There are no hard and fast rules on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Despite what many dyed-in-the-wool Walking Dead fans might say, we do not know what they will be like, when they come.

Rule 1: Choose a suitable weapon

Do not use a knife. Knives are sharp, yes, but they lodge in flesh. Lodged items require dislodging. Dislodging takes time. You do not have time. You have zombies. 

A blunt object weapon is preferable. Find a baseball bat, or a big pole. If you have an axe, use the blunt end as a hammer. Strike through the head, not at the head – as if you were kicking a football, or playing tennis. Zombie killing is not a sport, but it can be regarded as such. 

Are chainsaws good for killing zombies? 

No – zombies are attracted to sound. Their ears still work, and seem to be surprisingly sensitive (or at least, you cannot bank on deafness). Chainsaws also require fuel, and can fail. Do not choose a weapon that can fail, when your life depends on it. Baseball bats cannot fail. Nor can cricket bats, croquet mallets (weakness: end-heavy), regular mallets (weakness: short and stubby) and war hammers (weakness: not readily available).

How about a samurai sword?

In theory, samurai swords stand up to the test. They are lithe, sharp and breathtakingly cool. However, good luck finding one when the time comes.

Guns, surely guns…?

If you are a sharp shooter in possession of bountiful ammunition supplies, then the gun route may be for you. However, guns have drawbacks.

First, they produce noise. Noise attracts zombies, as seen earlier. Guns with silencers obviously attract zombies less, but may lack firepower. Weigh these up before throwing your hat in this particular ring.

Secondly, guns, like chainsaws, can fail. Any weapon with mechanical bits is bound to fail when you most need it. Sod’s law stipulates this.

Of course, once you are set up on a hill, with a surrounding wall or fence, and with outposts to manage the security of your lot, guns will come into their own. In the short term, however, blunt objects are preferable.

A bit more on guns

Unless you are a crack shot, if you find yourself surrounded by zombies, a gun may actually be a liability. Depending on how much ammo you are carrying, how quickly you can change a magazine, how likely you are to make headshot after headshot under existential pressure from a hoard of groaning zombies, you might find yourself wishing you had a sledgehammer.

A final word on guns: Do you already have one, or live somewhere where you can easily acquire, service and supply one? Perhaps not.

For more information on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse…

Watch this space for Part Two.

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