Zombie Survival on the Attack.
A breakdown of weapons useful for the zombie apocalypse and commonly believed superior weapons which in fact are not.
Projectile weapons are of course the most desirable of weapons for the zombie apocalypse, and with good reason, however there are some projectile weapons popularized by film and T.V. that are in fact very impractical.
1. A) Firearms
First off is the shotgun. It has been a staple as a zombie killing tool in many a zombie work of fiction, and not without reason it definitely has a lot of power which is a great weapon for completely destroying the brain. However, there are downsides to a shotgun as a zombie killer. Primarily of course is the noise, a shotgun is loud. Which is very good for inducing fear into the living, but zombies don’t feel fear, they are driven only by hunger for the living. So rather then putting the fear of death into people around you are simply stating loudly for all the zombies in a two mile radius “Hey! Zombies! I’m right her! Come eat me!”
My choice would for a Pistol would actually be of the weaker calibers you can get. A .22 or .9mm pistol. It may not have that long of range or much power, but the latter is precisely the reason I prefer it. A typical .22 has enough power to enter the skull, (depending on the distance and you shouldn’t be trying to shoot zombies at a long distance with a pistol anyway. They are slow and there is no point wasting ammo when you can simply keep away) but not enough power to exit. This means you have a wad of led simply rattling inside a zombie skull allowing for considerable brain matter to be scrambled up with minimum effort. Also a suppressor for a .22 is more effective seeing as a .22 makes less noise when fired then most other guns, especially a shotgun.
As for sniper rifles a lower caliber wouldn’t be the best choice considering with this kind of firearm the goal would be to take out zombies accurately at a distance. That does not mean however that you need to go extremely overboard with your rifle choice. Rifle distance accuracy is rated in meters. In my opinion a distance of 800 meters (or over 2,600 feet) is plenty of space for you to take out a large amount of zombies before they get to close for comfort. My personal choice would be the Harris M89 bolt action rifle. The reason I like this one is the fact that it uses an M14 automatic rifle ammo cartage which allows you to have more ammo (they come in 5, 10, or 20 round count) than your typical bolt action rifle.
1. B) Bows and Crossbows.
Now, I am more preferable to a bow myself (mainly because I know how to use it and I’m not a bad shot with it) but there is no denying that a crossbow provides much more power. I will now go over pros and cons of both.
A crossbow has more power than your typical bow, which is obviously a pro for the crossbow. However there is a downside, they take longer to load then a regular bow which is another reason I prefer a bow. You can fire and reload a regular bow much faster then you can with a crossbow. Also with modern compound bows you are able to have a much higher draw weight (higher draw weight=faster velocity with more penetrating power) then you would be able to with a recurve or long bow. Another advantage of the modern compound bow is that when you pull it to its full draw length it ease’s off the tension and resistance of the bows string. Another advantage to both bows and crossbows is retrievable ammo. If it is a group of say 7 to 15 zombies a high draw weight bow is likely able to do the job and able to recover ammunition, though the crossbow may not be up to the challenge do to the fact you can not reload it as quickly as I have already mentioned.
1. C) Throwing Weapons.
Throwing weapons are not that practical really seeing as most people lack the coordination/skill and strength to throw a knife with enough ability to penetrate the skull. That does not mean you should write off throwing weapons completely seeing as an axe is likely to be able to crack a skull open with enough force to also damage the brain as well as a well thrown spear. If you have any of these it is not a bad idea to use them in a pinch although mostly it’s a one shot deal and you are unlikely going to be able to recover your weapon. Throwing weapons also tend to need more practice to have the ability to perform well with them and are a short range weapon. If you are not surrounded you’d be better off just running, and if you are surrounded it’d be ill advised to throw your only weapons.
2. Hand Held Weapons.
Hand held weapons are a must because you never know when you will be in close proximity to a zombie or multiple zombies with no more ammunition. Another vital reason for a hand held weapon is, depending on which you choose, it can be used as a tool in non zombie situations.
2. A) Bladed Weapons.
Some bladed weapons are very useful in a zombie attack situation whilst others are quite impractical. The sword for instance, it does not really matter what kind of sword as almost all are not a good choice. There are a couple reasons for this one is availability; it is unlikely that you would come across an actual sword tempered properly for proper battle purposes. Most swords that are sold at shops are replica’s, meaning they are not built for actual combat and are most likely factory made with little concern for durability. The second reason swords are not that useful is depending on the type of sword it may be used more for stabbing then slicing. Swords are predominately meant for damaging flesh not piercing into or caving in a skull. True there are swords meant for beheading but a severed zombie head can still bite causing an unsuspecting passer by to maybe step near the head and get an ankle bit.
There is also the spear. It has a great amount of reach to keep the zombies away from you which is a great advantage but it is a piercing weapon not a chopping weapon. If you go with a halberd (which is a medieval weapon similar to a spear and has a spear point with an axe head as well) you can chop at their head but spears like this have a similar problem to the sword which is they will be hard to find and even harder to find a battle ready one. They are also awkward to carry and will really slow you down if you are traveling in confined spaces. So I would avoid these almost completely.
Axe’s and hatchets are another choice in bladed weaponry. One that is more useful in my opinion then a sword. An axe gives you more reach then a hatchet and plenty of power to crunch through a skull and into the brain. However an axe is meant to be used with two hands and in my opinion you should always have a hand free. Which is why I prefer the hatchet, it may give go leas reach then a full length axe but it has just as much power thanks to its simple yet effective design. Both axes and hatchets give you more penetrating power due to the fact that they are heaviest at the end of the weapon which allows for a greater amount of force because it build up momentum better then a sword since most swords are equally weighted throughout the length of the blade. Try swinging a bowie knife into a tree, now do it with an axe or hatchet. You will have a better result with the axe or hatchet. Another advantage is you are less likely to break a hatchet then a sword. Especially if it’s a full metal one, though keep in mind that that an axe can reverberate force down the length of the handle causing a jolt to hit your hands and arms which can cause pain. Practice with an axe (not on skulls but on stumps and whatnot) and you will be able to avoid this and if it does happen you can be prepared and shake it off better.
Now to my personal favorite, the machete. A machete gives you both benefits of the hatchet and axe. It gives you more reach then a hatchet but can be wielded with one hand quite effectively. Another advantage to the machete is its relative ease to obtain, which is also true of axes and hatchets of course. You can walk into most stores that have a camping section and find one. They are sturdy and strong and similarly to the hatchet/axe are weighted heavier at the end allowing a larger degree of force to cave in the skull which is good for someone who may not be that strong. It is for these reasons that the machete would be my recommended hand held bladed weapon.
2. B) Bludgeoning Weapons.
There is a wide array of choices for a blunt force weapon. The most obvious being the baseball bat. The baseball bat is certainly an adequate weapon for crunching zombie heads even if a bit simplistic. A base ball bat does have flaws though. Similarly to the axe it is less effective when only using one hand and I do believe it is important to have a free hand, whether to hold a second hand held weapon or a firearm. Another flaw with the baseball bat is they are less sturdy then one would think.
There is a wide array of hammers that can be used. A sledge hammer is the best option out of the hammer category because of its length and heavy weighted end. Though again is less effective when wielded with one hand. There are single handed sledge hammers of course. Though hammers, unlike hatchets axes and machetes, do take a larger amount of force to do some serious zombie brain destroying damage.
Finally there is a mace. The medieval kind not the stuff you spray in muggers’ eyes, nor the kind with the chain. This has similar problems to the swords, and similar advantages to the machete. The disadvantages are it’ll be hard to find an actual battle ready mace, though it gives you more reach then a hammer as well as a heavy weighted end allowing for heavy force to crack the skull and damage the brain enough to kill the zombie. It is also supposed to be wielded with one hand so there are no problems there. This is why it is in my opinion the best choice for a bludgeoning weapon for zombies however since it is hard to find I can not recommend it. So as a second resort I would choose a sturdy single handed hammer, I personally would avoid most bludgeoning weapons though.
3. Explosives and Incendiary Weapons.
3. A) Flame Weapons and Incendiary Explosives.
Flame throwers will definitely light up a crowd of zombies no problem but that really isn’t the most practical of offensive plays. On the living a flamethrower will cause them to panic and run for cover for fear of being set on fire and that pain that comes with it, and therein lays the problem, zombies don’t feel pain or fear. So this will definitely kill them in time, but they will still be able to bite you while on fire before the heat kills their brain. Flashy? Yes. Effective? No.
In relation to other flame related weapons such as Molotov cocktails, torches, and flaming gasoline containers. I personally think these flaming weapons are not a very useful approach to use against zombies. Not to say fire doesn’t have a place in a situation dealing with zombies, but the situation in which they are useful would be to burn their bodies once they have once again been killed.
Incendiary explosives are different. Those do create a shockwave that could potentially knock zombies down, and since zombies are slow it takes them longer to stand back up from being knocked down which would be helpful as a stalling tactic to allow you to create a bit more distance between you and zombies.
3. B) Shrapnel Spreading Explosives.
As for shrapnel explosives, these are more useful than the aforementioned incendiary ones. True they are not accurate enough to insure brain destroying damage but they are definitely effective in slowing them down. For instance they could blow limbs off making their movement even more hindered than their rotting bodies do already.
So this is all the advice I will give for now on offensive preparation. You must remember that you still will need to train with all of these weapons to be more effective in their use when they are needed most in the field. Train when you can, try not to do so much training with firearms that you deplete your ammo to soon. I say again, good luck, keep safe, and always prepare for the worst.