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13 January 2004 @ 05:33 pm
Zombie-killing Weapons Round-Up and FAQ  

Bludgeoning Weapons

Crowbar (Steel)
Crowbar (Titanium)

They won't break, they're easy to find, and they're dense enough to make it into a zombie's head. Plus, they can be used as crowbars. The manual gives the crowbar the biggest thumbs-up of the blunt weapons.

Tonfa (Lacquered wood)
Nunchaku (Lacquered wood)

While made of wood, these weapons are strong enough to withstand several beatings before they shatter, having taken several zombies with them. The quarterstaff also has the advantages of being durable, easy to make/find, and it has reach. Remember: if the zombie bites you, it's over.

Club (Not a Tree Branch)
Tree Branch (Not a Club)
Baseball Bat (Wooden)

All of these are not good choices for long-term use (unless your club is made out of a durable material, in which case see Tonfa). Wood splinters, shatters, and then the only way to kill a zombie is to pierce it through the eye socket. Factor in the issue of fear, and you have a recipe for becoming a zombie.

Baseball Bat (Aluminum)

While it will stand up to more beatings than a wooden bat, it will eventually warp to a useless, curvy metal thing. If you take it along, plan on replacing it with something else.

Footman's Flail
Sledge Hammer

Here are two weapons ideally suited for cracking skulls and beating zombie brains. They also require a great deal of strength and skill to wield effectively, and are very, very heavy. Remember: it's hard to fight zombies when you are tired.

Also, a footman's flail is hard to find - you will probably have to make it yourself.

Police Baton / Billy Club

This is the trick question - police weapons are designed to damage muscle tissue without breaking bone (since they are usually made of reinforced plastic ). Unless you are intimately familiar with its use (and know how to use it lethally), shy away from them during an outbreak.

Brass Knuckles

I admire your guts, but cracking skulls within biting reach? You're asking for trouble.

Piercing Weapons

The rule for piercing weapons - if it isn't strong enough to pierce the skull, you will have to aim for the eye socket to kill a zombie.

Board with a Nail(s) in it

Easy to find, easy to use, and will probably work. But eventually, it will get stuck - and you need to get close.

Long Spear

Usually, better for moving zombies than killing them, unless it is intended for genuine battle. A genuine naginata has more reach (and can also slash), but it harder to use in-doors.

Short Sword

If you can find a genuine short sword, it will make an excellent back-up weapon.


Good for fighting zombies with weapons - which there aren't any of. Zombies are non-sentient, and can't effectively use weapons. Sais also have an issue with the internal pressure of the human body, and tend to get stuck fairly easily.


Easy to find, easy to use, not good for killing. While it will decapitate a zombie if used correctly, piercing will be hard.

Broom with Knife on It

The poor man's spear - but more likely to be found/made than a spear or naginata. If you make it incorrectly, one *snap* converts piercing weapon with reach into "zombie hunter on a stick".


Do you fence professionally? If not, ask yourself how this sentence sounds - "Amateur fencer tries to kill zombie with epee."

I thought so.

Other (Explain in comments)


Slashing Weapons

With slashing weapons, the goal is obviously decapitation. This does not solve the problem of the zombie's head still being able to bite you. So keep in mind the idea of zombie heads rolling around, biting at your ankles.

Sabre (Cavalry or otherwise)
Long Sword (All straight swords up to Bastard length)
Katana or Wakizashi

If you can find an authentic model, suitable for combat, you are in like flint. Reach plus decapitation is a Good Thing™.


If you don't have a sword, settle for a good dual-purpose tool. And - you can buy it at Wal-Mart, which seems almost self-defeating.

Wood Axe
Battle Axe

Axes are designed to combine the curring force of an edged weapon with the weight of a bludgeoning one. The main difference for our purposes is that battle axes are harder to get stuck in meat and bone, but almost impossible to buy (see rule on authenticity for swords). They will also make you very tired, very quickly. If you're in shape, a good short-distance weapon.



As for all things designed explicitly to make holes in things, firearms require training to use effectively. If you don't know how to unlatch a safety or clean a gun, you are going to have problems hitting a zombie in the head.

Shotgun (Shot)
Shotgun (Slugs)

These are the canonical zombie killers for one reason - they are really, really easy to find (hunting rifles should also have been included, but I can't edit the polls now). While shot will chew up flesh really well, it diffuses over distance. Slugs are guaranteed to blow a zombie's brain clean away withing range. Congrats - this is the best choice of the guns bigger than an arm.

M16 (If you have a version in mind, explain below)

According to the manual, if you want an assault rifle for zombie hunting, you should go with the AK. Details available upon request.

Revolver (caliber > .22)
Automatic Pistol

These are common guns meant to kill people at close range. That means they work on zombies, fit in a pocket, and ammo is easy to find. Good choice.

.22 Pistol
.22 rimfire rifle

Unless you get really lucky, and the bullet ricochets around in the brain case, you will have accomplished nothing of import except attracting any nearby zombies with the reports, and proving your love for Jodie Foster. It didn't kill Reagan, it's not going to kill a zombie.

Carbine rifle

Smaller than a normal rifle, so range can be limited; however, still a rifle. Ammunition is likely to be easy to find, and it will weigh less. A good choice.

JAR (Secret Service issue sniper rifle)

Good luck getting one, but you know you want it. Effective distance in trained hands, with a clear view, is roughly 1.4 miles.

SMG (Any submachine gun)

Other than chewing through ammo at a heightened rate, fairly inaccurate even in semiauto, and being noisy as hell, an excellent choice. If this meets your criteria, by all mean, go ahead.

Other (explain below)


Not even a compound bow will penetrate bone, except by accident. Rule it out right now.


The full-length model is available at many sporting goods outlets - and is able to puncture a truck door as easily as a zombie skull. Crossbows are also nigh silent - since there is no report, you will not attract any zombies with your shot. Ammunition is the only issue - you may have to make your own

The pistol-sized model is less likely to score a kill, and more difficult to obtain. Why settle?


I thought I should bring up right now, that if you have to hunt zombies underwater, you will need a speargun - accept no substitutes.

Why you would want to hunt zombies where they have every advantage is left as an exercise for the reader.

Heavy Weapons

Grenade launcher
Machine/Chain Gun / SAW

Since these weapons are interrelated, a couple of guidelines:

1. Fire Ambivalent!

Fire is not your friend, and it is not your enemy. There is a reason why zombies on fire are scary - it's because they don't care that they're on fire. Remember - if it doesn't destroy the brain, the zombie will still come at you. Fire should be used under circumstances where you don't care at all about the surrounding infrastructure, or you can control its path.

Flamethrowers are difficult to obtain even for military use - unless you start controlled fires for a living, you will probably have to make your own. And nothing says "Darwin award candidate" more than a gas tank strapped to your back while you flick your Bic in a closed room with zombies on every side.

2. Pieces of Zombies? Still also Bad.

Most of these weapons will leave zombies in little chunks. Without killing the brain, any parts still attached to the brain can (and will) still fight.

On the other hand, they are hella fun. It's up to you, hoss.

Other (Explain below)


None (Explain below)


Any comments made regarding "TBD" (to be determined) entries will be entered upon my return home.
The Seekerxambrius on January 13th, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC)
Since I own an AK-47 and a broadsword, I suppose I'm ready.

Tim Harris
The Seeker
Time Lord
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 13th, 2004 03:43 pm (UTC)
that scares me.
The Seekerxambrius on January 13th, 2004 04:00 pm (UTC)

Tim Harris
The Seeker
Time Lord
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 13th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
because in my world no one should own an ak-47.
The Seekerxambrius on January 13th, 2004 04:50 pm (UTC)
In a perfect world, we wouldn't have the desires that bring such objects into existence.

Tim Harris
The Seeker
Time Lord
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 13th, 2004 05:11 pm (UTC)
that too.
Thothaaron_foss on April 14th, 2004 09:46 pm (UTC)
And yet the sword is somehow OK in comparison? Both were crafted with the intent to kill people.
Hillarysusanofstohelit on April 15th, 2004 06:09 am (UTC)
using a sword takes a lot more effort, and you can only really kill one person with it at a time. an ak-47 is designed to kill a lot of people at the same time.
Yud: crazieyud on January 13th, 2004 04:50 pm (UTC)
I guess I should stock up on crowbars, then. One for every room of the house, at least. You never know when zombies will attack, or where you'll be when they do.
uuintermutedrchase on January 13th, 2004 06:51 pm (UTC)
My choices:
I chose crowbars because they're sharp and pointy, fast and I can latch one onto a utility belt. Very effective to split some heads holding it either way.

Quarterstaff if I get surrounded by a pack of flesheaters, I can whip out a quarterstaff to fend them off, keep them at bay, while taking them on one by one with a smaller weapon, or just to run the hell out of there. ; )

Footman's flail would just be fun and gorey. Gotta watch for the splashage of the bodily fluids though.

I chose the Machine/Chain Gun | SAW (specifically a 50-cal on a bipod) because it can tear through zombies easily. Then I can clean up the mess afterwards. Incapacitated zombies are like shooting fish in a barrel.

I chose SMG (Any submachine gun) for this task. Also, because they're light, good rate of fire, with the proper configuration they have pretty good accuracy, and I can swing one up from my hip to my shoulder in single-fire mode without having to get a long barrel by a bunch of zombies groping for me. A few well placed shots to each of their heads in rapid succession and they go down. Tougher to do with handguns because you have to stretch out your arm to aim, and there's a more limited firing capacity; no full-auto mode, either. An AK would be nice, but again, with the longer barrel and stock, swinging one up would take time and precious space, where as an H&K MP5A4 or G11 Caseless would be ideal for their high clip capacity, fast rate of fire, and even though the G11 carries less of a punch, all you need is a well placed headshot to kill one.

Mmm. Zombies. I need a good zombie movie to watch now.
elfdope on January 13th, 2004 07:09 pm (UTC)
On Aluminum bats
The one quibble I would have is in the aluminum bat section:
"While it will stand up to more beatings than a wooden bat, it will eventually warp to a useless, curvy metal thing. If you take it along, plan on replacing it with something else."

I once beat a tree for 3 straight hours with an aluminum bat, and it did not warp at all. Due to its structural design (the strength of the cylinder), and in some cases its air tight nature (think egg), Aluminum bats have an amazing strength and durability.

In fact I have never seen an aluminum bat curve. Ever. Even if, it would take forever to warp sufficiently that it became unusable.

It also should be noted that there exist some aluminum bats with fluid trapped inside to create even more momentum in the swing. A mercurial bat so to speak. These of course require two hands compared to the one necessary to weild the standard aluminum bat, but by god you could knock a zombies head clear into next week.

Of course an aluminum bat pales in comparison to a good 3+foot crowbar.
XCorvisxcorvis on January 13th, 2004 08:40 pm (UTC)
Re: On Aluminum bats
The bat is lighter, tho. I don't think you could hit a tree for 3 straight hours with a crowbar. You might do more damage, but you can't swing for as long.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 14th, 2004 05:25 am (UTC)
Re: On Aluminum bats
It takes more than 80 lbs pressure/inch^2 to break normal bone - your skull requires even more. After a few dozen zombies, most bats are going to start to warp.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 14th, 2004 07:26 am (UTC)
Re: On Aluminum bats
Zombies do not have human skulls. By the time you encounter it, a zombie skull has been rotting for anything from a few hours to several decades. Rotting skulls--especially since bone is not usefully affected by the embalming process--are much softer and easier to goosh than human skulls, especially since zombies also have a tendency to run into things, due to the whole lack of vision incapable of noticing things that aren't food.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 14th, 2004 09:19 am (UTC)
Re: On Aluminum bats
I disagree - consider that the majority of zombies in an outbreak were created in the last week by older zombies. The older zombies - much easier to kill (no argument). Newer zombies - unembalmed, harder to kill.

Zombies (for the purpose of these exercises) are created from transfer of the virus into a living host - you can't transfer a virus into a dead brain with any chance for success, because there is no blood flow - unless you're doing it under laboratory circumstances, in which case - why aren't you just using live political dissidents?

A human body, unembalmed, can last for quite a while depending on ambient moisture, bacterial concentration, and relative size of the deceased. A zombie is using their body as we would, without the benefit of metabolic processes to regenerate tissue as it is used up.

Ensuring that the outbreak is contained will take longer in the desert than it will in a jungle.
XCorvisxcorvis on January 13th, 2004 08:43 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree with their assessment of bows. I saw a demo of a longbow punching straight thru a steel plate - it will *definately* go thru bone. But it's still pretty useless.

Unless you use explosive heads, that is. ;)
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 14th, 2004 05:23 am (UTC)
A longbow is not a weapon that is commercially available - it's also much harder to use than a standard hunting bow.

Explosive heads are their own ball of wax.
Abra SWcloudscudding on January 13th, 2004 09:08 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I chose the wood axe because I know I can use it. The same logic goes for the quarterstaff--I actually know how to use the damn thing, and shortly, I will likely own one.

What I truly learned from this experience, though, is that if you want attention on livejournal, write about zombies. And ask people's opinions. With polls.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 14th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC)
The people, they like arguing about the polls. And it's not every day that it takes 5 minutes for me to download my e-mail with DSL . . .
Josiah Carlsonchouyu_31 on January 13th, 2004 10:38 pm (UTC)

Baseball Bat (Aluminum)

While it will stand up to more beatings than a wooden bat, it will eventually warp to a useless, curvy metal thing. If you take it along, plan on replacing it with something else.

I'm not so sure that an aluminum baseball bat would bend under the stress resulting from destroying zombie brainpans, though never having tested aluminum bats under such poor conditions, I don't know. Though according to various sources, aluminum can be made with higher tensile strength that iron.

If we could have fantasy/SF weapons however, I'm thinking that a lightsaber would be perfect. It never dulls, lasts for a long time, and if you are careful, is about the most effective severing weapon available.
King of the Voidabaddonx99 on January 14th, 2004 12:49 am (UTC)
You need a couple of ranks in Force Sensitivity to even wield it without suffering a 25% chance of losing a limb.

Still, it would totally kick ass for killing zombies if you did. Have a lightsaber, I mean.
Josiah Carlsonchouyu_31 on January 14th, 2004 08:29 am (UTC)
Re: Lightsaber
In the Star Wars add-on for DND 3rd ed, Force Sensitivity is a feat, not a skill. And I'm not talking about wielding it (like a sword), but sticking it out in front of me like a spear. Wiggling it back and forth should be sufficient for severing heads of undead in two.
Angel needs no wings - just a duster & a hackysackcanth on January 14th, 2004 04:27 am (UTC)
light sabers?
Shit..whatever happened to setting traps for these motherfuckers?

so you don't want to fight zombies upclose and personal OR you're smart and you KNOW that eventually, you're gonna need to stop and catch your breath or something, why wouldn't we be able to coordinate with other zombie killers and set up major traps for these undead guys?

me, i'll just find a couple of smart dudes to help me recreate the bruce campbell method and build a battering ram car with spikes, guns, with hack and slash capability (rotary blades gotto be there somewhere).
Thothaaron_foss on April 14th, 2004 09:40 pm (UTC)
Better late than never
I missed most of this the first time around, but as many of you are probably aware; I loathe the undead... and for all intents and purposes that includes zombies (regardless of their origins or physiology).

Love, Sharks, or Zombies?

Already covered, not a big fan of swimming, and I won't let zombies tear me apart.

As one would expect of any long-time zombie-loather such as myself, I took the questions quite seriously, and thought about the practical side of things; ease of use; possible use as tools; relative safety; ability to acquire, carry, and maintain; etc.

Sturdy. Able to puncture skulls or simply bludgeon them into pulp (causing massive brain trauma). Failry light and compact. Decent reach. Can be used as a tool.

Not a great weapon, but it can do in a pinch, particularly in narrow confines where wide swinging motions are impractical. I'm assuming a military-grade combat knife (SOG, KA-BAR, etc.), which makes this one of the most important survival tools in your arsenal. Practically indestructible. I used to sell these things for a living... they really are as good as they're cracked up to be.

Small and sturdy. Heavy blade for taking off heads when a zombie has been otherwise incapactiated. Good tool.

Fairly impractical, but if you absolutely need to kill a zombie in melee - this is the tool for you. Again, I've sold these in the past, and for under $2,000 USD you can get an 'authentic' (modern materials with traditional construction and folding techniques, resulting in a sword that is better then the originals from the master swordsmiths of fuedal Japan). Slightly harder to obtain, since most retailers don't keep the 'real' swords on-hand... you'll see a few katanas in stores if you look, but chances are that they're all decorative toys that wouldn't last through one real fight.

As we get into ranged weapons, this little bugger has some pretty good potential. Small, light, and requires very little maintenance. The usefulness is based on an extraction based on the nobrain = dead zombie factor; which indicates a functional nervous system of some kind. Even if zombies don't feel pain, the siganls can still be overloaded causing paralysis.

Easy to use and maintain. Ammunition is readily available. Headshots get the job done. Small, and useable in confined spaces.

Solid and scatter, thank you very much. Knockdown power is key, and at 10-20 feet, your chances of scoring a decap are pretty high. Scatter shells can help with crowd control. Makes a decent club if a zombie manages to sneak up on you from behind while you're blasting the others.

Much like the katana, this is the clear winner if you can get your hands on one. Were I able to make it out to Circle Pines, I know a gun range that happens to have a couple of P90's on-hand... light, compact, and a high magazine capacity to boot. Contrary to opinions founded on playing videogames: guns are very accurate - not just the ones built for sniping. Any SMG can put a single bullet exactly where you want it to go (a simple scope and a braced position will let you 'snipe' with an MP5).

To sum it all up, I'd be carrying a shotgun + shells (solid and scatter), a pistol + shells, an air-taser (shaped and proportioned much like a Glock, in case you didn't know), and some tools (knife, crowbar, camping hatchet). If they were available, I'd gladly add an assault weapon (SMG or assault rifle) to the mix, but I'd be hard-pressed to carry it all on my person all at once.