I am going to step away from the political discussions for a moment to discuss something I have a real interest in… GUNS. More specifically, guns for the Zombie Apocalypse. If you are not interested in either subject, I highly recommend you skip right on by as this post will be Guns, Guns, and more Guns.
Recently, an Internet meme got passed around about which gun would you choose to have in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse based on a graphic of world military hardware -
In an attempt to answer the question, I have to first state some basic criteria I would use to choose my zombie weapon.
Assumption and Criteria -
For this discussion to make any sense, you have to have some information about the criteria used to determine what my needs are when it comes to a Zombie Survival weapon.
1) Mobility VS Static. In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, I am going to state up front that unless you are a member of an already established Zombie Protection Fortress, mobility means survival. Most people will have to be able to move from one place to another easily and avoidance of zombie confrontation is very important. Further, firearms would be used for self defense to facilitate escape. Were this post to be about Zombie eradication, my choice would probably be very different.
2) I am using the assumption of a Romero/Brookes Zombie Apocalypse – ie, zombies don’t run (EVER, that’s a fact), Zombies are killed by head shots and zombies moan when they sense prey.
3) The weapon choice would be made on what I could obtain either before the ZA (Zombie Apocalypse) or gleaned after the fact.
Using these assumptions and criteria, the choice for me becomes relatively clear.
The above weapons can be effectively broken down into four categories – Support/Specialty weapons, Heavy caliber assault weapons, Light caliber Assault Weapons, and Pistol cartridge Weapons. I will discuss each of these weapon types separately.
Support/Specialty Weapons -
There are some fine choices for Support and Specialty Weapons in the graphic above – many of which I wish I had in my own arsenal. Unfortunately, given the criteria listed, none of them would make my list. The Support Automatic Weapons, like the M240, The RPD, the MG4 and the L86 LSW are great support fire weapons but they would be more at home in a static defense situation. They are heavy, most of them fire high caliber ammo (also heavy) and they fire in full auto – none of which lends itself to mobile defense.
The Specialty weapons are also very nice – particularly the Barrett. While that rifle can effectively target a Zedhead at 1800 yards (well beyond the Zed’s ability to detect you in most situations), it weighs 32 pounds unloaded and certainly do not want to lug that thing around, especially if I am running from a small pack of Zeds.
So that brings us to the Heavy Caliber Assault Weapons -
There are many fine choices for Heavy Caliber Assault Weapons pictured above. Since this graphic was created with the military versions of these rifles, most of them are selective fire (meaning they can fire either fully auto or semi-auto). For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume we are talking about the civilian versions of these weapons (and all of them have civilian versions) firing just semi-auto.
“But Moorcat, wouldn’t you want the selective fire option?” you ask… No, I really wouldn’t. In a ZA, fully automatic fire is a waste of ammunition. You can only kill a Zed by hitting them in the head and a single, well aimed shot will produce more kills than spraying down an area with fully automatic fire. I will assume for the rest of this post that we are talking semi auto weapons.
If I had to choose one of these heavy caliber battle rifles, I would probably go with the original FAMAS .308 bullpup rifle. The M-14 is a spectacular rifle in accuracy and reliability but it is heavy and ungainly in a mobile operation scenario compared to the FAMAS. Moreover, if I am using the gun in self defense, the shorter barrel length on the FAMAS would not be a detrimental factor.
Now before any gun experts jump on me, I am aware that the FAMAS pictured is one of the new versions chambered for .223. Sue me. I actually got to fire a .308 FAMAS years ago and that will always be the version I “see” when discussing the gun. I liked the reduced recoil, the shorter overall length and the reliability of the gun.
Another heavy caliber rifle (not pictured) I would consider would be the H&K G3. It is lighter than the M-14 (granted, not by much) but the accuracy of that rifle is unmatched. Further, .308 is a popular sporting and military round here in the US and ammo reloads would not be that hard to come by.
Now, all that said, the reason I would NOT choose any of these weapons goes back to my basic criteria – the weapon must support a mobile lifestyle, be comfortable to carry, and allow the carrying of ammunition. Fact is, .308 ammo is heavy compared to some of the lighter caliber rounds, and .308 rifles are also heavy compared to the lighter caliber guns. This is where you lose me on the heavy battle rifles. That brings us to the Light Caliber Assault weapons -
Most of the military weapons shown above are what are referred to as light caliber assault weapons. They tend toward two calibers (with one notable exception which I will get to later) – .223 and 7.62 X 39. Either caliber is more than capable of taking out a Zed at self defense ranges (inside of 100 yards), the ammunition for these weapons are light, and given their popularity in America, reloads are likely for either caliber. It is the guns themselves that separate this category. These guns tend to be light and easy to carry in a mobile situation.
The most common gun chambered for the 7.62 X 39 is the AK 47 and it’s variants. It is important to note that there is another gun (not pictured) that is the forerunner of the AK – that being the SKS. I will discuss that gun shortly.
The AK is the most widely used assault rifle in the world. There are more AK’s in current use around the world than any other battle rifle. The reason for this is simple – they are cheap to produce, they are easy to use by the (usually) untrained people using them, and they are one of the most reliable rifles ever made. An AK can be produced by a moderately skilled machinist with a bare minimum of tools and that rifle will perform adequately under the most extreme conditions of use. The trade off is accuracy. While it is relatively easy to produce 1″ groups at 50 yards with an AR style rifle, I have yet to see a stock AK that can do it. Even a well manufactured and modified AK is unlikely to produce the accuracy of a comparable AR or H&K rifle.
The SKS is an assault weapon designed to fire semi auto. It has a number of design features which, while hidden and not widely understood, make this weapon far superior to the AK in both functionality and accuracy. It is easily updated with new furniture – making it on a par with the AR in weight and adaptability – but it is far more reliable than the AR and the 7.26 X 39 ammo is superior to the .223 at 100 yards. The SKS can easily match the AR in accuracy if a little care is put into the rifle and it is far superior to the AR in terms of reliability. I would choose an SKS over either an AK or an AR in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.
The AR (M-16) is the current standard for .223 battle rifles. It was so successful that most NATO countries have adopted the .223 round as their standard assault rifle round. That said, the AR has some significant design deficiencies – not the least of which is that the rifle was not originally designed to use such a light round. Because of this design problem, the AR – even today – suffers from the problem of “short cycling”, where the bolt does not completely clear the spent round before trying to load the new round. This can be addressed by some changes to the rifle but most of those changes require a rebuild of the gun or a qualified gunsmith. Further, these design issues contribute to the absolute need to constantly clean the gun.
Some of the other pictured battle rifles chambered for the .223 do not suffer these design problems but parts for these guns would probably be hard to find in America. I particularly like the AUG, myself, and have had many opportunities to fire one of these light, accurate rifles.
As when discussing the heavier caliber battle rifles, I would probably choose a bullpup design for the functionality, reduced recoil and balance of the weapon. These weapons tend to be lighter, easier to carry and produce less felt recoil than the non-bullpup designs.
Again, the FAMAS, the TAR, the F-2000 and the AUG would be more preferable to me than the AR – assuming that I could procure beforehand a supply of replacement parts.
The exception in this category is the FN P-90. This light, effective self defense assault weapon is chambered for the FN 5.7 x 28. They also developed a pistol using this round. Ballistically, the 5.7 x 28 is far superior to the .223 or 7.62 X 39 out to 100 yards and these guns are far superior to the other light battle rifles in terms of weight. The P-90 is easy to maintain, reliable and portable. The top mounted 50 round (military) or 40 round (civilian) clip is also light and extremely portable. The ONLY downside to this rifle for me is that the ammo is not widely available in the United States so reloads would be problematic.
All that said, I probably wouldn’t choose one of these light assault weapons. My choice (from the graphic anyway) would be one of the pistol cartridge weapons pictured.
There are four pistol cartridge weapons in the graphic – The Mp5K, the Mini-Uzi, the Vector, and the UMP 45. The Mp5K and the Mini-Uzi both fire the 9mm round, the Vector and the UMP 45 both fire the .45 ACP round. I would lean toward the .45 round as the 9mm is questionable beyond 40 yards – even in a carbine. The UMP and the Vector are both rated to 100 yards which meets my requirements for a self defense zombie weapon.
It is no secret that I am a fan of H&K and the UMP is a marvelous weapon. Assuming I could get some common replacement parts as part of my pre-ZA loadout, I would gladly settle on this weapon. The ammo is heavier than 9mm ammo, but I would take the trade off for the range offered by the UMP. The ammo would still be lighter than taking .223 or 7.62 x 39 ammo. Further, .45 ACP ammo is one of the most common calibers available in the US. Reloads would be easy to obtain. The Vector is appealing because there is a version with a mounted silencer, but silencing a .45 round is questionable at best and after going over some range data on both guns, the UMP is my choice.
There you have it.. my choice from the above graphic for a ZA weapon – The H&K UMP in .45 ACP caliber…. But wait, there is more.
First, I want to express my complete disgust that not one shotgun was pictured in the graphic. There are plenty of military shotguns (both automatic, semi automatic and pump) that should have been included and given that a 12 gauge round could easily remove the head of a Zed at short range, the lack was noticeable. The downsides to a shotgun are range and weight, but the lethality of a shotgun VS a Zed is something to be considered. If you can’t put 10 rounds into the X ring at 50 yards with a rifle, you can certainly remove the X ring with a shotgun.
Second, my actual choice of a ZA gun did not appear on the graphic (not surprising given that it isn’t a military weapon). I have been doing a lot research lately on a pistol and carbine produced by Keltec – the PMR 30 pistol and the RMR 30 carbine. The pistol is currently available and the Carbine is slated to ship by the end of this year. I have fired the pistol and seen one of the prototypes of the carbine and they both excite me a LOT in terms of a perfect Zombie Apocalypse weapon.
What excites me about these weapons is the caliber and capacity. They use 30 round clips of .22 magnum ammo. This round is capable of accurately reaching 100 yards, it is powerful enough to penetrate the brainpan of a Zed and the ammo is ridiculously light. Further, the ammo is readily available anywhere in America and you won’t be competing for that ammo with those using .223 or any other caliber. The carbine (according to tests run by many of the gun trade magazines) is deadly accurate at 50 and 100 yards, both the carbine and the pistol are designed to accept a variety of accessories and either could be easily modified to accept a silencer. The .22 magnum round is quite capable of being suppressed and this would save you the trouble of using your self defense weapon only to ring the dinner bell.
So there you have it. My choice from the graphic would be the H&K UMP but my actual choice would be the Keltec PMP 30 and RMR 30 carbine.
Feel free to discuss your choice…