Best Civilian Weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse

Our Picks for the Best Civilian Weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse

Five Melee Weapons to Consider for a Zombie Apocalypse

Originally published on Darkness Beckons as a guest post for the Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour.

You’ve read various books, you’ve viewed numerous post-apocalypse television programs and you’ve done an intensive amount of online research. You know the weapons you should have for a zombie apocalypse: a handgun, a carbine, an entry axe, a machete, a knife, and a basic crow bar. But have you truly read the right books and viewed the proper shows to come up with the best list of weapons you’ll need?

Let’s be practical as well as realistic. There are some, perhaps, not so obvious flaws in the method of conventional thinking when it comes to arming oneself for a post-apocalyptic future. The real problem with the zombie apocalypse, or any other end of day’s scenario, is that you won’t know when it will be or where you may be when it begins.

Let’s start with firearms. Firearms can be highly effective weapons against the living dead, or another enemy with hostile intentions, at short or long-range. However, firearms have their drawbacks. Users are required to carry ammunition and regularly maintain their weapons. They are also loud and attract attention, and require time to reload. It’s not a matter if you can shoot the weapon, but rather whether you are properly trained in target acquisition and the handling and maintenance of the firearm. Remember a dirty weapon is a dangerous weapon, and every shot counts.

All that aside, there are also State and City regulations to what firearms, if any, you are allowed to carry, transport, or have in your home. Not everyone is going to be able to drive around in his or her vehicle with an assault rifle and a thousand rounds of ammunition in their trunk, let alone be able to keep one in their home. This is especially true for urban dwellers in cities such as New York and Washington, DC.

So what is the alternative weapon to use against zombies that can penetrate a human skull at range? When you eliminate explosive based projectiles and consider the practical, your choices are limited. Swiss arrows, slingshots, spears, blowguns, throwing knives and throwing axes may be able to thwart a living hostile, but it will take more than the aforementioned to stop the undead; especially if you’re dealing with more than one at a time—and that is usually the case.

Best Civilian Weapon for the Zombie Apocalypse by TS Alan

Compact Recurve Crossbow with 380 FPS velocity.

When you get right down to it there is really only one choice if you want to put distance between you and that zombie and still effectively put the threat down, and that is either a bow or a crossbow. There are many types of bows: Recurve, reflex, self, longbow, composite, and compound. The crossbow also comes in different variants. Unless you are a highly skilled archer, you are going to want to go with a crossbow, which can deliver a lethal combination of power, high-speed and flat-shooting performance. For a novice and the highly skilled, a crossbow can offer you ease of use, durability, speed, accuracy, lightweight portability, and enough power to penetrate an undead skull. Almost all crossbows come with a scope for easy target acquisition, but don’t think that means you can just grab any crossbow and start killing. Archery takes skill, so once you have acquired a crossbow that fulfills your needs, as well as any State and City ordinances, go out and practice.

A mêlée weapon (pronounced “may-lay”) is used in hand-to-hand fighting. You will definitely need one if you are forced to go mano-a-mano with the living dead. Weapons of this nature have been featured in a lot of zombie films. You’ve seen protagonists wielding kukris, ninja forearm machetes, baseball bats, katanas, axes, knives, machetes, and sledgehammers.

First rule of thumb: Don’t get fancy. Most weapons you see in those films are not practical for a real zombie apocalypse. A katana may look cool and seem like a great weapon to slice off the heads of the undead, however, only someone who has trained with its proper use and care should use a katana. Odds are an untrained person will do more damage to them self than any zombie when wielding this edged weapon.

Axes and sledgehammers are impractical, too. They are heavy and don’t afford proper balance that will allow accuracy in a swing. Also the swing cannot easily change course or be stopped, and the weight makes it a strenuous weapon. Spiked baseball bats may seem like a sound weapon, and certainly are capable of creating enough strike force to crush bone and penetrate the skull, but you can get this weapon lodged easier than a bladed weapon.

What you need is a melee weapon that is able to chop as well as slash with equal efficiency. One that is well-balanced and provides momentum and accurate control of the blade during the cutting stroke, which allows the user to deliver a more commanding but less strenuous swing to deliver an accurate strike. Machetes and tactical tomahawks fit these criteria. They also can double as a tool.

Best Civilian Weapon for the Zombie Apocalypse by TS Alan

Woodman’s Pal Military Premium machete.

My top five choices, most of which are in my edged weapon arsenal, are the SOG FastHawk Tomhawk, an Aranyik Latin Machete, a Nowill British Army Jungle Knife, a GK & Co. Service No. 1 Kukri, and my top choice a Woodman’s Pal Military Premium machete.

If you’re one of those people who need a little more distance or swing force in your defensive weapon or who do not have the skill to wield a weapon of this nature so closely, I recommend a Two Handed Panga Machete or Ditch Bank Blade. Either or will give you the swinging power of a baseball bat and the most tactical distance of any machete.

Bottom line for choosing your melee weapon is look for one that is optimal in performance, durability, edge holding, full tanged handle, grip, versatility, and the materials used in their construction (steel and handle material). Whatever you decide just remember: Think smart, shop wisely, stay vigilant and be safe.

If you want more information on the top machete picks for under $100, check out my article A Machete Guide for the Zombie Apocalypse on my blog.


About TS Alan

TS was the former managing editor of Zombie Training before co-founding ZEA with former associate editor Mike Garman. TS was born outside Buffalo, NY. After attending high school he entered into a two-year community college to study Communications and Media Arts. There he became involved in the college’s radio station as a radio personality, under the pseudonym of J.D. Hollywood. After a year with WNCB radio he also became the station’s Promotions Director. J.D. Hollywood was also one of two names he used as a music reporter and Associate Editor for Buffalo Backstage, a local music magazine. After moving to Manhattan and experiencing the Northeast blackout of 2003, he became interested in prepping and urban survival, learning much of his experience through self education and observation of tragic events like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. TS Alan currently resides in the East Village of New York City and is a published author of the zombie novel The Romero Strain.

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