“Guns are gyms for skinny people” – Chris Rock
Nothing personifies the zombie apocalypse more than the shotgun wielding, zombie killing, last man standing survivor. Facing hordes of the undead with only the click of the chamber and moans of the damned as company. Firearms are what most people gravitate towards first as their zombie killing weapon of choice. But there are many different types to choose from. Are you the double-barreled, turn them into a wet mess kind of survivor. Or will one round from your trusty sidearm be all the satisfaction you need?
The reality of dealing with firearms is not every gun fits every situation. If you’re lucky enough to be prepared and packing heat you’ll need to weigh all your shots carefully. How many zombies are you dealing with? What kind of gun do you have? What about ammunition? Friendly fire? What will be the effect of the sound of a weapon discharging?
Unlike hand-to-hand weapons, all guns have the advantage of range. Some much more than others. Lets look at what the general advantages and disadvantages to using firearms.
Guns vs Zombies – The Advantages
Unless you’re firing a musket, guns will dispatch the undead quickly. The time it takes to aim and squeeze is significantly less than wading through a mob of zombies, one swing at a time.
When your goal is the disrupt brain function by any means necessary, the stopping power of even a .22 matches or even exceeds that of a Louisville Slugger (with a lot less work on your part).
Generally speaking distance equals safety when you’re dealing with the undead. By design ranged weapons allow you to keep a much greater distance which keeps you safe without sacrificing stopping power (see Lethality).
There are as many different types of firearms as there are situations to use them. There’s a gun for every occasion. Handle a horde at a distance with a rifle. Clear a hallway with shotgun. Kill quietly with a crossbow. Or go wild with a rocket launcher (not as likely but still awesome).
Chances are if you live in the US you live within a 30 minute drive of a gun store (eat me international stereotypes). Finding guns isn’t hard. You can walk into a local Wal-Mart and have any choice of a pistol, hunting rifle, or shotgun.
Firing Weapons vs Zombies – The Disadvantages
All ranged weapons require ammunition. Some you can use over and over again (crossbow/bow-and-arrow). Most however are lost once shot. Managing your inventory will become a huge portion of your survival priorities. Running out of rounds is something you never want to happen by surprise.
Search the internet for “stupid people shooting guns”. I’ll wait. Don’t be any of these people. No one starts as the Punisher, or Neo, or Christian Bale from Equilibrium (Google the damn movie if you haven’t seen it). It takes time and training (and ammo) to get proficient with firearms. If you want to be able to put a round in a zombie’s head, while running, in the dark, through the woods, pantsless (don’t ask) then you need to start training now.
“BOOM” “Rat atatatatatat” “Budda budda budda” “Crack!”. Get it? People who don’t know what a gun actually sounds like still think they know what a gun sounds like. Firing one off anywhere near a group of living people is bound to draw some attention. Discharging one around the undead will work the same. Yes you can negate some of this by using a simpler weapon (bow, crossbow, sling) and that will be discussed later. But generally firearms will be the go-to choice for most. Also despite what every James Bond movie ever has taught you, silenced firearms (with conventional non-military silencers) aren’t all that quiet.
4)After the Apocalypse Availability
Guns will be in demand. Ammunition will be scarce. Just because it’s there now don’t assume it’ll be there after the outbreak. You are not the only person reading this. There are better prepared people who are reading this on the way to their gun club. The rest are standing in the checkout line of the local Gun-a-porium. In the beginning gun manufacturers will probably up production and start pumping out more weapons and ammo, but ultimately they’ll be overrun with either zombies or panicked people and production will cease. Either start stockpiling now or learn to cast your own bullets.
5)Other People with Guns
Everyone knows guns don’t kill people. It’s other people with guns who kill people and they’ll be looking for you. Running low on ammo? Come across someone else with a firearm? If that person isn’t paying attention then they just became the solution to your problem. Which one of these people are you?
It’s not a question if you are going to use a firearm. If you have a brain in your head and would like to keep it there you’ll use one. What’s important is selecting the right kind of firearm to use and when. Spend some time taking into consideration your own personal inclinations and the general environment around you. Once you’ve decided on your choice (or choices), purchase lots of ammo and get to practicing right now.