- Increase in accuracy as there are no blades to deflect off things or get grabbed by the wind.
- Better in thick bush(less chance of blades hitting brush while in flight).
- Greater risk of deflection at steeper angled shots.
- Risk of mechanical failure to expand blades.
- Less efficient cutting ability(starts cutting only after blades have opened, this is getting better with newer mechanicals ie. Grim Reaper broadheads).
As you can see there are pros and cons to each and that is why most hunters are often unable to agree as to which broadheads are better. If you are hunting in thick bush or its a windy day you may want more slender, less obtrusive mechanical broadhead, whereas if you’re going to be making steep shots or shooting less weight you may want to go with a fixed blade.
When it comes down to the final decision its all about personal preference. Personally I shoot a fixed blade because I like the increased penetration at any angle and the simplicity of the broadhead design that I feel cuts down on potential mechanical failures that can result in a lost and injured animal. As long as your bow has been paper tuned and sighted in for broadheads the accuracy is very often not affected.