So, how do you want to kill your zombies? Fire? Bullets? Big assed sword? Let’s think about this for a moment. The dead are roaming your neighborhood. Your house isn’t secure. You have a backpack full of clothes, food, water, and maybe even your toothbrush. What weapons and tools do you grab on the way out?
There are a lot of factors that go into this decision. I’d have to say weight is going to be the first thing you think about. You’re already carrying something like 25 or 30 pounds on your back. What else do you want?
Do you want a gun? If so, what kind? You may want a gun. There’s pro’s and con’s to guns:
Cons- Noise. Guns are noisy. Under the right condition, a gunshot can be heard a mile away. If you shoot someone or something everyone in the neighborhood is going to know you’re there. Shoot more than once and most people can tell what roughly where you are. Do that during the zombie apocalypse, and either you move, or you’re going to have a lot of hungry new neighbors.
Guns are hungry little creatures. You have to feed a gun. If you run out of ammo you have a 5 pound block of metal and plastic. You can of course hoard ammo, and carry it with you. But, ammo is heavy. I was looking at my stash today, and realized I have about 500 rounds of several calibers, and it weighs about 30 more pounds
Training. Most people aren’t trained to use a gun effectively. Don’t forget, zombie don’t die unless you shoot them in the head (at least in my world). Most military and hunter types are taught to shoot at the largest target, the chest. Remember the movie The Patriot “aim small, miss small.?” Head shots are tough under the best of conditions. Throw in the stress of a zombie trying to eat your brains, and you have recipe for disaster.
Along with training, comes the fact that guns are dirty little creatures. If you don’t clean them regularly, they will eventually stop working. Some guns handle the dirt better than others. The AK-47 is known for it’s ability to fire after rolling in enough mud to drown a pig. The AR/M-16 types are more finicky. It has to do with the self-loading system, and the fact that the tolerances are tighter, which means less dirt=more problems
Pros- Lethality. If you hit a zombie in the right spot, it’s dead with one shot. IF.
Guns are about the only practical weapon that lets you kill a zombie, or person, from range. The best zombie is a dead zombie. The best dead zombie is a dead zombie over there.
Guns are versatile. You can use them to hunt, if it’s a rifle. You can use them to defend yourself from the terrified masses out there struggling to survive.
So, what kind of gun do you want? The question of use and training are going to be for you to answer. Some people are proponents of the.22 caliber rifle. It’s small, light, and accurate, it is relatively quiet, and the ammo is very light. My problem with the .22 is that unless you plan on living off of raccoons and rats, it’s not a good hunting gun. Plus, it is not a man stopper in a real firefight with live humans.
The AR or other 5.56 semiautomatic is not a bad choice. You can hunt descent sized game. They definitely can kill a human at very long distances, and it’s a very accurate round. You will have to sacrifice weight, and everyone will know you’re shooting one when you do. An added bonus is that you will probably be able to scavenge a large amount of ammo after the military collapses, at least in NATO countries.
AK’s are not a bad option, but it can sometimes be inaccurate, and the round is bigger, therefore heavier.
Hunting rifles are great for super long distance shooting. If you’re going to pick zombies off from 200 yards with headshots, you want a blot action hunting rifle.
For closer in defensive situations, a good pistol is a must. Just, keep in mind that most people who are trained can’t hit headshots regularly outside of 15 feet. Add stress to that, and you’re really only going to be able to headshot a zombie about 10 feet away from you. That’s really close.
What type of pistol? High capacity, high capacity, high capacity!!! I don’t care if a .45 is a man stopper and a 9mm might not be. If you hit a zombie in the head, it goes down. I say find a good reliable 9mm with a lot of bullets, and get good with it.
I’ll lump shotguns in with pistols due to the limited range. Capacity, capacity, capacity! In the apocalypse, a .410 is as good as a 12 ga. Shotgun’s are also easy to use with a relatively low level of training.
The thing to keep in mind about a shotgun is that generally they have low capacity, BUCKSHOT is a must. The pump action makes noise, and the shells are bulky and heavy. That being said, one of my main characters in APEX carries a shotgun. She’s quiet the badass with it.
So, you’ve thought about what gun you’re going to use. What else do you want? You don’t want to just go around shooting every zombie you see. You need something quiet.
There are several tools I’m a big fan of. Anyone who has ever been in a discussion with me about zombies can tell you I love a pitchfork. Here’s why: It’s long. You can keep a zombie a good 5 or 6 feet away from your face with it. It has 3 or 4 tines. This means it’s harder to miss. It’s like a short spear with the added bonus of extra sharp points. In the Middle Ages, when they called up the local peasants, they didn’t give them sword. They gave them spears. Why? All you need to know how to do is thrust.
But, most people don’t have a pitchfork. Plus, it’s pretty heavy. Again, keep in mind how much you’ll be traipsing through the woods, mountains, or desert with.
Here in America, I’m also a fan of the baseball/ softball bat. Most men in America and a fair amount of females know how to swing a bat. They’re not too heavy. I would avoid the $100 and up models though. Those tend to be very thin walled; good for sending softballs over fences, but pretty fragile. You don’t want to break your club in the middle of a fight.
Let’s take a moment to talk about sword. Some people are huge fans of the katana (Thanks Michone). But is it really a good choice? First, how many people have access to a katana? I don’t mean the sword shop, comic shop version. Those are not live blades usually. They’re show pieces; another tool that will fail you when you really need it.
How about a real katana? Do you want to grab that? Yes, if you have any idea how to use it. Different swards are made for different things. The katana is truly a slicing weapon. You don’t hack with it, but draw it rapidly and forcefully against your target, much like a kitchen knife cutting chicken.
The gladius, from Greeks and Romans, is made a stabbing weapon, not a slicing weapon. Imagine stabbing a zombie in the head, and the point doesn’t pierce the skull, but skims off to the side. Uh, oh! I’d rather carry a good hunting knife, or even a machete. They machetes on the market now are all live blades, and made to cut through woody brush.
How about a broad sword? Again, most examples out there are for show. If you do happen to find a good one, it wouldn’t be too bad. This is truly a hacking weapon. It’s meant for the weight of the sword to help it drive it’s way through armor. If you happen to hit a zombie in the head with it, you will probably cleave it’s skull and brain.
What other household items can we find to use as a weapon? What else should I consider before walking out the door?
Shovels make pretty good weapons. You can use it to crush the skull of a zombie; as well as using the sharp point to decapitate a zombie. Don’t forget the tip of a shovel is made to pierce the ground and could do that for a zombie’s neck too.
Hatchets are ok. They are made to cut deep. I’ve found that a good hard swing with a hatchet can throw you off balance, exposing you to attack from an undefended quarter. Think twice about this weapon.
Claw hammer is a must! Not only can you use it as a weapon, (claw to the brain!) but you will need a hammer at some point and time. It’s light, and doesn’t take much space.
Axe, mauls, and sledge hammers are out! They’re heavy, and you have to be able to control them. Again, imagine swinging at a zombie with a 10 lb sledge hammer, and you miss. The hammer hits the ground, your teeth rattle, and that zombie is nibbling on your shoulder. Keep the heavy weapons that you have to swing in the shed.
Screw driver. I like a good screwdriver as a tool, but not as a weapon. Plus, you can get a multi-tool and have a blade, screwdriver, and even pliers. Plus, don’t forget you’re going to need a knife for food. You don’t want to cut your food with your zombie-gut-covered hunting knife.
My personal load out is about 50 pounds. I’ll have a .45 cal pistol, semi-auto 5.56mm rifle, baseball bat, hunting knife. Plus all the survival gear and ammo I’ll have on my backpack. Hopefully I’ll have my family with me, and we can split the load a bit. Plus, I would love to have the shotgun, but I ain’t Rambo, and can’t carry three guns.
None of my characters in APEX have thought ahead, so they travel much lighter than I would. But, then again, it wouldn’t be a good book if it was all about people sitting around joking and eating peanut butter crackers.
Don’t forget to give APEX a read for more weapons ideas.