The Different Types of Arrows

The different types of arrows for archery are being used with compound, recurve, & longbows. There are specific types of arrows for each type of bow.

Broadhead arrows

Broadhead arrows are used to hunt game. They are sharp at the end & usually have cutting edges like feathers. This arrow has 3 parts- an arrowhead, ferrule, and nock. An arrow is considered broadhead when it has a cutting edge or blades on it.

Bodkin arrows

Bodkin arrows were historically used as piercing weapons that would penetrate chain mail armor easily due to its needle shape with no barbs or cutting edges. Bodkin points could also be made of wood, bone, antler horn or metal & these were used more for practice than hunting. They are not used in modern times because they do not offer enough damage to animals.

Bodkin arrows have 3 parts- arrowhead, ferrule, and nock.

Blunt broadhead arrows

Blunt broadheads are designed to be used with compound bows only & the blades fold back on impact so that it does not get stuck deep in an animal’s body cavity but instead cause a larger wound channel by cutting through flesh, fat & muscle tissue while also greatly reducing risk of injury to the game or archer when the animal runs off after being hit. They can however cause more damage if you shoot them into meat & that is why they are recommended for target practice rather than hunting. Blunt broadheads are not commonly used in modern times.

Blunt broadhead arrows have 3 parts- arrowhead, ferrule, and nock.

Field points arrows

Field points are the type of arrows that come with your bow in the package when you buy it. Field point arrows are used for target practice or casual shooting. They do not cause fatal or structural damage to game like broadhead, blunt broadhead, & bodkin arrows. Field tips can also be made of wood, bone, antler horn or metal & they have 3 parts- arrowhead, ferrule, and nock.

Fletching (fletchings)

Fletchings improve accuracy & help stabilize the arrow’s flight after it is released from the bow string when an archer shoots an arrow. They also help give lift to cut through wind better so it goes further if there is wind resistance

Target arrows

Target arrows are used for target practice. They are heavier than field points, but not as heavy as broadheads, blunt broadheads, bodkins, or blunts.

Bamboo shafts vs fiberglass shafts

Advantages of bamboo arrows over the newer fiberglass arrows include fastenings that hold better & can withstand repeated usage without loosening off easily, lightness of weight so you don’t feel it much when shooting especially using a bow with low draw weight, no string buzz due to having less mass compared to fiberglass arrows which may cause slight vibrations in the bow after release resulting to lower accuracy. Disadvantage is that these take time before they start splitting even if gradually damaged by constant use. Fiberglass shafts are lighter in weight & last longer but they can cause string buzz which affects accuracy. They also tend to be a bit more expensive than bamboo shafts.

Other advantages of using fiberglass arrows over bamboo arrows include not requiring carrying out routine maintenance like sealing, varnishing or waxing, they do not demand much effort when it comes to putting on fletchings or points since the material is very thin. Bamboo arrow shafts require waxing after every shot because moisture from humidity makes them swell thus affecting their performance while any slight vibration in the bow causes inaccuracy and reduces speed due to having greater mass compared to the new fiberglass limbs which have less mass. Fiberglass arrows however need care too because moisture can still seep in, even if the shafts are made of a thinner material & that can greatly affect accuracy too.

Crossbow arrows

When you use a crossbow, it is crucial that your bolts or arrows are compatible with the limbs. Crossbow bolts should fit into the groove on top of the limb & they should not be too long which could cause deformation of the limb.

Fishing arrows

Fishing arrows should be made of a non-metallic material like carbon, fiberglass or aluminum because they will not corrode in water. They also should not contain any metal parts which could damage the fishing line if it gets stuck on the arrow & end up breaking it instead. These kinds of arrows must have an arrowhead that is very sharp to pierce through the fish scales, bones and fins.


Arrow feathers are usually used with target shooting arrows but can also be used for hunting since they give good lift & speed. However, most hunters use synthetic materials for their fletchings, especially today when there are very useful glues that are sold commercially to fix fletchings despite weather conditions

Hunting arrows

Hunting arrows are generally made of materials that are more flexible & durable than target shooting arrows since they need to stand the wear & tear from being released through a bow.

Blunt or blunt broadhead arrow

A blunted or blunt broadhead is basically an arrow with a flat, rubber tip attached to it for hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels. These kinds of arrows kill by creating a large, crushing wound instead of penetrating the skin and cutting internal organs. The shape and size of these arrowheads give them their own unique function for this purpose unlike in normal sharp pointed arrowheads which cause penetration and bleeding when shot at an animal. A blunted broadhead arrow shoots through skin then compresses bones, breaks off and just stays in place unlike sharp arrowheads which first cut and then removes the object.

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