When it comes to tooling up for the zombie apocalypse, many people immediately think about hand guns, machine guns, bazookas, and other ridiculous weaponry. Yup, they’re all pretty cool and often used in movies and video games. Unfortunately even if you do possess any or all of the above, the chances are that when the zombies come you won’t be anywhere near your weapons cache. At best you’ll have remembered your bug out bag and will be faced with the initial choices of searching for an escape route, finding weapons, and meeting up with your friends and loved ones. That is of course if you have come to your senses and are working through your ZAP (Zombie Action Plan).
As the zombie apocalypse progresses from hours to days to weeks to months (and perhaps even years) the choice and availability of weaponry will change depending on your situation. For now though, let’s just focus on the immediate need for a weapon to defend yourself with and one that will be useful in fighting your way out of your location and on to a more secure one.
First things first, the purpose of your weapon will be initially to put zombies down. As you progress, you will of course have to start considering protecting yourself from other people, but right now you’ll have to grab what’s available and use it to crush a zombie skull or decapitate its head from the body. WARNING: decapitation is not a means of removing the zombie threat, but it will buy you some valuable seconds and it does look pretty awesome. Just don’t forget that zombie heads are still a danger until the brain has been destroyed. So, a weapon that can severely crush or dismember a head is pretty important, and if you want to survive for longer than a few kills, then your weapon will also have to be durable and tough enough to last for a few days to a couple of weeks.
So, stopping power, availability and durability are important when picking your weapon. This in fact brings us nicely to a little video break – check out this scene from Pulp Fiction where Butch chooses his weapon. A lot of his thought processes can in fact be directly applied to weapon selection during the zombie apocalypse:
All the weapons selected in the video above are definitely effective and good choices. They are of course all melee weapons and require some degree of strength in the upper body and arms to use effectively. If you are a 12 year old girl then first of all you really shouldn’t be reading this, it’s pretty violent stuff, and secondly you’ll be best suited to using a more delicate weapon such as a knitting needle or a pen which you can use to disable the zombie’s brain via the eye socket.
Now let’s go through the weapons list to see what will be the most useful.
Blunt and simple, like the baseball bat this is the strong man’s choice. The bat or machete will be effective if you’ve got a decent swing and are keen on getting within close range of your target. However since zombies do not feel pain, the bat and the machete are quite similar since if you do not get an effective ‘kill’ with your first swing then you will have to move very quickly to get a second or even third swing in to finish the job. This can waste valuable seconds and can be incredibly tiring. If you’ve got the brawn (and the balls) to use this, then go for it.
A classic weapon, but can you honestly say you know where you can get one of these easily? The obvious downsides of this are: if you haven’t used one before you’ll most likely injure yourself, it will only last for as long as you’ve got the fuel to keep it running, and that it is incredibly noisy. Having said that, when being wielded correctly this will slice through zombie heads with no problem at all. If you are a tree surgeon, then this of course should be your weapon of choice.
Brutally simple, the hammer is capable of delivering blunt force trauma to a zombies head with very little effort. Coupled with the fact that this is an incredibly available weapon, you’ve got to be prepared for the fact that you will probably end up using one of these when the zombies come. One thing worth mentioning is that you will need a strong stomach to use one (and all other melee weapons to be honest) as you will be very close to your target and will be making a terrible mess. Risk of infection from a zombie bite or from infected blood will be very high when using this so it’s probably best to keep your mouth shut and save the shouting of profanities until after you’re finished. The last thing you want as a hammer-wielding zombie survivor is to be taken down by swallowing infected blood from a splatter kill because you were too busy shouting.
Similar to the hammer, this should be fairly easy to find and has pretty decent stopping power. Just remember to keep it sharp, keep it clean, and it will double up as an excellent tool for everyday survival (chopping firewood, etc). Best used in wide open spaces and not inside since the last thing you want is to miss with a big swing of the axe and to be taken down by a zombie whilst you’re busy trying to get it unstuck from a doorframe.
Reasonably available, you should be able to find a crowbar in most tool sheds, or perhaps even a tyre iron in the boot of a car (they are equally effective). The crowbar is obviously much stronger and heavier than the baseball bat and so will be much more effective with just one well timed swing. The crowbar is durable but still means that you have to get very close to your target. We’d suggest using this (and all melee weapons) whilst running to avoid becoming backed into a corner. Secondly, its main appeal is that it will double up as a door and window opener which could prove useful when putting distance between yourself and a zombie.
Hmm.. Look at them. Unless you’re incredibly strong in the arms and shoulders department (and therefore able to literally snip the head off a zombie) then these are going to be hard work. Awkward and cumbersome, we advise you avoid these.
If you scrolled straight down to here and started reading, then you already know that this is the best weapon to use against the zombie hordes, so well done you. Easy to maintain, easy to become skilled at using, silent to use, and extremely effective. When the time comes, if you do possess a sword, or discover a sword then cherish it. Like the old saying goes, “take good care of your sword and it will take good care of you.”
Now look, if you really are concerned about having a gun but haven’t been trained to use one you will be learning on the move and will be incredibly prone to injuring yourself. If you can handle a gun then they are excellent for stopping a zombie at range but you will be forced to strictly conserve your ammunition and not allow yourself to waste bullets. Lastly, everyone knows that gun shots can be heard for miles and will always alert other zombies to your location. Only use a gun if you know what you’re doing otherwise forget it.
As far as zombie weapons go, this is the daddy – the crossbow is the ultimate weapon in the defence against the zombie hordes. Quiet, deadly, quick to reload, easy to maintain, lighter than a gun, and it allows you to keep your distance. We would only recommend using the crossbow if you are certain that you’ll be able to retrieve your crossbow bolt from your downed target. If you’re holed up somewhere and defending then this is the same as any firearm and will run out of ammunition. You’ll need to put in some serious practice with this weapon as you will not have the luxury of wasting arrows or crossbow bolts. Like the gun, you should only be using this weapon if there are a manageable number of zombies; if it’s a steadily growing horde you’ll need to think about saving the ammo that you’ve got left and making a swift exit because retrieving your used crossbow bolts will be too dangerous. Each shot must be a confirmed kill if you are going to survive the zombie apocalypse with this weapon – the crossbow is for experts only.
Weapons that may seem like a good idea but are in fact going to shorten your survival chances:
A garden rake. A flick-knife. A frying pan. A golf club.
All useless. They would be good to use on people, or for routine survival, but not when defending yourself from zombies! It will be much more beneficial to your chances of survival if you think clearly about your choice of weapon and try to avoid any people you see carrying those weapons as they will not last long.