The Best Fixed Blade Broadheads: Razors for Your Rig
Fixed blade broadheads are a unique item in the world of bow hunting: they're one of the oldest designs known to man—researchers estimate that the oldest arrowheads are about 64,000 years old!—but modern updates in engineering and design have allowed us to transform these primitive tools in sleek, precise hunting weapons. Unlike a lot of archery gear, they're simple, sturdy, and when used properly, they're incredibly effective.
Below, we'll discuss each of the subtypes of fixed blade and their strengths and weaknesses, list our picks for the best fixed blade broadhead, and we'll close out with some tips on how to safely sharpen, use, and store them.
Let's get to it:
Top Picks for Fixed Blades
There are five options we consider stand-outs. Here they are, along with their features:
Carbon Express Nativ Fixed Blade Broadhead
Our pick for best two-blade broadhead; easy-to-tune, which makes them great for new bowhunters
- Simple, elegant design makes them easy to shoot;
- Respectable cutting diameter of 1.125 inches;
- You can sharpen them to your liking
- Only manufactured in 100 grains
Two-blade fixed blade broadheads are as close to primitive bow hunting as you can get, but they offer tangible benefits to the 21st Century bowhunter: they're easy to tune; of all the different fixed blade configurations, they fly the most predictably; and when used correctly, they can put game down quickly and efficiently. Because they have fewer blades, they experience less friction mid-flight, making them a little easier to aim and shoot, and because they tune easily, they're a good match for bows 35 pounds all the up to 70+. Those features make them a good match for bow hunters of all experience levels, but especially for novice bow hunters who are learning the ropes.
The Carbon Express Native Broadheads are a great example of this "classic" format: they're simple, sturdy, and elegant. The ferrule—the center part of the broadhead that holds the razor blades—is fashion from aircraft-grade aluminum, designed to be lightweight but strong, and the thickness of the actual blades is 0.047 inches thick, also manufactured with sturdiness in mind.
That thickness is important, because it contributes to another feature of the Carbon Express Nativ: it's pass-through ability. Ultimately, your goal as a bow hunter is to execute a quick and effective shot that puts the animal down quickly. One of the best ways to achieve that is to have your arrow completely pass through the animal’s vital organs, entering on one side and exiting on the other. The two-blade structure is designed to do just that, because the broadhead will experience less friction than a three- or four-blade broadhead as it pierces and travels through the animal.
Summary: A solid choice for bow hunters of all experience levels who are looking for a pass-through broadhead, but specifically new and novice bow hunters.
NOTE: The only feature of the Carbon Express Nativ that may be a negative is their cutting diameter, which at 1.125 inches is respectable, but not amazing. If you like the two-blade design but want a wider cutting diameter, you may want to check out the NAP Bloodrunner Broadheads. Technically, they're not fixed blade broadheads—they have two blades that open up slightly upon impact—but they feature a very similar design to the Carbon Express Nativ, and they've got a very wide cutting diameter of 2.0625 inches.
G5 Outdoors Montec Broadheads
Our pick for best one-piece / three-blade broadhead; good for big game
- Extremely sharp point;
- Cutting diameter of 1 to 1.125 inches;
- Solid—made with 100% stainless steel;
- Can sharpen and re-sharpen blades
- Requires some tuning
Among the various types of broadheads, fixed blade broadheads are known for their sturdiness and reliability. When the fixed blade is one solid piece—not only no moving parts, but no removeable parts whatsoever—that translates to some serious pounding power. Solid fixed blade broadheads have been known for their incredible pass-through capabilities, and that includes cutting through bone. That penetration power is one of the main benefits of the one-piece three-blade broadhead, and it's why experienced big-game bow hunters who can shoot arrows with great accuracy seem to like them so much.
The G5 Outdoors Montec Broadheads are our pick for best single-piece/three-blade broadhead. The blades have an aggressive angle that slopes forward to an extremely sharp cut-on-contact point, with a cutting diameter of 1 to 1.125 inches. That may not be wide enough for a novice bow hunter who's not 100% certain of his or her aim, but it's definitely wide enough for an intermediate / experienced hunter who can shoot accurate to achieve arrow pass-through.
This, like all broadheads, is a good match for small- to medium-sized game, but they're one of the best fixed blade broadheads for larger game we’ve seen in the last few years. The third blade provides excellent cutting opportunities—where it's possible for a two-blade design to burrow through muscle and tissue without causing massive bleeding, that's not the case with three-blade broadheads—so a well-placed shot can slice through muscle and tissue and bone create massive blood loss. That type of blood loss is exactly what you want for larger game—rifle hunters use ammunition to put down their quarry with shock and force, but bow hunters pierce their game with arrowheads and wait for them to slowly fade.
The only issue with solid piece fixed blades is that they can require some tuning (and this is true of four-bladers, too), and they have a tendency to fall quickly when shot at long distances (50 yards, or thereabouts). That's a concern, but not a big one—most bow hunters let off arrows in the 15- to 25-yard range, but it's something to keep in mind if you an expert archer and bow hunt game at 50 yards or more.
Summary: These are a great option for intermediate to experienced bow hunters, and while they can be used on smaller game, they're a great match medium-sized to big game.
The Magnus 4-Blade Hornet Fixed Blade Broadhead
Our pick for four-blade broadhead; can create a great blood trail
- Aggressive blade angles cut through muscle;
- Capable of creating excellent blood trails;
- Cutting diameter of 1.25 inches
- May take a little effort to tune
Four-blade options are a little rare in the world of fixed blade broadheads, and we're not sure why that is. Maybe it's because they require a little more experimentation to get them to fly reliably, or because most bow hunters think three blades will do the job (and that's very often the case). But we think four-blade options get overlooked. They still have the sturdiness and the pass-through capability of a fixed-blade broadhead, but they have more of the cutting ability that is associated with mechanical broadheads—and that can translate to better blood trails after an accurate shot. That's really all you can ask for in a broadhead: penetration, pass-through ability, and blood trail. In a way, four-blade fixed blade broadheads are a "best of both worlds" arrowhead.
With all that said, we like the Magnus 4-Blade Hornet. Like many fixed blades you'll find, it's a what-you-see-is-what-you-get product, but upon closer inspection, it's got a smart design: the angle of the cut-on-contact tip is pretty steep, as is the second set of blades that emerge perpendicularly to the main blades. That allows the arrow head to cut muscle and flesh a little more aggressively, making it less likely that muscle fibers will close up after the arrow pushes through them. With a cutting diameter of 1.25 inches—larger than many fixed blades—that can be very effective, and can result in a better blood trail for you to follow after the shot. With all that cutting power comes a little more friction against the blades, so you're better off shooting it from a middle- to high-poundage bow.
Four-blade broadheads are a bit of a rarity, but they're an interesting option. Perhaps we'll see more four-blade fixed blades on the market in the future? Time will tell!
Summary: A good option if you're looking for a broadhead that will create a visible blood trail. When used correctly from a medium- to high-poundage bow, and with an accurate shot, these can penetrate and pass through and encourage excellent blood lines on game of all sizes.
NOTE: If you like the Magnus 4-Blade Hornet but would like a serrated blade version, check out the Stinger Buzzcut. It’s got a relaxed blade angle for quick penetration, 0.040-thick blades, and an extremely sharp tip.
Drone Broadheads by Wasp Archery
A solid replaceable-blade broadhead for any bow hunter who's short on time!
- Great penetration / pass-through potential;
- Designed for durability and toughness;
- Replaceable blades are great for longevity
- Will eventually need to replace the blades!
Some bow hunters love the prep: they love taking their time and tuning and re-tuning their bows; they love running flight tests between different arrow manufacturers, and they love sharpening the blades on their broadheads before a big hunt.
For others of us—well, many of us would love to do that sort of thing, but simply don't have the time!
That's where replaceable blade broadheads come in. They arrive sharp, you use them when you need them, and when the time comes (and we'd advise that you change your blades as frequently as possible), you simply switch out the blades with replacement blades. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. They're not always as sturdy as solid-piece broadheads—and if you've noticed, every feature on a broadhead is simply a trade-off for another feature on a broadhead—but they're easy to use, easy to maintain, and when shot accurately from a bow of the right draw weight, very effective.
But that's why we like Drone Broadheads by Wasp Archery. Not only do they have blades that are easily switched, saving you time, hassle, and a little bit of danger, but they address the biggest problem you often face with replaceables: sturdiness. To add to the broadhead's ruggedness, they've manufactured the broadhead from 100% steel, attached the blades to a one-piece ferrule to bolster them and give them strength as they penetrate game, and a washer design to make sure the broadhead stays in place when you release the arrow from your bowstring. All those features combined make a replaceable blade fixed blade broadhead that's capable of penetrating big game, from deer to elk to hog.
That, combined with a very sharp chisel-tip point designed to drill into an animal's hide, and you've got a fixed blade broadhead designed to penetrate, pass through, and put an animal down quickly. We're big fans of the Drone—recommended!
Summary: A replaceable fixed blade broadhead designed for sturdiness, that great for bow hunters of all ability levels, legal draw weights, and game.
Muzzy MX4 Fixed Blade Broadheads
A powerful option that’s great for punching right through hide, muscle, and bone—great for pass-through shots from tree stands, and our pick for best fixed blade broadhead overall
- Chisel tip is designed tough and has great hammer-through potential;
- Cutting diameter of 1.125 inches—very strong;
- Has replaceable blades for easy repair
- Only manufactured in 100 grains;
- Individual blade thickness is good but not great
Earlier we mentioned the chisel-tip feature, and that's the feature that stands out in our next review.
If you'll notice, most of the fixed-blade broadheads on our list have a razor that starts at the very tip and continues backwards to the end of the broadhead. That design allows the broadhead to begin cutting through the animal's hide immediately upon contact, and that's the reason those broadheads are sometimes called "cut on contact" broadheads. Fixed blade broadheads very often feature a cut-on-contact design, although both fixed blade and mechanic broadheads can feature cut-on-contact tips.
The most common alternative to cut-on-contact tip is the chisel tip. On a chisel tip, the blades are located behind the sharp end of the arrowhead, behind a tip that has an angled cutting point. That chisel tip is designed to allow the broadhead to pierce through your game's hide, so that the arrow is inside the animal and passing through it at the intended trajectory. Broadheads can sometimes make contact and ping through the animal at odd angles, and that's obviously something you don't want.
So, because chisel tips are great for penetrating your game at the intended trajectories, they're great for bow hunting from odd angles (like you would from a tree stand), and because chisel tips add some structural strength to the broadhead, they're great for passing through bone (also great for shooting from odd angles and from tree stands).
(And, yes, if it's bugging you—yes, technically, a chisel tip broadhead does cut on contact, because if it didn't, how else would it penetrate the animal? but alas, that's how they were named.)
Our pick for best chisel tip is the Muzzy MX4 Fixed Blade Broadhead. It's got most of the features we'd hope to see on a fixed blade broadhead: a broad cutting diameter at 1.125 inches; individual blade thickness of 0.025 inches; and the angled chisel tip designed to punch through muscle and bone. Plus, they have replaceable blades, which is a nice little plus, and we like that they're designed for toughness: as we mentioned earlier, replaceable blades can be prone to bending, so Muzzy made the ferrule from high-grade aircraft aluminum.
Summary: These can be a great option if you're shooting from odd angles or from tree stands, and want something with the pass-through capability of cutting through bone.
How to Tune, Practice, Retrieve, and Store Fixed Blade Broadheads
Now that we've discussed our fixed blade broadhead picks, let's take a closer look at some of the details of these tools.
Fixed blade broadheads are a unique piece of bowhunting gear, and you need to remember that they’re dangerous. That's the whole idea of broadheads, really: to take a dangerous activity—archery—and make it lethal.
So, as you'd imagine, there's a lot of things you need to keep in mind when using them.
Here some tips about the safe handling, use, storage, and retrieval of your fixed blade broadheads. It's not a complete list—it'd be just about impossible to imagine every scenario and situation you'd need to know about broadheads—but it's a good start, and if there are any safety tips you'd like us to add, please jump over to our "Contact" page and let us know. We'll begin with a tip that may inform your buying decisions:
State Have Regulations About the Fixed Broadheads You Can Use
If you're new to hunting, you will soon discover that there are a lot of rules and regulations that come with the activity.
That's ultimately a good thing—rules keep us safe and keep the environment clean and hunt-able—but they can require a little homework, and your state very likely has laws about which broadheads you can and can't use.
For example, at the time we wrote this post, it is illegal to hunt in New York with fixed blade broadheads that are barbed. The thinking is that a barbed broadhead may not pass through an animal, and instead get stuck in it—while not putting it down. That makes sense, so no barbed broadheads in New York (and for the record, none of the fixed blade broadheads we review above are barbed).
Each state is different, and while most states are pretty lax about their laws—in many states, the only requirement is that you need to use a broadhead when you're bowhunting, and that broadhead needs to be 7/8 of an inch wide, which many many fixed blade broadheads are—you should still inform yourself about what's allowed and what's not.
Wasp Archery gathered all the regulations for each state to give you a clearer idea of the rules of your state (but we can't vouch for the current-ness of the Wasp website, so you should contact your state's gaming board to make sure of the actual laws).
Use a Broadhead Wrench When Installing Them
Broadheads are—and should be—incredibly sharp, and you need to exercise tremendous care when installing them at the end of your arrow. The easiest and safest way to do so is to use a broadhead wrench.
If you're not familiar with them, they're basically little devices that cover the individual blades of the broadhead and hold them in place, so that you can you insert the broadhead into the slot at the end of your arrow without actually touching any of the blades.
There are plenty of broadhead wrenches out there, but we've found the Allen Broadhead Wrench works just fine. It's pretty small, so you can throw it in your broadhead case and go (which we'll talk about later), and we actually have a bunch stashed in various bow cases, hunting backpacks, etc.
And—be careful! We don't have any statistics on this, but we're willing to bet that the majority of broadhead injuries come when installing them on arrows. Take your time, be present, and pay attention to what you're doing.
Pro-tip: if you have a hard bow case (for a compound or a recurve bow), your bow case may have a spot on the shell that can serve as a broadhead wrench. They can be a little bit tricky to use because they're literally part of your bow case, but they can serve as a substitute if you're dead set against getting one (or if you had one but lost it).
Make Sure the Broadhead is Aligned Correctly
Broadheads are light years better than they used to be, and on many models, their tiny parts are factory-made and precise. That doesn't always mean they don't get knocked around a little bit during shipping or transport, and you want to be absolutely certain that the broadhead on the end of your arrow is aligned correctly.
Here's how you can test it:
Insert your broadhead and place your arrow on an arrow spinner (we like the Pine Ridge Arrow Inspector), or on some sort of two-pronged stand that can support the front and back of the arrow shaft. Get a cardboard box, and then touch the tip of the broadhead to the cardboard. Slowly spin the arrow. If you see that the broadhead point is making a small circle on the cardboard instead of a minuscule dot, it's mis-aligned, and that can make it very difficult to shoot accurately (and if you're broadhead isn't making a circle—it's just making a point—then it's good to go).
Gold Tip has a helpful post about broadhead alignment if you need a little bit more guidance.
"Best practices" is to sharpen your broadheads after practice session you have, and before every hunt you go. Here's how you sharpen them:
If you're using fixed blade broadheads with replaceable blades, wallah! Remove the blades and replace them. Easy peasy.
If you're using non-replaceable blades, you've got two options: 1) you can use a two-sided flat stone, and apply only a little bit of pressure, to remove a little bit of the metal on each side of the blade bevel to get a nice sharp edge, or 2) you can use a broadhead sharpener. There are plenty of versions out there, but we've used the G5 Outdoors Sportsman Sharpener, and found it easy-to-use and durable.
Have you ever heard that saying that chefs use, "A sharp blade is dangerous, but a dull blade is more dangerous"? That's definitely the case with broadheads. If they're not sharp enough, even with a perfectly accurate shot from your bow, they may not penetrate your game, leaving it wounded instead of putting it down.
To test sharpness, stretch some rubber bands over a small bowl (or whatever sturdy item you can find that will hold the rubber bands taut). If your blade pops those rubber bands as you move it against them, congratulations—you've got a very sharp blade.
As you're probably tired of hearing us say, your #1 goal as a bow hunter is a quick, clean, efficient shot that puts down your game humanely and quickly. That's Job #1, so make sure your broadhead razors are sharp!
Pro-tip before we move on: to ensure that you're sharpening each side of your broadhead blade evenly, get a permanent marker and mark the sides of the blades. Sharpen them until the marker ink is gone, and you should have removed the same amount of metal from each side of the blade.
Practice Extensively with Broadheads
Arrow flight—especially if you're new to broadheads—can feel a little different, and you'll need to practice with them to get the hang of them. There are a couple of things you'll want to keep in mind as you practice:
Practice with a broadhead that's the same weight as the field tips you usually use. Most people use 100-grain field tips (most pre-fletched arrows come with 100-grain field tips), so 100-grain broadheads are usually the right option (although you'll need to check your set-up to make sure). Far and away, 100-grain broadheads are the most popular, and they're usually a good match.
Use the same broadheads during your practice session that you'll use during your hunt. In other words, don't use, for example, a Muzzy Phantom for practice, and then opt for a Grim Reaper Hades when you're on the hunt. Each type of broadhead is going to fly a little bit different, and you'll want to get used to them.
Remember that the more surface area your blades have, the more likely they'll be affected by wind (and the friction of your arrow moving through the air). If you've got a broadhead with a very large cutting diameter, be patient, because those may take a little longer to tune.
If your arrows are still flying wonky after properly tuning your bow, you may want to consider the length of your vanes. Using longer vanes may slow the arrow down a little bit, but it can provide some more consistency in flight.
Broadheads can do a number on the target you're using, and there are only a few targets that are specifically made to withstand the cutting force of a broadhead. We've used the Rinehart 18-to-1 Broadhead Target, and with its "self-healing foam," have found that it's very durable (although it will most certainly show wear and tear over time). Many broadhead packs come with a practice broadhead you can use, so you may want to check that out.
Practice at the distance you're most likely to shoot your game. You should never let off an arrow at game that's farther away than your "comfort distance." If you're confident that you can hit a target at 25 yards but not 30 yards, don't shoot at game more than 25 yards away. Practice enough so that you know exactly where your "comfort distance" lies.
Above all, try to patient when tuning and practicing with broadheads—getting them tuned and flying right is a process, and it can take some time.
Quiver Them Correctly When You're on a Hunt
Arrows with broadheads belong in a quiver specifically designed for broadheads. They have a cap that completely covers the broadheads—kind of like an umbrella would—and many are adjustable so that if you've got very long/very short arrows, you can change the quivers length to make your arrows fit.
Never remove your arrows before you're ready to shoot—it's dangerous, and while we know a lot of hunters do so, it's really not wise. It only takes a moment or two to nock and arrow, and it's much, much safer.
Lastly, when you are nocking your arrow, be very careful and make sure the broadhead doesn't touch the bow string. A properly-sharpened broadhead can pop a string in a heartbeat, and that's obviously something you want to avoid. This is especially true for fixed blade broadheads, which always, at all times, have their blades exposed.
Be Aware That Your Broadheads May Not Pass Through Your Game, and...
that after you've successfully hit and tracked and animal, your broadhead may still be IN the animal. That means, when you're field dressing your game, it could cut you.
We'll mention that again, and give it the full-caps treatment, to convey its importance:
YOUR BROADHEAD MAY STILL BE IN THE GAME YOU'VE HUNTED AND DOWNED
When you've got your hands in your downed quarry after a successful hunt, always remember that the broadhead could still be in the deer / turkey / bear / elk, / etc., and it's designed to slice whatever it comes into contact with. It can cut your hands, your fingers, even your wrists. BE CAREFUL.
Store Them Safely, but First...
Make sure they're not damaged after you use them. Check to see if the blades are bent or dinged or dulled, and check the ferrule (the center part of the broadhead, that holds the blades) to make sure it's solid and unharmed. If a blade is damaged, you can check and see if replacement blades are available; if the ferrule is damaged, toss the broadhead—it's structurally unsound, and using it again could be very dangerous.
After you've checked that they're in good shape and you've cleaned them, it's time to store them. A lot of people use a broadhead case, and we like the Plano Broadhead Box—Plano makes a lot of storage equipment for archery and bowhunting, and their cases are usually really solid—but plenty of other folks use some kind of tupperware and a solid piece of styrofoam. A box specifically designed for holding broadheads is probably better (and probably safer), but there are a lot of DIY folks in the bowhunting community, and that's what they do.
Whatever method you use, make sure your broadheads are secure when you store them, especially if you'll be moving them around. If they're loose when you store them, they can jangle around in your pack and damage whatever they touch. It's actually pretty common for that to happen, so be careful.
With that in mind...
Be Careful Around Broadheads!
This seems like a good way to wrap things up: whenever you're using fixed blade broadheads, exercise caution, common sense, and safety. They're incredibly dangerous, and they're specifically designed to cut flesh and tissue, and they don't care if you're a deer, an elk, or a guy who's excited to go hunting. Always been mindful of them, where they are, and how you're using them.
And... that about wraps it up for our review of the best fixed blade broadheads. If you have any questions, head on over to the "Contact" page and give us a holler. Have fun, be good, and happy hunting!