A brief listing and categorization of weapons to help you survive the
There are numerous weapons that a person can choose to defend themselves
during the Zombiepocalypse. This is a short list of weapons that are more
commonly available in the United States, as this is where the majority of our
readers live. (Sorry to the Europeans and Aussies, your governments want you to
Each type of weapon will categorized and its strengths and weaknesses will be
a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut
into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called
"lands," which make contact with the projectile (for small arms usage,
called a bullet), imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the
orientation of the weapon. When the projectile leaves the barrel, the
spin averages out curve from imperfections improving accuracy and
prevents tumbling which improves range, in the same way that a properly
thrown American football or rugby ball behaves. The word "rifle"
originally referred to the grooving, and a rifle was called a "rifled
gun." Rifles are used in warfare, hunting and shooting sports.
Typically, a bullet is propelled by the contained deflagration of an
explosive compound (originally black powder, later cordite, and now
nitrocellulose), although other means such as compressed air are used in
air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, hunting small game,
formal target shooting and casual shooting ("plinking").
In most armed forces the term "gun" is incorrect when referring to
small arms; in the military, the word "gun" means an artillery piece or
crew-served machine gun. Furthermore, in many works of fiction a rifle
refers to any weapon that has a stock and is shouldered before firing,
even if the weapon is not rifled or does not fire solid projectiles.
(e.g. a "laser rifle")
Formerly, rifles only fired a single projectile with each squeeze of
the trigger. Modern assault rifles are capable of firing more than one
round per trigger squeeze; some fire in a fully automatic mode and
others are limited to bursts of three to five rounds per squeeze. Thus,
modern assault rifles overlap somewhat with machine guns. In fact, many
light machine guns (such as the Russian RPK) are adaptations of existing
assault rifle designs. Generally, the difference between an automatic
rifle and a machine gun comes down to weight and feed system; rifles,
with their relatively light components (which overheat quickly) and
small magazines, are incapable of sustained automatic fire in the way
that machine guns are. While machine guns may require more than one
operator, the rifle is an individual weapon.
Bolt Action Rifles:
bolt is operated manually by the opening and closing of the breech
(barrel) with a small handle, most commonly placed on the right-hand
side of the weapon (for right-handed users). As the handle is operated,
the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent shell casing is
withdrawn and ejected, the firing pin is cocked (this occurs either on
the opening or closing of the bolt, depending on design), and finally a
new round/shell (if available) is placed into the breech and the bolt
closed. Bolt action firearms are most often rifles, but there are some
bolt-action shotguns and a few handguns as well. Examples of this system
date as far back as the early 19th century, notably in the Dreyse needle
gun. From the late 19th century, all the way through both World Wars,
the bolt-action rifle was the standard infantry firearm for most of the
In military use, the bolt action has been mostly
replaced by semi-automatic and selective fire weapons, though the bolt
action remains the dominant design in dedicated sniper rifles. Bolt
action firearms are still very popular for hunting and target practice.
Compared to most other manually-operated firearm actions, it offers an
excellent balance of strength (allowing powerful chamberings),
simplicity, and potential accuracy, all with a light weight and low
cost. The major disadvantage is a slightly lower practical rate of fire
than other alternatives, but this is not a critical factor in many types
of hunting and target shooting. This type of rifle is capable of
accurate shots at over a mile.
Lever Action Rifles:
located around the trigger guard area, (often including the trigger
guard itself) to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel
when the lever is worked. Most lever-action weapons are rifles, but
lever-action shotguns and a few pistols have also been made. One of the
most famous lever-action firearm is undoubtedly the Winchester rifle,
but many manufacturers–notably Marlin and Savage–also produce
lever-action rifles. Mossberg produces the 464 in center fire .30-30 and
rim fire .22. While the term lever-action generally implies a
repeating firearm, it is also sometimes applied to a variety of
single-shot, or falling-block actions that use a lever for cycling, such
as the Martini-Henry or the Ruger No. 1. This type of fire arm can fire
a variety of cartridges including pistol and large caliber rifle rounds.
It has a higher capacity than the bolt action rifle and a higher rate of
fire. It is also slightly less accurate at range when compared with the
bolt action rifle, but capable of accurate shots of over 500 meters.
ZAC suggests the line of Henry Rifles if this is your preferred type of weapon.
Semi Auto Rifles:
bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically ejects the spent
cartridge, chambers a fresh cartridge from its magazine, and is
immediately ready to fire another shot. They may be operated by a number
of mechanisms, all of which derive their power from the explosion of the
powder in the cartridge that also fires the bullet. Historically, the
self-loading design was the successor to the repeating rifle, which
stored a number of cartridges within the weapon, but required manual
action to load a fresh cartridge before each shot. Automatically loading
the next round more easily allows for rapid fire. These rifles are also
commonly known as self-loading rifles (‘SLR’) or auto-loading rifles.
A semi-automatic rifle is distinguished from a fully automatic rifle or
machine gun in that it can only fire once each time the trigger is
pulled. In some contexts, the term "automatic rifle" may refer to a
semi-automatic/self-loading rifle, not a fully automatic rifle. The
magazine in a semi-automatic rifle is usually of a box-type which
protrudes underneath the receiver and feeds cartridges vertically into
the action. These may be fixed (as with M1 Garand, in which case
cartridges are loaded from the top of the weapon, with the bolt locked
back. Most modern designs use a detachable magazine, which is removed
for reloading. Some detachable-magazine rifles, such as the M14, can
also be top-loaded. Some designs use a horizontal tubular magazine
similar to lever-action and pump-action weapons, which may be located
underneath the barrel or in the butt stock. These rifles, when properly
outfitted and sighted, are accurate to 1000+ meters and are capable of
accurate sustained fire allowing the user to engage multiple targets at
range. However, the ability to fire rapidly can cause inexperienced
users to waste ammo.
Full Auto Rifles:
Assuming you stumble into a cache of military weapons, you may find these:
In certain situations, these weapons are incredibly effective, but they waste
a LOT of ammo. Consider the application of these weapons carefully before
deploying them against the undead hordes.
or historically as a fowling piece) is a firearm that is usually
designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed
shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a
solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns come in a wide variety of
sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2 inch) bore, and
in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech loading,
single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and
lever-action, semi-automatic, and even fully-automatic variants.
shotgun is generally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside
of the barrel is not rifled. Preceding smoothbore firearms, such as the
musket, were widely used by armies in the 18th century. The direct
ancestor to the shotgun, the blunderbuss, was also used in a similar
variety of roles from self defence to riot control. It was often used by
cavalry troops due to its generally shorter length and ease of use, as
well as by coachmen for its substantial power. However, in the 19th
century, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield with
breechloading rifled firearms, which were more accurate over longer
ranges. The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First
World War, when American forces used 12-gauge pump action shotguns in
close-quarters trench fighting to great effect. Since then, it has been
used in a variety of roles in civilian, law enforcement, and military
The shot pellets from a shotgun spread upon leaving the barrel, and
the power of the burning charge is divided among the pellets, which
means that the energy of any one ball of shot is fairly low. In a
hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds
and other small game. However, in a military or law enforcement context,
the large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a close
quarters combat weapon or a defensive weapon. Limitations for this
weapon are low round count and reload times. However, there are a few
magazine fed shotguns that allow for fast shots, and quick reloads.
For shotguns, ZAC recommends the
pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with
the cartridge of a pistol. An assault rifle, in contrast, uses an
intermediate-power cartridge with more power than a pistol but less than
a standard rifle or battle rifle. These weapons have the same strengths
and weaknesses as their rifle counterparts with the exception that their
range is limited to around 200 meters with a properly calibrated scope.
Generally they are used for close quarters engagements under 100 meters.
You may have to do some paperwork and go through a few months of red tape
waiting to get some of these, but you can get them. All of the civilian versions
of these guns can be legally converted into their military counterparts with
simple adjustments and a parts kit.
With the development of the revolver in the 19th century, gunsmiths
had finally achieved the goal of a practical capability for delivering
multiple loads to one handgun barrel in quick succession. Revolvers feed
ammunition via the rotation of a cartridge-filled cylinder, in which
each cartridge is contained in its own ignition chamber, and is
sequentially brought into alignment with the weapon’s barrel by a
mechanism linked to the weapon’s trigger (double-action) or its hammer
(single-action). These nominally cylindrical chambers, usually numbering
between five and eight depending on the size of the revolver and the
size of the cartridge being fired, are bored through the cylinder so
that their axes are parallel to the cylinder’s axis of rotation; thus,
as the cylinder rotates, the chambers revolve about the cylinder’s axis.
There is a hybrid form of the revolver, known as the automatic
revolver, which combines the revolving chamber concept of the
conventional revolver with the recoil-harnessing, self-cycling ability
of the semi-automatic pistol. Weapons of this type are rare, as the
technology was quickly rendered obsolete by a combination of the
double-action revolver and the semi-automatic pistol.
Lever action pistols
The first lever action pistols were based on a Horace Smith and
Daniel B. Wesson patent of 1854. The Smith & Wesson pistols were made in
Norwich, Connecticut 1854-55. In 1855, Oliver F. Winchester became an
active investor and H. Smith and D.B. Wesson both dropped out of the
enterprise. In July 1855, the name was changed to Volcanic Repeating
Arms Company, and later to New Haven Arms Company, opening an important
chapter in Winchester’s history. The production of the Volcanic pistols
lasted until 1860. Two models were produced: The Navy Pistol .41 cal.
with 6" / 8" / 16 " barrels and a Pocket Pistol .31 cal. with 3½" / 6"
The next development in handgun history after a practical revolver
was the development of the semi-automatic pistol, which uses the energy
of one shot to reload the chamber for the next. Typically recoil energy
from a fired round is mechanically harnessed; however, larger calibers
may also be gas operated (e.g. Desert Eagle). After a round is fired,
the pistol will cycle, ejecting the spent casing and chambering a new
round from the magazine, allowing another shot to take place
Some terms that have been, or still are, used as synonyms for
"semi-automatic pistol" are automatic pistol, autopistol,
autoloader, self-loading pistol and selfloader.
Remember, Revolvers hold few bullets and the rate of fire is very slow,
but they rarely ever malfunction. Lever action pistols… ???
Generally you’re going to be better off if you use a pistol with a
capacity of 10 or more bullets, semi auto reloads faster, and holds more
rounds, so you do the math. Its your ass on the line.
A machine pistol is generally defined as a firearm designed to be
fired with one hand, and capable of fully automatic or selective fire.
While there are a number of machine pistols such as the Glock 18 and
later models of the Mauser C96, these are rare; the light weight, small
size, and extremely rapid rates of fire of a machine pistol make them
difficult to control, making the larger and heavier submachine gun a
better choice in cases where the small size of a machine pistol is not
needed. Most machine pistols can attach a shoulder stock (the Heckler &
Koch VP70 would only fire single rounds at a time unless the stock was
attached); others, such as the Beretta 93R, add a forward handgrip.
Either of these additions technically create a legal non-pistol under
the US National Firearms Act, as pistols are by definition designed to
be fired with one hand. The addition of a stock or forward handgrip is
considered a design change that creates either a short-barreled rifle or
any other weapon, and therefore such additions are generally only found
on legal machine guns.
First and foremost, seek proper training in the use of a blade before you
hurt yourself or someone else with it. (yeah, you heard me)
For edged weaponry, ZAC suggests something over 15 inches in length. Everyone
has their own style, so we won’t say what edged weapon is the best. Its up to
the user to decide.
Some fine examples are:
The Bowie Knife
The Machete (The ones from Cold Steel are particularly nice)
The Katana (Mall Ninja Alert! Anything you got at the mall or flea market won’t last more than a few good whacks on a zombie. Get something hand forged, or quality made)
This has been a brief dissertation on the types of weapons you may encounter after Z-Day.