The “preppers” movement has been around since, well, forever. There are plenty of preppers’ networks, blogs, discussion boards, and books written about how to be a survivalist. Survivalists, or preppers, have been storing extra surpluses of food, batteries, candles, fuel, ammo, and the like so that they can live through a total collapse of society or a natural disaster. You know what world ending things might actually happen. However, somewhere along the way, this movement turned into the Zombie Apocalypse, or Z-Day, as some call it. The Zombie Apocalypse started as just a general way to describe the end of the world as we know it, some thing or some one wipes out more than half the world’s population and chaos, shooting, and survival ensues. Following the apocalypse, those fortunate to have survived, usually those who prepped, proceed to ban together to rebuild. I don’t know when or who actually started taking Z-Day literally, but zombies are everywhere now, and plenty of people are cashing in on the craze.
Internet buzz abounds that the zombie thing is over. Some folks are saying that I was zombie before zombie was cool. Some say it’s a tired subject, get over it already, but it’s only been in the last couple of months have we seen some of the big players in the firearms industry jumping on the bandwagon. Ruger and Taurus have both released news about zombie guns, and of course, Hornady released the much-anticipated zombie ammo a few weeks ago. I’m betting that some of the bigger players still have zombie gear in the works too, but no one has leaked it yet. Are these companies playing catch-up in the phenomena, or do they know that it’s just going to get bigger? Gun manufacturers are making zombie-specific products, like Ruger’s Zombie Slayer LCP, Taurus’ Zombie Responder Judge, and Ka-Bar’s Zombie Killer Knives. We have also seen a flood of zombie targets, lower and upper receivers from Zombie Defense and Spike’s Tactical. Companies are also adding zombie verbiage to their product descriptions, such as Advanced Armament’s t-shirts which depict, “a vital item for your zombie-apocalypse survival kit,” and CMMG’s tactical bacon, “good for zombie standoffs.” I’m not sure how exactly tactical bacon is good for zombie standoffs, but we do know that zombie sells, so why not add it as a reason to buy tactical bacon? Companies that sell these products are designing elaborate ways to sell zombie stuff. Brownell has their “Center for Zombie Awareness,” and even Cheaper Than Dirt had fun with our own Zombie Week.
Besides products, zombie competition shoots are getting bigger and bigger. DPMS has their Outbreak: Omega annual shoot. Our local range in Texas had a Halloween zombie shoot, and there is even a whole organization called the Zombie Shooter’s Association that sets up matches like the IDPA as well as other competitions.
MSNBC.com suggests that the zombie industry, in its entirety, including books, movies, video games, and websites is worth about 5.74 billion dollars. This clearly means that zombie related products are selling. Why wouldn’t companies cash in?
This popularity could also pose a potential problem. Does the rise of zombie popularity lessen the seriousness of our industry? Does it perpetuate a stereotype of gun owners? In fact, Hornady has put a large warning and a disclaimer on the Zombie Max ammo stating that the ammo is not a toy. Gun enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike buy up zombie books, movies, comics, and TV shows. Should we be worried when an anti-gun enthusiast sees the things we see as fun, such as exploding zombie targets, and thinks, “Oh wait, you guys are serious about this zombie stuff”, and proceed to deem us certifiable crazy. That doesn’t help our sport, does it? We like zombies, we like shooting zombies, we like preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, and gun and gun gear companies are making it even more fun for us with the zombie targets and guns, and all the other zombie swag. What it boils down to is this: as long as we keep buying it, they are going to keep selling it.