If heavy broadheads and heavy arrows are so great, why aren’t big broadhead manufacturers pushing them?
It’s important to clarify there are tradeoffs with heavy arrows and broadheads, and some of these tradeoffs make lighter arrows and broadheads more marketable to a mass audience.
The disadvantages of heavy broadheads, for example, include
– Trajectory is inferior to lighter broadheads
– Proper bow tuning is needed
– Upgraded, stiffer arrows are required
The net result is:
– greater skill (or a “smart” scope) is necessary to compensate for increased arrow drop
– a greater investment in time and money is required to achieve clean and accurate flight
So it’s not the case that heavy arrows and broadheads are simply better in every way.
But there are advantages to heavy arrows and broadheads, and industry has been slow to adopt the information coming from thought-leaders in arrow and broadhead lethality research.
Dr. Ed Ashby did the initial Natal Study nearly 40 years ago working with the South African governments in an effort to prove the effectiveness of archery equipment and push for the legalization of archery equipment for hunting.
That study was successful, but Dr. Ashby ended up with more questions than he started, particularly regarding the factors for arrow penetration.
Completely self-funded, he continued his research for decades compiling hundreds of thousands of data points from actual field testing on animals.
This is the only large-scale testing ever done specifically for archery so one would think it would be extremely well-known and all of the major companies would be utilizing that data to make better products.
Unfortunately, the major manufacturers essentially had their feelings hurt when Dr. Ashby pointed out weak points and design flaws in their products, to the point that he was pretty much blackballed by the archery manufacturing industry.
None of these companies wanted to admit to any of the issues, and none of them wanted to cut into profits in order to actually make a better product.
Combine that with millions of dollars for marketing and its really no surprise that the broadheads you generally hear about are mostly flashy garbage.
There’s also an issue at the dealer level. Dealers don’t want to admit that they have been wrong and most don’t stay up late at night studying arrow and broadhead lethality.
In addition, shifting dealer recommendations to a limited number of quality products would drastically reduce their profits.
Most of the mainstream broadheads sell for $40-$50 per 3-pack. The dealer is buying them for $20-$30. The manufacturer is making as much profit as the dealer so that 3-pack of heads costs $5-$10 dollars to produce and package. It’s not surprising that broadheads that cost a couple dollars to manufacture won’t perform well or last more than 1 shot.
There are companies out there making good quality broadheads, but as expected the prices are far higher, and the profit margins are far less for dealers. The mainstream broadheads are backed with millions in marketing, so basically they sell themselves with no effort from the dealer, and then the dealer makes 40-50% profit margins. The good quality broadheads have zero advertising and zero marketing behind them. They are a niche in the broadhead industry and make up for a fraction of total broadhead sales.
The good news is consumers are getting more sophisticated and slowly shifting on their own. At some point this trend may force the larger manufacturers and the dealers to adjust. That shift is happening, but it’s going to take quite a bit of time before the mainstream notices.