Zombie Warrior: Primary Weapons!

zombiegun3Welcome back prospective zombie-hunters. Today, we shall talk about outfitting your character with weapons! Sure, you’ve already had a gander at hand-to-hand items, but what about the heavy-hitting stuff? What about the main weapon in your arsenal that you specifically chose because it can splatter a zombie’s brain pan at over 500 meters? That’s the stuff of today’s selection, ranging from assault to shotguns, composite bows to sniper rifles, and machine guns to crossbows. You only get one, so choose wisely!

Assault Rifles/Heavy Guns:
AK-47:

AK-47Pros: As the most popular assault weapon the world, the AK-47 and its associated parts proved easily obtainable after the zombie apocalypse. In addition to having a good deal of stopping power and a good rate of fire, the extended mag affords the user a good 30 to 42 rounds of ammo. What’s more, this assault rifle is renowned for being easy to operate, strip down, and can be put through the ringer and still remain operational.

Cons: In terms of range and accuracy, the AK-47 is good, but not great. It’s effective range is roughly 400 meters, but it can only provide accuracy for the first 100 or so, making it a poor choice for long range sniping and precision fire. What’s more, the recoil can be a bit of a bugger, which is part the reason its accuracy is not the best.

M4A1 Carbine:
M4A1_2Pros:
The scaled-down model of the venerable M16, the M4 is favorite amongst servicemen because of its balance of accuracy, power, range. It’s 30 round mag provides a good supply of ammo, and it can be used to snipe targets at long range (500 meters) as easily as mow them down up close. What’s more, its shortened stock makes it far more portable than most assault rifles.

Cons: While the M4 is easier to use than its predecessor, it still suffers from some of the problems that plagued it. It’s complex design can be difficult to maintain in rough and dirty conditions, which zombie-hunters can routinely expect. It’s power is also somewhat limited, compared to heavier, larger caliber weapons. The key is to keep it clean, and all should be well.

MP5:
MP5Pros: Designed with law enforcement and special forces in mind, the MP5 is a very balanced weapon, combining a high-caliber 9mm bullet, good ammo capacity (30 rounds), and an effective range in a light, compact package. It’s rate of fire, which can be switched from semi-auto to full, also makes it a good weapon for both precision fire and moving at close range.

Cons: The most obvious drawback of this weapon, compared to other rifles, is its range. Given the small jacket size of the bullet and limited muzzle length, it can hit targets at 100 meters away with accuracy, a fraction of what a high-powered assault rifle can do. This also means its stopping power is confined to close range, and cannot be relied on to snipe at anything in the far distance.

SAW:
M249_SAWPros:
The Squad Automatic Weapon was designed with fire-power and mobility in mind. With a rate of fire commensurate with most heavy machine-guns, a fifty round drum, and a relatively light frame, the SAW boasts a lot of killing power without being too tricky to get around. And though a zombie-hunter would be tempted to let loose at close range with one of these, it also has an effective range of 800 meter for precision fire and a total range of 3,600 meters, making it a good long-range weapon as well.

Cons: Naturally, all of this comes with its share of downsides. Though it it light for a machine gun, its overall weight is a bit of an issue, not to mention the weight of carrying additional drum mags. And combined with the recoil provided by a high rate of fire (a good 775 rounds a minute), this makes for a weapon that should only be carried by the “big man” of the group.

SCAR-L:
scar_l-1Pro:
Known as the Spec Ops Forces Combat Assault Rifle, this weapon was designed with versatility and reliability in mind. The standard model boasts a set of optical sights, a stock handle, and comes with either a 20 or 30 round magazine. It is highly stable, accurate, and has an effective range of 600 meters. The 20 round SCAR-H is a sniper variant, with increased accuracy and a 7.62mm round, while the SCAR-L is a 5.56mm assault rifle with an increased rate of fire.

Cons: As a special operations design, the SCAR is not common or easily procured. Those who have them will therefore have a hard time finding replacement parts when compared to the M4 or AK-47. And given the complexity of the design, maintenance can once again be a bit of a problem, especially for those not trained in their use and upkeep.

Shotguns:
KSG:
kel_techPros: 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.

Cons: 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.

SPAS-12:
SPAS12Pros: 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.

Cons: 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.

Striker:
StrikerPros: 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.

Cons: 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:
USAS-12Pros: 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.

Cons: 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.

Sniper Rifles:
Barrett M82:

barrett_82a1_1Pros: Where to begin? An effective range of 1800 meters, a ten round detachable magazine, and semi-automatic fire. And did I forget to mention a .50 cal slug? Yes, the M82 is a highly effective zombie-killer, and not just because a single shot will take a zombie’s head clean off. It’s long range, built-in sights, and high-capacity, semi-automatic fire make it an all around effective zombie-killer. Aim for one and watch three more behind it fall with a single shot!

Cons: Right off the bat, there’s the issue of recoil. This rifle packs a hell of a punch and repeated fire can be a bit inaccurate because of it. What’s more, the high muzzle velocity and size of the slug makes for a loud bang, so a single shot will give your positions away and attract attention.

Dragunov:
dragunov-sniper-rifle-11886796

Pros: There’s something to be said for a weapon that merges several good aspects of an assault rifle with the accuracy and stability of a sniper rifle. A ten box mag, high stability, an effective range of 800 meters, semi-automatic fire and portability make the Dragunov a fitting weapon for the sniper in your zombie-hunting team. And like the AK-47 on which it’s design is based, its also rugged and reliable in the field.

Cons: Unfortunately, this weapon also marries some of the lesser aspects of the AK-47 to its design. Compared to other sniper rifles, this weapon is somewhat lacking in accuracy, due in large part to the relative recoil of the weapon. Repeated shots on target can be a challenge because of this.

M40:
m40Pros: When it comes to accuracy and stability, the M40 is virtually unbeatable, hence why the US Marines continue to use the design to outfit their snipers. With an effective range of 900 meters, a ten round capacity, simplicity of design and pinpoint accuracy, it’s a faithful and reliable weapon to have in the field.

Cons: As a bolt action, this rifle is slow where repeat-fire comes into play. After each shot, the firer must go then make four moves in order to chamber another round, which be a hassle when dealing with approaching hordes.

SG 550:

sg550

Pros: A variation on the Swiss-designed SG 550 assault rifle, the sniper variant has many advantages over other rifles. For one, it is highly ergonomic, featuring a folding stock with a special cheek rest for portability and comfortable firing. The recoil is also reduced, making for greater accuracy, and the twenty round mag and semi-automatic fire give it plenty of punch.

Cons: The downside to this weapon is the range, which gets up to a comparatively meager 400 meters. It’s a good mid or close-range sniper rifle, but ineffective where long distances are concerned.

Special Weapons:
Composite Bow:
Pros:
In times of zombie apocalypse, simple weapons are often the most effective. In the case of a composite bow, a single well placed shot to the head or eye socket will take out a zombie, and the fact that it makes virtually no noise is a plus. And given the power of the composite, most shots are likely to do as much damage as a bullet.

Cons: Naturally, ammo capacity is limited compared to a rifle, as is effective range. While an experienced bower can hit a target at several dozen meters, the time it takes to reload between shots presents a challenge for anyone who is not highly experienced.

Crossbow:
Pros:
Another traditional weapon which is ideally suited to post-apocalyptic zombie-smashing. The crossbow has all the same benefits of the composite bow, but is lighter in weight and easier to aim. Once again, a single shot is as effective as a bullet, and the lack of noise ensures a degree of stealth not afforded with most firearms.

Cons: Again, range and rate of fire are compromised for the sake of simplicity and stealth. Also, reloading takes time and ammo capacity is limited, even if this is offset by the fact that arrows can be retrieved. Once again, a user must pick their engagements and get in close to their targets to be effective.

Are you ready? Pick your weapon, and make sure its a choice you’re prepared to stand behind. Because once that horde comes-a-knocking, there will be no time for swapping and backsies!

Zombie Warriors: Apparel and Melee Weapons

apoc_soldiersFirst up, is the question of apparel, what you intent to be wearing when the fight begins…

Apparel:
As we all know, taking on zombies is a matter of protection as much as firepower. Nobody wants to step into the middle of the apocalypse naked or clothed in their basic street wear, especially if they dressed light! In addition, you also have to think about mobility, both in the getting around sense and the ability to move your limbs with comfort and ease. If you’re weight down, you’re likely to become a zombie’s meal. Using your physique as a template, select from the following items to see which would best suit you, taking into account various mobility and protection factors.

Body Armor:
Pros: Military issue body armor has a number of advantages when it comes to fighting zombies. For one, its loaded with kevlar plates that a zombie is going to have a hell of a time ripping through. Second, it covers your vitals, shoulders, crotch and neck from bites, while leaving your arms relatively free to fight. It’s also lightweight, which is handy since mobility is key in a zombie fight.

Cons: However, the downside to this armor is that it doesn’t provide protection for your limbs, which are often what the zombies go for. So in a close fight, you’ll have to keep moving to avoid that fatal bite and/or scratch. What’s more, it can constrict your mobility just enough to be considered an impediment. It’s great for protecting against bullet-fire. but in melee combat, it’s protection is limited. But of course, not all your enemies may be zombies. Just in case you have to go up against other hunters or certain “Governor” type forces, this suit could come in handy…

Fatigues:
Pros: If you’re looking for something loose-fitting and made for getting around, look no further! Army fatigues were specifically designed to give soldiers a full range of motion, which includes marching, running, shooting, hand-to-hand fighting, even rappelling. And the stitching ensures that you won’t have any embarrassing rip ups! What’s more, it covers your entire body which is great protection against zombie scratches.

Cons: However, the protection factor does not reach very far beyond that. The fabric is not strong enough to protect against bites, and a committed undead will be able to tear off a sleeve or a pant leg without too much effort. So while it’s great for mobility, don’t count on it saving your life when you’re in the thick of it!

Hooded Cloak:
Pros: True, the main advantages here are cosmetic, but damn it if those don’t count for something! Like Michonne’s mysterious cloak, this gives any zombie fighter that je ne sais quoi, that undefinable quality that makes others not want to mess with them. What’s more, its good cover for a sword or small arms weapon, which can come in handy when going up against the walking dead. And the cloak can even act as a weapon itself if its wearer is quick and uses the lapels to distract their opponent and then deliver fatal stabs.

Cons: Downsides are obvious. The cloak can be a liability when it comes to running and fighting. While it can conceal your face and give you a certain mystique, it can also get in the way in the middle of a fight. And of course, zombies can easily find their way inside it and get at your flesh. As your mamma may have told you when you were a kid “looking cool isn’t always smart”.

Kevlar Vest:
Pros: One has to assume that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, police gear will be suddenly available for civilian use, especially if you know the police HQ has been overrun. And as far as protection and mobility go, a Kevlar vest is not a bad option. While it may not provide any arm, leg, shoulder or neck protection, it still ensures that your midsection is well defended against clawing, biting zombies who would just love to get at your organs. What’s more, it does not constrict your mobility or weight you down.

Cons: But alas, armoring your midsection and leaving the extremities exposed might leave you wanting. Much like the full suit of Kevlar, this option is only partially suited to close encounters with zombies, but highly useful against opponents who have access to firearms. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that not all your troubles will stem from the undead.

Powered Armor:
Pros: When it comes to combining armored protection with enhanced strength and speed, the powered armor suit is the absolute tops! In addition to boasting armor plates in all the right places, it gives the wearer the ability to wield a power punch that could knock off a zombie’s head! And the enhanced leg strength allows for speedier running and higher jumping, which comes in handy in a pinch!

Cons: The armor suit has some drawbacks vis a vis its enhanced power, in that it requires you to wind up and let loose. If and when you find yourself set upon by hungry zombies, you won’t have the space to deliver a blow. And in this instance, the suit’s weight and armor can become a liability as well, proving heavy and cumbersome, and hence restrictive to movement.

Riot Gear:
Pros: Another police issue, the riot gear outfit is perhaps the best armor option available to the zombie hunter. Made up of Kevlar, plastic and fabric that covers your core, shoulders, arms, legs, and head, this suit has all your bases covered. Unless they are able to swarm you, zombies will have a hell of a time finding their way through this suit or armor. If you’ve read the Walking Dead comic or seen 28 Days Later, you know just how effective this suit can be.

Cons: But of course, the likelihood of being swarmed increases exponentially when wearing this suit. Although the wearer is a veritable walking tank, running is very difficult in it and mobility is highly constricted. And in the end, some areas are still exposed to zombies clever enough to find them, such as your armpits, neck and chin. These, they’ll only find if they really search for them, but if and when they get you cornered, expect them to try!

Melee Weapons:
No zombie warrior is fully equipped without a melee weapon, which is both a weapon of last resort and a way to dispatch the undead in a way that is quiet, and up close and personal! Not only do melee weapons not run out of ammo, they do not make a significant amount of noise which will attract more zombies to your location. Just remember, the bigger and more deadly the weapon, the harder its going to be to keep swinging it. Choose wisely!

Axe:
axePros: As zombie-smashers go, an axe is a pretty popular option. A solid blow from one of these is sure to split a zombies head in half, and the size and weight are still manageable. This balance of size, weight and killing power make it a weapon that can be swung for awhile before the user will succumb to exhaustion, and the odds of it breaking on you are quite minimal.

Cons: Only downside is that this weapon is capable of getting stuck in a zombie’s face after its been used to split their skull. This can really screw you in a pitch battle where multiple swings are needed to dispatch wave after wave of incoming undead.

Baseball Bat:
baseball_batPros: Perhaps the most popular option for zombie-smashing, the baseball bat offers numerous advantages in a small, lightweight package. The blunt force trauma from a few good swings is likely to be fatal, and since zombie heads are often softened by necrosis, a single good swing can often deal death on them.

Cons: Only downside to a baseball bat is that extended use can break them. Being small and lightweight, repeated blows to zombie skulls can lead to a breakage.

Hammer:
hammerPros: Another favorite of the veteran zombie warrior, the modern hammer offers a lot of killing power in a tiny package. Especially the all-metal variant, this melee weapon is a boon at close range since it can offer blunt-force trauma from the head or punctures from the clawed edge.

Cons: A small weapon, a hammer is heavily reliant on the one who swings it. A good strong arm can wield it for extended periods of time and send zombie after zombie to the grave for good. But in the hands of a smaller person, it’s likely to have limited power.

Katana:
katanaPros: An ancient and powerful weapon, the katana offers zombie-hunters quite a few advantages, and makes the wielder look pretty damn cool in the process! The solid blade, sharp edge, and manageable weight give it some pretty awesome killing power. Not only is it capable of hewing off limbs with ease, an overhead blow can split a zombie skull in half.

Cons: But of course, the katana is not for everyone. Like all swords, it requires some training before it can be used effectively and efficiently. Its not like other melee weapons that can simple be picked up and swung willy-nilly. And those who try are likely to hurt themselves or make a mess of things!

Ka-Bar:
Ka-barPros: The standard issue of the Marine Corps, the Ka-Bar knife is an effective killing tool when re-purposed for zombie-hunting. Lightweight, easily wielded, and very portable, this knife is sharp enough to slice through any necrotic tissue, and the sturdy blade has been known to be able to punch through skull.

Cons: One downside to the knife is that it is not designed for repeated skull-stabbing. Using it in this way can lead to breakage or loss, especially if the weapon gets stuck in a zombie’s skull. The best option is to find another route to the zombie’s brain and stab there.

Longsword:
longswordPros: A one-handed medieval recreation, the longsword is an effective zombie-killing tool in the modern age. Made of tempered steel, razor-sharp, and possessing a few good pounds of weight, a single blow is likely to split a skull or remove a head with ease. At the same time, it is easy enough to wield with one hand.

Cons: Some training required, and given the balance of weight and the fact that it’s one-handed weapon, its really only useful in the hands of someone strong enough who can comfortably swing a five pound weight without getting overtired. Much like the katana, the weapon is not for everybody.

Machete:
machetePros: Lightweight, easy to wield and sharp as hell, the machete is perhaps the most balanced weapon in the zombie-hunter’s arsenal. As an edged weapon, it possesses many of the advantages of a sword, but its smaller size and lighter weight make it far more portable and much easier to wield.

Cons: Interestingly enough, the advantages of this weapon also present some downsides. The lighter weight and small size means it has less killing power than a larger, heavier edged weapon. While a good blow is likely to take off a zombie head or hew a limb, its more likely to get stuck and has a shorter effective swinging range.

Truncheon:
truncheon
Pros: Another blunt-force trauma weapon, the truncheon is a common law enforcement tool that is popular when re-purposed for zombie-killing. Composed of metal, collapsible, and easy to swing, the truncheon is very handy in a close fight with a horde of undead. It can also be used for extended periods of time with little training and requires little upper body strength, making it highly versatile as well.

Cons: Unlike other blunt-force trauma weapons, this small and lightweight weapon is not likely to smash a skull with a single blow. While useful when deployed against a person, zombies feel no pain and aren’t deterred by stinging blows. Lucky for users that its light, because many swings will be needed to take your enemy down!

Time to pick and choose folks! Get your gear on and select your zombie-smasher of choice. And stay tuned for the next few posts in my series of Zombie Warriors! Next up, we talk about guns and ranged weapons! The zombie apocalypse doesn’t stand a chance!

Calling All Zombie Warriors!

Hello again my friends! After the success of the Revengers, the superhero league I formed and invited people to join, I began thinking about other groups I could start. And the next likely option seemed obvious: a league of zombie hunting warriors! I choose this in part because of some posts I did awhile back about different classes of zombie fighting weapons, but also in honor of Whiskey Delta’s sales record, which is nearing 850!

So in the coming days, I will posting lists of possible equipment and weapons specifically selected for the zombie apocalypse. I invite all of you, the readers, to select items from among said lists and use them to create your own unique character. I will post rules as we go, but I figure a system where you have a limited number of items based on size, weight, etc, would be the choice approach.

And of course, you can make up names for yourself and even back stories. Where were you when the zombie apocalypse happened? How did you come to find your current group of fellow fighters? And what’s your hope in fighting this zombie war? Are you fighting to protect the ones you have left, avenge the ones you lost, preserve the basic decency of mankind, start a new home, or just ensure that the strongest survive? As you may have guessed, much of this comes from the Walking Dead comic/TV series, which I highly recommend reading/watching for anyone interested in taking up the zombie fight!

So the way I see it, any choice of gear for the zombie warrior will need to break down into the following categories:

Apparel:
When fighting the undead hordes, your choice of outfit counts for a lot. If you plan on standing your ground, you’ll need something that can keep your flesh covered from biting teeth and scratching nails. If you plan on outrunning them, you’ll need to dress light. So choose wisely, knowing that your choice of clothing/body armor is the first step in choosing what kind of fighter you want to be.

Primary Weapon:
The mainstay and trusty workhorse of the zombie killer! This can be a shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, bow and arrow, and any other form of ranged weapon. The key word here is primary, meaning its got to have the most bang for its buck and designed to kill at a respectable distance. So what matters here overall is the special balance of ammo capacity, range, stopping power and portability.

Secondary Weapon:
This is your fallback in case you run out of ammo, lose your primary, or just find yourself in a corner and don’t have time to reload. This is generally a handgun, but that provides a wide range of possibilities, including revolvers, automatics, or personal defense weapons. Of particular concern here is the ease with which you can get the weapon handy, how much killing power it will give you at close range, and just many bullets you can get on target before you run out and have to use your weapon of last resort.

Melee Weapon:
The weapon of last resort, or just the weapon you use when you want to be discreet, quick, and not draw attention to yourself. What matters here is zombie smashing power, the ability to either chop off heads or bash brains with relative ease! So your options are likely to include a baseball bat, axe, combat knife, machete, chainsaw or even a sword. Again, portability is a concern too, something that can fit on your person without getting in the way or slowing you down.

Detailed lists of options for each category will be coming in the next few days. Pick one of each, and then you are good to go! And as an added bonus, those characters that are created here will have the chance of being featured in the upcoming third installment of my zombie series, Alpha Mike!