Tag Archives: katana

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

Cyberpunk – Recruitment

Using a new word processing software, so the formatting may be a little different.  Second part of the story about Jacob.

It was an ordinary day. Jake sat on a barstool, a vodka martini sitting on the counter in front of him. He held his katana in one hand and ran an oiled cloth over the blade with his other hand, polishing and preserving it.  A knock on the front door drew his attention, and he set the cloth down, looking towards the foyer.  Members didn’t knock, and clients didn’t visit; who could be knocking?
He heard the sentry open the door and question the newcomer.  Then he heard a loud gunshot, and saw the sentry come flying through the doorway, most clearly dead.  Almost at the same time, the back door was blown in, and several members of the rival gang charged through, automatic weapons blazing.
Jake threw himself down and rolled, coming up against one of the walls the enemy didn’t have line of sight to, pressing his back to it and drawing the pistol from his waistband.  When two of the invaders came through the door from the foyer, he dropped them both with headshots.  He retreated back into another room as machine gun fire came from both entrances.  He reloaded the two shots his revolver had fired, then re-holstered it, readying instead his katana.
When three of the other gang’s men came through the door, he decapitated one of them and stabbed a second in the heart before the third was even aware of his presence.  That third tried to turn his machine gun on Jake, but he sliced off the arm that held it, and then slit the throat of his now disarmed opponent.
He cleaned his katana with shirt of one of the dead men on the floor, listening.  Sounds of scuffling and gunfire could be heard all throughout the building, on every floor.  He pressed on one of the walls, opening a secret door to a ladder, which he climbed up to the second floor.  After listening at the door, he threw it open and ran the interloper in the middle of the room clean through with the katana.
Dumping the lifeless body on the ground, and not pausing to clean his blade, he dashed through the door, drawing his revolver and shooting down the gangers, one at each end of the hallway.  The sounds of conflict were dying down by now, and he saw Walters come down from the third floor, slightly wild-eyed and carrying Jamison’s old machine gun.
Jake grabbed his shoulder.  “Any more up there?”
“No, I got ‘em all.”  Walter nodded.  “Here?”
“Not sure, I just got here.  Check that half, I’ll check this half.”
They split up and circled the floor.  Jake had just finished when he heard a sustained burst of fire from Walter’s machine gun.  He ran into the hallway and saw Walters walking out of the last room on his side.  “Clear now.”
Jake nodded.  “Downstairs.  Cover me.”
They went down the stairs, Jake first, crouched low, holding his katana and revolver, and Walters followed, standing, machine gun at his shoulder, sweeping around as they descended, watching for threats.  When they reached the bottom, Jake crept along one wall, heading for the boss’s room.  One of their rivals came out, saw Walters, and fired his machine gun, just as Walters did the same to him.  Walters, however, was not an expert with a machine gun, and he went down.
Jake stood quickly, his sword slicing through the killer of his friend.  He moved to Walters’ side, but it was obvious there was nothing that could be done.
After one final check of the premises, and after grabbing his shotgun and extra ammo for it and his revolver, Jake walked out the front door.  He had a few vague ideas of what he could do, now that his gang was wiped out, but none of them really sounded attractive.
As he walked down the street, a black hovercar pulled up alongside him, and one of the windows rolled down.  Jake couldn’t see who spoke, but the voice was clear, and feminine.  “What do you plan to do, Jacob?”
There are some people, in some situations, that you don’t ask how they know things or why they want to know about you.  You just answer, truthfully.  So Jake did.  “I don’t know.”
“What if I said I could offer you a job?  More challenges, better pay, superior training and equipment, and teammates who are as skilled and professional as you are.”
Jake raised an eyebrow.  “I’d ask you what the catch was.”
“You could never see anyone from your old life again, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to leave us.”
He looked back on the gang hideout.  From the outside, it looked like nothing had happened.  For some reason, that depressed him more.  “I’d say sign me up.”
The door slid open, and Jake climbed in.  Inside, he saw a woman in an executive suit, her platinum-blonde hair pulled into a ponytail. Her silver eyes revealed her cybernetic nature.  “Welcome to Black Fire Corporation’s Covert Ops.”

After the long drive to Black Fire’s headquarters, Jake was shown to a secret sublevel that housed Covert Ops.  The female cyborg, whose name turned out to be Ann, led him to the equipment room.  Guns of every shape and size adorned the walls, and cabinets and footlockers were filled with armor and gadgets.  “Take your pick.”
Jake ran his hands over some of the guns, finally settling on a shotgun similar to his.  He picked it off the wall, feeling its weight.  “Very nice.  Twelve-shot clip, optional battery pack for energy burst secondary firing.  Who’s the manufacturer?”
Ann smirked.  “Black Fire.  Not yet released to public distribution.”
He chuckled and set it down, looking over the handguns.  “Ooh, a Smith & Wesson 500?  I didn’t think any of these still existed.”  He picked the powerful revolver up and pointed it at the wall, checking the sights.  “Been the most powerful handgun in the world for decades.”
“We have the last half dozen in the world.”  Ann leaned casually against the wall.  “As you can see, the Black Fire Corporation provides the best of everything for its operatives.  We can even make custom weapons for you.”
“Custom weapons, huh?”  Jake slid the katana off his back.  “I assume Black Fire also has vibra-blade technology?”
“Of course.”  She took the katana from him and tucked it under one arm.  “We’ll have it back to you within twenty four hours.”
“Good.”  He opened one of the cabinets, looking over the selection of body armors and harnesses.  One in particular caught his eye, and he pulled it out.  It was a black Kevlar bodysuit, with leather accessories and a back harness for a two-handed gun and a belt with a holster and pouches, as well as a bandoleer for extra ammo.  “Can you customize this, too?”
Ann considered the suit.  “You want the back harness modified to carry your shotgun and katana together?”
Jake raised an eyebrow; this woman didn’t miss a beat.  “Exactly.”
She unclipped the harness from the suit and tucked it under her arm with the katana.  “That’ll be ready within twenty four hours as well.”
“Good.”  He paused and glances at the crates of gadgets.  Deciding he’d take whatever he needed when he was told what missions he would be going on, he looked back at Ann.  “That’s all I need, then.”
“I’ll show you to your quarters and show you the training hall, then drop these off with the tech boys.  This way, please.”  Ann led him down the halls to a series of mostly identical rooms, much like dorms, though much better furnished.  “My room is this one here on the left.  You’ll be across from me, here on the right.  Training facilities are at the end of this hall on the left.  Any questions?”
Jake walked into the room, setting his shotgun in the hooks on the wall designed for that very purpose.  “No, I think I’m good.  Training facilities are always open, yeah?”
She nodded.  “Always.  And these rooms can be soundproofed, so if someone’s training while you’re trying to sleep, you can block it out.”  She grinned, a mischievous grin.  “Be seeing you around, Jacob.”  With that, she sauntered off down the hall.
He quickly changed into his new bodysuit, slipping his new Smith & Wesson into his holster.  The training hall was right where Ann had said it was, and contained targets, obstacle courses, sparring rings, robotic opponents, and a wide variety of small challenges to improve a specific skill or ability.  Jacob grinned.  This was going to be a good job.

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Filed under Characters, Cyberpunk, My Stories, Short Stories