Great Guns!

Great Guns!

In a normal emergency (a blizzard, a power outage, etc) your first concerns are generally going to be shelter, water, and food. During z-poc, these concerns exist as well, but your first and primary concern is going to be defense against the undead hordes. In a full-fledged outbreak if you can’t defend yourself, the undead will kill you before you have a chance to freeze, die of dehydration or starve to death. Whether you’re going to bug out or dig in, you need to be able to re-kill the dead before they kill you. We’ll talk about secondary weapons in another post, but this week I want to discuss firearms.

When I’ve been in threads on several other prep sites, there are as many opinions on the ‘perfect’ weapon as there are people. Some people are mired in the bigger-is-better mindset and no amount of ballistic evidence or logic is going to sway them. In other words, it often devolves into a testosterone-laden free for all. I will first qualify that this column is based on the premise that z-poc requires you to think differently about the ideal gun. I believe the ideal is different for z-poc than it would be for civil unrest or general protection against an armed home invader. If you step back from the standard self-defense paradigm, there are a multitude of things to consider when selecting the perfect z-poc tools for destruction of the undead.


  1. Availability of ammo. When I hear people talking about how their Desert Eagle Point-Five-Oh is the ultimate gun, I think, I want you near me so zed eats you and not me. First of all, the size of the hole in the end of the barrel may intimidate a man, but like the honey badger, zed don’t give a shit.  Any psychological edge the size of the gun gives you is wasted on the undead.  The .50 rounds are (especially now) about a $1.30 each, maybe more. Those rounds are not on the shelf at Wal-mart or just about anywhere in great quantity. Once you run out of .50 ammo, that DE.50 makes a mediocre hammer but is worthless as a gun.  Remember that ammunition is no longer being mass produced, so picking up hard to find ammo is not an option once the dead rise.  As opposed to .50 rounds, .22 ammo is very plentiful in just about every sporting goods store and in bedrooms and gun safes of houses around the country.  .40 is carried by almost every policeman, the FBI, and DHS just ordered a billion of them, and those law enforcement officers (LEOs) who don’t carry .40 are probably carrying 9mm. This means there will be a lot of places to scavenge those calibers of ammo when z-poc hits and your supply runs low.
  2. Capacity. The Springfield XD 9mm is standard with a 19 round magazine. The XD subcompact .40 holds 9 (or 12 in the extended mag).  Even the Ruger 22/45 carries 10 rounds.  All of these are greater than the DE.50’s 7 round capacity. Less reloading = less time for zed to close the gap!
  3. Weight.  1000 rounds of .223 ammo weighs about 30 pounds. 1000 rounds of .22 weighs about 9 pounds and takes up much less space. Which do you want to be hauling in your pack if you’re on foot and running from a horde?
  4. Cost of stocking up. A GOOD deal right now on bulk .223 is about $.35 per round (for steel casings, which are not ideal for wear on the gun). Regular brass cased .223 is running $.90 per round. On the other end of the scale, .22 rounds are about $.04 each.
  5. Suppression. An unsuppressed gun is going to be a dinner bell for every zed within a mile radius of your location, maybe more.  If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead you saw what an unsuppressed gun does to a horde at the end of season 2.  It also lets marauders and raiders know you’re out there too, and they can be just as problematic as the undead, if not worse (at least zed is up front about his motives). The key is that you’re going to need maximum stealth to survive in zed’s world, and to get stealthy you’re going to need to suppress your gun.  Keep in mind that a suppressor is not a ‘silencer.’ TV would have you believe that a suppressor makes a gun silent except for a little ‘pew’ noise and that is just not the case. However, the crack of a pistol that can be heard a mile away can be suppressed to about the volume of a car door closing, so a suppressor gives you a better chance of avoiding detection no matter the round used.  Every zed within a block or so may hear you, but that’s most likely going to be dozens instead of the thousands within a mile radius. However, the suppressor also makes gun selection more difficult. Guns like the Browning Buckmark .22 or the Ruger 22/45 which have a fixed barrel and rear action (rather than the top mounted slide you commonly see on semi-auto pistols) can be fitted for an improvised suppressor (more on that in a later post).  Most rifles can be fitted for an improvised suppressor as well. Being able to improvise a suppressor is important unless you already have a tax stamp from the ATF and have a suppressor for your gun – and if you do, you’re probably not reading this far into the list anyway!
  6. Effective distance. Higher powered rifles like the .223 or the .308 have a much, much longer effective range than the .22 does. This is less meaningful against zed because if you’re that far from any zed your best bet is to stay concealed and let them pass. However, zed isn’t the only thing out there that wants to kill you. You’re likely to encounter humans that want what you have, and they will do anything up to and including killing you to get it. The farther away you can take them out the better.
  7. Popularity. The more popular a gun is, the more available (in stores, in homes, in cars, etc) the accessories will be. Any semi-auto with one magazine is pretty much worthless against more than a handful of zeds since you won’t have time to reload your magazine. To give you an idea of what you may need to carry, combat troops carry five 30 round magazines for their rifle into battle, so each person in the squad carries 150 rounds on them, and each has 150 in the transport vehicle. If you can’t find magazines for your pistol (or rifle), you’re at a big disadvantage.

So what are my preferred weapons? Well, it depends on the situation. To start, my primary firearms for a basic plan must allow for good mobility, lighter ammunition, availability of parts and accessories and ease of suppression.

I like:

The Ruger 22/45 pistol. It is chambered in .22 but accepts all the grip accessories of a .45, making it very versatile. It has a fixed barrel so you can improvise a suppressor, but also is available with a threaded barrel out of the box so you can use a manufactured suppressor with no gunsmithing if you can get your hands on one. The downside of the .22 is that it’s not as powerful as larger caliber weapons, but when I challenge people who tell me it won’t stop someone to let me shoot them with mine, no one has taken me up on it. The .22 is the mafia’s weapon of choice for executions, and that says a lot. It is sufficient to pierce zed’s rotten skull.

A Ruger 10/22 rifle with a tactical stock. The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular and customizable rifles on the market. You should not have any problem finding parts and accessories for the 10/22 even after z-poc hits. The tactical stock will allow you to outfit it with a variety of accessories (forward grips, bipods, optics, etc) and it can be outfit with an improvised suppressor. A .22 rifle is also excellent for hunting small game and is very accurate to 100 yards for a typical shooter; even farther for an expert.  Also, having the same caliber rifle and pistol mean you only have to carry one type of ammunition, which can greatly lighten your load. This is important if you’re hoofing it.

Other weapons to consider:

If you’re dug in and carrying multiple calibers and multiple guns is not an issue (or in a vehicle where weight is not a problem), I would consider a .40 pistol and a .40 carbine. The .40 round has been shown to be more powerful than the 9mm, and it has as much stopping power as the .45. The bonus is that it’s smaller (you can carry more!) and cheaper (you can buy more) than the larger .45 round. Again, having a pistol and rifle in the same caliber limits the different types of ammo to have to scrounge and carry. The .40 will be more effective than a .22 against your human targets where shots other than headshots matter.  All of the .40 pistols I’ve shot are top sliding semi-autos, so it’s going to be harder to find a .40 pistol that will accept an improvised suppressor, so that is a downside. If you’re in a group you can mix and match; one person can carry a .22 pistol and a .40 rifle, and the other the opposite pair. Then you each have a good mix of portability and power. It’s a good idea to distribute the ammo into multiple bags anyway, so the loss of one bag doesn’t mean the loss of all the ammo.

Lastly, if weight and amount of ammo is not a concern, I would consider a .223 rifle, either a Ruger mini-14 or an AR style. Both are extremely popular so parts are readily available.  The AR platform pretty well sets the standard for customization and both rifles are chambered (typically) for both .223 and the NATO preferred 5.56 mm round.  Both will accept improvised suppressors to reduce their considerable noise. The .223 and 5.56 mm round are not much larger in diameter than the .22, but the .223 and 5.56mm projectile is longer and is powered by a much larger powder charge; thus they have a much longer effective range extending into the 300 yard realm and farther for experts, and are great for shooting larger game animals or men who mean you harm. Again, at that distance you’re better off leaving zed alone.

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought as you build your ‘oh shit kit’ and prepare for the pending undead uprising.

What about you? Have you already started your arsenal? What is on your list of ideal firearms, and why? Sound off in the comments to let us know, and as always, don’t forget to like us on Facebook follow us on Twitter, and share us with your friends!

Until next time, better dead than zed!!



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4 Responses to “Great Guns!”

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  2. Curt says:

    While I don’t really believe that zombies can attack us and take over the planet, I do agree with your point, which is to have something to protect yourself–owning guns.
    I believe it’s essential that homes have a gun just in case something bad happens at home. But what’s more important is to make sure that our guns–the very thing we will use to protect ourselves and our families–are kept safe and secure. And that’s where gun safes come in.

    • ZEDSWORLD says:

      Thanks for commenting!! My view is – if you’re prepared for zombies, you’re prepared for about everything else. I would say the most important things for home defense are being proficient with your guns and having them accessible when you need them. The only thing I dislike about the gun safe is that when zombies (or burglars) crash through my door in the middle of the night it does me no good to have all my guns locked in a safe. There are good products that secure a handgun, in particular, on the nightstand. Biometric gun boxes are a good item to have – simply place your fingers in the slots and the door pops open. Having said that, my rifles, shotguns, etc are in a safe but my handguns are much easier to get to (in addition to a combat tomahawk and a machete stored in strategic locations). I also don’t have kids in the house so I can approach this differently from people who do have curious little fingers running around. The point is, for home defense you have to balance the security of the weapon with practical accessibility and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

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