Zombie Guns, or How To Prepare for World War Z!

I blame myself in part, but what with all the talk of face-eating and Bath Salts in the news, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not there’s a Zombie Apocalypse on the way. Personally, I’m not one to go in for rumors and speculation, but I figure it’s better to be prepared! Hence why I’ve decided to do a post dedicated to Zombie Guns, or more specifically, firearms that will come in handy when the flesh-eating zombies start roaming your neighbourhoods!

Having done some posts of late involving futuristic guns, I’m already pretty well versed when it comes to recent developments in the firearms industry. However, I wanted to be thorough, so I also did a looking around and included some ideas from people who’ve already put some work in on the subject. And of course, I would be lost were it not for the common sense rules that come to us from all of movie, television and even literacy sources on the subject.

Whether it’s tv’s The Walking Dead, movies like Zombieland or 28 Days Later, or Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide, the basic rules for surviving zombies are the same. Go for the head, don’t be stingy with ammo, and sever all emotional attachments! And when it comes to weaponry that will be most effective in this regard, portability, capacitiy, firepower and versatility are all important.

Relying on all these basic criteria and what I know about modern weaponry, I now present a list of the top handguns, SMG’s, shotguns, and rifles, each entry with its own selling points and drawbacks. Have a look through them and see if any of them tickles your fancy! In the end, I figure we all get one from each category. Have fun picking your arsenal!

Small Arms:
The weapon of last resort. When you’re cornered and all other weapons have failed or run dry, your last option is to draw your sidearm and knock as many heads off as possible, preferably while falling back. And when this happens, you need a steady firearm that won’t run out of bullets fast. And when it does, it needs to be quick to reload. That way you can keep on knocking heads off without worrying about being bitten!

Beretta 92:
Here’s one everyone should recognize. Also known as the M9 or Beretta 9mm, this gun is a favorite amongst police forces and militaries in many countries, especially the US. Combining a 9mm round, dual action and a 15 round magazine, it is one of the best all around sidearms in existence. In a firefight against zombies, its also a good last resort. The rounds are large enough to take out zombie brains, the pistol is accurate and doesn’t have significant recoil, and the shooter can go awhile without reloading.

The only real downside is the fact that this 9mm round doesn’t the same power as some its larger-caliber kin. If rounds are misplaced, like in zombie’s body, they won’t do much to slow it down. Basically, anyone using this will have to make their shots count by getting them right in the brain pan. But with 15 rounds (16 if they load the chamber), they will have plenty of opportunity.

Colt 45:
Don’t ask me why, but when it comes to old school designs, big bullets seemed to be the norm. That is certainly true of the Colt M1911, aka. the Colt 45. Originally designed for shooting gangsters and trench warfare, this weapon is more than capable of splattering zombie brains all over the sidewalk.

An immediate downside of this weapon is its ammo capacity, a mere seven rounds. In addition, as a single action pistol, it can be less accurate than its peers. However, it can overcome the former with an extended (12 round) mag, and its simplicity and old-world durability can make up for any inaccuracy. Unlike other models, this sidearm can up to 6000 rounds without a single misfire or jam up.

Desert Eagle:
What do you get when you cross a magnum with a semi-automatic pistol? The Desert Eagle, available in both the .357, .44 and .50 calibers. Each of these are capable of decorating a wall with zombie brains, but the bigger the bullet, the bigger the mess! As a hand gun, it packs a hell of a lot of firepower into a relatively small package. And at close range, nothing short of shot gun or an assault rifle can match its power.

However, its greatest strengths also prove to be its greatest weaknesses. Its powerful punch means powerful kickback, which can make accuracy a bit of a problem. What’s more, the large caliber make capacity problematic, even at the smallest caliber (9 bullets for .357, 8 for .44, 7 for .50). An extended 14 round clip helps this, but not the central problem of accuracy.

Glock 17:

This brand of handgun has been made famous by countless TV shows and movies, mainly because it sees so much use by police and military forces around the world. A variation on the Glock 9, the Glock 17 is also a compact 9mm pistol, but boasts a 17 round magazine. That kind of capacity is useful when facing off against a Zombie hoard!

In terms of drawbacks, the Glock has few. Much like the 9mm, its power is somewhat limited when used against zombie torsos. In the hands of an accurate shooter, this isn’t a problem. But for anyone else, that 17 mag will come in handy!

Submachineguns:
When zombies get close, its good to have something quick and small at the ready to take them down. Submachineguns, PDW’s and compact full-autos all fall into this category. In this case, rate of fire and ammo capacity count for something, but in the end, accuracy is important too, since head shots are the most effective.

Calico M960:
Because of its unique, sleek design, the Calico is a mysterious gun that’s made many cinematic appearances, usually in connection to sci-fi franchises. However, when it comes to combating zombies, its chief benefits are firepower and ammo capacity. A 9mm weapon with a top-mounted, helical magazine, the Calico can hold up to 100 rounds. And because of the compact shape of the magazine, many can be kept on the gunner’s person without fear of being overlaiden.

Drawbacks? Can’t think of many. Given its two handles, 9mm caliber, ambidextrous option and the choice between semi-auto and full-auto firing modes, the Calico is well suited to taking down individual and crowds of zombies. One possible flaw is that the range is slightly limited, compared to that of an assault rifle.

Chang Feng SMG:
Here we have another submachinegun that features a top-mounted helical magazine, a compact design and a relatively high ammo capacity. And like many other guns on this list, it is a 9mm design which makes it just right for splattering zombie brains! It’s ability to switch between semi-auto and full auto can also be useful when one needs to switch from accuracy to “kill em all” mode.

The drawbacks of this compact design are simple. Being so compact, it can be a bit unruly when fired in full auto mode. Though it has a forward handle as well as the trigger grip, the spacing makes recoil a bit of a problem.

MP5:
A favorite amongst law enforcement and military personnel everywhere, and for good reason. It’s compact size, firepower, weight and range are all very well suited to close combat firefights, which are common in urban environments. This makes it well suited to zombie killing as well. As usual, the 9mm round is prime brain-bashing ammo, and the third round clip ensures plenty of ammo.

At full auto, the gun fires 800 rounds a minute, but given its stability and accuracy, those rounds will be well placed. Compared to all that, its only real downside is its size. Compared to other SMG’s, this gun is more akin to an assault rifle than a compact machine pistol. Combined with other large weapons, this can create a problem.

P90:
Known as PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) this weapon is the living embodiment of compactness and automatic fire. Combining a 5.7mm round (the equivalent of .22 caliber) with a 50 bullet magazine, top-mounted, this weapon has enough punch to pulp zombie brains and can keep firing for some time. Its size and compact shape make it very portable as well.

However, there are some notable drawbacks. For starters, at full auto, its high rate of fire (900 rounds a minute) combined with its small size can produce some troublesome recoil. In addition, I hear tell that it has been known to jam up from time to time, which in a zombie fight can be truly fatal!

PP-2000:
Built in Russia and a popular item amongst its armed forces, this 9mm machine pistol has a number of useful features when facing zombies. For starters, it combines an assault rifles rate of fire with the size and caliber of a pistol. This makes it highly compact and portable and a good weapon to have when in close quarters with a small group of zombies.

Alas, its magazine capacity is only 20-30 rounds, which at a 600 rpm rate of fire can go very fast! Its retractable stock can combat recoil, but also adds volume which reduces compactness. As a result, it is best when used in single fire mode like a mega-pistol.

TDI Kriss:
Yet another example of portability meeting firepower, and then producing some weird looking offspring. Basically, a Kriss is an SMG that combines .45 caliber rounds with a rate of fire that lies between 800-1100 rounds per minute. Its handled design also makes it a steady shooter, which combined with its firepower, makes it good at chopping off zombie heads.

The downside you say? Well, its magazine is terrible small for a weapon that fires so quickly. As it stands, the weapon comes standard with a 13 round mag, which at 800 rounds per minute would go within a 1.33 seconds! Apparently, a 28 round mag is being developed, but that too would be gone in 2.1 seconds. This is fine if you’re happy shooting at semi-auto, but until they come up with a 50 round mag, this weapon is too quick for zombie fights.

“Close Encounters” – aka. Shotguns:
When it comes to zombie hunting, shotguns are mighty handy. Not only do they pack a lot of punch, a single shot can take a zombie’s head clean off. And even if you miss the head, a hewed arm or leg can also slow a zombie down considerably. Here, accuracy doesn’t count for a lot, but ammo capacity certainly does. When you’re blasting zombies, the last thing you want to hear is an empty click.

Franchi SPAS-12:
Originally designed for sport shooting, this automatic shotgun has become a mainstay amongst police and military forces everywhere. Able to shoot in either the pump action or semi-automatic firing modes, it is renowned for versatility, reliability, and firepower. It’s eight round capacity is also highly respectable as ammo capacities go.

The only drawbacks, compared to other weapons in this category, is its limited ammo supply. Though accurate and not prone to mechanical problems, which can happen in automatic designs, the SPAS 12 can deplete its ammo quicker and then takes time to reload.

Kel Tec KSG:
A cutting-edge design, boasting duel feed magazines and compact dimensions, this weapon is well suited for anti-zombie defense! In total, it holds 14 rounds, as is operated by pump action. It’s two handles also ensure a relative degree of accuracy, making head shots a real possibility.

Unfortunately, the weapon has two distinct drawbacks. Though it holds a highly respectable 14 shots between its two magazines, the pump action slows it down somewhat. In addition, it must be reloaded manually, and between its two tubes, that can take some time. This demands that the user find cover after exhausting their supply of ammo, or spend only part of it before taking time to reload.

Striker:
Manufactured in South Africa, the Striker Protecta was specifically designed to be a counter-insurgency, high capacity weapon with a hell of a lot of punch. It’s size and shape make it compact and portable, and its 12 round magazine give it enough capacity for a prolonged firefight.

In terms of drawbacks, the Strikers has a few. Though it has a good capacity, it has to be reloaded manually, which can take some time. In addition, even though its compact, the drum magazine can make it bulky and awkward to carry. However, it can make up for this since it doesn’t require additional magazines, just a simple ammo belt, in order to be reloaded.

USAS-12:
Here is a somewhat interesting design. Combining the familiar profile of an assault rifle with the concept of a shotgun, the USAS-12 also manages to combine a high capacity with a lot of firepower! The standard box magazine can hold 10 shots, but the drum magazine gives it a robust twenty. However, this is balanced by the fact that the ten can be reloaded by simply slamming a new box into place, whereas the twenty must be reloaded manually.

The only potential drawback of this weapon is its rate of fire. In addition to being semi-automatic, the gunner does not need to pull the trigger multiple times to get multiple shots off. This can cause have a saturation effect, but can also waist ammo. Remember, zombies hunt in packs, so saturation is only useful in real close quarters.

Rifles:
Last, but not least, is the category of rifles. Basically, these are the weapons that you want for long range encounters and sniping. In this case, what matters most are accuracy and ammo capacity. Even small caliber rifles have enough muzzle velocity to kill with a head shot, so in the end what matters is the ability to place that shot on target. Once you got that down, you want to make sure you can do it again, and again, and then again some more…

Barrett XM500:
This .50 cal sniper rifle design, which is the most recent to come out of the US, is lighter and more compact that its peers. And its sheer firepower and range would make it a real Zombie killer. Just imagine, .50 cal slugs that are capable of taking a zombie’s head off, literally! A hit to the torso will limb will all dismember and tear them apart too. Even if that’s not fatal, its sure to slow them down a ton!

However, the weapon does come with its share of drawbacks. Though good for long-range encounters, it would be of little use up close since it can only be fired while in a prone position. It’s ammo capacity is also lacking, at ten rounds a magazine, and despite its more compact and light design, she’s still tough to get around in a hurry.In short, good for support fire, not the best to have on its own.

Daewoo K11:
Here we have the Korean made dual caliber rifle that is part of the larger OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) program. Combining a standard 5.56mm assault rifle with a built-in grenade launcher, this weapon is highly versatile, has good range and is very powerful. It’s regular ammo are more than capable of smashing zombie heads, and the grenades are good to disperse zombie crowds.

The drawbacks are clear. The K11 comes with a high-tech scope, but this is of little use when it comes to zombies. The added weight and bulkiness of it can also be a problem. In short, its delivers in all areas except portability, which in the end can mean the difference between life and death.

M16A2 Assault Rifle:
This version of the M16 rifle is an upgraded model of the weapon that seen service with US armed forces since Vietnam. In addition to better ammo and less blowback, the A2 has the ability to carry the M203 40mm grenade launcher, which is a fine addition for zombie killing. Combined with the standard 5.56mm round, a good muzzle velocity and a 30 round magazine, the M16 is accurate, has good range, and a respectable capacity.

Compared to bullpup rifles, its not very compact, but this problem is pretty minor since it can be carried for its stock or slung without difficulty. The only other thing is the grenade launcher, which while powerful addition can take some time to reload. As a single shot, slide-loader, the gunner is going to be up against it to get ammo in between shots. Best when used sparingly and at long range between shots from the rifle.

FN SCAR:
The name stands for Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle, which is precisely who this weapon was designed for. As a result, its accurate, powerful, compact, and very versatile. In addition to its 30 round 5.56mm rifle, it can be upgraded to carry a 40mm grenade launcher, red dot or holographic sites, tactical grips near the front, and probably some other things! All of this adds up to a very functional and versatile weapon.

Of course, all these modifications can be counterproductive. For instance, some modifications rules out others, such as tactical grips making a grenade launcher impossible. At the same time, too many attachments can make the gun bulky and cumbersome. The best configuration for fighting zombies would likely be a tactical grip for stability (ensuring better accuracy) or a 40mm grenade launcher for added punch. But as usual, that grenade launcher is a single shot weapon which takes time to load.

Steyr AUG:
I knew I couldn’t complete this list without including at least one bullpup assault rifle. And when it comes to bullpups, the AUG is arguably the best. Light-weight, compact, accurate and powerful, the Steyr AUG is ideal for zombie hunting. With its magazine loaded at the rear, this gun cuts down on bulk while at the same time adding muzzle velocity. Combined with a 42 round magazine, the AUG can kill zombies longer than most.

One downside is a potential lack of versatility. The standard AUG comes with a tactical grip that ensures more stability and accuracy while firing. This can be taken out to enable a grenade launcher, but only at the cost of accuracy. The scope can also be upgraded, but red sights and holographics are no more effective than its standard 1.5x scope. In the end, this gun is best as it is.

Suit Up!:
Well, that about does it, doesn’t it? Now it comes time to pick which weapons we want on our persons when the zombies come knocking. God, I feel like I’m making a role playing game, but if that were true, I’d have to give every player an upper weight limit or capacity based on their size. That’d really make things interesting! Alas, I can only do a four category thing right now with the available choices. So.. here’s what I’m taking

Sidearm: Beretta 92 (I love the way it looks)
SMG: Calico (it had me at 100 rounds!)
Shotgun: USAS-12, 10 round box magazine (I figure these will be easier to carry and quicker to change. I shall try to be sparing with my shots)
Rifle: Steyr AUG (its accuracy and 42 round clip ought to be ideal for zombie hunting. I was thinking the K11 because of its grenade launcher, but its size and clumsiness would get in my way)

Well, that’s me done. Anyone else want to take a run?

16 thoughts on “Zombie Guns, or How To Prepare for World War Z!

  1. Well, when I’m playing video games and have to go in for a zombie kill, I find I do best with hand to hand combat. I suck at shooting. That said, in a real zombie apocalypse there is something else to keep in mind. A simple head shot (or two if you’re double tapping) in all actuality will not really take out the true zombie. You have to severe the brain stem. Check out this Pubmed piece: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8547159

    So, based on that, my weapons of choice would be:
    1. chainsaw
    2. perhaps a sabre or a nicely sharpened ax for moments when stealth and silence are needed
    3. desert eagle
    4. Daewoo K11

    Give me leather combat boots, denim pants, a long sleeved shirt, gloves and a leather jacket and I’m set.

    (Can you tell the nerd crew has discussed this much in my house?)

    BTW, awesome post.

    1. Thanks! And you’re right about hand to hand and sharpened weapons. My wife pointed out that a bayonette would be handy just after I published it. I did a faceslap! I’ll have to do an addendum.

  2. You know, if you’re talking about zombies, I suggest you read the manga “Highschool of the Dead”. It’s a great zombie manga, you never learn how exactly the zombie epidemic started, there’s obviously a lot of thought put into it about what life is like during the apocalypse, and all the jokes about busty girls you could ask for. What’s not to love?

      1. ooh, you know what, i did not memorize their weapons. all i remember is they have some big semiautomatics, a couple sniper rifles, handguns, oh and a very sharp katana.

    1. I’ve heard about High School of the Dead and I’d have to pass on that. As for what’s not to love? Well, that would be the busty girls. I personally find fan service disgusting and unnecessary and a sign of a weak plot. As the mother of two girls, I find the exploitation of women in manga and anime, and especially “girls” to be disturbing. I like manga and anime but at the first throw in of fan service, I’m done, no matter how great the story.
      I prefer the Walking Dead comic.

      1. okay, sorry to offend you. i guess those jokes are more geared towards males, and besides that, i don’t think the writers or editors find them degrading of women, they just are trying to appeal to an audience using dirty humor.

  3. the desert eagle is good enough for lara croft so its good enough for me. That said I’d be packing an uber sharp authentic samurai sword – metal folded 10,000 times to ensure it kepts its edge razor sharp.

  4. I’m liking the arsenal options here! Something for everyone really.
    For me, I’m a little girl so I like the bigger firepower. Have to make up for lack of hand to hand strength when the ammo runs out. 🙂

    I’ll take:
    1. Desert Eagle (a girl’s gotta have her .50 cal)
    2. MP5
    3. SPAS-12
    4. FN SCAR (with grenade launcher please!)

    Bring on the zombie apocalypse!

  5. 1.desert eagle. 2 of them shoulder holsters slightly extended mags.

    2. P90.

    3. Usas 12 give me the 20 round mags

    4. AUG I am so happy to see that gun on your list my favorite weapon behind the desert eagle of all time.

    5. My buddy has this knife some guy makes them it’s heavy, almost has a hatchet end, and is heavy as hell. I haven’t tried but I’m pretty sure it could easily take a head off.

  6. Okay, this is pretty interesting.
    My weapons of choice will be:
    1- The Kriss Super Vector SMG with extended mags, maybe 2 mags vin-tapped together in opposite directions for a faster reload.
    2- A Desert Eagle without any accessories.
    3- The KSG-15.
    In a zombie apocalypse I would always prefer light-weight weapons, however if I was able to find some sort of a safe shelter, I would also use:
    4- The FN Scar (Heavy).
    5- The Barret XM-500.

    In addition to some protective gear, frag grenades and a nice combat knife.

  7. The article was very Hollywood in terms of weapon choices.

    Glock in 9mm with a quality holster and spare magazines, threaded barrel with a suppressor would be money as well.
    AR-15/M4 with a suppressor and subsonic ammo
    Remington 870 w/ a sling
    Mossberg 500 w/ a sling
    Benelli M2 w/ a sling
    SKS with a Spike Bayonet and sling
    AK47 Civilian Pattern Rifle w/ a sling and a bayonet
    Remington 700 with a quality scope that’s actually zeroed and a sling
    Boar Spears (Easy to make and build an army with)
    Mosin-Nagant with a Spike Bayonet and a sling

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