melee weapons?

For those who live in areas where firearms are not an option and those that are smart enough to have a back up.

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mitxmaraude
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melee weapons?

Post by mitxmaraude » Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:14 pm

of course, no one wants to be caught in a close-range situation with a pack of filthy undead, but worse than being stuck in the situation would be getting stuck in the situation unprepared. on that note, i wanted to start a dialogue on melee weapons and get mixed opinions.

i've noticed that a lot of people seem to have this idea that all they need is a katana. don't get me wrong - a katana is a hell of a sword - WITH the proper training. though it looks incredibly easy when you see how uma thurman swings it around in kill bill vol. 1 - she's doing it wrong - and you won't hit brain that way; technique is essential. if you're going to wield a traditional martial arts weapon, take at least six months of classes to understand the fundamentals.

with over 15 years of martial arts experience myself, plus a pretty solid exposure to street brawling, i've personally concluded that bladed weapons are not a good idea against zombies, particularly in the hands of the untrained. getting past the skull with a blade is not easy - unless you score a direct eye hit, but that's VERY risky - and the risk of the false sense of security that would result from decapitating a still-biting head is likewise high. moreover, though, is the fact that unless you pull many bladed attacks just right, you'll lose your weapon in the zombie's body - it'll get stuck and you'll have to waste precious time pulling it out.

bludgeons, on the other hand, are righteous tools of zombie destruction in my book. personally, i think the solid oak axe handle is a great choice: it's light-weight, maneuverable, optionally one-handed, and can crack skulls all day long without snapping. for those with the strength, a sledgehammer can be a strong weapon, but the sledge necessarily leaves you off balance immediately after an attack, so it would be dangerous against a group. i've got very mixed feelings about baseball bats - they CAN do a lot of damage, but they require two hands, leave you off balance, and often don't do the job (i've seen enough living humans get up from bats to the head to know it's not 100%). the prybar and crowbar can be pretty serious melee candidates, except their weight makes them a poor choice for a prolonged pitched battle. the long british style police truncheon (the old heavy wood kind, not the nightstick) is pretty roughneck, especially when mounted on a horse. finally, in a surprise attack, the billy club and blackjack can be quick and easy skull-crackers, but they don't provide much range, so carry one only as a last resort.

in closing, i should mention, figure out what works for you - these are general guidelines given my weapons training and experience. everyone will have different strengths and weaknesses; i, myself, am incredibly fond of fighting with a pair of hatchets and, from my practice experience, i'm pretty confident i'd be successful in zombie encounters. in the hands of someone without my particular instincts and strengths, though, the hatchets would either get stuck in the first zombie's head or never crack a skull at all. remember - practice makes perfect - stay sharp to stay alive - use pineapples or 1/4" thick plywood to approximate heads - make sure you penetrate and recover with EVERY shot.

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Post by xbot » Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:45 pm

I could not agree more. Training is essential. Trying to weild a katana with no experience can not only be frustrating, but a deadly mistake. The problem is, that most people will gain a level of confidence just by being armed, and that can be a false security. You are still advised to keep your distance, using ranged attacks and running away, if necessary.

Engaing in hand to hand combat with zombies is risky. Even if you know what you are doing, a prolonged encounter will likely draw more zombies. As you tire and have to deal with a larger threat, the chance for a small mistake increases, and that's all it takes to end your life.

While a weapon like a fireman's axe or a crowbar sounds geat, I would hesitate to use one for anything other than a quick strike against one or maybe to zombies. Choose something that is easy to carry, will not tire you out too quickly and that you feel confident can crush or destroy a zombie's skull.

BTW - as I mentioned in another thread, I am looking into the falcata as a recommended hand weapon. It's an old style of sword that was designed to cleave through shields and helmets, and it is my belief that it would be easy to train hunters to deliver zombie-skull crushing blows with this weapon.

Lastly, since you mentioned that many people seem to think the katana the perfect weapon...Know the quality of your weapon. Most swords on the market are garbage, designed to look nice on the wall. Anything made out of stainless should be avoided, but there are many factors beyond that. I've heard tales of wanna-be hunters who only realized the folly of their weapon selection as their sword broke

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Post by mitxmaraude » Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:33 pm

xbot wrote: BTW - as I mentioned in another thread, I am looking into the falcata as a recommended hand weapon. It's an old style of sword that was designed to cleave through shields and helmets, and it is my belief that it would be easy to train hunters to deliver zombie-skull crushing blows with this weapon
i researched falcata styles while i was developing my own cutlass style recently - i'd hesitate to recommend it against any more than one or two undead because of the way your weight has to be distributed for effective strikes.

Again - i think the blade is unnecessary - it's something that can get stuck in a zombie while you gain no advantage by opening wounds or causing pain to the bastards. fighting a living human, a blade holds a great advantage over a bludgeon because, for example, a good cut to the femoral artery will fell an opponent due to blood loss - this advantage is entirely negated with the undead.

bludgeons, on the other hand are cheap, universal, and designed on the premise of smashing skulls, crippling limbs, and breaking joints (pain or no pain, broken jaws don't bite). the key is to find an effective one-handed weapon so you don't have to over balance and can work with a shield or parrying weapon if necessary. what this means will be very different person to person - i've done well by using combinations of axe handles (approximates a long sword), hatchets (approximates a norse or celtic hand axe), and police riot shields (both round and rectangular style) in various two-handed stances. while developing your personal style, keep a few points in mind:
1. killing power - can you kill a zombie in one hit guaranteed?
2. mobility - does each strike leave another immediately possible; will you be left open after striking?
3. defensive potential - will you be able to continue fighting if an undead hand grabs your arm (piece of cake if you lop it off with a hatchet - damned hard to get a hand off your own arm with a sword, though)? can you keep biters out of range?

one final important note is that many weapons styles depend on feinting or threatening to set up techniques; these <b>will not work</b> with zombies - these rely on cognitive processing zombies are incapable of this - they will not dodge spinning blades or back off from savage arcs cut in the air - they will keep coming - so block & bash is the only real tenable defensive technique to be employed.

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Post by Sam » Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:08 pm

You make a good point, even though I am a trained fencer I feel I would fair better with a good stick. A sledgehammer can be quite unwieldy if you don’t have some strength and weight to back it up like you said. I would like to mention the one Chinese weapon outlined in the zombie survival guide but Jeff has my copy right now. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have experience using one?

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Post by kyle » Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:18 pm

Shaolin spade. I know nothing more about it than what google tells me.

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Post by mitxmaraude » Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:11 pm

when i read the ZSG, this stuck out to me... frankly, i think brooks is out of his league when it comes to exotic weaponry. perhaps this is the only exotic he's come up with, but much like any longer weapon (staff, spear, what have you), once an opponent is within 2', the weapon is more a burden than an asset (you don't have the leverage to strike properly). in addition, the "shaolin spade" (a colloquial term for the weapon) is useful for decapitation - but NOT for damaging the brain.

A preferable exotic would be the Philipino Escrimina (a pair of roughly 2' sticks), the manriki gusari (weighted chain - similar to Gogo's weapon in Kill Bill volume 1; the downside is that if you start training tomorrow morning, you'd better hope that an outbreak doesn't occur for another 5 or 6 years), or even the plain old chinese broadsword which is similar in construction to the european falchion and could plausibly cleave the brainpan.

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Post by Jeff » Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:55 pm

My preference is a small head sledge hammer or or baseball bat. Sledge hammers will offer you a 100% kill to the head. No way around that. With a small head it won't be the unweildy off balancing battle loser that everyone sees it as. It also offers a viable tool for many things, from breaking a door to flattening a scrap of metal into a shield or use on a wall, etc, etc. A baseball bat would be a weapon and a weapon only, however offers the ability to be weilded one handed, albeit with much less strength. I am not a fan of one handed weapons as you cant put the strength into them that you need to be sure to smash the zombie's brain. They are both readily available and are usually of quality manufacture. I would never use something like a hatchet or axehandle simply because they are short and don't offer the killing power in the sheer brute force of a sledgehammer. Exotics are... just that. Exotic. Hard to find and/or expensive.
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
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Post by Sam » Tue Apr 06, 2004 3:50 am

Personally I am now leaning towards the fire axe idea. Versatile, and if you hit its a guaranteed kill. About as unwieldy as a sledgehammer, but I'm a strong guy.

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Post by Jeff » Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:20 am

Weapons like that also add the extra pentalty of having a dangerously sharp edge to contend with when in flight. I'd prefer to not run with a sharp blade that close to me.
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
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You guys are so unamerican it's killing my dog. -Cyr

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Post by Sam » Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:08 pm

I've been thinking, in this modern age isn’t there something that will do a little more of the work for us? I amusing myself with how well a light saber would work a while ago and it got me thinking about stuff like chainsaws. An actual chainsaw is unwieldy and very heavy, but are there some other mechanized weapons out there that make cutting through a skull easy?

The only things I am thinking of are straight from sci-fi like filament blades and vibroswords, maybe a cattleprod type thing with enough power to seriously damage a brain..

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Post by Jeff » Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:22 pm

Problem with cattle prods and tasers and such is that they don't actually DAMAGE the brain too badly unless you just shove it in and let go for al ong time, which you wouldn't have the electrical supply to support. They work by overloading the brain, overriding normal movement commands and such, causing them to just.. drop because their body cant process what is happening in their brain.
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
-Jonas


You guys are so unamerican it's killing my dog. -Cyr

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Post by mitxmaraude » Wed Apr 07, 2004 12:09 am

Sam wrote:I've been thinking, in this modern age isn?t there something that will do a little more of the work for us? I amusing myself with how well a light saber would work a while ago and it got me thinking about stuff like chainsaws. An actual chainsaw is unwieldy and very heavy, but are there some other mechanized weapons out there that make cutting through a skull easy?

The only things I am thinking of are straight from sci-fi like filament blades and vibroswords, maybe a cattleprod type thing with enough power to seriously damage a brain..
hmm... any med students in here? anyone know how long it takes a cranial saw to cut through skull? now that i'm thinking about it, i'm pretty sure you could build a contraption with a bunch of long diamond-tipped drill bits that would do some awful things... but in both of these cases, there's an issue of power supply...

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Post by xbot » Sun Apr 18, 2004 2:05 am

Here's one factor I'd like you to consider when choosing your melee weapon – this is not your primary means of zombie hunting.

We are humans. We can think. We can devise traps and strategies. We can use more complicated tools – such as guns and explosives.

To battle a zombie up close is dangerous and exposes you to unecessary risk and should only be a last resort. Why be within bite range if you could be 200 yards away?

With this in mind, totting around a fireman's axe, a sledge hammer, and/or a shield becomes less feasible. Anything that is large and heavy is going to slow you down.

Sure a fireman's axe hanging on the wall near the door to your bunker might save your ass some day, but lugging it around as you run around the jungle is another story.

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Post by Sam » Sun Apr 18, 2004 2:23 am

This is mostly about the ideal weapon. Truthfully a blade would be best for travel, but it lacks the versatility of the axe or even crowbar. You're not going to be opening many locks with a small weapon, though its entirely possible to shoot it or something. Melee weapons are a last resort yes, but a necessity worthy of consideration.

Bludgeons seem the way to go though, preferably a club. A morningstar would be fantastic.

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Post by xbot » Sun Apr 18, 2004 2:44 am

Actually, I have a hefty mace as well as a really nasty flail. while both would easily crush a skull, they're just kind of heavy (not to mention the flail isn't the easiest weapon to use). I think a mace/morning star could be an excellent weapon, though I'd recommend a shaft made out of a very solid wood over metal, just for the weight factor.

I'm also thinking that a warhammer where the back side was a large spike would be even better.

Now, if we could design some sort of special hoster to easily carry one while maintaining easy access, I think we'd be on to something.

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Post by Jeff » Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:32 am

Melee weapons offer a silent kill with unlimited ammunition for those stray, unlucky zombies that cross paths with a prepared person. Gunfire would alert distant zombies, but a quick slice/stab/smash/etc to the skull won't be heard from very far away, or perhaps to save ammunition for a more important time.

Carrying really isn't an issue either, depending upon the weapon of choice, it could fit in/on a backpack, or slung over a shoulder much like a gun, though not nearly as well weighted.


Morning stars aren't so wise, and flails god awful. They're essentially the same thing, but flails are the big brother, requiring two hands and a lot more space. The issue is that the chain i saround. You ahve to deal with swinging long and hard enough to get it moving and be absolutely sure of placement or you are toast, either sans weapon if you drop it or dead because you were too busy trying to pull it out to dodge. Take a mace, if anything like this, though even that isn't wise.

The issue is that they're all meant for a fleshy kill, to grab more flesh than it ordinarily would with spikes and tear, bringing out internal organs, skin, muscle, what-have-you. A simple club would be superior, as it is meant to bludgeon, to smash, and to break bones, and not much more.
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
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You guys are so unamerican it's killing my dog. -Cyr

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Post by Sam » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:27 pm

Image
Sorry, I should have been more specific. Morning stars come in two varieties; Those attached directly to a handle, and those connected by a chain. I was speaking of the direct attachment variety, much like a club, but with large spikes ideal for causing brain damage.

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Post by Jeff » Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:13 am

I still say a basic club. Nil chance by compare of it getting stuck on something, much less in someone, and ahh... more managable head on it.
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
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You guys are so unamerican it's killing my dog. -Cyr

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Post by mitxmaraude » Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:13 am

Sam wrote:Image
Sorry, I should have been more specific. Morning stars come in two varieties; Those attached directly to a handle, and those connected by a chain. I was speaking of the direct attachment variety, much like a club, but with large spikes ideal for causing brain damage.
While the weight and design are good for smashing skulls and damaging brains, they also force you to wide arcing shots that leave you open in the case of a miss or an additional enemy.

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Post by Sam » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:56 am

(I don’t mean to nit-pick, but you might just be using the quote function a tad much)

Still, too true. I don’t think its really possible to find the perfect weapon so maybe we should all just find something we are comfortable with. I for one don’t have the money to buy a morningstar as I'm saving for a car, and any big spending I do will doubtlessly be towards a reliable rifle. I figure a nice machete and crowbar combo could serve me well at a low cost and weight.

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Post by xbot » Mon Apr 19, 2004 1:38 pm

I'd have to recommend against the average machette. They're too light and can get stuck easily in a zombie skull.

The crowbar is definitely on the highly recommended list. It's cheap, easy to use and serves additional functions in the field.

If you want cheap and easy to use, try an aluminum baseball bat.

For something a bit fancier...try this Early medieval mace:
http://66.0.193.113/cgi-bin/www11650.st ... ew/1&2D070

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Post by Sam » Mon Apr 19, 2004 5:39 pm

The machete would be generally for inflicting wounds to the neck, though I agree its combat effectiveness is limited. Still, a useful tool to have with you. The basbal bat is good, though the other uses of a crowbar make it occupy the space and weight in my backpack instead.

Your medieval mace is nice, but considering the price I would recommend a crowbar.

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Post by Jeff » Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:02 pm

Damn the price, the biggest turn off is that seven letter word in big letters at the top...

R - E - P - L - I - C - A
Even the purest of zen can be interupted by blunt force trauma.
-Jonas


You guys are so unamerican it's killing my dog. -Cyr

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Post by kyle » Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:18 pm

Jeff wrote:R - E - P - L - I - C - A
The original might be a little more fragile.

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