A melee weapon is any weapon used in direct hand to hand combat.
They can range from simple tools to long blades designed for combat. Since ammunition will become increasingly difficult to come by, it is important to keep a quality close-quarters weapon handy.
Many zombie survivalists promote or even recommend melee weapons over firearms. One such proponent is Max Brooks, who has wrote in his book that, "blades don't need reloading." This, however, ignores that blades do require reloading in a very real sense. Melee weapons rely entirely on the user for the energy needed to kill something and combat, even with an edged weapon, is extremely tiring and wears on the body. Melee weapons also require extreme care in their use and constant, regular maintenance anytime they are deployed. A blade that sees regular use can require as much or more maintenance and care than a firearm. Using melee weapons also runs the risk of exposing one's self to infection, either through a zombie bite or blood splatter. This is especially true if one is tired or injured.
Melee weapons can generally be broken down into three different categories: trauma, edged and pointed.
Bludgeons are weapons that do damage through blunt force trauma or bashing. Such weapons can be found almost anywhere, even if you have to use a fallen tree branch. Finding one that can take repeated punishment of smashing zombie skulls is a bit trickier, but things made from aluminum are both lightweight and durable.
A mace is a type of bludgeon designed to injure through or cave in heavy armor. Typically, they are heavy weapons used by various nations across the globe during the Middle Ages. Its pronged (sometimes spiked) head is also capable of breaking even the thickest bones. The flanged mace favored by the Mongolians was so effective that it could literally disintegrate a human skull in a single strike. However, as may be expected, maces are somewhat rare these days. However, if you can find one and have the considerable strength and fitness required to effectively wield it, you have yourself a great close-range zombie-smasher. Just make sure that you have something to protect yourself from the splatter. It would be possible to make a makeshift mace by attaching something somewhat heavy (like a rock) to a thick stick or a metal bar.
The flail immediately conjures up images from the Dark Ages. A metal stick or ball attached to a handle via a chain, flails were swung in a circular arc and brought crashing down on an enemy's head. Even if they were wearing a helmet, the flail would deliver some serious blunt force trauma, and the helmet could become so distorted that should the intended victim somehow survive the battle, they'd require a blacksmith to help pry the helmet off his head. An even more insidious weapon was the morning star, which had numerous spikes on the ball itself, and when used on an unarmored human head, could cause such damage that most of the brain itself could be flung out of the shattered skull. Over time and repeated usage, the spikes wear down and become nubs, but this does not significantly diminish the damage rendered. However, don't even think of using this against the undead unless you have lots of practice or no alternative. When using a flail, having a slightly longer handle and using two hands can improve one's control over the weapon. Even fully trained modern experts wear reinforced helmets when demonstrating these weapons, because the whirling ball is so unpredictable that the user has a very good chance of smashing his own brain in with the thing.
To parry a flail is a very difficult thing to do. Even shields offer little protection against them. Flails are known for simply going over or around the shield, possibly hitting the opponent or even digging into the shield and ripping it from the user's hands. The same thing, as often seen in movies and video games, can be said for weapons. The only problem with this tactic is that the flail is more likely to wrap around the weapon, effectively making both weapons useless, which can put either user at a great advantage or a disadvantage depending on the strength of the fighters and whether or not they have another weapon.
This weapon is an invention from the late Middle Ages. It was commonly used by infantry to knock horsemen off the horse and could penetrate the plate armor with a well-struck hit. It has a spiked end and a blunt end. It can be used in many ways, mostly as a weapon, but also a hammer. It is most effective when you know how to handle it as it is quite heavy, but it can penetrate or crush the zombie skull. You have to be careful, because it is often curved, and could get stuck in there. Accurate replica war hammers can be obtained online or through Renaissance Faire vendors. It is possible to create a crude war hammer via the modification of a pickaxe or ice axe, however simply using the original weapon is more than sufficient in most cases.
A bō is long wooden, graphite or metal pole. Basically an Asian staff, mastery of these weapons began millennia ago in the Shaolin Temple, in what is now Henan Province, China. From there, their ideas were the basis for other Asian martial arts. Because Asian history is devoid of armies or cavalries donning heavy armor, bashing weapons were reserved for unarmored combat, and piercing and slashing weapons for light armor. As such, bō are ineffective at breaking bones. The use of hardware store dowel rods is inadvisable. Dowel rods are frequently made from pine, which isn't sturdy enough for combat.
A dangerous weapon from Japan, the Kanabō is a heavy, 3 to 5-foot long club made from either metal or wood, with rows of either round metal studs or spikes running down the length. The main problems with the Kanabō are that it is heavy (over 8 pounds), hard to find, and has little to no secondary purpose (unless you are hunting and need a secondary method of putting prey down, which would need to be around the size of an elephant to not be overkill). Even in feudal Japan, the weapon was rarely used by soldiers, instead being more of a weapon for those with major strength who could swing and recover fast if they missed their target. In addition, the kanabō may smash a zombie's head a little too well, splattering infected brain matter all over you like watermelons at a Gallagher show. Also, the studs can come off with enough force, making the weapon less useful after every fight.
However, if one has considerable physical strength, and uses the Kanabō in horizontal swings (sending infected gray matter flying away from you), then it is among the best melee weapons you can get. Apart from the studs. And the weapon's greatness is only applicable in certain conditions.
The spiked stick is a simple, easily made weapon. It is a tree branch cut into a club or whatever shape you want it, and with rows of metal bolts protruding from the sides for bashing zombies heads in. If you want, you can replace bolts with pointed screws to pierce the skull. Cut the club to a desired length for your purposes. The main advantage is that it is incredibly easy to make and can supply a group with an effective melee weapon.
Indian Clubs are not Native American war clubs, which are described further on. They are Victorian exercise equipment (borrowed from Asian-Indian Athletes), and fell out of use in the 1930s but have recently regained a retro-comeback among some fitness enthusiasts. Indian Clubs come in a bevy of shapes, sizes, and weights. Some look like short, thick turned-wood chair legs with an adjustable-length metal shaft and a D handle. Others look like bowling pins. Some can take the shape of a glass bottle (pretty much any glass vessel with a narrow neck) and some look like giant, oversized bowling pins with faded circus paint and fading fancy letters that say stuff like "100-pound Herculean". It's worth noting that the vast majority of ones that say they're 100 pounds or more rarely approach that weight. An ordinary, one-handed Indian Club offer a slight increase in range over a knife, but multiple strikes may be needed to smash the brain. However, the majority of Indian Clubs that still survive are extremely well-made out of the most durable hardwoods, or occasionally metal.
Ball-Headed War Club
An impact weapon invented by Native Americans, especially associated with Iroquois and Algonquin warriors. This pre-contact weapon was traditionally carved from a single piece of hardwood (usually hornbeam, a variant of ironwood) and was much more durable in close-quarter combat than the indigenous stone-headed tomahawks. The slightly inverse-curved weapon typically ranged from 18" to 25" in length and was highly regarded by both Indian and Euro-Americans for its capacity to smash a human skull with a single full-arm swing.
Even after the introduction of steel-headed tomahawks, ball-headed war clubs remained popular for Indian warriors as they never needed to be sharpened, did not rust or have their heads come loose, and could be carried slung through a belt with no fear of cutting the user.
While wood replicas of the ball-headed war club are available, a more affordable and durable polypropylene model is available through Cold Steel (pictured). The Cold Steel offering also features a steel post set into the striking head to concentrate the bone-crushing impact.
Gunstock War Club
Traditionally used by the East Woodland Indians such as the Iroquois and Huron-Wyandot, gunstock war clubs resemble gunstocks but are not made from actual gunstocks. Gunstock-like clubs are usually fitted with a spike or wedge-shaped blade. They can be made of wood or polypropylene, and are effective in bashing skulls and bones of both the living and undead. The gunstock war club is also good for knocking zombies out of one's way.
Popularized by martial arts and screen legend Bruce Lee, nunchaku (or in common English, "nunchucks") were famous martial arts weapons. Most nunchucks were comprised of two identical wooden sticks connected by rope or small linked chain. While potentially devastating to a human opponent (who reacts to both pain and visual misdirection) nunchucks are ill advised to dispatch a zombie. One has to get within grabbing distance to connect a blow with them, and unless the entire structure is made of a sturdy metal or studded, the impact on a skull will, at best, cause a small crack. Even then, the chain cannot be too thick, which means it will quickly wear thin, rust, or outright snap like a bicycle chain. The speed nunchucks generate is substantial, and can cause substantial bruising, pain, bleeding, and hairline fractures in smaller bones. It can also generate concussive force, which is irrelevant to a zombie. It was never designed to penetrate armor or the thick human skull. However, assuming you find a sturdy metal one, and just treat it as a simple flail (a.k.a. skip all the fancy but utterly useless martial arts movie moves), you have yourself an amazing close-quarters zombie smasher. It's worth noting that nunchucks are flashy enough to distract a human, but not a zombie. It is advisable to practice sufficiently before the zombie apocalypse in order to attain the necessary level of competence with the nunchaku, as they are also functional against multiple zombies.
Length of Chain
Commonly found in hardware stores, a length of chain is an improvised weapon with hard-hitting power, although that depends on the material used, length, and the thickness of the chain. A word of warning is needed: although similar to a flail, and most are used in the same way, chains are much more likely to hit the user, making it to both the target and the user dangerous if used in a "flashy" manner. Don't imitate the Hollywood ninja. Pick your chain carefully. A thick steel chain three feet/ one meter long is going to do more damage than a plastic thin chain that is the same length. As seen on some youtube channels, chain can be used to smash a normal human skull easily. Adding a weight to the striking end can increase power dramatically. If not clear enough, a length of chain is an equal opportunity weapon, meaning it can just as easily hurt you as it can hurt your target.
A police officer's nightstick, also known as a Baton or Tonfa is specifically designed so that it doesn't kill people, only incapacitates them. By design, it does not have the necessary structure and weight to collapse a human skull. However, they are lightweight and easy to wield. Best to ignore these, unless the situation dictates that you get out of an area as quickly as possible, leaving you little time to kill each and every zombie, in which case these would be useful in shoving aside ghouls in your way. On the other hand, a steel tonfa (while rare) could provide the weight and therefore generate enough force to take out a zombie in only a few, well-aimed strikes. Also, if you find yourself an antique police nightstick then, by all means, use it. those things are made of solid hardwood and a direct hit would be surprisingly effective.
The PR-24 can be used to kill zombies by holding the short handle and spinning the baton, connecting to the head. The design maximizes centrifugal force by maximizing speed of the spin (force= mass x acceleration). However, this does require practiced skill and to be most effective, spikes should be added to the end of the PR-24. Another useful quick modification would be to sharpen all ends so they may be used in a stabbing manner to penetrate the skull, though this would require good aim and massive force to successfully execute. Flailing zombie arms and hands will effectively defeat this weapon (unaltered) as they stop the momentum required to deliver a zombie-stopping blow.
Made to be sturdy due to their purpose of prying things open, this is an incredibly useful weapon, and extremely versatile tool as well. Not only can you bash zombies with it, but, with a good swing, the claw end can puncture the skull and rip through the brain with minimal splatter (be careful not to get it stuck). They are also quite durable, and are readily available from any hardware store. Finally, the crowbar has a key advantage over other melee weapons—it can be used for its original purpose of prying open boxes, doors, windows, and what have you. Its only drawback may be its limited range. This can be solved by buying a longer crowbar, but the extra weight is inconvenient. Titanium crowbars recently have become available in North America and are lighter than their steel counterparts, yet more than twice as strong.
Baseball bats are large clubs of either wood, aluminum or polypropylene. Polypropylene is the most recommended out of the three, due to the fact that it has more durability, wood is the second most recommended, although it can break with use, and aluminum can depend if it's hollow or not, however it's not recommended due to the fact that it can get dented and even when hit, it can cause an uncomfortable vibration.
Spiking a bat is not recommended, as the nails may bend and it may weaken the structure of the bat. Also, using a spiked bat may completely shatter the skull, sending blood and brain matter everywhere, raising the chances of infection. Plus there would be no way to holster a spiked bat therefore making it your primary weapon. They have a long reach and can be found anywhere baseball is played (which is to say, anywhere in North America), and most importantly, they have enough power to crack a skull open in one blow or if you need to cripple it, a good hit in the spine will do. However, actually doing so takes a great deal of upper body strength, as their light weight actually worked against them in this way. Nail bats also have a very high chance of becoming stuck in the skull. For most people, taking a ghoul down should be easy, assuming the person is not suffering from intense strain in a muscle. Because it is so light and cracking the skull takes a powerful swing, it's advised that you only use it if you're fighting a few zombies at a time, or if you're trying to quickly get through a crowd of zombies and don't have the time to kill them.
Using a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, as popularized by The Walking Dead's antagonist Negan, can be effective and doesn't compromise the bat as much as nails, but it does have cons as well. It makes the bat heavier, the barbs can get stuck on clothes and hair, and it can be difficult to carry because of the barbs as well. Not to mention, depending on how you wrap the barbed wire, it can either cushion the blows or improve them.
Baseball bats are most commonly found in sporting goods stores and at baseball fields, though they can also be found in homes, often as ad-hoc home defense weapons. Newer polymer bats produced by Cold Steel are becoming more popular and, being next to indestructible and weighing less than 2.5 pounds, will be easy to swing; additionally, if bent, they are easy to straighten out. Bats are very easily found, require no prior experience to become effective, and are very durable and light weight. Because of these factors, they are among the best melee weapons to use.
Ski poles, also referred to as Poles, are used by skiers for balance and propulsion. Modern ski poles are most commonly made from aluminum and carbon fiber, though materials such as bamboo are still used. Poles are used in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing (with the exception of aerials), and cross-country skiing. Ski jumpers do not use poles.
Not really any better than a section of pipe or crowbar of similar size in terms of damage or length, and also a bit harder to find, a ski pole would bend pretty easily and be overall useless, but hey, if this is your only option for a weapon, then you might as well use it.
A typical two-piece cue for pocket billiards is usually made mostly of hard rock maple, with a fiberglass or phenolic resin ferrule, usually 0.75 to 1 inch (19 to 25 mm) long, and steel joint collars and pin. Pool cues average around 59 inches (150 cm) long, are commonly available in 17–21 ounces (0.48–0.60 kg) weights, with 19 ounces (0.54 kg) being the most common, and usually have a tip diameter in the range of 12.75 – 13.25 mm. A conical taper, with the shaft gradually shrinking in diameter from joint to ferrule, is favored by some, but the "pro" taper is increasingly popular, straight for most of the length of the shaft from ferrule back, flaring to joint diameter only in the last 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 of the shaft. While there are many custom cuemakers, a very large number of quality pool cues are manufactured in bulk. In recent years, more technological materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc., have been increasingly used for shafts and butts, and there has been a trend toward experimentation with rubber, memory foam and other soft wraps.
Used in bar fights, a pool cue is an utterly useless weapon against undead. However, against poorly armed human adversaries, it can give you the edge. If someone in your group is breaking order, you can use this to restore order, although it isn’t recommended.
A hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in field hockey, ice hockey , roller hockey or underwater hockey to move the ball or puck.
Although it is known to injure many people in fights, a hockey stick sadly lacks the durability and strength to smash a skull. However, a hockey stick can be used to gain the upper hand against poorly armed or unarmed human adversaries.
Easily found in homes and sporting goods stores or thrift stores throughout the U.S., these are better used against the living than the living dead. It may be hard to land a killing blow on a zombie, as that they have two fatal flaws.
One: the shaft of the club can easily bend and break. Two: the head of the club can fly off and hurt someone and making the club useless. Being that the only powerful place to hit with is right on the end of the club. Don't plan on using your lucky 9-iron on an attacking ghoul, unless you plan to make him look funny with that 9-iron wrapped around his neck as he starts biting your face off.
However, a vintage (or antique) golf club of extremely high quality would be surprisingly effective, assuming the head, and not the shaft, is what hits the zombie. So if your lucky 9-iron was passed on to you by your father, who may or may not have received it from your grandpa, maybe. If the club head says stuff like "1926" "Hand-Forged" "Made In Edinburgh, Scotland" or anything like that, if the head has a good heft to it and if the shaft is varnished wood, chances are a direct hit (or two) would kill a zombie.
A hammer is a simple tool that can also be used as a weapon in an emergency. Most hammers are hard and sturdy enough to be able to penetrate the human skull.
One handed hammers, however, require the survivor to be perilously close to the zombie, and require several swings from even the strongest wielders before the brain is destroyed.
One should not underestimate the value of good tools in a Zombie Apocalypse however, especially in building or maintaining a base. As a weapon, it is a good blunt tool to use in case if you want to kill the zombie from behind with the hammer's head or the clawed back (the clawed back is probably more powerful to kill a zombie from behind for a unseen deadly strike, but it might get stuck so don't use it unless facing a lone undead straggler)
Tennis rackets lack the strength to break the skull no matter what, and they should never be used for a weapon. If nothing else in the general area would be useful, tennis rackets may serve a purpose for simply knocking zombies aside. However, in isolated cases, an old tennis racket can be used to restrain a single zombie until dealt with by removing enough netting until the racket can be easily placed around the neck of a zombie. This can be useful for keeping a zombie at bay and creating a target when said zombie is attacking a survivor.
The cricket bat can be found throughout Britain and other cricket-playing countries. They are similar to the American baseball bat, though heavier and slightly more durable, but with many of the same problems.
When using one, consider using the thicker and heavier end to hit zombies with. A good rule of thumb is that the heavier something is, the easier it will crush a skull, although it may take you off balance and tire you out more quickly.
There are light and heavy bats, though the extra speed that can be achieved with a light bat is probably not worth the lower force. Much of the force put into swinging a bat in cricket is used to swing the arms, rather than the bat (as it is wielded in two hands) anyway. A professional cricketer can exert an average force of just under 9,000N on a cricket ball, with the peak being almost double this, and so a bat can exert more than enough force to decapitate or crush.
Pipes are generally to be found anywhere there is plumbing, which is basically any village or town. There are several varieties of piping coming in a variety of different materials. Common pipes are usually lead, but are also made from copper, iron, steel and PVC plastic. Ideally, the best piping to use as a weapon would be any pipe with a heavy weight. Steel and lead pipes would be best suited for the task of bashing heads, although, like bats, they still require a great deal of upper body strength. Iron pipes are somewhat rare these days, and copper pipes are typically not very thick. PVC piping is generally rather weak. Pipes can also be further weighed and reinforced by stuffing heavy materials like concrete to the hollow cavity.
The pipe wrench may not be your first choice for a weapon, but this hunk of steel is quite effective in close-quarters combat. If used correctly, it has the capability to break bones and crush skulls with generally less effort, making it an effective bludgeon. Its variety in sizes ranging from smaller single-hand versions to larger sledgehammer sized versions makes it one of the more difficult tools to judge. Its uses as a weapon vary as much as it does in size. In most cases, make your strikes for the temple and make them hard. Don’t expect one strike to work.
As good a weapon as the pipe wrench is, its practical applications must not be overlooked. It can be used in the place of any of a large collection of wrenches, loosening nuts, bolts, and pipes of a wide variety. This makes it an ideal tool when salvaging parts from machinery and certain kinds of constructions.
Overall, the pipe wrench is very useful, and you might want to hold onto it even if you don’t plan to use it for zombie killing.
The frying pan is very common around households and is very heavy, which provides enough force to shatter a decomposed head. According to Tallahassee: "Big, cast-iron, contrary to what you've seen, it won't flatten a face. But the feel of it when you hit something chills, your whole arm vibrates. A zombie takes one of these to the head, they ain't getting done.". However, frying pans (aka "skillets") are a bit heavy and take a lot of effort to constantly swing around. They also have a short range which doesn't make it very safe to use against zombies.
Brass Knuckles are metal "knuckles" that are worn around the fingers that work to direct the force of the punch into the knuckles, thereby multiplying the damage that a normal punch would do. In the zombie apocalypse, Brass Knuckles are primarily good weapons due to their low size and weight. When the wearer punches into a zombie's or survivor's body, it is highly likely to cause severe tissue damage and fractures. Because of this, a trained user can knock out or even kill their target with a single blow to the temple. Unfortunately, brass knuckles are ill suited to fighting zombies. This is because, though deadly in the right hands, brass knuckles have very low range, and as such, one mistimed swing can lead to infection. For this reason, it is recommended Brass Knuckles are reserved for other humans and as a backup weapon. One advantage to note, however, is the fact that these can be worn while using another weapon. When paired with something like a blade, or just about any weapon, brass knuckles can serve as an excellent addition if you're worried about your weapon breaking. They can be found in many pawn shops, Brass Knuckles are illegal in most states, making them rather difficult to find. Should you have access to somebody with metalworking skills, brass knuckles are very easy to make out of materials such as metal or wood.
Sledgehammers are generally used in demolitions and heavy construction work. With a heavy end weighing as much as ten pounds connected to a long two-to-three foot pole made of wood or impact plastics. It can bash through a brick wall if given enough time and smash an unprotected skull like an over-ripe pumpkin. However, it is a heavy weapon and requires a significantly amount of strength to lift and use for the average person. Every swing will also take precious time to recover from.
Tire irons, also called lug wrenches, are used to replace flat tires in emergencies by prying the edge of a tire away from a wheel, typically coming in pairs. Since most are made of metal and have both heavy and blunt ends, they are sometimes depicted as ad-hoc weapons (as in the original Night of the Living Dead). In an apocalypse, the tire iron is as effective as a crowbar, due to its similar shape. Although it can't pry open doors, it can be used to change tires, which will be important if you're using a car. If you can't find a crowbar, a tire iron makes for a great substitute.
The current variations are not the best weapons to use against a zombie. Here are the reasons why:
1. Most effective way is overhand, due to the fact with four metal bars sticking out, you can easily hit yourself, if you do overhand, it will reduce that chance.
2. Due to the awkward shape of the tire iron, it may be hard to swing with enough force to shatter the skull in a single blow.
3. It is a brute force weapon, meaning it should take a fairly strong blow to destroy the brain of a zombie.
On the other hand, the older style, which resembles a crowbar, except for the socket part, can be highly effective, should you be able to find one.
Training SwordsA Japanese training sword, the bokken, or the heavier suburito could be formidable, as it is solid and balanced for swinging. However, the shinai, a flexible bamboo training sword, would be all but useless outside of training. Polypropylene swords, such as the ones made from Cold Steel, might be strong enough to smash in a zombies skull if the sword was big or heavy enough, otherwise one would work well as a training sword and would serve as self defense if one was attacked by a zombie while training.
Wooden swords are at best, as effective as large sticks or tree branches. They will probably break before you can shatter the skull, so it is best to aim for the temple when using this weapon. They should not be used other than a last-resort weapon. These weapons are near useless in a zombie encounter unless if the wood is very hard. They are useful, however, as a training weapon.
Walking StickUsed by many people as an aid during walking, particularly by hikers (usually in a literal straight, stick-form) and those who are disabled (usually modeled like the example pictured), this device will be found in the hands of many survivors after a Zombie Apocalypse. Walking sticks range from simple 4-6 foot long, 1 inch thick, sticks, like a young sapling or tree branch, to ornately carved/decorated purpose made hiking sticks, and other similar items. When determining whether or not to use a particular stick, a simple test for durability is to strike the end against a hard surface, like the ground, or a tree, in a firm manner, as if you were trying to bash the object in. If the stick breaks or cracks, toss it away.
Cold Steel offers two polypropylene walking sticks; one modeled after the Irish Blackthorn Stick and the other patterned after the African knobkerrie which was the traditional fighting stick of the Zulus. Either of these offerings are far more durable than the wood originals.
To use as a weapon, unless the striking end is very robust, strikes to the head are to be avoided, as it will do more damage to the stick than to the skull. Instead, use the stick to shove the zombie away, so that you can get out another weapon, like a handgun. Of course, against humans, strikes to the hands/arms can disarm the enemy, while blows to the head can knock them out, if not kill them.
In general use though, a walking stick can be used as a depth finder, a spiderweb clearing, in dealing with snakes (especially venomous ones) by helping them move out of the way or beating them to death (for a meal), along with many other uses. The best way to fight off any infected with the walking stick is to deflect the infected as quick as you can, then kill it with a blow to the head, also as quick as you can.
The Fubar is made in one piece of forged steel, which gives it maximum durability.
It is a little on the heavy side, however, that only adds to its stopping power. Once you get that weight in motion, the momentum of it obliterates the zombie skull in its path. Don’t forget that it has a pry bar on the end, ostensibly for pulling nails. Our favorite use of that pry bar is stabbing it through a zombie skull. Talk about making quick work of the undead without making too big a mess.
The Lobotomizer or the "Lobo" is a fictional melee weapon in Max Brook's World War Z. It is supposed to look like a cross between a shovel and a double-edged battleaxe. It was designed by the U.S. Marine Corps to combat the zombies but would be next to useless in real life. Simply take a flat shovel (too inefficient in digging for military usage as an e-tool anyway), preferably no larger than two feet long, and weld two axe blades on either side. This will leave you with a shovel with welded-on blades that are practically guaranteed to snap off under use. Alternatively, sharpen the edges of a flat-bladed shovel until it is suitable for zombie-killing, and so that it is more likely to have the edges cracked and damaged. It can be used for piercing, smashing, and slashing, though the latter works somewhat ineffectively, and all will ruin your e-tool if you actually sharpen it.
Tools meant for chopping through thick material have the advantage of being made for heavy use, which means that they are very unlikely to break when you're using them against zombies. However, most slashing weapons were designed to fell opponents who feel pain, require organs and bleed out. Likewise, piercing weapons are only effective against zombies if driven into the skull - often a daunting prospect in the heat of battle. These weapons technically belong to the same category, though some are more adept at slashing than piercing and vice versa. Although addressed under machetes and axes, some other makeshift choices such as a meat cleaver could provide a back up weapon if there are no better choices.
Learning how to put a appropriate cutting edge on any cutting tool or weapon is an essential survival skill. It is a myth that a "rough edge is a combat edge" or that "a sharp edge dulls faster than a rough edge" An overly acute edge is inappropriate for weapon use because it will chip or edge-fold far more easily than a less acute edge, but a smooth and polished edge (of the appropriate edge-bevel for the right blade) will cut deeper, with less effort, and last considerably longer than a rough edge at the same angle. The appropriate angles for "flat grind" edge bevels (which excludes traditionally sharpened katanas) are:
1. Knives: 23-24 degrees
2. Swords and Machetes: 28-30 degrees
3. Axes and other heavy chopping blades: 35-40 degrees
Machetes are built for cutting through material, such as brush and thick vegetation wood or, as seen in many tropical third-world countries, and in movie wise, Hollywood slasher films such as the "Friday the 13th" series (with Jason Voorhees' main weapon as a machete).Equally as useful both a tool and a weapon, it typically requires several swings to penetrate the skull, or one very well placed strike. Reliable skull-rending weapons are typically two handed for additional power and control. As with any blade, it can get stuck in the skull. If one can apply enough torque, through their swing and lateral positioning, hard slices to the neck can sever the spinal cord, permanently immobilizing the zombie; bear caution that, intact, a zombie head still capable of biting. All around, the machete is a very useful weapon. Frequent sharpening may be necessary to keep the machete usable over weeks and months of usage. If one is to use this weapon, they should consider acquiring or making a scabbard/sheath to carry it in. Machetes can, of course, still be used for their original purpose of hacking through dense forestry should jungle travel be required. There are a few noteworthy, specialized takes on the classic machete design that deserve to be mentioned.
A variation of the machete found in sugar cane growing areas is the "Cane Knife". This is a deep-bellied version of the machete that is slightly shorter than a conventional machete, but better weighted for stronger blows. The deep belly distributes the force of the cut far more efficiently into a concentrated area, ensuring that a decent blow will easily cleave a skull or sever a spine, even while used with one hand. They are designed to be easy to sharpen on hard (but smooth) stone surfaces, be relatively lightweight, and be used all day without causing exhaustion.
Though chainsaws are for the most part absurdly impractical weapons, some electric saws are. Many handheld ones, however, aren't due to the fact that they're too light and have too much traction on a zombie's head. However, a cleaving saw, designed for sawing massive trenches in wood (and skulls) has a single blade about an inch thick and has a sealed guard around it that completely eliminates the threat of zombie's blood and guts from interfering with the machinery. Also, it doesn't need to be lubricated, due to the fact that a single coat sticks into the rubber liners inside the actual rotors and last for decades.
The amount of saw actually exposed is minimal, about that of a waning moon at it's most extreme period. Also, the inclination of the serration in the blade causes all discharge to be flung at the ground and not towards you, like traditional saws do. This effect is further assured by blade guards and handle guards. Most saws, however, use gasoline, which might be in short supply. Otherwise, you can modify your saw to have an electrical input to charge it that way. A ten hour charging period with newer saws generally lasts them about 18-20 hours or work. Another problem is saw's weight, cumbersome gait, and timely start up. But overall, if you have a good build and weigh a lot then you should have no problem hefting around a cleaving saw.
Many cleaving saws on top of that also have incredible rotary power, allowing a head to be sawed through like a piece of cake, but unless you work for a major logging company, or live near major logging operations (e.g., the Amazon rainforest) you'll be hard-pressed to find a cleaving saw.
Cleavers are excellent at chopping through flesh and can be wielded with great dexterity and precision with practice, but the problem comes when trying to break bones. The cleaver is designed for cutting meat and simply does not have the heft to cleave through a zombie skull. If used, stick to strikes at the neck to finish off your foe.
A knife is a sharp blade, typically between three to ten inches long, attached to a handle. Two factors limit the usefulness of knives against zombies. First, their short reach requires one to get in close in order to attack, which present a great deal of danger. Second, a knife can get stuck in a zombie's skull with difficult means of removing it (a serrated/toothed knife more so), leaving you vulnerable to attack. Arguably the best combat purpose a knife can serve as an absolute last resort, extreme close-quarters, semi-disposable weapon, to be jammed into a zombies eye, under the chin (if long enough) or, best of all, temple. However, although knives are not great against zombies, it is important to keep one on you, as they are great for utility purposes (cutting rope, food, fabric, etc.) and for fighting off bandits. When wielding, should also take care to keep in mind if the knife has a crossguard of some kind, helps prevent the hand's inertia to carry it forward, onto the blade, and cutting it, during a stabbing motion.
The Bowie Knife, is a large knife meant for both combat and survival applications. Traditionally, it features a blade at least 9" long (up to 14"), primarily single edged with a short sharpened back-edge (the latter usually concave curved). The Bowie (pronounced "boo-ee") is a very versatile weapon and tool. A long and heavy enough Bowie is capable of devastating bone-shearing cuts which can readily dismember and decapitate humanoid targets. Quality Bowies can be purchased via mail order and range from $75 to $400 for factory models--custom made Bowies can be considerably more..
KukriApparently derived from the ancient Carthaginian Falcata and brought to South Asia by Roman merchants, the inverse curved kukri (“koo-kree”) became the national weapon of Nepal and famous in the hands of the Gurkha soldiers employed by both the British and Indian armies. While a kukri appears to be a counterpart of the Machete, it is considerably thicker than a machete and is much less likely to get stuck in or glance off a human skull like the longer bladed bush knife is. The forward portion of the kukri's blade widens out to provide axe-like cleaving power, but narrows again to provide a serviceable point. For its capacity to split skulls, take off heads, or lop off limbs, the kukri is many a zombie-killer’s first choice as a melee weapon..
Many manufacturers and importers offer serviceable and affordable versions of the kukri. The inexpensive "issue" kukri requires extensive re-filing of the blade bevels to begin to be useful. Other versions while somewhat more expensive ($60 to $500) offer the advantage of being ready to go right from the box.
The Kora is not as well-known as the Kukri and no doubt share similarities with ancient Indian, possible Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman swords. Like the Kurkri, the blade has a single, concave edge and is inwardly curved, concentrating the power of each strike to the curved area, allowing more force to be utilized at the area of contact in each strike. Unlike its short counterpart, the blade tip is broad rather than sharp, thus making it unsuitable for fencing. It has disc-like pommel and guard and was intended to be held single-handed, thus leaving your other hand free to preform other tasks. The 50cm or longer iron blade offers some distance from the target one is about to decapitate. If available, it should provide the power of an ax without the inconvenience of having to handle swords two-handed and to some extent promote the wielder as a menacing character.
Shanks and Shivs
Shanks - In the U.S., these improvised prison knives are often called shanks. The word in practical usage is frequently used when referring to an improvised bladed weapon. Shivs are commonly made by inmates in prisons across the world. Shiv - (possibly from the Romani word chivomengro, "knife"), also chiv, is a slang term for any sharp or pointed implement used as a knife-like weapon. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests shive, a razor, documented in 1915, as the root word.
These knives are commonly associated with prisoners. Their effectiveness varies depending on the type of material used. For example, a shiv made of glass is more effective than a sharp piece of plastic, but a sharp piece of metal shiv is better than a glass one. These can be made at home and although their zombie effectiveness is controversial, they can prove effective against bandits.
Folding knives, also commonly referred to as pocket knives or jack knives, are very handy tools to have for many adults. Whether someone is out camping, or simply paring things on the go, a folding knife can be a very convenient item to have around.
These knives can fold and are compact. They are undesirable though since they have short reach (even shorter than a fixed blade knife) and will break after lots of abuse. Not recommended, even for fighting bandits, though they can serve utility purposes or as a last resort if you have nothing better. However, they are still better then your bare hands.
The Philippine Balisong, more commonly known as Butterfly Knife, is a knife with two rotating handles which cover the blade while it is held in a pocket or belt pouch. When the Balisong is drawn for use, one handle is "flipped" to uncover the blade. Various opening techniques allow the user to adopt various grips (hammer, ice-pick, foil, etc...) . Truly skilled users can not only draw and cut or stab a target in less than a second, they can also change fighting grips and switch hands in an impressively flashy manner. Like most concealable folding knives, the Balisong has a rather short reach. Balisong quality varies enormously; from pure junk to near custom standard.
Skill is the critical factor in any knife's lethality; the Balisong is no more combat effective than any other folding knife other than the pivoting action is not prone to catastrophic lock-mechanism failure that can cause a conventional folding knife to lop-off the user's fingers. While a particularity naive bandit might be intimidated by your Balisong flipping skills, Zombies will not be impressed.
Currently, the Balisong is illegal due to being categorized under "automatic knife" (switchblade) statues in most countries, but this does not prevent people from buying it.
Belt Buckle KnifeA belt buckle knife is a type of edged instrument that is placed inside of or concealed as part of a belt. Belt buckle knives are popular with outdoorsmen, self-defense enthusiasts, and members of groups that have a knife culture. The knives are illegal in many countries and specific regions of the United States of America.
A belt buckle knife can come in many different styles, but there are two primary types: folding knives and push daggers. The folding knife style of belt buckle knife looks like a smaller version of a traditional folding knife (folding blade knife) where the blade folds into the handle. With a folding knife style of belt buckle knife, the blade is folded and then attached by a small hook or latch to the front of a specially designed belt buckle. The knife may be prominently displayed on the buckle or concealed into a larger design. In either case, the knife can be easily drawn and quickly opened when needed.
These should only be used if no other weapons are available, or if the user is taken prisoner by raiders.
The shoe blade or shoe knife is a short blade hidden in a shoe. The Shoe Knife is a concealed weapon and a close range weapon.Used in conjunction with martial arts training, the Shoe Knife could be very lethal, especially if it hit a major blood vessel. It also had an element of surprise, and could be used to cut things like rope, if the wearer should be tied up.
It is used by worldwide spy agencies (CIA, KGB, ETC.) for killing enemies secretly. It could also be used in a zombie scenario to provide some extra weaponry, but only to those who are able to get their leg to the zombies head in a kick motion or fighting bandits.
A combination of a brass knuckle handgrip with a long spike or knife blade on one end, these are among the best weapons to use if you are forced into close-quarter combat with the living dead. Originally developed for trench warfare in World War I, the brass knuckle can bash a human skull with enough force, and the knife or spike can puncture a metal helmet—to say nothing of a skull—with ease. The trench knife is small, lightweight, and due to its grip, easy to pull out, making it a very effective hand-to-hand weapon. Until recently most of the trench knives that could be found were the poor quality World War 1 models. However Cold Steel (a company well known for their quality) has resurrected the design. World War I models are extremely rare nowadays and the few that do exist are most likely not in combat condition, due to the fact that they are ninety-year-old museum pieces. If you want a good trench knife, you will likely have to order one online from weapon specialists, such as Cold Steel, before the zombie apocalypse.
Against zombies, the best technique for using a trench knife would be holding it in a "hammer grip" (blade sticking out the thumb side of your clenched fist), so one can bring the skull crushing pommel in a backhand action to target the off-side temple, or downward on the zombie's skull using the large muscles of the back and abdomen to power the strike. The blade should be pumped upward under the jaw penetrating the brain cavity, and of course, the brass knuckles can be used to smash into the zombie's temple (the temple bones are NOT thinner than the rest of the skull but they are flatter, meaning a strike of any kind is less likely to glance off).
In summary, while trench knives are very good for hand-to-hand combat, they can be extremely hard to come by, unless bought online. Currently they are illegal in California, but as always after the fall of civilization, no one will stop you from procuring one.
Sickles are meant as hand-held agricultural tools with a variously curved blade typically used for harvesting grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock. When it comes to the undead, sickles are both a tool and a weapon.
Since sickles have the curve-hook blade, the inside of the blade itself can be pretty sharp, and, if used correctly, could potentially decapitate a zombie though this would require an uncomfortably close distance to said zombie. The points of sickles are also as deadly and could pierce through a zombie's head. Due to the fact that sickles are made to withstand a lot of use, and that their blades are almost useless in combat, it is quite likely that if one were able to find a pristine sickle(s), they then might be able to use it as a giant, "battle ready" hook to stab through the enemy. Crop wise, the inside of the blade's curve is sharp, so that the user can either draw or swing it against the base of the crop, catching the stems in the curve and slicing them at the same time. Certain sickles blades are sometimes serrated, which may even increase the weapon's damage against crops and undead.
The blades of sickle models intended primarily for the cutting of grass are sometimes "cranked", meaning they are off-set downwards from the handle, which makes it easier to keep the blade closer to the ground.
Despite having to be in close range and sometimes getting caught and hard to pull out due to it's curved blade, the sickle is very light and is a great weapon and tool to survive with. Though uncommon (and most likely rust-covered) in urban/suburban areas, sickles can mainly be found in farming stores or in other hardware/chain stores. Depending on the area of location, they can be hard to find as sickles are primarily used mostly for farming, but if you're lucky enough and, like mentioned, are in the right area, you might find one that will help you survive.
Karambits are knives that are mainly meant to be held with the blade facing toward the ground. Mainly used as a utility blade, they would most likely be largely ineffective in a zombie apocalypse because of how close-range they are. It could, of course, be used as a tool to fight off hostile humans (as it is a relatively concealed weapon). Remember that the karambit's strength is in its stealth, and its short size is a disadvantage in most combat situations.
Derived from Egypt, the khopesh would prove very useful as an anti-zombie weapon. Its curved blade, similar to a sickle, karambit, or kukri, provides exceptional slashing power capable of easily cleaving into a zombie skull, along with a longer blade for safer engagement of any threat. Its original function - to disarm the enemy by hooking their weapon or shield, may also be useful in a pinch.
They are available in different sizes, the most common being 20-24 inches in length. Though, smaller blades exist for close-quarters encounters.
KatarThis is an Indian dagger originally designed by the Rajput warriors in India. Instead of a normal dagger hilt, there are two parallel straps linked by a crossbar. The crossbar is grasped in the fist, and the dagger is used with a punching motion. Points are often reinforced for added effectiveness in puncturing mail, and would easily pierce a zombie skull. Blades are often made thin with a heavy reinforcing rib up the center of the blade, up to the thickened mail-piercing tip, so the katar is frequently deceptively light-weight for its size, allowing for quicker attacks. Older katars had a long, leaf-like gauntlet attachment to protect the hand and wrist in duels (which was excluded in later "models" as the katar became more and more popular in India as common everyday item). This feature would have also provided good protection from undead jaws. The downside is that it is designed mostly for thrusting, so there is a considerable trade-off in terms of slashing and chopping potential. Also, they are more cumbersome and harder to carry than your average knife, but the ability to instantly kill with a punch, one of the most basic human actions, would be useful. A katar is useful if you happen to own one (or preferably two), but you are at no disadvantage if you don't.
Also known as a "sword gauntlet", the pata is an exotic Indian weapon used by Maratha warriors that functions as just like an extended katar. The pata is mainly composed of two parts: One is a single piece of metal which wraps around the outside of the users hand and forearm, acting as a gauntlet which one would use to deflect blows that would normally be parried with a sword. On the inside of the gauntlet there is a single crossbar that the user would hold on to as the grip, and a small bar at the end of the gauntlet that prevents one's arm from flying out of the sword as soon as the blade is swung. The other main part of the pata is a straight double-edged sword blade sticking out of the gauntlet at around the knuckle area of the user, which can be used for a variety of slashing and stabbing purposes (though considering the length of the blade, "pulling out" would be a difficult task, making stabbing with the pata highly discouraged).
A pata's blade was historically between 10-44" (25-114 cm) in length. The pata was remarked as being a "highly effective weapon for infantrymen against heavily armoured cavalry". Warriors would often use two of them in battle, or as a complementary weapon to a javelin, axe, or shield. Considered the bigger brother of the katar, finding a usable one online is about twice as rare. It's only disadvantages are is it's size (not being an "indoor weapon"), and it's aforementioned rarity. Like the katar, one is not at any disadvantage if they don't have one, but the pata's relatively intuitive "controls" give it a good appeal among survivors looking for a strong melee weapon.
Urumi Whip Sword
This signature weapon of the South-Central Asian (India) martial art of Kalaripayatu is simultaneously the most spectacular and the least effective melee weapon of the sub-continent. The urumi consists of a one-hand sword-like hilt, usually with a knuckle guard, to which one to four very thin, highly flexible steel blades are attached, these blades ranging from 40 to 60 inches in length, and are usually double edged. Historically, these steel blades were hand forged but current versions use cut-down band-saw blades as the dimensions are similar and the flexible temper even better. The historic usage of the urumi was as a concealable weapon for defense against multiple unarmored opponents. By its utterly non-rigid nature the urumi is incapable of delivering anything better than shallow lacerating cuts and as such is utterly unsuitable for use against zombies. Additionally, the urumi is a very difficult weapon to master and like European flails, often more dangerous for the user than against any opponents.
Bayonets effectively allow your medium to large firearm to be used as a spear. Although not as effective as a regular spear, it is conveniently attached to your main firearm for a nice quick backup weapon should you suddenly run out of bullets and start going, "Oh crap, I need a backup weap- wait, it's already deployed!" The downsides are a slight increase in the overall length of a gun, making it slightly less maneuverable in cramped places. Bayonet fighting
consists of stabbing, slashing, and yes, even smashing, but most people not trained in this dying martial art will mostly just use it as an extended stabbing stick. A bayonet will prove useful as a last stand weapon due to having it always (usual choice in a zombie situation) equipped. Note that bayonets should be only used as a backup after all ammo have been expended because zombie matter may clog the inside of your barrel as you hack and slash with the bayonet. Remember, a clogged barrel is not a happy place for bullets, and you don't want to be on the bad side of an unhappy bullet. Also at the very least you can take off the bayonet and use it as a regular knife.
it should be noted that manuals are available demonstrating use of the bayonet, specifically these are Hardees' Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics For the Instruction of the Recruit (U.S. 1858) and McClellan's Bayonet Practice; of the two the former is more common. better sources are WWII bayonet manuals, but these are comparatively rare compared to the former which have been reprinted by several publishers. modern military techniques are all but useless in event of a zombie outbreak, as they almost exclusively target the torso, not the head.
Ice PicksIce Picks were in almost every household up until the '50s when electric iceboxes came into use and it was no longer necessary to chip a small block off a large block of ice (hence the term, "a chip off the old block"). They are extremely effective in extreme close quarters (as in knife range), possibly more so than a knife. Alternately, you can remove the bristles and head of a metal-handled broom with the right diameter shaft (they're hollow to save metal and weight), and stick an ice pick in place of the head (handle-first) Against azombie or human, an ice pick can be surprisingly effective, as the pick can pierce through the skull, and, as those who watched Friday the 13th: Part II will know, the pick can be used to pierce through the temple. An improvised spear can be made if using a ice pick with a broomstick or broomstick handle. Even if there's no threat of an apocalypse of any kind, an ice pick is still handy if you have a freezer of the small-box variety in your fridge when said freezer is frozen shut, or worse frozen over.
If you can't find an ice pick, another idea is to file down a screwdriver to a sharp point. It is also popular in places where ice is manufactured as a large block.
An ice axe is a multi-purpose tool mainly used in snow and ice conditions to climb up and down mountains. They typically range in size from 60cm to 90cm (24in to 36in). An ice axe can be used in a multitude of ways depending on the needs of the user. It can be used like a walking stick while going uphill but is to short for level or downhill terrain. It can be used as an anchor with a rope being tied to the shaft which then can be used to climb up a steep hill or wall. However, the pick part must be placed in a secure place or it will not stay put. Ice axes can commonly be found in an outdoors store. They can be an effective weapon against the undead with the pick part being able to puncture a skull. However, since the pick is curved it might get stuck in the zombie since it is meant to stay put, and the serrations commonly featured on it don't exactly help it get un-stuck. Even with its drawbacks, it can be a valuable weapon and, as with most multi-tools, it can also be used for many other purposes and can be easily carried on a rucksack. It seems unlikely however that in a zombie apocalypse you would be climbing up high mountains.An ice axe has at least 5 components:
Head — usually made of steel and featuring a pick and adze. A hole in the center is provided for attaching a wrist leash or carabiner.
Pick — the toothed pointed end of the head, typically slightly curved. Adze — the flat, wide end of the head.
Hammer — the hammer is an alternative to the adze. It can be used as a more comfortable grip or it can also be used as a hammer.
Shaft — straight or slightly angled, typically wider front-to-back than side-to-side, flat on the sides and smoothly rounded on the ends. Traditional shafts were made of wood, but are now almost exclusively of lightweight metals (such as aluminum, titanium and steel alloys) or composites (including fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon filament).
Spike or ferrule — a steel point at the base of the shaft.
Other components or accessories of the ice axe are:
Leash — nylon webbing with an adjustable loop for securing the axe to hand. Often secured by a ring constrained to slide a limited distance on the shaft.
Leash stop — a rubber keeper or metal stud preventing the leash from slipping off of the ice axe.
Snow basket — similar to baskets on ski poles, temporarily mounted on the shaft close to the spike to keep the shaft from sinking into soft snow.
Pick and adze guard — a cover to protect from sharp edges and points when the axe is not being used.
Spike guard — a cover to protect from the sharp spike when the axe is not being used.
KatanasKatanas are the very famous traditional cut-emphasis sword of Japan. Invented in the 11th century AD (as the tachi), they all possess the same basic profile; a two-hand grip, a small circular guard, a moderately curved blade, and (with a few rare exceptions) a long single edge.
Katanas as such have a blade length no less than 24 inches and no longer than 32 inches; shorter swords were legally considered (in the Japanese feudal period) wakizashi and lawful for non-samurai to bear. Longer bladed swords fall into the dai-katana category (32 inch -36 inch blade) or the specialist no-dachi (36 inch - 42 inch blade) which is the Japanese equivalent version of the European Great Sword. A shorter (24 inch blade), more greatly-curved katana known as a chisa-katana was usually reserved for close-quarters indoor combat within one’s home.
While swords were third-priority weapons in Japanese warfare, (bows and eventually muzzle-loading firearms were first priority and polearms such as spears (yari) and halberds (naginata) were second priority) a highly reverential “cult of the sword” developed in Japan through the Warring States and Tokugawa periods. The most sophisticated Japanese sword techniques were actually developed during the enforced peace of the Tokugawa shogunate (1601-1873) when unarmored duels and other informal encounters became the norm of samurai conflict.
A well-made Katana can be a highly effective weapon for battling the walking dead. Being slightly thicker than its European counterparts, a Katana is thereby slightly heavier than other swords of the same length, but this is not very noticeable with the normal two-hand method of use. The katana can easily cut through unarmored targets as long as the proper draw-cutting technique is used. This draw-cutting method is not innate (like linear hitting or chopping is) and requires considerable training to perform consistently, effectively, and safely. A skilled Katana user can easily behead a human (breathing or otherwise) with a two-handed draw cut however an unskilled user can easily botch the cut—as Yukio Mishima’s lover-acolyte did during the famous author’s public seppuku. A “mall ninja” who just grabs a Katana and starts hacking away at Zombies will become Zombie-chow in very short order.
During the Japanese feudal period, swords were often tested by cutting several bodies (of executed criminals) in half, the most common being two-body-blades, but going up to six-body-blades. What must be remembered is that test-cutting of human bodies was performed by highly skilled professionals, using extra-long grips for increased torque, and under ideal (non-combat) conditions.
Generally curved swords are more effective cutting tools (Japanese or not) than straight swords against unarmored targets. The katana’s hilt and blade curve reduces the effort needed to produce devastating draw-cuts when combined with the proper hip and shoulder twisting actions (torque) found in Japanese swordsmanship.
Traditional Katana blades are composed as 3 to 9 piece forge-welded “sandwiches” of various grades of hard and soft laminated (“pattern-welded” or “Damascus”) steel blanks. Traditional katanas are also differentially tempered so the back and belly of the blade remain somewhat soft and flexible but the cutting edge is very hard (about 62 on the Rockwell scale). “Flexible” must be seen in context; a good katana can be flexed up to 2-3 degrees out of line and spring back to true with no damage, a properly forged European sword can be flex-tested 5-7 degrees with no damage.
While the entire Katana edge is sharp, it is sharpest usually anywhere from 3-12 inches from the tip. Some well made Katana tips (kissaki) are even comparable to a modern scalpel. This was done to encourage the samurai to keep their distance when using the weapon; this same advice will be helpful in the fight against the undead. Properly forged katanas have a “distal taper” being slightly thicker nearest the guard than the tip; this aids in making the katana stronger nearest the hilt for making parries and aids in balance as well. Traditional katanas use a hybrid-convex blade and edge profile which, when combined with the very hard tempered edge and careful polishing-sharpening, creates a very long lasting, low-drag, draw cutting blade.
The Katana is not without drawbacks:
1. A Katana has only one sharp edge as opposed to a double-edged European sword. Though this was primarily meant to allow the katana to block with the dull back to reduce the risk of damage to the blade, this still does reduce the versatility of the weapon when facing other melee weapons--this single edge limitation,of course, has no bearing when used against zombies.
2. The traditional polishing-sharpening method also created a very “porous” blade surface that is highly vulnerable to rusting. Some antique katanas display old rust fingerprints of careless handlers.
3. The butt-end of a katana, unlike many other swords, should NOT be used to strike a hard surface like a human skull—such “pummeling” is very likely to destroy the wood grip in very short order.
4. The traditional 3/4 length katana tang is held to the wooden grip by a single bamboo pin—inspections of this potential weak point should be common, especially if the katana is being used regularly in combat or practice.
5. Traditional cloth-cord grip wrapping needs to be periodically tightened or even replaced when displaced by sweat or blood.
The great majority of “Katanas” found in the West are not actual weapons, they are mass produced stainless-steel “wall-hangers” that can come apart with a hard swing in the air (see the movie Paul), let alone contacting a substantive target like a human body. There actually are some very good introductory “use” katanas being manufactured in China—they retail for about $500 and it would take a high-level kenjutsu expert to discern or obtain any actual combat difference between these affordable blades and any heirloom custom made katana.
Overall, the Katana is one of the best melee weapons against the undead as long as a user is able to learn the basic draw cutting technique. Though a katana can last a very long time, it does require cleaning after every fight as soon as possible to avoid damage--but this can be said about ANY carbon steel bladed weapon.
As he has stated at public speakings, the katana is the favored weapon of Max Brooks, writer of "The Zombie Survival Guide". Brooks claims that until the lightsaber from "Star Wars" is made real, the Katana is the best melee weapon to use against the undead, although many actual sword experts and aficionados disagree with this gushing assessment. Regardless of opinions, you're in no doubt safe hands if you can find and have the skills to use a real katana.
WakizashiThe wakizashi is the second sword commonly worn and used by the Samurai. At first glance it is a scaled down katana, since it's a lighter one handed weapon with space for your second hand as well, it would seem that the only advantage the katana holds is being longer. However, katana and wakizashi were rarely made in the same manner, and the quality of even a true to life wakizashi will vary. It was primarily an "honor-blade" for the samurai, used to commit seppuku. However it was also a self-defense blade, samurai were not allowed to take their katana to certain places or in certain buildings, but the wakizashi never left his side. In the battle against the undead, it is a good weapon alternative to the katana, due to the fact that the only difference is length, making this an ideal indoor weapon and even outdoors if you have the proper strength and coordination to do damage with it.
Considered the claymore of Japan, the nodachi is essentially an over-sized katana. Translating into "field sword", the nodachi was used primarily against cavalry, and could easily cut a man in two. You may be thinking bigger is better, but the nodachi is a very cumbersome weapon to use. Being a field sword means you won't be taking this indoors. It is also so long that you will have a very difficult time pulling it out of its sheath without assistance, samurai always had an assistant to help them draw it. Plus, like the katana, it only has one sharp edge. The katana forging techniques were not always used in it's making either. The weapon fell out of favor even with the samurai who preferred to use a spear or nagamaki. Still, if you are in an open space and are surrounded by zombies, a nodachi's extra length is certainly preferable. The scabbard was also a traditional saya (the Japanese word for scabbard), and it's size makes it impossible to use for taijutsu, the advantage of a saya as opposed to a more flexible leather scabbard. Though weight advantage between the two is debatable, unless your name is Sasaki Kojiro you are better off with a Scottish claymore.
European 1-handed swordKnown under the misnomer of “broadsword”, the single-hand sword dates back to circa 300 BC, created under the iron-working expertise of Central European Celts. With a blade at least 28 inches long (maximum 37 inches) distinguishing it from short swords, the steel 1-handed sword represented a metallurgical and tactical advance in weaponry. The combat advantages of a longer cutting sword spurred a slow but steady arms race between European sword and armor development. The 1-hand sword was used in combat, in various incarnations, into the 20th Century (One famous British Commando officer in WWII used a basket-hilted claymore in various raids against the Germans).
Until the late 16th Century, 1-handed swords were all straight double-edged swords. The blade profile, depending on period and intended technique emphasis, is either a parallel or a taper (slight or acute) from hilt to point. Points can be rounded and essentially blunt, slightly tapering, or acutely tapered. Until the late 15th century, the emphasis of blade design was on delivering long-range slashing cuts and bone-shearing chops, but thrusting was known and used in combat, as shown in the illustrated 13th Century fectbucht “I.33”.
By 1600, with the popularity of hand-enclosing compound hilts, a single-edged sword known as a Backsword became popular with cavalry units. Backswords, typified by the 17th Century "Mortuary Sword" or the British 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword, were the traditional sidearm of Heavy Cavalry units well into the 19th Century.
Several popular myths exist about 1-Hand swords, the primary (and totally false) one being they were “heavy, ill-balanced, and edgeless iron clubs”. The weight of authentic 1-Hand swords varied from 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms) up to 3.75 pounds (1.8 kilograms—this being for the mail-shearing swords of the Crusader era) with 2.6 pounds being a millennium average. For the intended use of long range slashing, shearing chops, and committed thrusts, these swords were well balanced battle weapons and should not be compared to dueling rapiers and small swords, let alone ultra-light sport fencing implements. The medium to high carbon content of their steel blades meant they could be hardened to a spring temper for durability and they can take a keen “battle edge” (though not has long-lasting as a traditional katana edge a user could easily re-sharpen a European blade, unlike the Japanese sword).
Numerous variations of 1-Hand swords exist, including but not limited to the Migration Era Sword, Viking Sword, Norman Sword, Cross-Hilt Type “X”, Arming Sword, Espada Ropera (aka “Cut and Thrust Sword”), Scottish “Broadsword”, and Spanish Bilbo. Often the greatest distinguishing features of these swords will be the design of the guard and pommel; ranging from the “zoomorphic” hilts of the Celtic Iron Age, to the classic cross-hilts of the Middle Ages, into the hand-encompassing basket-hilts of the Venetian Schiavona and the Scottish Claymore.
The devastating cutting power of these weapons should not be underestimated; against unarmored targets 1-Handed swords can easily dismember or decapitate with a single strike. An early 20th Century archeological excavation of the Battle of Wisby (Sweden) excavated 14th Century skeletons with horrific bone-shearing injuries; including split open skulls and cleanly severed legs, including one example of a double-leg amputation from a single sword stroke. There is no doubt a well-made and well-swung replica of a 1-Handed sword could easily eliminate a zombie.
Like any other replica weapon purchase ($175-$1000+), “caveat emptor” (“buyer beware”) is the operating slogan when looking for a combat quality sword. Buy only from reputable manufacturers and dealers. Make sure any replica weapon has a narrow tang and not a “rat-tail tang” which is the mark of any “trash sword”. Carbon-steel of spring temper is really the only suitable sword steel; 99%+ of the time stainless steel is too brittle or too soft to be a suitable sword blade material.
Shearing chopping strikes are easier for most people to learn than the coordinated draw-cutting technique of the Japanese katana; however the balance of European 1-Handed swords can make them slower on the recovery than 2-handed katanas or European Longswords. The primary cutting and slashing technique of the one-hand sword uses from-the-shoulder circular-swings to power through flesh and bone and NOT the from the wrist snap-hits or wrap-around swings endemic in the sport-fighting of many fantasy medievalist groups.
European LongswordTechnically, the European Longsword category includes all straight-bladed, double-edged Western swords that can be used with two-hands, even if they are light enough to be used with one-hand. The Longsword was created circa 1230 AD in an attempt to counter the increasing amounts of thicker and stronger mail armor encountered on European battlefields. With a slightly wider and slightly longer blade than the 1-Handed sword and a grip that allowed for one or both hands, they also had wickedly sharp points , the first Longswords were known as “War Swords” (Epee de Guerre) or “Hand and a Half Swords”. These weapons have a blade length from 35 inches to 37 inches and weigh from 3 to 4 pounds. These swords emphasize shearing chops on unarmoured opponents, and the use of techniques such as halfswording to deal with armoured opponents to guide the point more easily to the weak points of the armour and get to the flesh beneath.. Even more so than 1-Handed swords, their substantial cross-guards and pommels can be used to deliver bone-crushing, organ-rupturing close-in impact strikes.
By 1300, heavier and longer variations of the Longswords mandated two-hand use and they are known as Great Swords, which includes the famous Scottish Claymore. These swords have a blade 38 inches to 45 inches in length and weigh 4.5 to 5 pounds. With the gradual adoption of plate harness (armor) by medieval chivalry and men-at-arms throughout the 14th century, more slender, thrust-oriented 2-Hand Longswords were developed with blades from 36” to 38” long and just over 3 pounds in weight. These weapons are simply known as Longswords and became very popular in the Germanies and Italies, and numerous fectbuchts (fight books) were written for their use. By the late 15th Century, the Bastard Sword, an even more slender and very nimble Longsword became popular.
The ultimate inflation of the Longsword is the true Two-Hand Sword of the Renaissance period (1490-1640). These specialist weapons had blades up to 60 inches in length, very large guards, and weighed from 6.5 to 8 pounds.
Longswords (especially the lighter variants) can easily be used and carried by an individual of average weight and strength to cut through zombie flesh and bone. Most long swords come double edged so care must be taken not to cut oneself while using it, but as with any weapon, training and knowledge is critical. Those that are knowledgeable in the use of this formidable weapon realize that the steel crossguard and pommel are effective weapons in their own right; the crossguard becomes a spike to drive into the zombie brain cavity, and the pommel to crush the skull. There are publications available on-line for German and Italian longsword: it is recommend you read and practice proper technique. About as much maintenance, cleaning and sharpening, as a common-variety machete is required to keep the blade in working order. Western medieval martial arts are enjoying somewhat of a rebirth, and vendors on-line offer functional, 'battle ready' longswords. European swords in general are easily attained at curiosity shops, collectors’ fairs, and private ownership vendors throughout the entirety of the United States ($200-$1000+). HOWEVER, there are a lot of cheap knock-offs out there that are as battle-worthy as a wet noodle. For openers, replica swords frequently have a 'rat tail' tang, a small diameter tube concealed by the handle. Make sure the sword has a traditional and battle-proven NARROW tang. And finally, forget about any longsword blade that is stainless steel; it's great in kitchen prepping dinner, but sucks as a sword. Stainless steel is either more brittle or softer than carbon steel.
Short Swords appeared in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent circa 2700 BC with the invention of bronze alloys--the same patterns were copied into the earliest iron and steel swords circa 1200 BC. They are close-quarter weapons ideal for fighting zombies in enclosed spaces. A short Sword will have a thicker blade than a machete making it less likely to get stuck or glance off of a zombie's skull. Short Swords' blades range from 13 to 26 inches in blade length. Good examples of competent short swords include the Roman Gladius or the "Musso" Pattern Bowie Knife. Until the invention of the Sharp's breechloading rifle in 1852 AD, the short sword had the highest lethality index of any weapon invented. While there are newer variants of shortswords which feature titanium lead-weighted blades, the practical superiority of these expensive variations over traditional carbon-steel short swords has not been proven.
Described as "a cleaver with a point", an accurate copy of a Roman Gladius (18" long blade) can be obtained for less than $200.
A single-edged chopping sidearm of the European High Middle Ages, the Falchion is often miss-identified as a Middle Eastern Weapon ("Shriner's Scimitar"). A popular archer's and infantry soldier's short-sword, the wide and thick blade could shear through mail armor with a good strike so it is quite capable of amputating and decapitating unarmored human targets. It is thought the later and larger 2-hand Grosse Messer ("Big Knife") was derived from the Falchion. Falchion's have a blade between 22" to 25" in length and are 2.5 to just under 3 pounds in weight. Like European Longswords, Falchions have large pommels and often large cross guards as well.
Reproduction Falchions, like other Medieval weapon replicas, can be ordered online as well as through Renaissance Fair vendors.
Sabers are curved swords originally designed for use by cavalry troopers and officers. A shorter bladed version, known as a "cutlass" or "hanger" was designed for sailors, marines, and enlisted infantry soldiers.
The primary emphasis of a saber is slashing and cutting at enemies whilst mounted on a rapidly moving horse (because thrusting tends to be difficult and ineffective while mounted) A cutlass excels in the close confines of boarding actions against enemy vessels.
A saber or a cutlass can be a very effective and versatile cutting and thrusting weapon--be it vs zombies or anyone else within reach IF one chooses an effective saber design (such as the British 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre pictured above) and IF it is properly sharpened. It was only sabers designed after (circa) 1850 that started to become less an less effective and deadly weapons and more and more mere symbols of rank (The US 1860 Light Cavalry Saber, manufactured by the Ames Factory, was a notoriously bad design). Sabers (or hangers) were often left in a unsharpened condition to avoid cutting the user during practice (in pre-antibiotic eras a strong consideration). When unsharpened sabers or hangers were historically used in riot control, bloody but very shallow pressure cuts ensued, leading to the myth of the "dull ineffective saber".
With an effective saber a person of reasonable strength can easily cut off limbs, split human skulls, and decapitate heads. Actual test cutting has proven this assertion beyond any doubt and the historical record (such as the British cavalry against the French during the Battle of Waterloo) backs up this claim. Cavalry sabers are not particularly heavy weapons; a "light cavalry" saber typically is right at 2.0 pounds and a "heavy cavalry" saber averages 2.4 pounds.
While the earliest Eastern European Sabers started off with minimal cross or bar-knuckle guards, by the late 18th Century more protective hilts were adopted, especially after the combat experience of the Napoleonic Era. Multiple-bar hilts or shell guards not only protect the users hands from an enemy's melee weapon strikes, they can be used as a metal fist for close in punching attacks---a strong consideration for choosing an anti-zombie weapon. While most western sabers lack a dedicated "skull crusher" pommel, their solid metal pommels can be used this way if necessary.
Several affordable and effective reproduction sabers (sabre, alternative spelling) are available through mail order ($75-$400) and still-combat worthy antique sabers can be purchased at gun shows, antique stores, and militaria shops ($150-$1000). Additionally, in certain countries, they can be commonly found on the walls of manor houses as well as museums.
With a strongly curved (and sharpened) saber, "draw cutting" is near automatic, not requiring the coordination of muscle and timing needed in a two-hand katana draw cut.
The traditional Cossack sword can be classified as either a slightly curved backsword or saber. Its double or triple-fullered blade is really no sharper than a standard pre-1850 saber design (see above), and is not larger, let alone stronger than Western European sabers, The Shashka is essentially guardless; allowing the hilt also go partially inside the scabbard to protect it from the element--however the lack of a guard means a users hand is more vulnerable to attacks from another melee user's weapon and cannot be used to power punch a skull like one can do with other swords with substantial cross or knuckle guards.
The powerful, rugged blade is ideal for both slashing, chopping,and thrusting, but not for utility chores like woodcutting--such abuse will cause it and any other thin-bladed sword to quickly break., A Shashka can can easily cut through human bones but not hard resistant armor like mail or plate. Draw-cutting is not very advisable as the Shashka is only slightly curved.
The Shashka dates back to the middle ages and still manufactured & used by the 20th century as a combat weapon for Imperial Russian & Soviet cavalry during WWI, Russian Civil War, & WWII. Cossack craftsmen in the former USSR still made them until recently, so anyone living there can easily get hold of well-made, authentic models. Also available through mail order for anyone living elsewhere.
This classic Indo-Persian saber, also commonly known as a Talwar. The Tulwar has a reputation for being a more effective sword than the Western Saber, however this reputation is largely derived from the two "Sikh Wars" in the early 19th century when British cavalry troopers (East India Company) received devastating cutting wounds from Sikh warriors using Tulwars. Subsequent British Army investigation revealed the majority of of these Tulwars actually used saber blades from sold-as-surplus British 1796 British Light Cavalry Sabres, which were re-hilted in the Tulwar style. The quality of standard-grade India-made sword steel in the 19th century was often shoddy and the British blades much preferred by the Sikhs.
With either Native or British blade, the Tulwar is best noted for its distinctive cast-brass hilt. The pommels are generally tipped with a short spike that can be used as a last-ditch skull crusher. Some tulwars, especially ones from the Punjabi region, also incorporate sturdy knuckle-guards that can double as brass knuckles in a pinch (see "trench knife" above). Most Tulwar hilts can be too small to be comfortably gripped by many Western mens' larger hands, however many Western women might find them quite usable.
Avoid late 19th-early 20th century "arsenal" blades, as they are often poorly tempered junk. Plain, unadorned early to mid 19th century specimens can often be obtained for a reasonable price. Ignoring the forging that goes into the swords, the tulwar is similar in shape to the katana but has more curvature and a straight hilt.
Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. The most common form is also known as the Chinese sabre, although those with wider blades are also described as the Chinese broadsword. Dao come in single and two-hand versions.
A Dao sword, like the European Falchion and Grosse Messer, is a "weaponized machete", derived from agricultural cutting tools, and used by both peasants and common soldiers during China's frequent wars and rebellions.
The common dao pattern has a swelling "belly" profile that tapers in most examples to a serviceable but not overly acute point. Dao weapon forms (hyung) are found in all of the Northern Kung Fu styles and are a featured weapon in Chinese opera.
Daos manufactured for performances, including most of those used in martial arts tournaments, are not true weapons. Their thin blades lend an impressive speed but lack the proper inertia to make an effective cut. This non-weapon intent is heightened by showy, heavily-chromed blades. Weapon quality daos are still manufactured by Cold Steel and Hanwei cutlery companies. Test-cutting of weapon quality Daos show they can shear through thick bone with only moderate effort.
A strait double edged sword used in Chinese culture for 2500 years. Sometimes called a "tai chi sword" it, like the Dao, is used in all Northern Kung Fu styles. Also like the Dao, it has single and two hand variants.
Jian's are considered a more aristocratic weapon than the broad-bladed Dao. The "scholar"s jian", most associated with the Mandarin caste, is a thin-bladed sword that has the same tactical urban self-defense role as the European Rapier or Small-Sword did. While a very nimble weapon, it lacks the mass to make the effective cuts necesary for anti-zombie application.
The "War Jian" (Wu Jian) was the version used for military campaigns. A somewhat heavier weapon, it is comparable to the lighter European one-hand Longswords in cutting performance.
Like the Dao, most Jian found today are "forms only" non-weapons. Weapon quality Jians are also made by Cold Steel and Hanwei.
Bart Jam Dao, aka "Butterfly Swords"
A signature weapon of Southern Chinese Gung-Fu (Kung-Fu) styles, classically it’s used in matching pairs but both are carried in a single sheath. With a single-edge blade almost 3” wide and from 11” to 16” long, the upswept point makes this blade almost a pure chopper. A “D-ring” knuckle guard protects the hand. Cold Steel offers a rugged combat-ready set.
Essentially a foil or a small sword, these swords came into popularity after advances in firearm technology made heavy weapons and armor obsolete. To anyone who has seen a fencing match, you'll know just how fast these things can be. However, the foil is absolutely horrible to use against zombies. First off, IF you can find a fencers sword, it will be blunt and filled with wiring.(for competition, many are wired for electronic score-keeping; these include competition foils, epees, and sabres. It would be easy to tell the difference between a well-known and easily recognized sporting good and a surplus antique or faithful reproduction) It lacks the power or weight to sever bone, the weight to crush a skull, and the stabbing and slashing motions it was designed for will have little to no effect on your undead attacker. The only possible killing strategy would be to stab a zombie through the eye followed by an agile twirling motion to scramble the brain like an egg. Even master fencers will find this maneuver next to impossible - there is only one recorded successful in the field. The length of the rapier will make it difficult to draw in close spaces as well.
Stainless Steel Weapons
In the modern market a lot of commercial blades don't fall into the above categories. These weapons (as seen in the picture on the right) can vary quite a bit in shape and size. However, they can all be grouped into just "stainless-steel weapons" due to their overall effectiveness. But, while stainless steel is not inherently bad, as high grade stainless steel is used in surgical scalpels, it is typically of sub-par quality when used in mass produced swords.
A good rule of thumb for stainless steel swords (that is usually ignored) is that any blade over 12" is generally too brittle to be able to endure serious use.
Pole Weapons date back into prehistory, based on the concept of doing damage at a safe distance. There are many kinds of pole weapons, and many are practical as a primary weapon against a horde of zombies. However, they become useless in cramped spaces.
The spear is one of the most basic of human weapons. Spears with flint heads were first used by Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man over 10,000 years ago, and were later used to great effect by Greek and Roman infantry in the classical age. Today, most spears are relegated to ceremonial roles, or are used by indigenous tribes in remote corners of the world.
The spear offers a great range advantage over other melee weapons, with some exceeding seven to eight feet, and they are as easy to create as sharpening a broom handle or duct-taping a sharp object to the end of one. However, once a zombie closes in, the spear becomes less effective. Most spears are metal tipped with a wood shaft, metal or plastic is not advised. The only practical ways to kill a zombie with a spear are penetration through the eye socket, or under the jaw, into the brain. These are still very difficult thrusts. Where the spear excels isn't as a zombie killer, but controller. Spears with attached crossguards can neutralize a zombie at a safe distance. A line of infantry wielding spears that disallow the zombie forward advancement can neutralize many zombies while another survivor could terminate the incapacitated zombies safely, and quickly.
Throwing a spear like a javelin is not advised, as it is nearly impossible to hit a target as small as a human head. Groups with spears can greatly multiply the melee effectiveness of their group, as they can impale and detain a zombie, while another can focus on the kill, especially when using Boar spears, which have a cross piece part way up the shaft to prevent the zombie from continuing towards you. Two recommended varieties from antiquity are the Greek Dory and the Japanese Yari. The spear tips on these are nearly a foot or two long, and are bladed on either end, giving one more slashing options in a fight (although it still takes some skill to pull off a decapitation). In addition, the Yari's bladed cross section not only aids in decapitation (thrust into the throat and keep pushing), it also allows one to better push back approaching ghouls and keep them from working themselves up the shaft. The Dory as used by Greek Hoplites has a knob at the end which is used as a blunt-force weapon, though most spears have these to counterbalance the weight.
A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear formerly used extensively by infantry. Unlike many similar weapons, the pike is not intended to be thrown. Pikes were used regularly in European warfare from the early Middle Ages until around 1700, and were wielded by foot soldiers deployed in close quarters.
A pike is basically a spear with a short sword as tip. There are also pikes that are, in essence, extremely long spears--up to 16 feet long or more, thanks to the Medieval European game of "see who can make the longest usable pike". It's worth noting that Chinese pikes are both a piercing and a slashing weapon.
While finding authentic spears can prove to be a challenge, many people can make improvised versions.
1. Knife attached to broom-handle. Depending on the quality of the knife used, along with the quality of the broom handle, and the amount of duct tape used, it can be very effective, until you find something better, or the last thing you ever make. You can also use an ice pick or filed-down screwdriver instead of a knife.
2. Pounded metal broom handle point. If you have an aluminum broom handle that has the brush end broken off, a claw hammer, and a strong table, you can pound and "fold" the broken edge into a point. Optional (but extremely helpful): use a vice to hold the broom in place.
3. Sharpened stick. Using a pocket knife, one can sharpen a 6 foot long stick to make a spear. This method can be used to make stakes for pits and trenches.
Overall, the effectiveness of these spears depend on the quality of the materials used in construction, and how they were made. Only use them if there's no access to better weaponry.
Halberds and Pole Blades
Bills, voulges, pikes and Jis essentially fall into the Halberd category, just in different shapes. A halberd is a combination of a spear and a poleaxe, with a long sharp point on the top, a curving blade on one side and any number of hooks, spikes, or blunted edges. The halberd was originally a hedge-trimming tool adapted for use against armored horsemen, with the numerous pointy ends designed to catch a rider’s cloak and drag him to the ground, the ax blade, spikes and spear tip for puncturing through plate armor and chain mail, and the curving edges and hooks designed to pry and cut off armor plates like a can opener. When used on an unarmored head, the halberd can easily bash open a skull and decapitate. Obviously, this makes it sound attractive as an anti-zombie weapon, but keep in mind that any hooks and spikes could get stuck in a zombie’s skull or snagged on one’s clothing, and it shares the same disadvantages in enclosed spaces as all pole weapons. The halberd can also be used to cut fruit off trees and move certain objects around high places. Combining the cutting power of a curved sword with the reach of a spear, the Pole Blades are highly recommended if you are in an open field. Naginata, Guandaos, Glaives, and Swiss War Scythes fall into this category. Although ineffective against chain-mail and plate armor, the chances you'll encounter a zombie with anything more protective than a construction helmet are slim at best.
The Naginata for example, which is essentially a Katana on a 7-foot stick, has been proven to be able to decapitate up to three human targets in a single lightning-fast swing, and can easily cleave off a skullcap, so you can imagine how useful they can be against zombies, though even if you are native of Japan, these weapons are not usually produced, you would need to have connections to have one made or need to find an antique, and since in fell out of favor in favor of the Yari, they will be significantly older than any given katana, and will likely have poorer blades. A similar weapon is the Guandao, allegedly invented and named after the Chinese hero Guan Yu, and although larger and heavier than it's Japanese cousin, has enough power to cleave a man in two. However, you should switch to something shorter when indoors or other confined spaces, since their effectiveness is reduced to stabbing. Realistically, unless you are a trained expert with these weaponry, the extended reach will only afford you increased inaccuracy in a high pressure situation. The ability to use these weapons as a swinging rather than stabbing tool is exceptionally rare, and without this ability these weapons have few advantages over a spear. However, the training required is rarely year-long.
Just as old as the spear, the Javelin is a small, narrow, lightweight, spear-like weapon designed primarily for throwing. Most javelins are smaller in size than spears, with narrower bodies and heads. They were originally designed as hunting weapons, but later became military weapons. They evolved over time with the spear, and were used by many ancient armies, as well as by such societies as the Aztec and the Zulu. Javelins continue to be used today, namely by aboriginal tribes in remote areas of the world as a traditional weapon, and for recreational and sports purposes, with the Javelin Toss a recognized Olympic event. At first glance, the Javelin is identical to the spear. However, to make a proper throwing weapon, the Javelin must be properly weighted, or it will fall short or be inaccurate. This makes it much more difficult for the lay-person to craft, as for most the art of making a javelin has been lost. However, sports javelins made of lightweight composite materials are something of a specialty item in most sporting equipment stores. Even then, it requires a good deal of skill to throw with accuracy. The Javelin can be very difficult to use as an anti-zombie weapon. While utterly silent, it is very difficult to hit a target in the head with one. Also, while a low-quality but reasonably effective spear can be created using household objects, a javelin requires precise crafting in order to fly far and be accurate. Overall, unless you are a skilled expert and are engaging a small number of zombies, it is recommended that some other weapon be used, such as a suppressed firearm or crossbow.
A shovel has the power and durability to effectively kill a zombie, but it is rather hard to maneuver, especially because the vast majority of the weapon is the stick part. It requires a good amount of physical strength to use, so make sure you’re ready for it. If you do get a better weapon, keep the shovel for its original purpose.
A Pitchfork is an agricultural tool with a long handle and long, thick, widely separated pointed tines (also called prongs) used to lift and pitch (throw) loose material, such as hay, straw or leaves. Pitchforks typically have only two, three or four tines while dung forks have four or five, other types of fork even up to ten tines with different lengths and spacing depending on purpose. They are usually made of steel with a long wooden handle, but may also be made from wood, wrought iron, bamboo, alloy, etc.
There are two types of pitchforks; the hay pitchforks and the garden pitchforks. Hay pitchforks are used in specific in the use of hay whereas garden pitchforks are used for gardening and to lift the loose material such as leaves or dung. In the apocalypse, garden pitchforks are most likely common than hay pitchforks unless you are in a city where both types are common.
Hay pitchforks are usually have wooden handles and with two, three or four prongs, and with garden pitchforks, on the other hand with stronger materials in handle wise (however, there can be some garden pitchforks that are made with wooden handles), can have three or four prongs and can have flat prongs.
In general, pitchforks can cause serious damage, and can be used as a weapon of impalement. With zombies, even thought the impalement won't kill them, it can show them down for a chance to escape or to hold them off, however with humans in general, an impalement with the pitchfork would kill them instantly. Another neat tactic would be stabbing a human's head or a zombie's head with the prongs of the pitchfork, more in use of a holding off tactic than a chance to flee. The downside would be eventually if you are fighting too many enemies such as zombies for a greater example, the chances that you would overwhelmed would occur. Pitchforks can be found in hardware or garden stores, but possibly hard to find during a scenario.
The Shaolin spade is a Chinese weapon consisting of a long pole with a flat, bell-like blade on one end and a smaller, crescent-shaped blade on the other. In ancient China, Buddhist monks often carried spades with them when traveling. This served two purposes: they could bury any corpses they found with the proper Buddhist rites, and they could defend themselves against bandits. Over time, they were stylized into the monk's spade weapon. However, you are even less likely to find one of these (battle-ready or prop) than most other medieval weapons, unless you are a Shaolin monk.
Often found in garages and backyard sheds in any region where freezing temperatures are common during the winter, the Ice Chopper is a common place tool that can make a very effective substitute for the Shaolin Spade. With a mill bastard file and some honing stone application, the thick edge of an Ice Chopper can easily be turned into a skull spitting anti-zombie polearm. These have a flat straight blade to scrape ice off the sidewalk.
The basic technique for using an ice chopper, lawn edger, or Shaolin Spade (if you can get that last) against a zombie is an overhand thrust; the shaft held horizontally about your head-level and the blade also oriented to the horizontal plane. The primary target will be the top-most part of the nose, literally "right between the eyes". With a reasonably-sharp blade and a committed thrust, the removal of the top part of the zombie's skull is a frequent result.
Similar to the Ice Chopper, except for having a blade in the form of a half moon, much like the Shaolin Spade it can be substituted for. While used clear sidewalks of overgrown grass, these make effective makeshift weapons.
The brush hook is a proud gardening tool belonging to the ax family, as seen from its 12 inch blade on a 31 inch handle. With one swing, it can decapitate an individual with its curved blade. However, it is heavy and simply isn't designed for speed. What it lacks in these factors it makes up in durability, being extremely resistant to weather.
The sling blade (also know as kaiser or ditch bank blade) is a gardening tool similar to the brush hook and is used to remove undergrowth and briars tough it has mostly fallen out of use after weed eaters and lawnmowers became widespread, it consists of a 40inches (1 meter) handle wich a curved double edged blade at the end, it has a good range and the blade is very powerfull being able to cut off a head or cleave a skull in one swing. However, like the brush hook it is a heavy and slow weapon.
Pickaxe and Mattock-Picks
Pickaxes are tools used primarily in agriculture, mining, and stone-cutting. The iconic pick-axe is a two-pronged tool with a flat spade-like end and a spike, and with a handle commonly made out of wood. However, some pickaxes are double-pointed (sometimes called "Mining Picks") or just a single pick.
In most countries prefer machines and explosives, but that does not mean it's no longer used as a mining tool, as it's still possible that miners and construction workers use this tool in everyday reality. In home wise, it's used as a home utility tool for digging in compacted earth.
Any pickaxe end can do serious damage to a zombie's skull from piercing it, or even a human, however, it is recommended to be aware of the weight of the weapon; like sledgehammers they require a lot of effort to get up to speed and even more effort to control. Pickaxes, commonly can be found in local mine shafts, however rarely there is a true pickaxes at home improvement or even gardening stores, as most of these stores have mattock picks instead of full-time pickaxes..
"Tomahawk" is derived from an Algonquin word used for the indigenous stone hand-axes of Northeast North America and immediately applied to the trade steel and iron headed hand axes introduced by Europeans in that area, circa 1590. Tomahawks were used by Indians and European colonists primarily as weapons and secondarily as utility tools.
Throughout American military history Tomahawks have been used, by either unit or individual basis, as close-quarter weapons. Many current tactical Tomahawks are either direct copies or inspired by the Tomahawk created by the late Pete La Gana for US military personnel in the Viet Nam War.
A tomahawk is a one-handed weapon with a wood or synthetic pole (shaft) ranging from 12" to 24" in length and single-bit metal axe head with an opposite-side spike, hammer, pipe-bowl (decorative) or plain pole-ring. Tomahawks weigh from 1 to 1.75 pounds and modern examples cost from $20 to $150.
While belt sheaths are commonly issued for modern Tomahawks, traditionally they were slung through a simple leather loop (much like a carpenter's hammer loop) or just slipped through the user's pants or web belt with the chisel-beveled edge facing away from the user. This "bare" carry is MUCH faster to draw from than any pouch sheath. A tomahawk user would grasp his weapon just underneath the axe-head and slip the tomahawk up and out, then rest the pole's butt on a thigh and slip the hand down the pole until stopped by the thigh.
A quality Tomahawk, of either traditional or modern design, is a formidable, easy to use melee weapon which lends itself well to a wide variety of skill levels, from the rank beginner to the close-quarters expert. Against zombies, the basic tactic is "chop/bash/spike them in the skull--repeat as necessary"
As a one-handed weapon, a tomahawk allows a user to grapple with the offhand or use another weapon, such as a handgun or knife. While lacking the range of a sword or pole-arm, a tomahawk is near ideal for using in a cluttered interior space. The thicker blade of a tomahawk makes it much less likely to be jammed stuck in a zombie's skull than a thin bladed machete. While historically, tomahawks were sometimes thrown in combat it was almost always done to distract an opponent while closing in to use the offhand weapon. This could be worse than useless against a zombie. As a result of Gulf War I & II use, Tomahawks have regained popularity as tactical and survival weapons and are commonly available in sporting good stores or mail order.
There exists "wall hanger" versions of Tomahawks which are shoddy and should utterly be avoided for weapon use. Also, actual "pipe tomahawks" which have a functional smoking bowl are almost never actual weapons but are purely ceremonial objects.
An axe can prove to be a very deadly weapon in the right hands. They are meant for cutting through thick, heavy material, which is why loggers and firemen alike still use them on a daily basis.
With a average weight of 4 to 5 pounds a single-bit ax can easily split a human's skull in two with a single blow. There are many different types of single-bit axes, poll-less axes, polled axes, spiked polled axes,and the "Pulaski" polled axe. The polled and spiked poll axes can be used to crush bone or impale a skull. The Pulaski type however is not recommended to be used to impaling as it can get stuck,and cannot be used to crush because of the shape of the poll. Axes are by nature, "forward heavy" tools and a out-of-control swing can easily leave a user off-balance if not sprawled to the ground,because of the balance the aforementioned balance a overshot swing will break the handle leaving you with a much less damaging club.this applies to mostly wooden handles but,can also happen with synthetic handles.
The most common types of single-bit axes are the polled ax and the "spiked poll" or fire ax.the pulaski ax and the poll-less ax are much less common by comparison,and are somewhat less useful. The polled ax is widely available from most hardware or feed stores and therefore is the most common type of axe it's all quite good at breaching doors however,this will be LOUD. The fire ax can be found somewhat commonly in buildings where they are kept in locked metal cases attached to the wall. The case usually has a plastic or glass panel framed with metal for a lid. The lock can be picked or the panel can be broken to get the ax it is currently unknown if breaking the panel can set off the fire alarm. The poll of the fire ax has a 2 to 5 inch spike that can be used in combat to impale opponents and to pry open doors,windows,and possibly crates making it a useful tool for breaching houses. The poll-less ax is relatively rare in the United States but, it's possible to find one. However as the name suggests it lacks a poll reducing not only the weight but, unfortunately the versatility as well limiting the use of this ax type to chopping wood and zombies. The pulaski ax also called a foresters ax combines the utility of a ax with the utility of a adze. This type of ax while not as rare as the poll-less ax it's hard to find by default,as it's mostly used by game wardens and Firefighters in areas that are prone to wildfires. The usefulness of this type of ax post z-poc is similar to the fire ax with the exception of impaling as it can get stuck.
Like the single-bit axes, double-bit axes (or double-headed axes) are a type of axe with a two-sided head instead of having a one-sided head. While weighing 1 to 2 pounds less than a single-bit ax,the double-bit ax can just as easily chop through wood or bone as their single-bit counterparts with the added bonus of a secondary usable edge.
While suffering from the same weakness as their single-bit counterparts ie handle fragility, the double-bit ax also can't be used to breach doors.
The hatchet is one of the most prolific and effective weapons against the undead available in modern society. As a tool and as a means of defense, the hatchet will likely save more lives than any other melee weapon on this list. The hatchet is easy to carry and adequate brain damage could be caused with a single hit. There are no hooks or spike to become tangled or stuck. It is also one of the only weapons that could be thrown with one hand and potentially eliminate a threat.
Though throwing with sufficient force and accuracy is difficult, the weapon's availability makes it nearly expendable. There are only a few disadvantages. Lack of reach makes other weaponry more appealing in open terrain. However, this is an advantage for the hatchet in closed spaces. The weapon is difficult to unsheath quickly, so keeping a razor's edge on the hatchet would not be preferred. Keep it blunt enough not to easily cut, but sharp enough to chop wood with good force. When engaging the undead, sidestep, then strike with a downward motion to the skull. Attack the joints if a clear headshot is unavailable.
Bearded axes are a large Saxon axe with an exaggerated beard that tapers out to a point at the bottom. The traditional weapon of the Saxon huscarl they have a large amount of power and can cleave a zombie skull easily as long as you have the necessary upper body strength. The pointed beard can also be brought down into a zombie skull for a very effective killing method. However these weapons can tire you easily and the long shaft makes it less effective in close quarters. These weapons are also far less common than a regular axe or hatchet.
Poleaxes are basically a small two bladed axe on a very long stick. Poleaxes were originally designed to cave in or punch through a medieval helmet making them very effective zombie killers. Obviously there is some open field potential to decapitate zombies with such a weapon but there are many problems that would be detrimental. For one there are very few if any in existence and those are probably show pieces. Secondly they will require a high level of skill to use well and a long stick will break over time due to the centrifugal forces associated with such combat.
Also, medieval poleaxes had long vertical iron strips called "langets" to prevent an opposing soldier chopping the head off their weapon. The langets were nailed in place their entire length, and often ran up to 3/4 of the way down the shaft.
There is the possibility of misjudging the distance and whacking the zombie (or zombies) with the shaft as opposed to the head. Still, the Zed Heads would get knocked to the ground with the force of the swing, and might even get killed (or half-killed) by the langets. Serviceable examples are hard to find though.
Thanks to horror movies like the Evil Dead series, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series and video games, many people immediately think of chainsaws when they think of great weapons for killing zombies. This mentality will get a lot of people killed. Despite the much-needed morale boost you may get from wielding one, chainsaws are among the worst weapons for putting down the undead. A chainsaw is a complex machine, and as a rule, any machine with many moving parts should be immediately discounted as an effective melee weapon against a zombie. They're heavy (usually 10 lbs.), they're loud, they can get jammed with zombie guts, they create splatter that can get in your face and infect the wielder. They can easily cause injury to the wielder, the chain can break easily, and when they run out of gas or batteries, there's as much remaining killing potential as a handheld boom box.
These disadvantages should be taken into consideration more when fighting large hordes, as many zombies push against obstacles, even when going around them would be more efficient, they would try to push up against you. Even a strong, experienced user would have a risk of the blade being pushed against them. The chainsaw itself would surely take some damage from bone and gore pieces hitting the chain, and the power source may deplete before you can finish them off. Blood will splatter everywhere also, and if any gets in your mouth or an open wound, you will become a zombie.
Finally, the "scare effect" of fighting a chainsaw-wielding lunatic is completely lost on the unfeeling undead. Also, the chainsaw in terms of killing power is a tad overkill, and requires some effort on the part of the user to cut into a zombie's neck or head, and pulling the weapon out after the kill can be difficult due to weight and often panic caused by the numerous other zombies swarming over you. In short, a simple club or sword is recommended over the chainsaw, despite the infamy bestowed upon the device by Hollywood and slasher films.
Also, don't go swinging the noise-making-zombie-gut-spewer like a maniac as you can spew your own guts out.
Another drawback chainsaws have a tendency to stall on clothing.
This could be literally anything you decide to use as a weapon in times of desperation against the undead. The most important thing to consider when choosing an improvised weapon it the object's ability to crush the skull. Aside from that, it is also important to consider the weapon's weight and how quickly you can recover from missing an attack. If this is the only weapon you have, don't let it go, but if you have something better it's dead weight.