One of my favorite parts of hunting season is taking out my broadheads for the first time and looking over the blades. There’s something magical about how they catch the light. I sharpen them a little and screw them onto my arrows. No more field points, no more practice heads. It’s time to set these things loose again.
Fixed blade broadheads are the simpler option to mechanical broadheads for bowhunting. They’re elegant and practical. They’ve been around for centuries, and all different kinds have been engineered over the years that accomplish different things. Depending on what, where and how you’re hunting this season, you’ll want the right broadhead for it all. Here we’ve compiled a list of five devastating fixed blade broadheads. We’ll run over the various features to consider, the pros and cons of each, then show you the five we’ve picked.
Our Picks for the Best Fixed Blade Broadhead
- G5 Outdoors Montec– “We love this broadhead because it’s so easy to sharpen”
- Muzzy Trocar– “The deep penetration of this broadhead lands it high on our list”
- Slick Trick Magnum– “The four Lutz blades make this broadhead stand out”
- QAD Exodus– “A top choice because of its “blades over shaft” design”
- Sinbadteck– “This broadhead makes our list for its value”
What is a fixed blade broadhead?
On a fixed blade broadhead, the blades don’t move. They’re attached in some way to the central ferrule and angled out away from the point. There are no moving parts. The arrowhead remains in a fixed position from the moment you take it out of your quiver till it enters the animal.
Are fixed blades better than mechanical broadheads?
Better is a matter of opinion, but if you took a survey of all bowhunters, they would probably say they prefer fixed blade broadheads. On the other hand, data seems to suggest mechanical broadheads are more successful.
Hunters probably lean toward fixed heads because they have more reliability. There are no moving parts, so what you see is what you get. You don’t have to worry about the broadhead malfunctioning.
Mechanical broadheads (checkout some of the best) have a lot of advantages, though. Because the blades retract, they are more aerodynamic and therefore more accurate. They also penetrate deeper. This is all assuming they work properly, however.
The broadhead debate really comes down to what you prefer. If you want reliability, go with a fixed head. If you’re more of a risk taker and don’t mind if your buck gets away on the off chance the broadhead doesn’t open or opens early, go mechanical.
How do you sharpen them?
You sharpen broadheads on a sharpening stone. Hunters usually use a diamond stone specifically for broadheads, but a tool-sharpening stone from hardware store will work as well. Mark each side of each fixed blade with a sharpie or marker to make sure you sharpen all of them. Checkout our list of the best sharpeners here.
Attach the broadhead to an arrow shaft and press it firmly against the stone. Keep pressure against the arrow and move the head back and forth in the direction of the tip of the broadhead. Do this about ten times, then rotate the broadhead until you have sharpened each side of each blade. Rotate the broadhead the other way and repeat.
The legality of broadheads where you are
Laws regarding broadheads are surprisingly complicated. Every state has different laws depending on the type of broadhead, how many blades, size, barbs and even things like poison. To make things more complicated, your specific town, county or hunting zone might have additional restrictions on top of the state.
Generally speaking, standard fixed blade broadheads are legal in most places. There are often certain stipulations, though. It’s common for states to require broadheads to have at least two blades and be at least ⅞ inches wide. Some also have a maximum width permitted. There may also be restrictions for length, and most states don’t allow you to modify the broadheads with any kind of poison or explosive.
These laws exist to promote ethical hunting and keep the local stock plentiful and healthy. An illegal broadhead may be more likely to injure an animal without killing it, and that’s not good for you or your query.
Make sure you check both your state and local laws before outfitting your arrows with broadheads.
Broadheads for crossbows vs bows
These days, regular archery broadheads and broadheads for crossbow bolts are mostly interchangeable. Even though crossbow bolts are usually a little shorter than arrows, the threading for the broadhead is the same.
In principle, this means you can put the broadheads from your arrows on the bolts for your crossbow. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, crossbows shoot much faster. This means that a wider fixed blade broadhead might affect the accuracy of your shots.
Plus, as you’d expect, crossbows shoot faster because they also shoot with more power. This mostly affects mechanical broadheads which might open if they aren’t built to withstand that force. As for fixed blade, this actually means greater penetration with larger blades. If you can overcome the accuracy obstacle, you can take advantage of the increased power.
The metals used
Manufacturers make fixed blade broadheads out of two main materials: steel (usually stainless steel) or aluminum. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
The primary benefit of steel is strength. If your broadhead strikes bone, or you miss and hit a rock, it’s less likely to bend or break. As a result, you can normally use steel broadheads for a lot longer.
Of course, this comes at a cost. Literally. Steel broadheads are usually a bit more expensive.
On top of the price, steel is heavier than aluminum. That means more drop on your arrow. This is important to consider when developing your accuracy with the broadheads.
Finally, steel is subject to rust, so make sure any steel broadheads you buy are stainless steel to avoid corrosion.Aluminum
Aside from being less expensive, aluminum broadheads are much lighter. That’s why airplanes are made from aluminum. Since your arrows are also going to fly, you can guess why this would be an advantage. You might find that they fly farther and that you can train your accuracy more easily with them.
Unlike steel, you also don’t have to worry about corrosion with aluminum broadheads. Despite popular belief, aluminum does oxidize, but it changes to aluminum oxide, not rust. Aluminum oxide usually forms a layer over the surface of the metal that actually enhances and strengthens the broadheads.
The downside, though, is that aluminum broadheads are much weaker than stainless steel ones. They bend much more easily, which then makes them difficult to shoot accurately. They might even break. Consequently, you can’t re-use them for nearly as long.
Things to look for
Number of blades
Broadheads normally come with either three or four fixed blades. The three-dimensional shape prevents the blade from simply splitting muscle tissue which then closes up around the internal wound. If this were to happen, you wouldn’t get a good blood trail.
Theoretically, a four-blade broadhead amplifies this concept. It’s more likely to cut more tissue and create a wound that won’t close up. Three-blade broadheads, however, are easier to sharpen. Choose accordingly.
Fixed blade broadheads come in chisel points and cut on contact.
Chisel points are more common. Like the name implies, the tip of the broadhead is shaped like chisel. This splits the animal’s hide before the blades begin to cut. Chisel points are less likely to deflect off bone or change course. They’re great for crossbows or high-power compound bows.
Cut-on-contact broadheads have blades that continue all the way to the tip. They begin slicing the moment they contact the animal’s hide. This gives them great penetration but requires high accuracy. They’re the go-to for traditional hunters and work well with recurve bows or longbows.
The cutting diameter refers to the width of the wound the broadhead creates. A larger cutting diameter means a larger wound which means a better blood trail. The trade off is penetration. Because a wider cutting diameter means more blade contacting tissue, the arrow will slow down faster. It also increases the chance you will strike bone, which could deflect the arrow off course or stop it altogether.
You should go with a smaller cutting diameter if you’re hunting really big game like moose or elk because you need to penetrate deep into their bodies. For smaller game you can increase the diameter to get a better blood trail.
The most common weight for broadheads is 100 grains, but they run from around 75 grains to 150. You use heavier broadheads with heavier arrows, and lighter broadheads with lighter ones.
Lighter arrows are more accurate because they fly faster and drop more slowly. On the other hand, heavier arrows penetrate much deeper because they have more energy when they contact the target. One hundred grains is the most common weight because it is a good intersection of those two qualities. If you plan to hunt really large game like elk or moose, though, you might want to spring for heavier arrows and therefore heavier broadheads. If you are a traditional bowhunter using a low-power bow like a recurve or longbow, accuracy will be much more important for you. Consider lighter weights.
The problem is that the lower and heavier weights are harder to find, and not every broadhead model offers them. Make sure when you buy, you’re getting the weight that’s best for you.
Can you replace the blades?
Some broadheads are one-piece designs. This means the entire broadhead is one single piece of stainless steel, blades included. In this case you can’t change the blades out. Other broadheads feature removable blades which you can then replace with fresh ones if they get dull or bent.
A broadhead with replaceable blades has more pieces, of course. The benefit, though, is that you can reuse the arrowhead over and over. Broadheads with replaceable blades are attractive because they have great reusability.
Our Top Picks In Detail
G5 Outdoors Montec
The G5 Montec is a three-blade, one-piece metal injection-molded fixed blade broadhead that just looks scary. Something about the shape has the power to kill written all over it.
A great thing about the Montec broadheads is that they come in a wide range of weights: 85, 100 and 125 grains. Because of this these arrowheads are versatile. You can use them with a lot of different arrows and bows.
Now, the Montec is a cut-on-contact broadhead, which means that it’s not going to lose as much energy piercing through soft tissue and can penetrate farther. It will, however, be less likely to get through tough tissue or bone. For this reason it’s a good choice for traditional archers who pride themselves on their accuracy. This is probably one of the reasons they’ve decided to manufacture this broadhead in so many different weights. You can use the Montec on everything from a longbow to a crossbow.
As a cut-on-contact the Montec only has one piece. This makes it easy to use, easy to screw into your arrows and easy maintain. The upside is that there are no pieces to lose or damage. The downside is that you can’t replace any pieces.
By far the best thing about the Montec, though, is its reusability. The simple one-piece fixed blade design makes it really easy to sharpen. You can expect to be able to use this broadhead on around ten different quarries, which is a lot.
The Montec has a 1-⅛” cutting diameter, which is big enough to leave a significant blood trail. Its three blades are angled masterfully for maximum penetration and tissue damage. This is one of the great all around fixed broadheads, but it’s a really good choice for veteran and traditional bowhunters who want a simple and masterful arrowhead.
- 3 different weights
- Simple design
- High reusability
- Easy to sharpen
- Cutting diameter
- Blade angle
- Pieces cannot be replaced
Muzzy likes to call their arrowheads “bad to the bone.” They aren’t just trying to sound cool, either. This chisel tip stainless steel broadhead takes the gold when it comes to penetration. It can hit a rib and keep on going thanks to the strong pointed tip.
The Trocar features three stainless steel blades in an aerodynamic helix design that maintains energy to hit as powerfully and deeply as possible. It also makes it extremely accurate, nearly as accurate as a field tip. The helix shape of the blades does make it a little more difficult to sharpen them, but it’s certainly possible. You can expect to get more than one use out of these blades.
In addition to the deep penetration, the Muzzy Trocar also has a cutting diameter much wider than many fixed blade broadheads at 1-3/16”. This is really great because it means you’re more likely to get a good blood trail, not to mention just do more damage. The cutting diameter along with the penetration make this arrowhead a great choice for anyone looking for pure power.
Unfortunately, the Trocar only comes in 100 grains. This makes sense since it’s a powerful broadhead designed for hunters who want a clean and trackable kill. Still, we wish we had a few more options with this arrowhead since it’s so useful otherwise.
Muzzy makes their arrowheads in the USA, and you can expect quality and durability. More importantly, though, if you’re a hunter who wants something just plain destructive this season, this might just be what you’ve been searching for.
- ”bad to the bone” penetration
- Aerodynamic helix design
- Large cutting diameter
- 100 grain only
Slick Trick Magnum
Alcatraz bladelock system, .035 Lutz blades–the Slick Trick Magnum could make our list just for the names of its features. It just so happens, though, that it’s also a brutal steel chisel tip broadhead that gives you an edge–or four of them, rather–on the hunt.
So, yeah, the Magnum has four incredibly sharp German-manufactured Lutz blades. Four blades further decreases the likelihood that deer muscle tissue or other internal organs will close up over a wound. With a 1-⅛” cutting diameter, you can expect a good blood trail. It’s also just one blade scarier if you care about appearances.
Like we mentioned, these four blades are locked together with the Alcatraz bladelock system. This system keeps the blades stable, which not only makes the arrowhead durable and reusable, but it also means it’s accurate.
Last but not least, take note of the pure steel ferrule. This makes the broadhead strong and reusable as well. Plus, it’s the root of the Magnum’s penetrative power. The chisel tip will not stop at or deflect off bone.
The Slick Trick Magnum also only comes in 100 grains. Make sure you know what weight you’re comfortable with and what will work best with your bow. This broadhead is a good all-around arrowhead that can be used by new and veteran hunters alike.
- Alcatraz bladelock system
- Four Lutz blades
- Steel ferrule
- Only available in 100 grains
The first thing you notice when you take out a QAD Exodus is the unusually compact shape. It’s kind of funny looking. It seems almost more like a badminton birdie than an arrowhead, but don’t let that fool you. This is a powerful cut-on-contact broadhead that can slice through tissue and get you that trophy buck.
The Exodus has a strange shape due to what QAD calls “blades over shaft” technology. When you fit the Exodus on your arrow, you’ll notice that the three blades come down over the shaft. This isn’t just aesthetic. Because of the compact design, this broadhead isn’t any longer than a field tip. The result is incredible and reliable accuracy.
To create this “blades over shaft” construction, the Exodus blades are somewhat detached from the ferrule and therefore easily replaceable. This means it’s no problem to change out the blades if you want to use the arrowhead again. Be careful with all the small parts, though. This broadhead does require a bit more assembly than usual.
The Exodus only comes in 100 grains, so be sure your bow has the right power to send this broadhead flying without losing speed or accuracy. It can get great penetration if used with the right bow, probably a good compound.
One really special thing about the Exodus is the cutting diameter. Despite being so compact, it still manages a huge 1-¼” cut. If you’ve been having a problem with blood trails lately or live in an area where they can be hard to follow, you should definitely look into the Exodus.
- “Blades over shaft” compact design
- Replaceable blades
- Huge cutting diameter
- Only available in 100 grains
- Complicated assembly
For the value you can’t find much better than the Sinbadteck broadhead. It comes in a great affordable price range ideal for any hunter learning how to tune in his bow and use fixed blade broadheads.
Since the Sinbadteck broadhead is good for a beginner, they knew they had to make it accurate. Taking good shots is an important part of ethical hunting, and you need to be sure you know how to tune in your bow before trying to harvest a quarry. These arrowheads make for excellent practice.
The Sinbadteck broadhead has three extra sharp blades connected to a steel ferrule behind the chisel point. This chisel point makes the arrowhead really penetrative and damaging. The only problem is that these blades only create a 1” cutting diameter, small for a broadhead. This increases the chance of a bad blood trail, so make sure your skills are honed first.
Another downside of the Sinbadteck broadhead is that it only comes in 100 grains. For an arrowhead with such good practice potential, this is a bummer because you might not get the best results with a weaker bow.
All things considered, the Sinbadteck broadhead is a great choice for the money. If you’re new to hunting and want to practice your accuracy before taking on live game, this is a great choice.
- Low price range
- Great for practice
- Only available in 100 grains
- Small cutting diameter