Five by Five: Zombie Survival Guide

When you’re trapped in the zombie apocalypse, what weapon do you want? I’m taking a look at the top five most common weapons in zombie fiction, so you can know what to grab, given the choice.  I’ve ranked them in order of desirability, which is determined by my five categories, three of which have two subcategories.

#5) Flamethrower

M9A1-7, 1200°C for 120 seconds, Mass when empty: 26 lbs, Range: 55m, Capacity: 1 tank full of fuel (4.5 gallon), Total Mass: 50 lbs

A backpack type flamethrower with a hand held flamegun. The flamegun can fit inside a hip holster issued with the weapon. The tank holds enough fuel for 5 four second “bursts”. Each burst burns at 1200°C for 120 seconds. The weapon can be fired with the fuel either lit or unlit. The entire tank can be fired in one long shot.

Effectiveness: 

  • Single: Roasty toasted zombie. 
  • Crowd: You’ve only got twenty seconds total of spray, but it does burn for a long time after firing, so it’s an excellent crowd weapon. 


  • Capacity/availability: Gas is plentiful, but you only get twenty seconds from a full tank. Plus, there’s the compressed nitrogen propellent, and I’m pretty sure you’re just hosed when you run out of that.
  • Weight: The full tank adds twenty pounds to the flamethrower. That’s a lot. 

Size: 

  • Ease of carrying/weight: It weighs fifty pounds, fully loaded, and takes up the spot on your back where your pack that carried everything else would go.
  • Reach: 55 meters is an excellent range, plenty for killing zombies. 

Sound: 

  • I’ve never heard a flamethrower, but it’s just fire being shot out of a hose. Not silent, but not as loud as a gun. 

Versatility: 

  • You can start fires with it. You can probably use the ignition mechanism even without consuming fuel. But that’s it. 

Overall: 2.8 out of 5. Use it if you’ve got it, but don’t rely on it.

#4) Chainsaw

Stihl 090, 5′ guide bar, 30 pounds

Effectiveness: 

Single: Dead zombie. Squish. 

Crowd: Probably one of the best crowd-control weapons. Constant destruction, and it’s guaranteed to slice all the way through the buggers with little trouble. 

Ammo: ½

Capacity/availability: Most chainsaws can run for slightly under an hour on one tank of gas, which, on the 090, is two an a half liters. And gasoline is abundant. 

Weight: Gas is also heavy and inconvenient, but if you have a little one-gallon gas can, it’s not too bad. 

Size: ½

Ease of carrying/weight: The Stihl 090 weighs thirty pounds. And has a five-foot long blade. That’s a pain.

Reach: That five-foot blade, however, is nice for chopping up zombies safely. 


Any weapon for which the expression “like a [said weapon]” is an indication of high volume is a really loud weapon.

Versatility: 

You can.. cut wood with it. That’s it. Cutting things. 

Overall: 3.4 out of 5. Excellent for killing, but not worth the trade-off of carrying it and attracting more zombies. Unless you’re really strong and can hold it for an hour while you spin around and kill every zombie for miles around, but then you’re gambling that your fuel holds out.

#3) Shotgun

Mossberg 590 Special Purpose

9 Shot, 12 gauge, Ghost Ring¨ sights, 20″ barrel, 41″ total length, matte blue finish, Synthetic black speedfeed stock, 7 1/4 lbs,

Effectiveness: ½

  • Single: Against a single zombie, the Mossberg 590 is a guaranteed success. With nine shots, you’re going to kill it, since one shot is probably enough. 
  • Crowd: With nine shots, plus four easily accessible from the Speedfeed stock, this shotgun is a decent crowd-clearing gun, though reloading a shotgun, even if you have the shells in hand, isn’t exactly a quick and easy process. 

Ammo: 

  • Capacity/availability: Nine shots is very good for a shotgun, and decent for any single shot gun. 12 gauge ammo is plentiful, so finding it won’t be a problem. 
  • Weight: Shotgun shells are heavier than bullets, since they pack more punch, but it’s still not bad. You can easily carry a few dozen shells in your pack without trouble. 

Size: ½

  • Ease of carrying/weight: 7 ¼ pounds is nothing. You can carry that all day and not be worn out. Being three and a half feet long, though, is slightly annoying, though still not too troublesome. 
  • Reach: Since slugs are available for shotguns, as well as the more traditional buckshot, it has as much range as you could need in a zombie-ridden wasteland. 


  • Obviously, a shotgun makes a lot of noise. Which is exactly what you don’t want.

Versatility: 

  • There are beanbag rounds, slugs, buckshot, birdshot, and it makes a decent bludgeon if you’re really desperate. And it can be used against human and animal targets just as easily. 

Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5. A solid weapon whose only flaw is the noise. It’s not much help to bring down the zombies attacking you if your weapon’s noise brings in another swarm.

#2) Katana

Effectiveness: ½

  • Single: Slice, head comes off. 
  • Crowd: Since this list assumes you can handle the weapons in question with reasonable skill, a katana is a decent crowd-clearing weapon. If each strike cuts clean through a zombie (which is entirely possible), then a crowd of fifty is no more challenging than a crowd of five. 

Ammo: 

  • Swords don’t need ammo, so they don’t run out or make you carry extra. 

Size: 

  • Ease of carrying/weight: A typical katana weighs between two and three pounds and is a little under four feet long. That’s easy weight, but having four feet of metal on your back or waist can be annoying. 
  • Reach: Among melee weapons, there’s not much better than a long sword like this. However, there are better things. 

Sound: 

  • Swords are silent. Yes. 

Versatility: 

  • Swords are pretty straightforward weapons. Their size keeps them from being as multi-purpose as a knife, though they still have some use. 

Overall score: 4.3 out of 5. Katanas are lethal, silent, light, and will never jam or run out of ammo. A very good weapon to have when the zombies come shambling.

#1) Pistol

The Beretta M9 9mm semi-automatic. 8.5″ x 1.5″ x 5.5″, 2.5 lbs fully loaded. Silencer, 1 1/4″ x 7 1/2″.

Effectiveness: 

  • Single: Again, assuming you’re proficient, boom. Headshot. 
  • Crowd: With the 15-shot clip and the two spare clips, this gun is excellent for crowds. 

Ammo: 

  • Capacity/availability: 15 shots is a very good clip, and 9mm ammo is readily available. 
  • Weight: The ammo is very light, and the fact that it is so common means you don’t have to carry very much of it. 

Size: 

  • Ease of carrying/weight: Its small size and light weight means it’s easy to conceal and carry. A very portable weapon. 
  • Reach: 50m is plenty for taking down zombies. 

Sound: 

  • Though ‘silenced’ the pistol still makes some sound when it fires, though not much. 

Versatility: 

  • A pistol has less effectiveness as a melee option than a shotgun, and it doesn’t have bean bag or buckshot. 

Overall: 4.4 out of 5. Small, silent, lethal at range, concealable, light, and uses a common ammunition. The most suitable weapon out of these five.

So!  We have a winner. Beretta M9 with a backup katana.  But what if you don’t have any of these fine weapons in your house? Never fear! My next post on this subject will be about common household objects you can use as improvised weapons.



Filed under Life

2 responses to “Five by Five: Zombie Survival Guide

  1. Felicia

    Buahahah! That’s awesome! 😀

  2. Richard Kleimeier

    Flame Thrower + Zombie = Zombie on Fire…
    Most so-called “Zombie Experts” don’t recomend setting zombies on fire unless they are already dead (again), and to make sure they stay dead. Zombies don’t feel pain, and they won’t be scared off by the fire storm coming thier way. If you set a zombie on fire, they will walk around setting other things on fire. Things you may not want burning around you while you are trying to escape. I would switch out Flame Thrower for a Crowbar, Baseball Bat (preferably aluminum) or other blunt force trama weapons. You never have to load a crowbar or bat, there is no skill that needs to be learned, just swing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s