If you find yourself in the fortunate and extremely rare position of being a survivor of the zombie apocalypse then you are going to need to know a few tactics for defending yourself. First up is how not to do it.
There are various ways to take down a zombie that you may have considered. You may have seen this in movies, or a video game, or talked about it with friends. However, all of these methods are incorrect and incredibly dangerous to yourself, so take heed..
Underestimating the threat.
There are countless examples where a survivor has been killed by a zombie because they think that the zombie is still their friend or loved one. Remember, once infected there is little to no chance of turning that person back and they should be considered a threat.
Try to avoid going hand to hand with a zombie, the risk of getting bitten or overpowered by more zombies is very high and bear in mind that you are handling a dead body so even if you do destroy the brain you must immediately sanitise yourself to avoid contracting any diseases associated with decomposing flesh.
Zombies can see and hear perfectly fine and unless they were blinded or deafened before infected, then they will be able to pinpoint your location and will head directly for you. Even if you have the perfect survival location, you do not want to be attracting zombies through loud music, the running of engines, light and smoke from fires and so on. Remember that they can wait forever and that you cannot.
Setting zombies on fire.
This may be tempting and relatively easy to do since a lot of things burn. However, please refrain from using fire to combat the undead because zombies do not feel pain and will continue to attack even when on fire which will make them even more dangerous. A zombie on fire will put your defences, fellow survivors, and supplies at risk and so using fire should only be considered if you are not concerned with giving away your position and are far away enough (high up) for the fire and resulting infected smoke to harm you.
Fighting in the dark.
Moving about during the night, and entering dark places immediately puts you at incredible risk – even if you’re not using a light and a zombie can’t see well in the dark, they can hear you and the slightest sound will attract their grasping hands and hungry mouths which are both very difficult to accurately avoid in the dark. Also, the darkness is prime location for survivors to be surprised by crawler zombies; constantly checking your surroundings can often mean that you don’t check what’s near your feet.
Fighting hand to hand.
Never try and fight a zombie in hand to hand combat; the risk of getting scratched or bitten is far too high. You don’t want to get caught off balance and end up wrestling the thing on the floor, it is too easy to then be overwhelmed by more zombies, and once a zombie has you in its clutches it is incredibly difficult to get away. Fighting a zombie with your hands is totally not advised, if the option is that or run, then run. Throw objects at it, try and get a door between yourself and the zombie, look for anything that can be used as a blunt object and use it to try and crush the zombie’s head.
Fear is a tough enemy and although it will be difficult at first to choke down your emotions and overcome the horrific act of destroying a zombie’s brain, the most important thing it to not panic. Becoming flustered and panicing will lead to mistakes which will lead to you dying. Remain calm and methodical when combating zombies.
Getting trigger happy.
A novice zombie survivor will always go straight for the “guns, lots of guns” approach. This is because it’s what is often done in video games; get a big machine gun and casually mow down dozens of zombies. If you see these people then avoid them. Using guns requires the relevant skills of being able to quickly shoot to kill, reload, clear a jammed weapon, and the constant maintenance of the weapon. Secondly, it isn’t a good idea to become reliant on guns because guns need ammo and ammo runs out. Even if you are a well trained weapons expert and find yourself in what seems to be the perfect survival spot with seemingly unlimited ammunition the danger is that you will become trigger happy and use your guns too much which will inevitably attract more zombies. It’s a classic scenario that doesn’t leave many options for an escape route where a group of survivors hold off a zombie horde from a rooftop until their food and water runs out and they are forced to move out through the horde – it never ends well. As a survivor you should never be looking to go and attack zombies, during a zombie apocalypse the infected will outnumber the survivors and your priority should be on defence, defence, defence.
Using high tech weaponry
This one’s simple; high tech weaponry has been developed to combat and oppress human enemies. Zombies don’t have any high tech weapons, they have: strength in numbers, a lack of emotion, and a relentless never-tiring goal to come and get you. Using flashy weapons will attract attention, be relatively ineffective against such a simple killing machine as the zombie, and will create a false sense of security. You will only be as strong as your weapon is, and it can create a dangerous perception that you are invincible.
During the zombie apocalypse anything that is high tech will require maintenance, and maintenance requires skill and spare parts, both of which will be in short supply when all you’ve got is within a short distance. So unless you find yourself on an aircraft carrier, or similarly well equipped and crewed ship then it is not a good idea to become reliant on complex weaponry no matter how cool you look.
Now that we’ve run through the common mistakes when defending from zombies, here’s a few tactics that we would recommend considering:
During the early days of the zombie apocalypse you may find yourself armed with a long distance rifle and silencer. If so, use this weapon sparingly without giving away your position and it will come in useful. However, unless you are well trained in using this weapon we would not suggest learning on the job.
Use melee weapons.
Get used to swinging a sharp weapon – if you get past the first few days being skilled in removing the zombie’s head and destroying the brain will quickly become a regular process for you. The faster and quieter you can do it, the better your chances of being able to move on to a safer area.
Keep it quiet.
There’s no need to go around shooting guns and making a lot of noise if you can help it. Keep your zombie kills quiet and you’ll avoid attracting more of them. Use a crossbow for the perfect weapon to keep your distance and maintain your stealth.
Angle of attack.
As is always the case with human history, the victors of battle have taken the high ground and therefore maintained a dominance over the enemy. Think about archers in castles during medieval times, and more recently an army that has “air superiority”. When death comes from above there is very little you can do about it. This is well worth considering when defending from zombies, especially fast zombies.
Wearing armour can really blur your judgement as it is only useful against human enemies. It is much better to keep your clothing practical and hair cut short to avoid having anything that can be easily grabbed by a zombie. Being practical will be much more effective than wasting your time looking cool.
Destroy the brain.
If you’re familiar with zombies then you’ll already know this, but it’s amazing how many people still think that removing the head of a zombie will remove the threat. You must destroy the brain of a zombie to stop it forever. A dismembered zombie head is still a threat.