None of us like those days when we run low on ammo. It just seems like no matter how careful we are to conserve it, we’ll use up the last just as a big swarm hits. So, when I’m running out of triple-aught (because over-penetration is the name of the game!), or they’re too close for me to reload, I reach for a big blade.
The main defensive blade I’ve used since the outbreak is the machete. With zombies around it’s really pretty much just used like a sword. Real swords are generally a bit heavier, but then again it’s not that often that you can scrounge a nice broadsword from an abandoned hardware store. So, we make-do with what we’ve got. I got lucky in finding this one. At 18 inches long, it’s about average length for most machetes. Where this one shines is that it’s a bit more thickly constructed than most. I really like the knuckle guard, too. See, when slashing with a machete, things have a tendency to drag down the blade and hit you in the hand. This knuckle guard keeps the infected (or what’s left of them) from getting to me. In general, I would prefer weight to length in a machete. For example, if I run across one of the Ka-Bar Grass Machetes I’ll definitely be keeping it. It’s not quite as long, but it’s thicker. It would still do fine for a slashing defense, but it would pull double duty at chopping through obstacles.
Speaking of chopping through obstacles, the next largest blade I keep on me is a Tomahawk. In a fight, I tend to use it kind of like a shield– keeping a zombie at bay until it’s his turn for the machete. I’m just not quite ninja enough to just go in swinging with both arms. The tomahawk works great by itself, though. It doesn’t have the reach of the machete, but it’s got plenty of heft to work over a pack of zombies in short order. That spike does exactly what it looks like it will do, too. I don’t throw it! I like to keep my tools with me instead of tossing them into mobs of infected. Now, the even better reason to have the ‘hawk around is for getting through objects like doors, boarded up windows, drywall, etc. Pretty much any light-skinned modern construction is easy work for the ‘hawk. This is important because there’s been plenty of times where our group would have been overrun if we hadn’t been able to make a hole in a building to get away. If you play your cards right, you can make a hole just big enough for everyone to get through quickly. Once you’re all on the other side of the hole, the team can take turns defending the choke point you’ve created until you can block it back up or the threat’s over.
The other bladed weapon I keep close at hand for defensive use is the M7 Bayonet on my Mossberg. I think of it more as a “zombie standoff device.” See, with a bayonet your goal is to jab at the bad guy in your trench until he stops trying to hurt your buddies. With zombies, it’s not quite as easy because in order for that to work I’d have to do all my jabbing from the zombies’ noses up. Good luck with that! What I can do with it, though, is use it to keep zombies at arms length. The trick is I have to use it that way in a choke point. If I’m in a parking lot and I stick one zombie, the rest will just go around him to get me. If I stick a zombie in a narrow doorway though, I can lean into him with the gun and keep him from coming in and he’ll block the door and keep all the others from coming in, too. It’s not fun, (you know, because there’s a hungry guy at the other end of my shotgun taking swipes at me), but when ammo is tight and the team needs a minute to figure out how to keep moving it can be handy.
None of us likes the infected being anywhere near us, but the edge of my machete lasts through more zombies than an M&P9 magazine will. And I can just keep sharpening the machete.