Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style Part Duo

In my first post, I started a conversation about what my weapon choices would be during a zombie apocalypse.  It’s gotten other people to post their thoughts too, which is cool.  I’m restricting my thoughts to weapons I already own, or could realistically acquire with little trouble in today’s world, so any civilian-accessible weapon that could reasonably be acquired.  I’m not going to worry about being ultra-specific, since I’m assuming this would be a long-term loadout, and things will break and need to be replaced with similar objects, so specifying a particular type of scope or stock will not be part of the plan.  Part 1 dealt with shotguns, due to their near-synonymous nature with zombie-fighting, and today I will go a little further, spending much of this post dealing with two things, one of them being firearms.

But first, the Most Important Thing: addressing Unitaskers.

What is a Unitasker?  A unitasker is any item that is good for doing only one thing, and is pretty much useless for doing anything else.  I got introduced to the concept through my Personal Guru, Alton Brown, only he was dealing with kitchen implements.  In his mind, kitchen space is finite, and should be occupied only by items that can perform more than one function.  So something like, say, a rice cooker or bread machine would be left off his list unless he had extra room, since their function can be performed by something else that also can perform other tasks.

I take the same approach with Zombie Gear.  If I’m in a superfortress defending it against the undead, then I could have pretty much anything I wanted, since space wouldn’t be at a premium and weight isn’t much of a factor.  Rifles with scopes would be awesome then, for headshotting from a comfortable perch and safe distance, along with a hundred other things.  My assumption, though, is that before I get to a safe, sustainable place, I’m going to need to be on the move.  That means food and water, extra clothing, a med kit, ammo for anything I’m carrying, maps, and everything else a person needs to just survive on the move without worrying about being chased by zombies.  That kind of load prevents someone from strapping on a hunting rifle, shotgun, 10 handguns, a katana, 6 Rambo knives, and a case of Molotov cocktails.  That person would essentially be immobilized, and a heavily-armed snack.  I’m also not going to assume that I have a vehicle carrying a lot of gear, due to the possible impassibility of roads.  This is my Worst Case Scenario gear: on foot and on my own.

For this mobile profile, utility to weight will be key.  There is no point loading down to the point of fatigue when you may need to sprint 100 yards to escape a horde after spending 12 hours on a hike.  That 7 pound shotgun is going to weigh a hell of a lot by that point, and when you’re scrambling somewhere in a hurry, having your hands free is very helpful.  Sure, you can sling it over your shoulder, but that can be pretty unbalancing when one slip can mean Game Over with no option to Continue.

The Unitasker limitation along with weight concerns eliminates most heavy weapons like rifles and shotguns from consideration for me.  I know this puts me in a pretty small minority, but the only “heavy weapon” I would carry would be the sawed-off Mad Max shotgun I described in Part 1.  Light, carried in a holster, accessible quickly and packs a punch at short range, and the two shots means I can’t get in the mindset of Hero Guy.  In a zombie apocalypse, no one gets points for zombie kills, and the only number that counts is how many days you’ve been alive.

The Unitasker limitation is also a tough one for just about any firearm.  Let’s face it: as I’ve said before, pistols are good for one thing, and that’s killing human beings.  They aren’t good for anything else, but they are damn good at that one thing.  The shock and damage from having a small object rip through sensitive and vital areas is devastating to people.

Problem is, zombies aren’t people.

Shock from a bullet wound doesn’t matter to a zombie.  Despite what the movies tell us, a handgun or even a shotgun blast won’t lift someone off their feet and throw them back (if they could, the shooter would be propelled in an equal and opposite direction).  Assuming that the only thing that will kill a zombie is to destroy its brain (or perhaps sever its spinal cord at the base of the brain as an option, but we’ll just go with brain trauma), then there is a very small target that is presented, protected by some of the thickest bone the human body can produce.  The result is a small, armored, moving target.  Handguns aren’t particularly accurate – the short barrel length means that the slightest variation in aim will result in catastrophic misses, and like the maxim goes, you can’t miss fast enough to win.  Except when a zombie is prone and you’ve got a boot on its chest, the chances of a killing headshot are really, really slim.

That said, I would carry a pair of pistols, most likely 9mm Glocks (which I make fun of due to a particular conversation I had with someone once, and which I still parody from time to time).  Why them?  They’re light, they are very commonly used by both civilians and law enforcement, the ammo is common, and essentially are very replaceable.  Why two?  Just in case one gets dropped or runs out of ammo at a bad time.  Now, I would certainly not hesitate to replace them with .45s or with other manufacturers as the need arose.  Survival is much more than gun specs, and striving for some mythical Optimum Handgun is just wasting time.

Why have them at all, after everything I just said?  Because of the Other People.

Not everyone you meet will be very nice.  They will be scared and armed, and that is a very bad combo to have near you.  A handgun can scare someone off, hopefully, or it can injure or kill them if necessary.  At the very least, it might make them duck for cover long enough for you to haul ass.  And in the Apocalypse, hauling ass is pretty much all you’ve got.  Even “winning” a gun battle can be bad if a shot breaks your leg or arm or even just bleeds a lot.  Hell, a graze can get you infected, incapacitated, then dead, all without a bite.

So, that would be my firearm loadout: a sawed-off shotgun and a pair of 9mm handguns.  Next up: hand weapons.

About Alan Edwards

An indie writer who does accounting full-time on the side.

Posted on April 18, 2011, in Philosophizin' and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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