As before, I’d like to take the opportunity to point out that I am not a trained professional. Do not take this advice into account for normal disaster preparedness and/or survival, except if said disaster and survival involves the undead. Your mileage may vary, call your doctor if the condition lasts more than four hours, and so on and so forth.
Okay, picking up from where we left of in StZA Part 1a, we now come to the second area of anti-zombie weaponry, the sidearm. Now, with the sidearm, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is my criteria for the ideal sidearm are not as specific as they were for the primary weapon. Bad news: the selection process is much more difficult as a result.
The ideal Z.A. sidearm, in my opinion, is a semi-automatic pistol in either 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP (9mm being preferable) with as large a magazine capacity as possible. I say go with an autoloader over a revolver for two reasons: a) you can reload an autoloader faster than a revolver with a minimum of practice, and b) autoloaders almost always hold more ammunition to a similarly-sized revolver. Yes, revolvers are theoretically more reliable, but a modern autoloader of decent quality that is in good working condition and fed decent ammo (basically, any non-junk gun that isn’t abused and fed crap cheapo ammo/overpowered or underpowered handloads) will function at near 100% reliability, and the majority of malfunctions can be cleared quickly and easily.
Now, caliber: There are other rounds out there besides the 9mm, .40, and .45, many of which are arguably as effective or more effective than those cartridges, but the 9, 40, and 45 are the three most common pistol rounds out there, which means ammo will be widely available and relatively cheap pre-Z.A. (though .45 has gotten pretty expensive) and will be easier to scrounge up post-Z.A. I mentioned that the 9mm is preferable because, while it is the least powerful of the three, it also has the least recoil, and pistols chambered in 9mm have a higher ammo capacity than either .40 or .45. And going back to stopping power for a moment, while it is true that the 9mm is inferior to the .40 and .45 when loaded with Full Metal Jacket bullets (AKA ball rounds) all three rounds perform about the same when loaded with modern hollowpoints, so IMO, you aren’t losing a whole heck of a lot by opting for greater mag capacity.
Now, here’s where the selection gets tricky; you need to find the pistol that you shoot best. Despite what the gun rags and internet commandos say, there is no ‘best’ handgun or a ‘one-size fits all’ pistol. You need to find the pistol that feels most comfortable in your hand and that you can shoot the best. For some, that might be a Glock 19 for Tom, a SIG-Sauer P226 for Dick, a 1911 for Larry, and a H&K P30 for Mary Sue. Roll with the gun that you shoot best with. This is going to mean trying out a whole bunch of guns before you buy one. Find a range that will let you rent different pistols, or borrow some from a friend/guy on the range. Keep trying until you find the right pistol for you.
Oh, and a quick note on pistol caliber carbines: if you decide you want to roll with one as your primary weapon and want to be able to use the same magazines as your sidearm, pick the handgun before you buy the carbine. I know it seems like common sense, but having a job that forces me to work with people on a daily basis, you’d be amazed at just how many people seem to completely lack common sense when it comes to things like that.
Okay, back on topic, my only real piece of advice when it comes to particular brands/models of handguns is to stay away from anything that is either brand-new on the scene or else very uncommon. Guns like the the CZ-75 and Browning Hi-Power are excellent firearms that just haven’t caught on with the American shooting community, so finding spare parts and magazines for them, both pre-and post-Z.A. can prove problematic. The same goes with brand-new models with the added bonus of the model possibly not having all of its teething problems worked out yet. Just look at Ruger: I don’t mean to pick on them, but it seems like every single model they’ve put out recently has been recalled to correct some safety issue or design flaw within months of its initial release. Pick a model that’s been on the market long enough to have had all those issues worked out.
Also, don’t even bother with handguns like the Kel-Tec PMR-30, FN Five-seveN, and the Desert Eagle. As far as the first two go, yes, they hold lots of ammo and have very little recoil, which makes headshots easier, but they have minimal stopping power, even with hollowpoints. Yes, I know said stopping power isn’t a primary consideration, but it shouldn’t be ignored entirely. The fact of the matter is, and I know I mentioned this in the last post but it bears repeating, you won’t be dealing solely with zombies. There will be other survivors out there, and not all of them are going to be friendly. You’re going to find yourselves confronted by survivors who will want nothing more than to kill you, rape your women, and steal everything you have (and if you’re very,very lucky, they’ll do it in that order). If you want to survive, you’re going to have to shoot it out with them. You’ll need a pistol that can put a pissed off 300 pound biker (Dawn of the Dead again) down hard. And incredible as it may seem, the 9mm has a proven reputation as a man-stopper. The .22 WMR and 5.7mm… don’t.
And per the Desert Eagle: don’t. Just, please, don’t. It’s heavy, bulky, has low ammo capacity, fires uncommon ammo (except the .357 variant, and we both know you ain’t thinkin’ about that one) had recoil ranging from unpleasant to brutal, has reliability issues, and is ammo-sensitive. Avoid at all costs. Or don’t. Your choice as to whether or not you want to be zombie food.
Again, just buying the pistol and ammo isn’t enough. You need to train your brains out. Even moreso than you did with your long gun, because shooting a pistol is a whole different animal.
Now, moving on to Melee Weapons. I’m gonna go against the grain here and say to avoid blades and use blunt instruments. Why? Well, two reasons. First and foremost, blades can stick in wounds. You don’t want to get your katana stuck inside a zombie’s torso, ’cause then your at bad-breath distance without a weapon. Basically, you’re lunch. Second, a lot of bladed weapons, such as swords, require a good deal of training to use correctly. Yes, I did say to train your brains out with the guns, but bladed weapons require literally years of dedicated study to wield effectively. Guns, not so much. Besides, how much training does it take to bash someone’s head in with a baseball bat or crowbar? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Now, a melee weapon can be pretty much anything. You’ll want it to be light enough that you can carry it with you without too much effort, but hard enough to literally crush skulls and durable enough to hold up to a whole lot of abuse. Oh, and long enough that you’ll be able to keep at least some distance from your target zombie. After that, it’s up to you. You can use a Louisville Slugger, a sledgehammer (if you can lift it), a crowbar, a tire iron, big tree branch, whatever. Me, I’m probably gonna roll with one of these:
It’s a Gunstock War Club from Cold Steel. It’s based on the gun stock clubs the Native Americans first used in the 16th Century. Let me tell you, these things are brutally effective. Remember the last fight scene in Last of the Mohicans, the one between Magwa and Chingachgook at the edge of the cliff? That’s a gruesomely accurate depiction of just how much damage one of these babies can inflict.
So, that finally does it for Part 1 of my StZA series. Part 2 will be along soon. Until then, peace.