As promised, here’s Part 1 of what will hopefully be a series of posts detailing my thoughts and ideas on how to best prepare for and survive the zombie apocalypse. Please bear in mind that I am neither an expert nor a trained professional, do not take this advice to be the be-all-end-all of disaster preparedness and/or survival, your mileage may vary, call your doctor if the condition lasts more than four hours, etc. and so forth.
All right, now that that’s out of the way, we’re going to start off with what is probably everyone’s favorite topic of discussion when prepping for the Z.A.: weapons. Let’s be honest, pretty much all zombie preparedness plan discussions eventually devolve into an argument over the ideal anti-zombie gun/sword/club/whatever. So, this seems like a logical place to start. I’m going to cover three ‘main’ weapons: the primary weapon, sidearm, and melee weapon.
First off, the primary weapon. This will probably be one of the few times I name a specific weapon or tool, but it is my belief that an AR-15 rifle or carbine chambered in 5.56mm NATO is the ideal zombie-apocalypse weapon. Now this isn’t just some arbitrary I-like-this-gun-the-best decision, I do have some logic behind this choice:
- 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington ammunition is relatively lightweight and nearly universally available, and despite what you read on the Internet, has more than adequate stopping power, particularly when loaded with non-FMJ rounds.
- The AR-15 itself is a very light and handy weapon, provided you don’t go overboard and put a ton of accessories on it, with very moderate recoil, allowing for rapid follow-up shots.
- Again, despite what you read on the web, the AR is a very reliable weapon.
- It is a nearly-universal weapon, so finding accessories, magazines, ammo, parts, etc. pre-Z.A. is stupid simple. Similarly, because the M16, is issused by all branches of the military and most of the country’s police departments, so scrounging replacement parts, magazines, accessories, and ammunition should not prove terribly difficult.
Yes, I know Max Brooks says that the M1 Carbine is ideal, but take a look at his ‘research.’ He appears to base his support for the M1 off of a single incidents, which occured in the 1950s. Back then, the Carbine and it’s ammunition, the .30 Carbine round were readily available. Today, not so much. When was the last time you saw either an M1 or a box of .30 Carbine on the shelf of your local gun store, let alone at Wal-Mart? I rest my case.
Back to the AR now: there are some caveats. First, make sure the rifle is chambered in 5.56mm NATO rather than .223 Remington. The rounds are nearly identical, but there are some slight differences in casing and chamber specifications which cause the rounds to not be 100% interchangeable. Basically, you can safely chamber and fire .223 Remington in a 5.56mm NATO weapon, but while 5.56mm will chamber in a .223 weapon, it can cause the weapon to jam or even fail catastrophically (i.e. blow up in your face). Ammo you scavenge from an overrun military checkpoint will be 5.56mm NATO, and you’ll want to be able use that ammo in your rifle safely.
Second, don’t go overboard on accessorizing the rifle. Yes, there is a buttload of tacti-cool stuff you can slap on an AR, but too many accessories means too much weight, which compromises the AR’s advantage of being lightweight and handy. Two must-have accessories, in my opinion, are a good flashlight and an optical sight of some kind. There are literally hundreds of weaponlights out there, and which one you pick is ultimately up to you, but I’d recommend either a new-generation Aimpoint red-dot sight or a Trijicon sight. The new Aimpoints have a battery life that lasts, depending on the model, anywhere from 3 to 8 years of continuous use (i.e. not ever turning the optic off), and the Trijicons don’t need battereis at all as they are powered by tritium, which will stay luminous for about ten years.
Also, if they’re legal in your area, you’ll want a sound suppressor. While this will prevent the zombies from honing in on your position, it will also mask your location from other survivors (not all of whom will be friendly, I guarantee it. Remember the bikers from Dawn of the Dead?) and most importantly, they’ll protect your hearing. Gunfire, particularly rapid semi- or full-auto gunfire, can permanently damage your ears, and you’re almost guaranteed to suffer at least temporary hearing loss if you fire a gun without ear protection on.