Broadheads: Mechanical vs. Fixed Blade

July 7, 2022

The argument between mechanical broadheads and fixed blade broadheads can get heated sometimes. Most hunters have a preference on which broadhead they prefer and they will likely stick with that for the rest of their lives. Both types of broadheads have their purpose whether it be from the shooter or the species of animal that is being hunted. With that comes the pros and cons of both broadheads.

Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical broadheads were developed much more recently than fixed blades. As archery has developed the mechanical blade has moved right along with it. Bow hunters across the world jumped on the opportunity to use mechanical blades in the field with the primary focus of a wider cut width in the animals they were hunting.

The cutting width is the biggest advantage of a mechanical blade by a long shot. For instance, the Wasp Jak-Knife is 2+ inches wide. That is going to give hunters a higher success rate of hitting vital organs or arteries on impact. Secondly, by design mechanical blades are aerodynamic. Their flight pattern is smooth through the air and gives a more consistent shot with each repetition. With the smooth flight pattern and aerodynamic design, mechanical blades are going to fly at a faster speed. This gives less chance for that 10 point buck to get the “jump” on your arrow and cause some displacement.

Now to the disadvantages of the mechanical blades. The most obvious is a malfunctioning blade. We can all imagine the feelings of guilt, regret, and confusion when you find your arrow on the ground and realize it has not functioned properly when entering the animal we’re hunting. This is a tough one to get past for me. Next, is the penetration comparison to fixed blades. A mechanical blade is not going to give you the sheer force that a fixed blade will. This means the shot circle closed in a little bit. Any shot that strays off a bit to the left or right will potentially come in contact with bone and a mechanical blade will not perform as well against bone.

Fixed Blade Broadheads

Fixed blade broadheads originated thousands of years ago. These broadheads were typically made using flint and were primarily used for small game such as rabbits and squirrels. As the technology of fixed blade technology has evolved, so have its uses. Many bow hunters are using fixed blade broadheads to hunt moose, elk, and deer now due to a range of factors.

Let us start with the downfalls of the fixed blade broadhead. Two big ones stick out to me and could potentially have a negative effect on your training and hunting experience. The first is the flight pattern of a fixed blade. It is not as aerodynamic as shooters would prefer, which is a big reason why shooters prefer the mechanical broadhead. Next, is the cutting width of the the tip. Fixed blades are typically around one and a quarter inch cut width, which is substantially smaller than a mechanical broadhead.

The benefits of using fixed blade broadheads starts with their durability. Shooters can expect their blades to stay in decent shape throughout target practice and into the field. With that being said; the routine maintenance of sharpening fixed blades is a fairly simple task after a few repetitions. Finally, the biggest benefit of a fixed blade is its stopping power. This gives the shooter some flexibility while making tough shots. Now obviously some other factors go into play such as angle of the shot, draw weight, etc., but a fixed blade can go through multiple layers of an animal’s anatomy. If the shooter missed their target by a few inches and hit the shoulder blade of a Whitetail, then there is still a high possibility that their arrow penetrated through the bone and into the chest cavity. To me, the pros of a fixed blade outweigh the cons.

Each broadhead is going to serve different purposes for hunters, but as far as hunting whitetail I prefer the fixed blade broadhead. When hunting we face a lot of different variables and obstacles as it is. Adding on the possibility of a malfunctioning mechanical blade is not worth the risk of losing an opportunity at putting some meat in the freezer.