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Mechanical vs. Fixed Broadheads: The Ultimate Pros and Cons List

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The everlasting debate: mechanical vs. fixed broadheads.

With new technology and more options on the market than ever, choosing the right hunting gear can be overwhelming. For archery hunters, the biggest question is which is better—mechanical broadheads or fixed?

The argument can be made in favor of either one, but if you’re on the fence about which type of broadhead is best for you, here’s how they stack up.

Fixed-Blade Broadheads

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Cabela’s

Fixed-blade broadheads have blades that are permanently fixed in position throughout all stages of the shot.

The Pros

Price: Fixed-blades are generally more economically priced than its mechanical counterparts.

Strength: Because the blades don’t move, fixed-blade broadheads are strong. Traditional single-piece welded designs are the strongest.

Reliability: Again, the lack of moving parts make fixed broadheads the more reliable option. You don’t have to worry about whether your blades will deploy upon impact.

Easy to Maintain: Most fixed-blade broadheads can easily be sharpened so that they kill more effectively.

The Cons

Erratic: New bows on the market are designed to shoot at record speeds. At high speeds, fixed-blade broadheads can fly erratically. Making sure your bow is properly tuned will help with this.

Limited: With fixed broadheads, you’re limited to a narrow cutting diameter.

Finicky: Part of what makes them erratic is that fixed broadheads are prone to catching wind. The slightest breeze can throw your arrow off its trajectory.

Mechanical Broadheads

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Cabela’s

Mechanical broadheads have blades that are hidden during flight, but then open when it makes contact with the target. There are two types available on the market, front-opening designs and rear-opening.

The Pros

Stable: The biggest selling point manufacturers use when promoting mechanical broadheads is that they fly just like field points. As someone who made the switch from fixed to mechanical several years ago, I can attest that their claim is true.

Wide: Mechanical broadheads offer a larger cutting diameter, which leave impressive entrance, and sometimes exit, wounds. This generally yields intense blood trails that making tracking easier.

Accurate: Because the blades are designed to be hidden during flight, mechanical broadheads are less affected by wind, making them more accurate than their fixed-blade counterpart.

The Cons

Price: Mechanical broadheads are generally more expansive than fixed-blade broadheads. But like most things in life, you get what you pay for, right?

Weak: Because the blades deploy, mechanical broadheads are weaker than fixed-blades.

Potential for Failure: The key to shooting mechanical broadheads is making sure you use a bow that can push them with enough energy to deploy on contact. If you have a short draw, shoot at a lighter draw weight or are hunting a tough-skinned game, mechanical tips have an increased potential to fail. There’s also the possibility of premature deployment of the blades before they make contact with your target.

Easy to Maintain: Most fixed-blade broadheads can easily be sharpened so that they kill more effectively.

Difficult Upkeep: Rather than simply sharpening the blades, mechanical blades instead have to be replaced. This not only adds to the cost, but the amount of time it takes to maintain them. Replacing the blades generally involves one of those small  screwdrivers you use for repairing eyeglasses.

The Verdict

While I personally favor mechanical broadheads, specifically the NAP KillZone two-blade rear-deploying broad head, it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference.

When making your choice, factor in your budget, your bow, the hunting conditions and your target.

NEXT: 10 Best Hunting Bows for Women, 2015 Edition

Mechanical vs. Fixed Broadheads: The Ultimate Pros and Cons List