Zombie Apocalypse: The Only Good Zombie is a Dead Zombie… Not Necessarily?

by Dan S

A nuclear explosion has destroyed Phoenix, Arizona. You live 50 miles outside of the kill zone and up wind and you can see the mushroom cloud. But you and your family are fine. Good siting of your retreat buddy. There is nothing on the radio or TV (EMP effect…perhaps). Maybe the whole country is wiped out. This is the BIG ONE!

All your prepping was worth it. And thank God you have weapons galore! It’s only a matter of days ‘till the zombie apocalypse hordes that survived the blast reach your area. But you are ready for them. You have the right weapons and ammo. You and the missus have trained for any scenario. Your tactics are sound. The killing ground is prepared. You are at peace with your decision to shoot and ask questions later. After all, you have two young children to protect and can’t take chances.

There have been many, many discussions about weapons and tactics to use when the SHTF. What is the best and most effective handgun to use? What is the best and most lethal long gun for dispatching your potential zombie hordes?

Do you eat your adversaries or merely toss them in the compost heap? Maybe make soap out of them and feed for the hogs. I have seen hundreds of back and forth comments arguing the merits of this particular type of ammo regarding its lethality.

This disposal method, that meat harvesting technique, etc.  A man comes to your door drunk and belligerent and yells for you to come out and help him, and you blast him. Ask questions later, eh? Some people are outside your retreat pleading loudly for food.

You warn them but they keep yelling and threatening you. Finally you sneak around behind them and cut them down with a burst from your modified AR-15. Then you cut up their corpses and feed the flesh to your hogs. Efficient use of their protein. Well done. Really?

Within weeks the Feds have declared martial law and restored order to the Phoenix area. Law enforcement (though military) has been reconstituted. After several months military detectives (anonymous tipsters have fingered you for murder) come poking around your homestead.

Two months later the provost-marshal in charge of your sector has you arrested and charged with first degree murder and mutilation of corpses. You are also charged with interfering with the investigation and with the cover-up of the shootings. Your wife is also charged and your two children become wards of the state. The state appropriates your property and your five years of stored foods and supplies. National emergency regulations provide for this confiscation.

One could argue the legality of arresting you considering the exigent circumstances under which your ‘crime’ occurred. One could further debate the ethical and constitutionality of the Feds declaring martial law and‘ruling’ with an appointed provost-marshal.

None of that matters while you rot in jail and it could all have been prevented.

Much of what I read on survival blogs are debates about the efficacy of this weapon or that. Tactics for neutralizing (killing) possible zombie looters. How many thousands of rounds of defensive ammo one has. One fellow has improvised explosives to use as anti-vehicle weaponry. That car comes barreling up the road to your retreat and….BOOM…that’s all she wrote brother! Zombie scraps! If it is a total Collapse with a ten-year or longer recovery (if ever) then might be right, my friends. But when will you know that is the case?

I have a good friend and crony in prepping and he has absolutely no less-than-lethal self-defense weapons. I am constantly bugging him to fill that short fall.

I have a good ballistic vest with plates. You may think that is not a less than lethal weapon but it may give me the extra edge and confidence to deploy a less than lethal response to an intrusion on my property like the ones I mentioned earlier. I may venture forth to deploy a large, nasty pepper spray fogger on the group of people clammering at my gate while Mrs. Survivor Dan covers me with an AR. I will be wearing my personal body armor and be carrying a conspicuous and rather nasty looking firearm (to hold their attention) while welcoming the crowd with a blast from my pepper spray fogger.

If any are still standing and functional I may drop them with a baton or my Taser. Please don’t proclaim your perception of the lack of practicality of my plan as I have enough experience with these techniques and less-than-lethal devices to know their and my capabilities and limitations.

My point is that while the Levels of Force may be lowered in exigent circumstances allowing greater use of force than in normal conditions, one cannot arbitrarily kill people simply because one is afraid.

You must be able to demonstrate and articulate that you were in fear of your life (and/or great bodily harm) and had no other choice but the level of force that you used. Now, if you first pepper sprayed and tasered your assailants/belligerents and someone still poses a very great threat to you and yours….well let go with your roscoe and drop ‘em.

You attempted to use less force but they forced you to utilize lethal force. That is dependable behavior. Simply whacking everyone you come across post collapse (and it may not really be a post-Collapse situation) is not a proper course of action.

“Yep! They done come around and I…well…I jest whacked ‘em! Probably a bunch of cannibals. Damn zombies!”

Not going to go over well with the gendarmes du jour. They will probably cuff you on the spot and haul your butt away.

Get some ballistic vests before you get more guns. Train at armed and unarmed combatives. Take a course in the use of collapsible batons and pepper spray. Acquire a taser (not a touch stun gun) and get the training in its proper use. I have a dedicated shotgun with less than lethal rounds in it. Practice with one. Imagine scenarios and plan tactics using less than lethal devices and techniques. And yes, always have someone right there on over-watch with lethal weapons.

I can kill a man but I wouldn’t do it lightly nor put myself in legal jeopardy in the doing. Living with your thoughts after justifiably killing folks is hard. Killing people without good reason and rotting in a federal prison is worse. S.D.


  1. Great article Dan! I missed it with such a busy week.
    I had the opportunity to use Less than Lethal munitions in Somalia (bean bag rounds, rubber buck shot, foam baton rounds, wood baton rounds, pepper spray and stick foam) and we had some success using it.
    I was involved in the LA Riots and saw a mixture of Less Than Lethal and lead
    I spent many years working the County jail as a jailer and in Executive Protection.

    Less than lethal definitely has its place and while I am one who stocks up on ammo and picky on my fire arms I to have a collection of Less than lethal and impact devices. From rubber buckshot, bean bag rounds Mk 4 and Mk6 size containers of pepper spray and a box of pepper balls for a paint ball gun, if I could avoid killing someone I would love to. I agree with you and others who don’t have to be a Rambo of shoot a gun to prove they are a man or say they can kill someone when they never shot someone let alone shot at some shooting at them. I saw a place for less than lethal in combat, I saw it when a taser or pepper spray avoided killing someone and it sure as hell has helped officers go home at night without having to have killed or wound them like they would have 20 years ago when most of the technology was new or too expensive.
    I commend you.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Thanks Jarhead 03. My youngest is a leatherneck. Going for his second tour in Crapghanistan soon. Hoo-rah! And all that. If you were doing executive protection work as a civilian contractor in Somalia…. Power to ya. Bit hairy I imagine. My best friend is a corrections officer. I tell him he’s nuts but he likes it. But I admire your grit. Engaging in a gunfight is one thing, but being locked in (unarmed!) with a bunch of felons raises the hackles on my neck! lol Merry Christmas! And stay safe.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        SD, when you get a chance to do so, I ask that you pass along to your son just how much his service to our country is appreciated. I humbly thank him for his service.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Thanx Lint Picker! Done. since he is here visiting. I’ve had him checking ot MD’s blog and he thought it was very cool to get a nice thank you from someone from the WolfPack. Very kind of you.

  2. Uncle Charlie says:

    200 yards of road frontage MD? Paved road frontage? That’s not very low profile. I hope it’s all dense trees and tangle.

    As I said earlier today, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone and a happy new year with nothing necessary for us to use our preparations for except enjoyment.

  3. karla from colorado says:

    Thanks, Dan, for the good thoughts. I will definitely add some of the non-lethal stuff (that I can personally use) to my list. Planning to follow the ‘lay low’ strategy, but will certainly have means to do my best to defend myself.

    And thanks, M.D., for keeping things sensible and practical without the freaky stuff! I appreciate all the good, realistic prep information and also I am SO grateful for you sharing that you are a rational Christian person – the combination of those two attributes seems extremely rare! I am thankful for you and your loyal ‘wolf-pack’ for helping us be ready!

  4. Sister Judi says:

    Yesterday today and tomorrow my Plan A is to seek Gods Will and Grace to do His will.Plan B is to learn to survive daily and not count on the Government the Police or the community to take care of me or mine. I will defend and protect what is mine. I will pray for the knowledge of Gods Will for me.I will pray for the ability to discern the GOOD and the Evil.I will and have prepared daily,physically,mentaly,and Spiritualy.If it comes to kill or be killed.I will defend and protect,my life and my families life.I will love and serve God all the days of my life.Merry Christmas,Happy New Year my dear Brother and Sisters.

  5. well said! good job SD.