Mechanical vs. fixed broadheads

Archery hunters have many options when it comes to broadheads.

If you really want to liven things up at your next hunting camp, ask which type of broadhead everyone prefers and why.

I have seen men get more angry over their position on which broadhead to use than they do if you ask them the coordinates to their honey hole. It is a spirited conversation to say the least.

Which broadhead is better and why? I will explain why I shoot the style I do, and explain that out of the hundreds of broadheads I have tested through the years, what drew me to my conclusion.


Mechanical heads have been around for as long as I have hunted. In the mid 1980s when I was in my infancy as an archer, I discovered the now defunct Punch Cutter two blade mechanical broadhead, and I fell in love with it. Granted, archers didn’t have that many options at the time. Zwickey, Magnus, and Muzzy dominated the market, and there came a totally new design. Ever since then, I have always liked mechanicals over fixed broadheads.

A mechanical broadhead is just as it sounds, mechanical. The cutting blades are held in a closed position during flight and deploy upon impact with the target. The method of deployment is different for each of the manufacturers, and this is the reasoning behind many of the designs: how and with what speed they deploy, in what direction, and how many blades deploy.

Mechanicals can range in size from 1-inch cutting diameter to a whopping 2.5-inch cutting diameter. The advantage of the mechanical is that it flies just like a field tip, with little to no tuning necessary for the arrow to fly true.

The broadhead I choose is a SEVR 11/8 cutting diameter two blade. The flight is perfect, the two blades cut an ample hole in deer, and the fact that I can order one, two or 11 makes it really convenient.

Fixed Broadheads

Fixed broadheads are really getting more popular in recent years. New designs, shapes, and effectiveness keep those in their camp. Fixed broadheads have either a cut on contact or a hardened tip that is stronger than the cut on contact. Two, three, and four blade variations are all available. Single bevel, double bevel, disposable blades, and fixed blades can be resharpened and more.

The biggest advantage of the fixed blades is they are rugged, strong, and reliable. They are open all of the time and eliminate a breakdown on an arrow. However, the biggest negative of fixed blades is getting them to fly accurately and consistently.

Many of the fixed blade broadheads will have to be tuned to the fletching of the arrow. Blades need to be aligned with the fletching to prevent the two from working against one another. Weight, balance and cutting diameter all play a role in understanding which fixed blade is best for you.

Both work

In recent years, the fixed blade platform has morphed into different styles of fixed blades. As referenced above, two-blade single bevel and double bevel are now gaining traction in the fixed blade market. Testing from many sources does not show any significant advantage of a single bevel over a double bevel. Good marketing and preference really are what separates these from one another.

In a recent conversation on my podcast, a well-known bowhunter remarked, “If you put a hole in their lungs, they will die.”

How you do that is largely a matter of personal preference. Whether you shoot fixed, three blade, two blade, four blade, or mechanical that opens to 4 inches for a blood trail Ray Charles could follow, practice with it, get comfortable with it, make sure it is accurate and have confidence that you can place the blade where it needs to be.

The difference:

The obvious difference between mechanical and fixed broadheads is that mechanical ones open on impact, while fixed ones stay in the same configuration. Which one is right for you is mostly a matter of personal preference.

About Pete Rogers 161 Articles
Pete Rogers of Taylors, S.C., is employed with the USDA Wildlife Services and has been a sporting writer and photographer for over a decade. He has a real passion for trapping and enjoys sharing his outdoors experiences with his wife and five children.

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