What’s the real difference between fixed and mechanical broadheads? For new bow hunters, knowing the difference is important so you can choose the right arrow point for your needs. Here is a quick outline of the pros and cons of fixed and mechanical broadheads.
Like the name suggest, fixed broadheads are fixed in place and do not have moving parts. This allows for greater penetration as there will be less force lost when the arrow hits its target, and it will be less likely to break when it hits bone. There is also increased durability with fixed broadheads, and you’ll spend less on these arrowheads than you will with other types.
The downside is in aerodynamics and flight path. Since there is more surface exposed to a fixed broadhead (with the blades acting as wings), many hunters will find their shots are inconsistent without a well-tuned bow. Fixed broadhead hunters need to tune their bow before the season starts so they’ll be ready to shoot when the time comes.
Mechanical broadheads, on the other hand, solve this problem by having retractable blades that stay tucked into the head until impact when they open up. There is increased accuracy in your shooting, and since the hidden blades don’t impact the path of the arrow, you can use greater-sized blades, which will produce quicker kills and easier blood paths to follow.
Many times a bow tune-up isn’t necessary with a mechanical broadhead as your field tip arrows will deliver a similar flight as your mechanical broadhead-tipped ones.
The sacrifice for this increased accuracy is in durability, price and penetration. High-quality mechanical broadheads won’t have a high failure-to-open rate as some early models may have experienced as the technology was evolving. However, because the blades aren’t released until impact, you won’t have as deep of an entry point as you will find with a fixed broadhead.
No matter what style of broadhead you choose, it’s best to choose the specific arrowhead for your needs. This is best done with an in-store visit where you can see, feel and compare many different varieties of blades.