General

Blades! Your Zombie Backup Backup

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.

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Comments (5)

  1. The napalm idea is good if you aren’t near your hootch. Zed doesn’t go down right away and just walks around starting fires. Before you know it, your block is ablaze and your neighbors don’t like you so much anymore.

  2. Guns and ammo I have a lot, gas I have even more, blades are always good.
    But my backhoe will do me just better when the hordes come wobbling down the street

  3. Machetes and chainsaws don’t work the same in real life, as they do in movies. For your classic Romero-esque zombie, you need to destroy its brain stem or sever the spinal column… Trust me, you can’t effectively do either – in a single stroke – with a machete or chainsaw (I’ve processed livestock, and had to help quarter and remove roadkill deer). It’s possible with a bayonet, but you have to hit a pretty small sweet spot for it to work (ask a bowhunter why they don’t aim for the head). I have several weeks of rigorous tameshigiri sword training, and with a top-of-the-line damascus steel sword I still can only cut through a wet tatami mat (approximately the same as beheading a human) maybe one in three times. And that’s with a few seconds to adjust my stance, against a stationary target. For the average dude with a BudK display sword, against a moving target… Not good odds. Just a general bit of advice to folks – Don’t build your survival plans around Hollywood physics, you’ll just die disappointed.

    Heavier blunt weapons have a much more proven track record for destroying the central nervous system, with a single strike. A good crowbar or halligan tool would work, and also has the added utility of a breaching locked doors. But, you should try Barry Bonds-swinging one around for a while. You get tired FAST, so always be prepared to flee or bring three times more ammo than you think you’ll need. Make friends with that crazy ammo hoarder… He’ll probably be elected president, after the outbreak. 😀

  4. If you’re low on ammo just in time for the Shit to hit to fan, and you haven’t found an adequate supply of scrounged ammo yet, the key to success will be to do what nobody else has thought of yet. While everybody else is raiding gun shops and hardware stores for guns and ammo, I’m gonna be looking for gasoline and foam peanuts and canning jars. I have a HUGE store of ammo, so the ammo scenario won’t apply to me, but when the hordes come wobbling down the street, my preferred weapon of choice will be NAPALM. Disolve the foam or pakaging peanuts in the Gasoline until you have a nice “Jelly”. Pour the jelly into canning jars or glass bottles and wrap the jars with jellies cotton or some other suitable cloth. Then you just gotta light the fuse and toss ’em at the approaching horde. Why limit yourself to “One Shot, One Kill” when you can get a whole bunch of ’em at once? Keep your guns handy for CQB, but if you can burn ’em at the choke point, you can negate their number and last inde
    finitly.

  5. The machete is a nice idea, but that allows the undead hordes to get a little closer than I would prefer. Besides, hacking and slashing your way through a crowd of walking, rotting corpses means you’ll get stuff on you. Wether it be congealed blood or some other yuck juice, you run the risk of getting infected yourself. No, thanks. I’ll stick to my hovel and just wait for the flesh eaters to rot into oblivion.

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