Evil Princess and I just got home from a long trip in time to catch the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.”  If I was to take this test question …


“’The Walking Dead’ is:

“A: A television fantasy.

“B: A documentary.

“C: A training film.”


…My answer would still be “A.”


But it’s always fun to look at it as “C.”  If a plague of zombies overtook society, what would we arm ourselves with?  I can tell you that the Darrel character, who tackles it for the most part with a crossbow, is a better man than me.  Something like a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle would have been my first thought: if you need brain shots to do the job anyway, the .22 seems logical: you can get reliable 25 to 50 round magazines for it and still have something light and handy for constant carry, and LOTS of those teeny little cartridges on your person.  But then you start thinking about how often .22 Long Rifle rounds have been known to ricochet off human skulls that haven’t been rotted soft, and the .22’s well known impotence against living bad guys…

We had several handguns with us in the vehicle, and because we had just shot a Glock match that finished up our two-class tour, a good bit left of the thousand-plus 9mm rounds and assorted .45 ACP, 10mm, and .380 ammo we’d started out with.  Would have been a good start.

But, just for the hell of it, if “Walking Dead” became “B: A documentary,” what would YOU arm yourself with?


  1. .22 mag and or .17hmr good pwr out to 100 yards and can carry lots, plus .22 mag would be effective on the living at ranges out to 50 yards.

  2. No question. 9mm glock with extended mag and an ak74 (1st choice) or 47 (2nd choice).
    You will note that Rick gave up on his AR after multiple jams and running out of brass ammo. (Zombies can’t hear your excuses about needing lube or better ammo.) I have no idea why Rick is still using a revolver in season 6.

  3. Glock 17, and as many magazines as I could procure. 9mm hardball will survive longer than even cockroaches after the apocalypse. 😬

  4. If I could only have one, it would be a suppressed 9mm carbine. Quiet to avoid attracting more zombies, ubiquitous ammo, and enough punch for living bad guys.

  5. Glock 17 for a sidearm (lots of parts to be found everywhere as well as ammo, reliable, easy to field strip and maintain)

    AR15 in 223/556. Lots of parts to be found as well as ammo.

    Would obviously prefer both suppressed, with a basic scope on the AR and night sights on the Glock.

  6. I believe that I would want one of those JRC (Just Right Carbines) chambered in 9mm and accepting Glock magazines. They have ambi controls which suits me since I am a “Lefty”. With a pocket full of glock mag’s, it would offer lots of firepower.

    Furthermore, they have threaded barrels. Since zombies respond to noise, I would want to fit it with a suppressor and use 147 gr. subsonic JHP’s. A red dot sight would go on top for daytime use. It would also be good to have a night vision scope to swap on for use after dark. The rail on top of the carbine can support both.

    The result would be a light, handy carbine that (loaded) would not weigh much more than 7 lbs. It would have adequate stopping power. At least, I doubt that those 147 gr. slugs would have as much danger of bouncing off a skull like a .22 might do.

    9mm ammo is compact so I could pack a lot of it.

    All in all, a 9mm carbine would be “Just Right” (forgive the pun) for zombie shooting! 🙂

  7. Serious answer: Since my “non-zombie” bugout rig is geared towards it and supplied anyway, I would take my Sig 226 in 9mm and Bushmaster in .223. And my Bible. And not really in that order.

    But since we’re talking fantasy here, if I were caught away from home when the ZSHTF (because home = multiple hard points) then I would want a large supply of willie pete and high ground to deploy it from. And a LOT of others similarly armed. Ain’t no way I’m fighting zombies on my own, and who says you have to run all the time?

    Speaking of “documentaries”, if you’ve ever read “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War”, you’ll see that the Battle of Yonkers was a fatal tactical blunder as all the zombies came swarming up through the enclosed valley that is the Sprain Brook parkway. Instead, the military PTB fought that battle like Rev War infantry with modern whizbang weapons and the world lost against the zombies. If they had applied WP and/or napalm properly in that situation it would’ve saved a lot of lives AND eliminated a lot of zombies in the process.

  8. Since you’re predicating this on the “Walking Dead” TV show, I would presume that you also presume that they’re slow zombies, that you have to cause brain damage to deactivate (not kill, they’re already dead) them, and that there’s been a near-total breakdown of society which will take months or years to recover from.

    The zombie shows which use guns never address the question raised by the fact that there are (a) a heck of a lot of zombies (or there wouldn’t have been a breakdown of society) with the number growing daily, (b) no more stores to buy ammunition or factories to make it, and (c) a huge consumption of existing stockpiles of ammunition in the first days of the outbreak (compounded by the learning curve needed to figure out the need for head shots). Unless you’ve already built a bunker, there’s also the problem of transporting enough ammunition while moving to a safe place. Continually searching through abandoned stores and homes for additional ammo substantially increases your risk of being attacked. Unless you have a very effective and long lasting silencer (both of which, as I understand it, are unlikely), the sound of gunfire also increases your risk of being attacked by drawing more zombies. Finally, you’ve got to be good enough to get a head shot every time. For those reasons, firearms would play a part in a good defense plan, but would not ordinarily be the first weapon of choice (unless, perhaps, you have a bunker).

    If you set the ammo question aside, Mas’ suggestion of the .22 isn’t bad, but it’s got to penetrate, which means careful placement and close range. Ruger’s 10/22 carbine would be a good choice. The fact that there’s enormous stockpiles of .223 out there makes carbines such as the Mini-14 or AR-15 in that caliber a possibility if you want more security, but it’s louder and the ammo’s heavier and is still going to become scarce fast. Other and heavier calibers will be worse and the thing that they’ve ordinarily been judged on for self-defense, center-of-mass stopping power via hydrostatic shock, is going to be severely diminished in zombies since they cannot feel pain or shock and, except for their motor functions, their internal organs aren’t working to begin with. They won’t have any effect at all unless you are lucky enough to damage enough muscle, bone, or nerves to disable them (and they’ll still be dangerous once they’re disabled).

    For folks here who have seriously practiced with them before the outbreak, pistols are probably practical for emergency close-up encounters and, for folks like Mas, maybe even longer-distance work, but they’re going to be close to worthless for those inexperienced with them. And, again, ammo shortages and noise are a big problem.

    Most zombie aficionados recognize that dealing with one or two slow-moving zombies with blunt or edged striking weapons is fairly easy and the key to survival is not allowing yourself to be surprised or swarmed (which, in part, means you don’t want to attract zombies through gunfire).

    What I would want, myself, would depend on whether I already had a sufficient bunker with food, water, and ammunition stores to set out the outbreak or had to be on the move. With a bunker, I’d want something relatively long-range to clear out a swarm around the bunker if it was becoming hazardous or I needed to break out, so maybe a scoped and (preferably) silenced Mini-14 in .223. If on the move in motorized vehicles, I’d still want the Mini-14 in reserve if I had the ammo for it, but I’d want a striking weapon (a fire axe, mattock, or something cobbled together) as my in-hand tool and a .22 automatic pistol, probably one of the Ruger MK’s, on my belt. If I had a bunker, I’d want those in items in reserve. If on foot, I’d give up either the Mini-14 or the pistol, depending on the quantity and weight of ammo I’d want to carry or maybe switch to a 10/22 if I had one and the ammo for it.

    Going back to my original set of presumptions, if we had fast zombies instead of slow zombies, then none of this would matter. As Max Brooks (author of “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z”, the latter being an excellent read and wholly unlike the atrocious movie by the same name) has said, we’d never have a chance and we’d all be dead.

  9. A Kel-Tec Sub-2000 set up for Glock magazines, along with a Glock 17. Perfect magazine compatibility combined with light weight/portability.

    Mas, have you read the Larry Correia/John Ringo collaboration “Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge?” In it, the protagonist, one Chad Gardenier, takes on zombies with a 1911 which is set up with a .22LR conversion kit, and he mentions the very same thing you do, the probability of the small .22 slugs bouncing off of zombie skulls rather than penetrating.

  10. I am thinking 9mm in a handgun.

    .223 in a rifle / AR or Mini-14 platform. But I think the 10/22 makes a lot of sense, especially given the availability of .22 LR ammo!

    If relegated to one caliber I would go with a Glock 19 and an MP5. And plenty of magazines!

    The 12 gauge is out…

  11. Like TN_MAN, I guess I would have to go with a 9mm Glock and a 9mm carbine. Since I will have to go with what I already have, it will be be my G26 and my Kel-Tec sub2000 which accepts the same 33 round Glock factory mags, weighs less than 4lbs and has had no malfunctions after several thousand rounds. With me shooting, the G26 is minute of Zombie skull at 25yds. The sub2000 extends that out to 50yds.

    I may be getting too old for a Zombie Apocalypse as mobility seems to be the game changer. Been a while since I’ve seen any geezer survivors on the show.

    It probably wouldn’t hurt to take a tip from the character played by “Tex” Cobb in the movie “Uncommon Valor”, who wore a live grenade hanging around his neck. Someone asked why he did this and the reply was “He always said if things got too sh*tty in this life, he was going to pull the pin and see what’s next!”

  12. Looks like everyone went on the premise of Zombies vs. hardware and tactics. Remove the zombies and substitute ANY other scenario for global collapse, ( sort of as seen in “The Postman ” ) and it becomes clear that it’s not about zombies- its about how quickly society would unravel as a whole, and predatory warlords would seek to dominate non warlike enclaves, subjugating them. From that standpoint, a different bunch of what if scenarios quickly emerge. The Human Enemy is the real problem to be solved . The Zombie Plague would be eventually, self limiting, as they continue to rot to immobility, with an ever lessor number “joining” their ranks, and bless them, they are not bright as they were in life, making them inconvenient to the watchful, but not as dangerous as even a garden variety dirtbag. The story line of The Walking Dead , by itself, should be clearly all about the Govenors and Negans ( as well as the Shanes and Terminus people, as well as The Claimers, and even the Merles ) of the world and how they seek to dominate for their benefit; with others serving THEM, be it in a Fiefdom, or even by just someone to be killed so their possessions may be taken, or even killed as food or for amusement.
    Arms selection would run to what works against the living, thinking enemy, simple Pickets will work for fortification against non thinking zombies.

  13. “What would you arm yourself with?”

    Whatever will fit the available ammo….
    Face it, the guns will be expendable.

  14. The thing on the walking dead that’s missing is a good ol’ pocket pistol, I don’t know how many times they could’ve used one especially as time has went on and other people have been
    More dangerous than zombies

  15. Now that I think more on the subject, perhaps a genuine boar spear or naginata might be a better weapon than any firearm. Learning curve would still exist, but I have some experience with pole weapons 🙂

    *Not* that I would mind having a 9mm sidearm, of course!

  16. I’d close and secure the storm shutters, close and lock the door. Make popcorn, open a frosty cold Guinness and watch some old favorite DVDs, maybe “Captain Ron” or “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, that’s a great gun movie LOL!
    Sorry guys, I just can’t get my head into dead people walking around pesterin’ folks.

  17. For this scenario unfortunately guns can malfunction, so whatever gun and matching ammo I have. Then I’m moving on to a blade. I have a sword, light, fast and sharp. Axe or machete would do in a pinch, but a sword would be king here. Just my opinion.

  18. Methinks sharp pointy things have worked for a VERY long time so I’ll take my Cold Steel Samurai sword thank you very much… And if the problem is a whole horde of zombies then I fall back to the Colt 1928N TSMG which has a C drum, couple of L drums and enough 20 and 30 round stick magazines plus .45 ammo
    for awhile…:-) Not a fan of the show but my wife watches and IIRC the one lady does OK with her Samurai sword… Just sayin’ it would be nice to have when there’s a temporary ammunition shortage.

  19. A Kel Tec Sub 2000 in 40 and a Glock 23 with some 22 round mags that work in each. And if the HPA passes before the zombie attack a silencer for the Kel Tec.

    There are other carbines that fit in a backpack, but non I know assembles as fast.

  20. Lew, I don’t either but that is because we have so many walking around today IRL (in real life). I could get arrested if I started thinking about this seriously!

  21. I think I would use the television remote control to turn the whole thing off from the comfort and convenience of my couch.

    Really, someone needs to “Get A Life” here! (Not a ‘zombie” life)

  22. Just one gun. Hmm. In my absolute dreams, an HK MP5SD and an EOTech 512 sight (with extra rechargeable batteries and a portable solar charger) and some of that green tipped Hornady Zombie Max ammunition. (The red tipped works great for me in my CZ.)
    Since this is fantasy, I would also want a solid aluminum baseball bat, a sturdy broad sword and a Klingon bat’leth (the last one is just because they are cool and I admire Klingon’s.).

    If I were choosing from my own selection and had to pick one weapon, it would be an AR15 A2 rifle with scope and backup sights, not neglecting plenty of extra mags. and ammo. I would also want a good flashlight, knife and multi-tool.

  23. Depends on whether they’re on the prowl hunting ME, and so I can shelter in place and ward them off from a distance (I am making the assumption I’m at MY place). That means a long gun of some sort useful at short to medium range. Maybe a twelve bore wiht doubl naught buck, aim for their empty heads and poke lots of holes in them quickly. Slugs could be fun, too. FOr longer range, a thirty ought six well scoped. Use FMJ. Small holes, but clear through both sides. What IS in there would eventuallly leak out.

    Another choice could be a ,30/30 WCF. Browning BLR in .44 Mag or .357 would work well, also. Plus allow me to “reach out and touch someone”.

    if it were time to bug out, well… probably take BHP in 9 x 19, two is better than one.. One of mine is the six inch barrel target model, accurate to a hundred yards and more, if I will do. Nine should be one of the most readily available rounds out there.

  24. Katana. Sharp, fast, doesn’t need reloading. Hatchet and my fnx9 for backup.
    Gather a goodly amount of supplies near a source of water. Take over 2 story cinderblock home, build a collapsible ladder, take out the stairs and hole up cause not even zombies can last forever once food sources are gone.

    Never watched it cause the stupidity bugs me….

  25. My son (age 14) and I have discussed this… For myself, I’d opt for my Sig P320 full size with extra mags, my Glock 26 as a reserve, and my Mossberg 500 Tactical with a mix of #4 Buck and slugs. My son thought he’d take his Ruger 10/45 and the Beretta Px4 Storm along with the DPMS AR-15.

    As noted by Mas, you can carry a LOT of .22’s around (or .223/5.56). And besides, we also figured the simple visual presence of the “evil AR” would cause most Liberal Zombies to simply fall down and wet themselves thus saving on ammo!! 😉

  26. ThinkingMan is absolutley correct. The real enemy will be those who are still alive rather than “dead live.” That’s the real threat. In that case, whatever you’ve already decided is sufficient protection for a today full of bad guys is likely to see you through a tomorrow full of zombies.

  27. Mas, I love what-if? scenarios. Unfortunately, I haven’t watched much of “The Walking Dead.” Like thinkingman, I can’t stand infighting during an end-of-the-world scenario. People need to work together when the stuff hits the fan, not fight each other. I want to be a part of the largest mutual assistance group around. That way, we might have a chance against the Crips, the Bloods, MS-13 and the Warlord of the Wasteland, the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla, the LORD HUMONGOUS and his Road Warriors!

    Since “The Walking Dead” is in its sixth season, I’m sure they must have tried to burn the zombies. Flamethrowers put the “fire” in firepower, I always say. And lighting up a horde of zombies would be really cool to watch on TV.

    Since zombies require headshots, and headshots are tricky, I would think scatterguns would be a good idea. Aim for the head and hope some pellets hit it. Might even be able to use birdshot within forty yards.

  28. Heckler & Koch MP-5 SD or standard model with Gemtech can and a quick detachable 1X-4X scope with lighted reticle and Tritium sights, plus lots of 30 round magazines. A good red dot sight would be OK if batteries for it are readily available or the shooter has a plentiful stash on hand.

    The 9mm has plenty of penetration for head shots and could be used against non-dead attackers too. On the TV show, .22 rimfire ammunition is adequate against zombie heads as they are easily penetrated by a variety of small knives and other tools like a screwdriver in one episode.

    A reliable .22 or 9mm pistol with tritium sights, many spare magazines and several boxes of ammo would make a good backup weapon, preferably with sound suppressors too, as noise attracts zombies and one does not want to deafen themselves while shooting attackers and thus not hear others approaching them. I would also recommend carrying a small ax
    short sword, or hammer in addition to the mandatory fixed bladed utility
    or fighting type knife. For those so inclined, a derringer for committing Hari Kari in the event of getting infected would come in handy too.

  29. Merle, you are correct in your observation.

    When I spoke of my G26 and sub2000, I think of them as one. They both fit easily in a laptop case along with 3-33rd, 4-15rd , 3-10rd mags, and a quality flashlight. It goes with me whenever I leave home for more than a day. I don’t fly anymore, so transferring this “travel insurance” from my vehicle to a hotel room raises no eyebrows. I do think of them as insurance, not to be confused with my everyday carry.

    My “master policy” stays at home where I will return to make my stand if things get real nasty.

    When Mas posed the question, my first thoughts went to my “travel insurance”. I apologize.

  30. Not sure if it’s the best gun, but my 6″ Python has appreciated about $500 since the show began-thank you “walking dead” producers!
    On a serious note, it saves the brass for reloading, and using my own lead molds, can spit out several thousand rounds with basic reloading tools that fit in a shoebox. I can light load a sub-sonic load that’s quieter than a .22 mag.
    Speedloader reloads could keep up with those slowpokes!

  31. A slight aside: Read John Ringo’s zombie series, “Black Tide Rising”. Presumably, an extremely virulent virus was released that turns people into zombies. Ringo, a former paratrooper really thinks the issues through, giving an intense, fast-paced story that is laced with (mostly) accurate gun-handling and lots of military humor.
    A MUST read

  32. For those who like to take their zombies in words rather than images, let me recommend some books:
    – Max Brooks’ (Mel Brook’s son, by the way) “Zombie Survival Guide” (tongue-in-cheek, but thought-provoking) and, particularly, the excellent “World War Z”
    – Rhiannon Frater’s “As the World Dies” Trilogy, followed by “Untold Tales Omnibus” Excellent and, in places, heartbreaking.
    – J. L. Bourne’s “Day by Day Armageddon” series. I’ve only read the first two of the four in this series and didn’t go on because they were a considerable step down from Brooks and Frater, BUT the military/survivalist aspects of this series appeals to a lot of folks.

  33. Never watched the show but the issue with noise of a gunshot bringing in more zombies and ammo availability is important. Personally I’d like to know how a nice crossbow does against zombies. If you can learn to make your own quarrels then you can replenish your supply of ammo. As for a gun, I like the idea of the JR in 9mm with some really good sights on it. And the final backup of some sort of edged weapon makes sense but I’d have to start training now just to be sure I didn’t kill myself trying to use one! interesting thought experiment, thanks for posting!

  34. Since my scenario is bug-in, start with AR in 5.56 and M&P pistol in .40, then work through each ammo can and gun in order of preference: .308, 12ga, .22, etc. Ending with 1858 cap & ball revolver and 1866 Winchester replica in 45 Colt.
    Looking forward to MAG40 in San Antonio in April!

  35. I don’t feel qualified to give an opinion as I have been too busy getting ready for the pin shoot. Besides, I don’t like reality tv.

  36. I’d opt for my CZ P-07 and P-09, both have threaded barrels and an available suppressor. The 21 round magazines that fit both reduce reloading and the suppressor will help reduce ambient noise that will attract more zombies. I’d also probably retain my Glock 34 and Sub2000 that accept Glock mags as another option, and an AR for use against human aggressors.

  37. My new Ram Rebel would be good medicine for zombies…various sidearms and long guns to repel the inevitable boarder or two.


  38. After some reflection, I believe that I would update my initial selection which I gave above.

    While I would still go with the suppressed 9mm carbine (with subsonic ammo) as the primary weapon, I think that I would substitute a conventional low-power (1X to 3X / 4X) variable rifle scope for the red dot for daytime use. This style optic does not depend upon batteries. Would want to have some flip-up (and back-up) iron sights on the gun as well in case of scope failure.

    As for the night optic, maybe something like this would work:

    Sightmark Night Raider 1st Generation Night Vision Rifle Scope 2.5x 50mm

    This night scope uses standard AA batteries. By having multiple rechargeable sets of batteries plus a solar power charger, I could (maybe) keep the night scope operational for a good long time. Hopefully, long enough for the zombie plague to die off before I do!

    If worse came to worse, I could use the backup irons plus some kind of external illumination (fire, flare, glow stick, etc.) for night-time engagements. Best option, of course, would be to always stay in a fairly secure location each night if possible.

  39. Building on what Jaji and Dennis said, something like a partisan or boar spear would be useful for stabbing and holding a zombie at arms length while finishing it off with a weapon in the other hand. The side protrusions would keep it from running up the shaft. It would allow you to place your head shot or strike with more care and fewer serious consequences if you miss and need a second try.

  40. L86A2 LSW. Perfectly stable platform for long-range head shots. And more importantly it’s a weapon system (techically the L85A2) which I am familiar with.

    I’ll second Liberal Dave’s recommendations about Max Brooks’ work. ‘World War Z’ is a great read, and the auido version is a great listen too. Gotta disagree with him about the ‘Zombie Survival Guide’ though, far from being tongue-in-cheek it’s an excellent source of practical information . . . -g-

    Hmm . . . although I am not a Zombie appocalypse movie buff from what I have seen though, it occurs to me that one skill which might well outweigh any ability with weapons, or choice of firearm; the ability to get along with your fellow survivors.

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