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Kinda funny to me that the NYT says that bloggers work too hard and on the exact same day do a story on something bloggers have been covering for a while: Mainstreaming survivalism. I’ve noted before that survivalism is even being taught to our kids.

Glenn says of me: Here’s a big bugout bag roundup, including firearms, from Say Uncle, though he unaccountably neglects the zombie angle, somewhat diminishing his credibility.

Well, firearms, other than double barrel shotguns at close range, are generally not effective against zombies. But, if you’re engaging zombies at close range, a chain saw is a much better weapon assuming you can somehow get into a position where the zombies are channeled in to you one at a time. A decapitated zombie is a friendly zombie.

An issue is that weapons that are effective against zombies tend to be heavily regulated. For instance, a zombie trap could work if you had some bait and an explosive. Getting your hand on the bait (tasty brains) is probably easier than getting your hands on a lawful explosive. After all, you could simply place the tasty brains with a trigger on them and the zombies, drawn by the brains, will blow themselves up.

But that’s dangerous, illegal, and a lot of work. An effective and legal way to deal with zombies: Flame throwers. Flame throwers are not regulated federally (after all, they’re just big squirt guns). You can even make them out of super soakers. As an added bonus, flame throwers make shoveling snow out of your driveway easy and fun.

Update: From comments, I see that some other experts say that setting zombies on fire is bad.

24 Responses to “Survival”

  1. CL Says:

    Found this WIKI on dealing with zombies. Of particular interest was the part on combating zombies.
    One of the things listed NOT TO DO is set the zombie on fire. I wonder why?

  2. Joe Huffman Says:

    Mail order explosives:

    Ozark Pyrotechnics Exploding Targets
    Tannerite Exploding Targets

    Put BBs on the zombie side for better results.

  3. trainer Says:

    After reading The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z (a movie coming) I have decided that a titanium crow bar is the way to go…un-breakable and never runs out of ammo when the flood of zacks pours out of the Lincoln Tunnel.

    Head shots are good, but with an estimated zack count in the US of 200 million, I don’t have enough ammo.

    They also freeze solid in the winter, so flee north above the snow line if you have to.

  4. # 9 Says:

    Always thought fire would work. Guess it just pisses them off. Good to know.

  5. Mikee Says:

    Don’t go setting on fire a thing which can walk into your house after ignition. this applies not only to zombies but also to small mammals and radio controlled toys. I’m sure other readers can expand on this brief list.

    The only reliable way to stop a zombie is to interrupt its residual neurological activity – shoot it in the brain (or use your titanium crow bar, or maybe a much less expensive length of rebar).

    As for a zombie trap, a simple self-closing trapdoor over a deep pit will do. Or maybe something like a manhole cover that flips. Just stand opposite the zombies and they will fall right in as they stagger towards you.

    Then, with the zombies contained in the pit (storm drain, cattle pen, whatever) the flamethrower might be useful.

    You have to think these things through before an actual need arises, or you go off making a flaming mess in your front yard and upsetting the neighbors. Don’t ask me how I know this….

  6. DJMoore Says:

    Another often-overlooked issue in zombie control is that it is extremely unwise to fight them using other monsters, such as ‘Zillas, that may themselves become zombiefied.

    On the other hand, that source also suggests that, in general, zombies are law-abiding enough that if the local authority issues rampaging permits, the zombies will abide by their terms.

  7. guy Says:

    a chain saw is a much better weapon

    I have to disagree with this option as well. Since most “zombie plagues” are blood borne, slinging diseased flesh and gore all over the place would seem to be a really bad idea.

  8. KCSteve Says:

    As the others have said, you just need something capable of cracking the skull open. I, personally, have options for doing this out to 800 meters at which distance someone else gets to clean up the mess.

  9. ishida Says:

    Hey Uncle. I actually have a link to a discussion about zombies from a COMPLETELY PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE aspect.

  10. ishida Says:

    Addition: link code didn’t work ^^;

  11. workinwifdakids Says:

    The best part about teh Zombie Apocalypse? Put a flaming zombie on your neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run!

    Hilarity ensues as you watch from behind a bush while your neighbor tries to stomp out the zombie.

  12. Dan From Detroit Says:

    Explosives are not a good anti-zombie strategy. Zombies can only be killed by a solid head injury. Blowing them up cripples them and leaves them alive to grab you as you walk by.

  13. Mark Buehner Says:

    There are too many variables to select one ‘best’ anti-zombie weapon. What stage zombie invasion are we talking about here? The simple “Uncle Ned wandering out by the barn” problem, or “Land of the Dead, hope you didnt go too nuts on that 401k” apocalypse?

    Chainsaws are a bad choice in general- somebody mentioned the spattered goo problem and that is serious. But chainsaws make a lot of noise. You lop one head off and you suddenly have 3 more to deal with. You could end up up loppin heads all day… except that the gas runs out and all you have is a dull chunk of metal that makes a lousy club.

    Some arm-chair zombie exterminators will claim a good knife or tire iron is all they need. I’d be checking for bitemarks on their arms every ten minutes if i had to share oxygen with these blowhards… and that just in every day life. If so much as a Level 1 zombie alert went out i’d get as many counties between us as i could manage.

    Give me a vintage WW2 M1 rifle anyday. Semiautomatic makes you aim your shots, and it makes a fantastic brain-basher if all else fails.

  14. deadcenter Says:

    nice little how to for a pvc pipe flamethrower

    only the first animation in the list still works

  15. TallDave Says:

    The problem with guns is that eventually you will run out of bullets, and with civilization likely having fallen, they won’t be making any more.

    So stock up on ammo, and keep a good selection of melee weapons. I would suggest that pikes and spears are more useful than swords. Ideally you would form a phalanx of armored men, as the Greeks and Romans did (I don’t know if they specifically faced any zombies), such that your pikemen could split the heads of zombies while spears and swords finish off any that get closer.

    I have to agree, a flaming zombie is worse than a regular zombie; you’re just increasing their destructive potential when you light them on fire. They usually scream and become agitated in addition to setting other things (such as your ammo stockpile) on fire, their faster movement giving them an added advantage in melee combat.

  16. Mark Buehner Says:

    Good point. Pick a weapon with common ammo. If you live in many parts of the US you’ll run out of people before you run out of .357 Magnum cartridges.

  17. Achillea Says:

    Since most “zombie plagues” are blood borne, slinging diseased flesh and gore all over the place would seem to be a really bad idea.

    Hence my zero sympathy for the folks in 28 Days Later who eschewed entire police armories in favor of improvised clubs and knives. Heaven forfend someone touch one of those icky firearm thingies even with civilization gone to hell in a homicidal undead handbasket.

    (Thumbs up to the guy who at least kitted himself out with the riot shield and body armor, though)

  18. Achillea Says:

    Blowing them up cripples them and leaves them alive to grab you as you walk by.

    Along with the track-down-and-exterminate-all-the-crawling-hands problem.

  19. Ogre Says:

    You don’t want to burn the zombies because the blood disease remains active in the ash that you’ve now dispersed into your surroundings. So unless you have a hazmat suit, don’t do it.

    Zombies can’t climb a shear wall. Unfortunately, as you stand up top easily taking them out, you are helping them build a ramp as they will happily climb on top of each other to get to you and your tasty brains. So knocking out the stairs will only delay them.

    I highly recommend the book “Zombie Survival Guide.”

  20. Orion Says:

    There is one cardinal rule in fighting zombies: Don’t Get Bit. Everything else is just bling. You can shoot them, behead them, boil them in acid, run them over with a street roller, your choice. The one thing you never ever want is to see your flesh between their teeth because that’s the classic “GAME OVER, DUDE!” moment. If you get bit then it doesn’t matter how many of the buggers you take out because you’re their replacement.

    My preferred method of Zombie Combat is shooting them with a 50cal belt-fed machine gun through a gun port. The firing station is either completely enclosed with an access hatch to the sewers (for quick get aways) or up high in a secured building. I prefer hollow-point ammo because even if I don’t get a head shot the hole I blow in them will remove enough muscle and tissue that they won’t get back up any time soon. Contrary to popular thought, a head shot is NOT necessary to remove the threat – shattering the spinal column will do until you can swing the weapon back through its firing arc.

    This method works well for both Fast Zombies and the older, classic “Night of the Living Dead” shamblers. It’s less effective against vampires because these retain at least a semblance of human intelligence and they’ll take to cover after the first few bursts. But again if they can’t get at me then I can still call this a win so long as I escape with my skin intact.

  21. docweasel Says:

    here’s why not to set zombies on fire:
    do not set zombies on fire
    10) Don’t set zombies on fire. Burning zombies smell terrible.


    We’re not sure why you see it in every zombie movie, but it stands to reason that the only thing worse than a zombie is a flaming zombie. Remember, it can take a long time for a zombie to burn to death – more than ten minutes, in some recorded cases. Do you really want a burning zombie lighting you and your friends on fire? Play it safe – chances are good that there won’t be any fire-fighting infrastructure during a zombie outbreak if things get out of hand.

  22. Bryan C Says:

    I still like the flamethrower idea. If you have zombies wandering around the countryside then, no, don’t set them on fire. But if they’re contained (like in one of those handy pit traps, or lurking in their zombie lair) then fire is a far more efficient means of disposal than wasting precious ammunition.

  23. Clon Says:

    Flamethrowers work quite well when used in tandem with tanglefoot barbed-wire, though you have to be willing to clean out the mess before the next wave comes or the wire will eventually get clogged.

    I have tried this method with live non-zombie subjects and it seems to be a useful tactic.

  24. Achillea Says:

    There’s also something to be said for fire when the virus jumps species and you’re dealing with flocks of zombified brain-eating parakeets.

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