Meleeing in the Z-Apocalypse...

#1 Posted by leif3141 (50 posts) -

*Warning, silly topic debated seriously*

After watching many movies/playing video games/reading zombie survival literature, I'm convinced almost all the conventional thought regarding hand to hand zombie combat is pretty much wrong. This topic will not discuss the use of firearms/bows or medieval weaponry, as battle ready swords/maces/etc are hard to obtain in the modern world.

To me, there are only three weapons worth considering if one is "preparing" for the hordes of zombies. Of course, in any scenario if one is unarmed and a zombie approaching, they should use whatever is handy at the time to them. I will break the weapons down into one handed vs two handed to illustrate my point -

One handed weapons - I am convinced that only one weapon in this category would even be worth consideration. That weapon is a knife. And no, I am not talking for use on a regular basis vs zombies, but as a last ditch I'm about to be bitten and nothing is available, so pulling the knife out of the sheath and stabbing might just be the only answer. This flies in the face of most arguments I see, where machetes, tomahawks, crowbars (crowbars deserving their own section about why they make very poor choice), hammers, etc are suggested for use in zombie fighting. I submit these would all make very POOR choices to arm yourself with in preparation. There are several reasons I make this claim. First, most of the bladed weapons would tend to get stuck, and most people would not have the strength/know how to fight with them correctly (perhaps if they were to chop at the neck rather than head, then maybe, but in the heat of battle this would be easier said than done). The main reason I say none of these weapons would make a good choice is that other than not generating as much force as a two handed weapon, if a person using them made a hit but didn't kill a zombie, they don't provide enough force to knock a zombie down or at the very least, imbalance them enough to take another swing at the zombie.

I say crowbars deserve their own section on why they make such a poor, poor choice is the fact they are often touted as the best choice. I am convinced most have not handled a crowbar before coming to this conclusion. First off, crowbars are not nearly are ergonomic from a weight standpoint (their weight is distributed throughout the bar for the most part evenly, as opposed to something like a hammer where it is focused) as other weapons mentioned. This makes swings with the weapon more awkward and not as effective for the most part. Second, crowbars are very uncomfortable to grip, unlike other weapons mentioned where the manufacturer designs the tool with the grip in mind. True, wearing a glove or attaching a makeshift grip can alleviate this, but not to the point of easy a grip as say, a machete or hammer by any means. Of course crowbars can be used like a spear to stab, but in reality, I doubt this would be as effective for most folks as a swing.

Two handed weapons - These weapons should be the bread and butter of zombie combat if hand to hand combat is needed. Rarely does zombie related media focus on them, other than the baseball bat, as weapons survivors use. It's too bad, because they should be your focus. They offer more power than the typical one handed weapon in most people's hands and greater reach as well.

Of all the two handed weapons, I believe the best two choices would be either the axe (modern variety, not medieval viking axe or something, which remember I am not focusing on) or the sledgehammer. These two are often the most argued against using due to their heavy weight. First off, two handed axes are available from 4-6 lbs and sledgehammers can typically be bought from 6-8 lbs. The 20lb behemoths are obviously not very practical. At the lighter weights, most people of normal stature can swing with decent force for them to be pretty effective. Of course if 20 zombies are barreling down on you, they would not be effective, as they do take longer to ready to swing, but in reality no melee weapon would really save you at that point. But the good thing about these weapons is they were built for very high durability and very high destruction potential (they chop logs, demolish houses, break rocks, etc. Can a katana claim the same?) . And, even if they were not completely effective the first swing, they would most likely either knock a zombie down, or at least cause an imbalance long enough for the user to take another shot without getting bit. This is something that can't really be said for bats, shovels, spades, etc which just generally don't focus the weight enough at the head of the tool to provide the leverage to do so. The axe gets a slight better nod at one shot kills than the sledgehammer, but this pretty much evens out in my opinion due to the fact the sledgehammer will not get stuck in a zombie under most circumstances.

Two handed crowbars would be much, much more effective than the shorter variety, but I believe the same arguments against them would still remain.

#2 Edited by 4myAmuzumament (1743 posts) -

I would just get a ball-n-chain and swing it around like a tornado if zombies were in my way.

#3 Posted by lonewolf604 (8513 posts) -

The danger of the classic zombie is grossly exaggerated. They're slow as hell. I'd be more scared of the infected from 28 Days/Weeks later.

#4 Posted by MrGeezer (55942 posts) -

I've always thought that melee weapons would be pretty crappy in th first place. Considering that most zombies infect people through exchange of bodily fluids, I'd avoid doing anything that could cause me to get splattered with their blood.

Now, you obviously have no choice if you're trapped and about to be bitten, but I constantly see people in movies getting in arm's reach and bashing zombies with melee weapons when they could have simply walked away.

#5 Posted by spike6958 (4652 posts) -

I own multiple Katana's and Cross/Long Bow's, and am trained in how to use them correctly. I don't need to worry about picking these inferior weapons.

#6 Edited by leif3141 (50 posts) -

I wouldn't say its grossly exaggerated if they are moving at a fast walk pace. Especially inside a building without much room to maneuver, they could be very dangerous. Meleeing would be a last resort to begin with, or if one needed to be silent. Humans throughout history have become dominant in weaponry simply because of extended reach to begin with (spears, then bows, then firearms - caveman armed with clubs wouldn't present much of a threat to say something like a bear).

As far as katanas go? If you actually own REAL katanas (I'd be interested to know how much you bought them for and where you got them, I'm hoping not on ebay or something similar) - and have trained to be very effective to use them, I'd give you that you would have a significant advantage against a fight with a human, but that advantage would diminish greatly against a zombie. Focused attacks with something like a katana would be much harder to achieve in reality than training with cutting bottles, rope, animal carcass, or whatever you have trained on your katanas with. You have to add the fact you have moving targets and adrenaline into the mix. I doubt you have trained to do this with live targets. A sledgehammer would give you a much larger room for error than a katana, and is much more durable, and costs a fraction of what a katana costs and requires much less training to be effective. So what slight advantage you might gain with a katana isn't really much of one when you account that you could have spent the $ on something like a firearm/ammo which are going to be much more valuable. As far a crossbows/longbows go...yea right...pretty much the worst weapons ever except for a needed silent kill or if only one was in the vicinity. Great for hunting food though. I own crossbows myself and they just take to long to reload, so unless you only have one in the vicinity, they don't provide much value. Head shots with a longbow? Much easier said than done.

#7 Edited by 4myAmuzumament (1743 posts) -

What if one invested in chain mail? Then you could just walk through zombies at your leisure. This plus a flamethrower and you're golden.

Zombie? What zombie?

#8 Posted by leif3141 (50 posts) -

There's still a little of his face left open :P

#9 Posted by The-Apostle (12109 posts) -

@leif3141 said:

There's still a little of his face left open :P

Not if you wear a helmet. >_>

The danger of the classic zombie is grossly exaggerated. They're slow as hell. I'd be more scared of the infected from 28 Days/Weeks later.

This was an observation a character made in Night of the Living Dead.

#10 Posted by airshocker (28346 posts) -

It all depends what kind of zombies we're talking about. Very few weapons are going to be effective in every situation. If we're talking about slow, dumb walkers like in The Walking Dead then hand to hand would be feasible. If we're talking about those fast fuckers from 28 Days/Weeks or World War Z, then guns will be the only option.

Avoiding and outsmarting zombies will probably be the best method all around. The use of diversions and traps to eliminate them. Improvised explosive devices would be handy, if you could find someone who knew how to make them.

#11 Edited by playmynutz (5925 posts) -

Zombie apacolypse foshizzle desprete babies wont phase ruthless records!

#12 Edited by MrGeezer (55942 posts) -

It all depends what kind of zombies we're talking about. Very few weapons are going to be effective in every situation. If we're talking about slow, dumb walkers like in The Walking Dead then hand to hand would be feasible. If we're talking about those fast fuckers from 28 Days/Weeks or World War Z, then guns will be the only option.

Avoiding and outsmarting zombies will probably be the best method all around. The use of diversions and traps to eliminate them. Improvised explosive devices would be handy, if you could find someone who knew how to make them.

Even when you're talking about the slow zombies, the best option (aside from ignoring them entirely) is to just shoot them.

They're slow moving which makes it easier to get headshots. And yes, other zombies will be attracted to the sound. But since they are slow zombies, that gives you a lot more time to shoot the zombies that you need to shoot and then get the hell out of there before the others show up. But you do NOT want to use melee weapons that require you to get close and then get sprayed with their blood.

If there's any situation that calls for use of melee weapons, it's probably gonna be fast zombies. Why? Because with fast zombies, you have less time to react. You don't have the option of pulling out your gun once you see them, or avoiding them entirely. Those are the zombies that you CAN'T easily avoid, which means that you're more likely to be forced into a situation in which you either risk getting sprayed with their blood, or certainly get your face eaten off.

#13 Edited by airshocker (28346 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

@airshocker said:

It all depends what kind of zombies we're talking about. Very few weapons are going to be effective in every situation. If we're talking about slow, dumb walkers like in The Walking Dead then hand to hand would be feasible. If we're talking about those fast fuckers from 28 Days/Weeks or World War Z, then guns will be the only option.

Avoiding and outsmarting zombies will probably be the best method all around. The use of diversions and traps to eliminate them. Improvised explosive devices would be handy, if you could find someone who knew how to make them.

Even when you're talking about the slow zombies, the best option (aside from ignoring them entirely) is to just shoot them.

They're slow moving which makes it easier to get headshots. And yes, other zombies will be attracted to the sound. But since they are slow zombies, that gives you a lot more time to shoot the zombies that you need to shoot and then get the hell out of there before the others show up. But you do NOT want to use melee weapons that require you to get close and then get sprayed with their blood.

If there's any situation that calls for use of melee weapons, it's probably gonna be fast zombies. Why? Because with fast zombies, you have less time to react. You don't have the option of pulling out your gun once you see them, or avoiding them entirely. Those are the zombies that you CAN'T easily avoid, which means that you're more likely to be forced into a situation in which you either risk getting sprayed with their blood, or certainly get your face eaten off.

I'd have to disagree. Firearms should be saved unless absolutely needed. With slow zombies there are going to be A LOT of survivors. I'd rather save my guns to kill other humans that threaten my welfare than waste all of my ammo when I could simply use a cobbled together spear, or some sort of staff, to kill zombies from a safer distance. And wearing face protection, plus gloves and lots of clothing would be a must.