The Most Common Types Of Arrowheads – Target, Blunt or Broadhead?

By Moritz

Jul 20
Different types of arrowheads. Used under creative commons from: LivingShadow

Different types of arrowheads. Used under creative commons from: LivingShadow

I hope you already went through my archery training and chose your favorite bow type.

Now let’s take a look at the most common types of arrowheads:


What Is An Arrowhead?

Arrowheads are the tip of your arrows. They are usually pointed to cut into your targets easily.

They can be made of different materials but usually, they are made of metal nowadays.
Before people learned how to use metal, however, they used mostly stone or carved bones to craft an arrowhead.

Another way would be to just sharpen a stick (and maybe harden the tip with fire) to craft an improvised arrow more quickly but just as deadly in the hands of an experienced archer.

Instead of “arrowhead” we use the terms “arrow tip” or “arrow point” as well.
There is no difference between a “head” and a “tip/point”.
You can use whichever term you like best.


The Three Big Groups Of Arrowheads

We generally distinguish between the following three groups:

  • Target Arrowheads
  • Blunt Arrowheads
  • Broadheads

If you want to buy arrowheads, check out my favorite ones here.

There are huge differences between the three types I listed above.

Let me show them to you:


Target Arrowheads

target arrowhead

Target arrowhead. Used under creative commons from: Rafiq~commonswiki

When you start shooting, then this will be most likely the first arrowhead you will be using.
It does not have any barbs that would make it get stuck in its target.
It is made to penetrate archery targets easily, but it is just as easy to pull them out of the target again.

Handle them with care, as they can also penetrate human or animal skin with ease and therefore are capable of injuring or even killing what they hit.

Never aim at anything with your bow and arrow but your archery target!


Blunt Arrowheads

judopoint

Judo Point. Used under creative commons from: LivingShadow

Blunt arrowheads come in many different shapes and sizes.
They don’t penetrate their target but cause blunt traumas that can paralyze or kill small game (“game” is what hunters call their prey).

There is one type of blunt arrowhead that is gaining more and more popularity.
It is the “judo point” you can see in the image above.
The metal springs keep you from losing the arrow in the grass or under leaves because they will stop the arrow burrowing itself too deeply.
It can be used for practice, or to hunt small game.

Don’t think that blunt arrowheads are harmless and can be given to children to practice archery.
They can cause serious damage when they hit someone with high speed.

There are arrowheads for children, or for those who want to be safer when practicing archery.
Those are safety arrowheads that are made of very soft materials to reduce the danger to a minimum (they don’t penetrate targets, so they are of limited use to target archers).


Broadheads

Broadhead

Three bladed broadhead. Used under creative commons from: Nick Perla

The broadheads are easily the most dangerous arrowheads you can use.
The tip of those arrows is formed of three or more razor-sharp blades that cut deep wounds into small and big game.
They can penetrate prey easily and cause more bleeding than the target arrowheads.
Broadheads are usually barbed so that the arrow gets stuck in the animal and won’t fall out easily. It is more likely that the arrow breaks than that the arrow falls out.

Don’t get or use broadheads if you are not planning to go hunting!
There is really no reason to get this arrowhead type if you are not hunting. They will just rip your targets apart and won’t do anything to make you a better archer.


How To Change Your Arrowhead

If you are wondering how to change from a target arrowhead to a blunt arrowhead or a broadhead, I have good news for you:

Modern arrows make it very easy to change the arrowhead. They can just be screwed on/off the arrow in no time.
There is a standard size for the fitting that makes it even easier to buy, replace and change your arrowheads depending on what you want to do today with your bow.


Can I Make My Own Arrowheads?

You sure can, but this is not something I would recommend to a beginner.
While it can be rather easy to make your own bow, it is way more difficult to make a straight arrow with a good arrowhead.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, the easiest way would be to use a sharpened stick for an improvised arrow. If you want a real arrowhead made of stone or bone, you would need a lot of experience, or talent to get a straight flying arrow.
Or you are lucky and have some shark teeth at hand.

Shark Teeth

Shark teeth can make great arrowheads. Used under creative commons from: Pinkpasty

I am planning to cover bow and arrow crafting on my website, but this lies in the future.
So as of now, I would like to encourage you to buy your arrows and arrowheads to get the most out of your archery experience.


Which Arrowhead Is The Right One For Me?

Since you know the most common types of arrowheads now, I am sure that you can already make your decision about which arrowhead type you should use.

As a beginner you will most likely shoot on archery targets, so you should start with target arrowheads.

If you go hunting, you can choose between blunt arrowheads or broadheads.
Blunt arrowheads can only be used for hunting small game (e.g. rabbits or birds), while broadheads can be used for big game (deer, bears), too.

Once you have decided on what arrowhead type is right for you, head over to my review of the best arrowheads.

To minimize all risks, you can also choose to buy safety arrowheads, but they are not something I would recommend to a serious archer, as they won’t get stuck in any target.
What is your favorite arrowhead type?
Are you a hunter or a target archer?

Let me know in the comments below.
I will be happy to answer all questions to arrowheads or any topic related to archery, too.

See you around soon!

Yours,

Moritz

About the Author

Hi, as a huge archery enthusiast I love sharing my knowledge about archery. Enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question.

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(12) comments

Marcus July 28, 2015

Hey, I never realised there were different types of arrowheads. I always just assumed an arrow was an arrow. It just thought it was standard. Shows how much I knew!

That blunt arrowhead looks crazy! I didn’t know you could get arrows that looked like that on the end! But it looks like it is really useful to have those springs to stop it going too deep into the ground.

It just goes to show, as with anything in life, there are different tools for different situations.

Reply
    Moritz July 28, 2015

    Hi Marcus!

    Yes, it is amazing what ideas people had and have to invent very different kinds of arrowheads.

    This already started many many years ago. Even in the medieval times they already used different types of arrowheads.
    E.g. the “bodkin arrowhead” was invented to pierce through metal breast plates of knights, so the knights weren’t as safe as some would think.
    Don’t even get me started on “explosive arrowheads”. 😉

    The “judo point” looks crazy, indeed, and is very useful for archery practice or hunting small game.

    I think it is a great idea for any bow hunter to mix the arrowheads for his arrows he takes on the hunt.

    I am happy that I could teach you something new!

    Cheers

    Moritz

    Reply
Billy Hunter December 6, 2015

Hi Moritz,
Man, Arrowhead are like bullets!.. Just with an arrow attached to it. I literally thought it was a bullet when I saw the first picture. I am a beginner archer so I would probably want to use the target arrowhead. I really appreciate the time and effort it must have taken to make this! Thanks 🙂

Reply
    Moritz December 7, 2015

    Hi Billy.

    Welcome to My Archery Corner.
    You are right. Bullets and arrowheads are not that different at all.
    I would always go with target tips or blunt arrowheads if you are not planning to go hunting.

    Broadheads are very dangerous and have to be handled with a lot of care.
    Only get those for hunting.
    Many archery targets are also not made for broadhead arrows and will get destroyed by them quickly.

    I hope you are enjoying archery as much as I do!

    Moritz

    Reply
Tyler Redlev January 7, 2016

Great artticle on arrowheads!

I didn’t know that there were so much types of them. But it all makes sense when you take a look from a logical point of view. One of the most interesting type was judo tip. I haven’t seen anything like that before. I couldn’t imagine all of that. Are there any other types??

Also calling your prey “the game” is a good hunting metaphore. Great review! Your site is very interesting. Keep up the good work!

Reply
    Moritz January 12, 2016

    Hi Tyler.

    Thanks for the compliment. I am happy you found my article about the most common types of arrowheads helpful.

    The arrowheads explained here are the ones people mostly use.
    There are still safety tips that are soft and perfect for very young archers and those that are used for fishing.
    If you want to know what can be used for fishing, head over to my bowfishing guide.

    Have a great day.

    Moritz

    Reply
Juan March 12, 2016

Nice post! Very descriptive and easy to read.
Thanks also for making clear which type of arrow point should we get as beginners, and how to evolve from them.

Also, I’d like to ask you a more practical question. How easy is it to become a good archer? I’ve always been curious about archery, but I wonder how much time could it get to become an average one.

Thanks a lot for your post!
Cheers,
Juan

Reply
    Moritz March 14, 2016

    Hello Juan.

    Sorry for my late answer. I was without internet for a few days.

    I am happy that my article about the most common types of arrowheads was helpful to you.

    I think that archery is easy to learn but hard to master.
    You will be able to hit a target on shorter distances very quickly.
    If you practice a lot, you will hit it almost everytime after only a few weeks. Maybe even faster.

    The tricky thing is to get the arrow fly to the exact point you want it to fly.
    This will take much longer. Years of practice.
    You will notice that when you start shooting at smaller targets on longer distances.

    So, take it slow. Archery will give you positive feelings of success very quickly.
    To take it to a competitive level you need to be patient and persistent.

    It is also a matter of your equipment.
    Are you going to use archery sights like a single pin sight or multiple pin sight or are you shooting instinctively?
    Are you going to use a longbow, a recurve bow or a compound bow.
    All these bows have different learning curves.
    To get a great start I recommend to read about the different bow types and go through my archery training.
    You can also take a look at my book The Bullseye Masterpiece, if you want to a beginners guide you can take with you.

    Let me know how it goes.
    I hope that you are having a great time with archery!

    Moritz

    Reply
christinamk April 3, 2016

My brother and I used to have beginner bows and arrows. The arrowheads were very dull. We always found it so fun to shoot at targets. My high school gym class even had a unit on archery! But we did not learn half of the things you talk about on your website. I had no idea that the sport can be so complex! Are there archery teams to join?

Reply
    Moritz April 5, 2016

    Hey,

    I am glad you have found some useful information on my website. 🙂
    There is a lot people should know about archery when they really want to get good at it.

    I would recommend to read my book The Bullseye Masterpiece to get a compact guide that covers all aspects of archery for beginners.

    Also take a look at the different bow types and my archery training.

    Let me know if you have any question.

    Moritz

    Reply
Olivia Weiland July 7, 2017

If I have a tarp as my target will the target arrowhead go through it?

Reply
    Moritz July 7, 2017

    Hello, Olivia.

    Can you please clarify what you mean?
    Are you saying that you have a target that is wrapped in a tarp? Or is it just the tarp?

    Or do you mean that you are using a tarp as a backstop net?

    A tarp is not always the same.
    I would need more information to give a correct answer.

    But if the target is wrapped in a tarp, the arrow usually will go through it.

    If you are using a tarp as a backstop net, make sure it hangs loosely. It can only stop arrows if it can absorb the energy.
    A net that is hung up too tightly, can’t stop an arrow.

    So, if it is just the tarp, and it is hung up tightly, the arrow will most likely just go through it.

    I hope that answered your question.
    If you are still unsure, let me know and I will help you out.

    Moritz

    Reply
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