A major stock holder in the stack exchange group is a survivalist. And he is fearfull of a zombie outbreak and apocalipse. He has a lot of money to spare. He intends to store a certain ammount of food, water and weapons to survive thru the zombie outbreak. He will store dehydrated food for as much as 2 years worth of food. He has a large water storage system capable of recycling water via reverse osmosis. Other basic items are already stored. He will invite ten of his friends (males and females) to stay and fight besides him.


What weapons should they carry ? Both cold metal and gun type weapons, divided into four categories: Close combat range (0 meters), short range (3m to 15m), medium range (15m to 100m) and long range (100m to 1km) should be carried. How many of each ? How to distribute this into the squad ?

He wants to build armour. But not a medieval one. He wants one designed specifically to survive the zombie outbreak. The armour might use metals, carbon fiber, kevlar, situational awareness raising eletronic items etc. Radar etc, like Ironman (without flying). What can he build with todays tech ?


There is no money limit, he is one of the owners of stack exchange or similar popular sites. There is no knowledge limit, he can understand fundamental scientifical principles applied to the task at hand. He is single. His parents are already dead. No child. Zombies are of the virus disease type. Zombies are still alive but their reasoning is damaged by the virus. Virus is a mutation of the rabies virus that spreads like flu virus. Their saliva is the usual transmission method. Incubation time is quick, one or two days and the person is turned into a zombie. The disease attacks the control of emotions and makes a person irrationally violent. Already turned zombies release a strong odour that discourage other zombies from attacking them. Zombies do not eat brains or flesh, they are just hyper-violent, like a rabid dog. Zombies attack via punchs, kicks, bites etc. Biting zombies transmit the virus to other persons bloodstream directly. Assume he started preparing two years before the outbreak. Animals do not get the disease. Zombies are plain simple humans with a brain virus. They do eat, but they dont have a sense of taste, so anything that is food can be eaten by them. Any kind of human fluid is able to transmit the disease. This is a zombie killing squad, prepared from before the outbreak to do its job. A professional zombie killing squad without money limits. They must search cities to save people trapped inside buildings. They are prepared for something that the military and the state is not prepared.

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    $\begingroup$ I am slowly evolving an idea... $\endgroup$
    – Jorge Aldo
    May 17, 2015 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ How much lead time does he have? Armor is hard to make and it takes a while. (Also, what are nales?) $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    May 17, 2015 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ Can animals catch the disease? Are the zombies runner zombies or shamblers? Do they hunger for normal food? Are they vulnerable to poison or other human illnesses? Does he have to worry about infection from the fine mist of blood when he hits them or does he only need to fear bites? Is there a reason he can't just get a tank, stock up on fuel and drive back and forth over the horde of zombies when the time comes? $\endgroup$
    – Murphy
    May 17, 2015 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ Protective gear is being discussed here (more limits though): href="worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/17309/… $\endgroup$
    – Bookeater
    May 17, 2015 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ Not the same thing, this question is not about improvised armour and weapons but a setup made specifically for the task of a zombie killing squad. $\endgroup$
    – Jorge Aldo
    May 17, 2015 at 18:43

4 Answers 4


Context Is Everything

Your question all depends on where the zombie-killing squad is going. Are they fighting in open areas, or areas with tight spaces? Urban, suburban, or open-field combat? In each situation, different types of weapons excel over others.

Let's look at some good options. (Points not cited come from my martial arts experience, which includes HEMA.)

Close Combat (<3 meters)

  • Medieval Weapons work well here. There is no ammo to run out of, and they're really good at dismembering and killing. Across most cultures, spears and other pole arm weapons were king of battlefield deployments for a long time. Users of pole-arm weapons benefit from striking their opponents before they strike back, and they are also good at deterring charges. Halberds, on the short end of the pole-arm spectrum, can be used in very close combat as well as at wider measures. Buckler and sword were common and effective in melee.
  • Riot Control Gear would work well, too. The sticks and shield walls are effective at preventing the policemen from getting beat up. If zombies can be deterred like modern crowds, this equipment will work really well. If not, the riot control gear will need to change to deadly force, ignoring things like pepper spray. Pistols, knives, and clubs can be used.
  • Handguns can be used in close quarters, but do not provide the protection that these other weapons/weapon systems do. (You cannot easily parry a punch with a handgun, or prevent someone from falling on you.)

Mid Range (3 - 15 meters)

At this range, ammo is important. This goes for every weapon used, be it a gun, crossbow, or even boomerang. (I don't suggest a boomerang against zombies.)

  • Shotguns. Even if your aim is a little off, most shotguns will have a tight enough grouping that you will hit your target anyways.
  • Handguns are used well in this range. Additionally, the free hand can be used to open doors, manipulate buttons, etc. This is helpful in urban environments, where opening doors or pressing buttons happens often. Ideally, every solder in the zombie-killing squad would have a handgun as a sidearm.
  • Sub-machine guns, the hand-held version of machine guns, work well in this range.
  • Crossbows or Bows. These zombies are not armored, so the penetrating power of a crossbow may be wasted. The speed of an archer with a regular or compound bow may be more valuable. Crossbow and bows are good because they are very quiet, especially compared to guns, and the bolts or arrows have the potential for re-use, whereas bullets may be harder to recycle.

Medium Range (15 - 100 meters)

  • Crossbows are still an option.
  • Rifles, being more accurate than shotguns or pistols, would be ideal at this range. Unless the rifle is automatic, you would need several people shooting at this range to stop a mob of zombies.
  • Machine guns, with their high rate of fire, can mow down mobs of zombies really quickly.

Long Range (>100 meters)

  • Light Machine Guns, like the Lewis gun, have an effective range of up to 800m! A skilled operator could, in theory, hit things up to 3 km away!
  • Rifles shoot this far, too. Scopes would be helpful.


Zombies appear to punch and bite. You therefore need only protect against bites, punches, and kicks.

  • Shark Suits are chainmail, and they protect people from shark bites. Shark bites are much more damaging than human bites.
  • Riot Gear, as mentioned earlier, can work well. Armor from riot gear is to protect individuals from melee assaults, which is the main method of your zombies attacking people.
  • Thick plastic + padding may even be enough to prevent people from breaking skin, and therefore prevent zombification of friends. This is essentially a modified/updated gambeson.

The Recommendations

For Urban Combat:

  • Give everyone a hand-and-a-half sword or arming sword and buckler and a pistol.
  • Give everyone armor, at least the updated gambeson and helmet.
  • Give one or two people a riot shield to act as point guard.
  • 1 Person with a sub machine gun or automatic rifle.

Tight spaces require smaller weapons. Many choke points mean less people are able to shoot, so go lighter on the guns. Additionally, your bladed weapons are more quiet, so sneaking becomes an option. Guys with big riot shields in front/back, to hold choke points while others do the actual killing.

For Suburban combat:

  • Everyone gets a pistol, and armor. At least the modified gambeson.
  • Pole-arms will likely have enough room to be effective. I suggest giving at least 5 of the people pole-arms.
  • The other 5 get sub-machine guns or auto rifles. If these are unavailable, use compound bows.

Suburban combat has some tight corners, but mostly open spaces. Hence the pole-arms and more automatic weapons. More guns and ranged weapons mean more chances to safely use ranged weapons. People with pole-arms protect those with guns, who ideally do most of the killing.

For Open Spaces (country):

  • Everyone gets armor and a pistol
  • A rifle, machine gun, or other projectiles launcher for everyone.

It's open, so hit the zombies at range and keep them at range. If they're coming for you, run to safety.

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    $\begingroup$ Great points here, but wouldn't most close quarters melee weapons, swords and such, tend to leave the user coated in blood and other bodily fluids? $\endgroup$
    – apaul
    May 18, 2015 at 0:55
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    $\begingroup$ Also crossbows can be used to fire (sling) bullets, which have the major advantage of being easy to make without large scale infrastructure. Obviously slings would also be good for the same reason, but hitting something with a sling requires more practice. Although realistically people would just use assault rifles and ammunition from military stockpiles which probably would be sufficient even if all the survivors kept firing full auto 24/7... Assault rifles are reliable, efficient, versatile, simple to use and plentiful. Probably need to aim for the head though... $\endgroup$ May 18, 2015 at 2:21
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    $\begingroup$ I... I read it as "Close Combat - Love meters" $\endgroup$ May 18, 2015 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ If you're using rifles at 100-300m range (as opposed to clearing buildings) automatic rifles wouldn't have any advantage and thus for a civilian wouldn't be worth the hassle of obtaining them; if you had a supply of full-auto assault rifles, then at that range you'd still use them in semi-auto mode because in a burst at long range every round after the first is pretty much a guaranteed miss, a waste of time and ammo. $\endgroup$
    – Peteris
    May 18, 2015 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh Bucklers can be used to punch, push, block, deflect, and otherwise make your fist a metal coated damage dealer. While bucklers do take up a free hand, they increase the damage you can do with that hand. $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:08

Since the zombies are legion and you are just ten, the best way to fight the zombies would be to recreate the sort of conditions which allowed the British to hold Rorke's Drift with only 150 troops against 3-4000 Zulus. You already have the basic conditions with the survivalist base, so fortified with high walls and various obstacles in the front to prevent the zombies from simply walking in is a good start.

Long range weapons would start with military rifles, since single, well aimed shots will kill or disable the zombies you describe at long range (a trained rifleman should be able to deliver lethal effects at 600m with a properly sighted in rifle). I would suggest bolt action rifles like the Lee Enfield since it is rugged, fires a large caliber bullet and is inherently accurate enough to do the job. Smaller calibre weapons like the modern M-16/M-4 series are accurate, but might not have the "knock down" effect at long range like larger calibre rifles. (The Lee Enfield is mentioned because it is a personal favourite, but a Springfield 03, Mauser or any similar rifle will do).

Coming into closer range, the rifle is still quite lethal, and some bolt and lever action rifles can deliver a high rate of fire if needed. I am staying away from more modern semi or full automatic rifles since you want to conserve ammunition and are in no condition to deal with a jam or misfeed at this point. Shotguns are also useful here (although once again I would suggest a WWI era "Trench Broom"- the Winchester Model 1897.

If you are wonder about the emphasis on WWI era weapons, this become clear as we reach the close fight. Large calibre pistols like the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver or M-1911 .45 ACP pistol will ensure any zombie hit will go down and stay down, while WWI era rifles and the Trench Broom are fitted for bayonets. The long "Sword" bayonets common in the early war period provide extended reach , and turn the long arms into pikes or spears. If you are into a melee, the long arms themselves become very effective clubs.

Personal body armour can be as simple as a set of motorcycle leathers, since they provide freedom of movement and action while firing rifles and pistols, or using bayonets, while protecting the wearer from bites and scratches. Some sort of facial protection would be needed when up close to prevent infection from blood splatter as well: a full visor motorcycle helmet might suffice at this point with the visor locked down.

The key would be to work in fire teams, so an individual would not become incapacitated from the heat build up inside the leathers, so one person could fight while the other covers, then move in to relive their partner.

Unless the survivalists have extensive training and practice, I would probably avoid swords or pole arms; they require a great deal of training to use effectively, and it is actually quite easy to hurt yourself with a sword or pole arm if you are not proficient in its use.


As weaponry i would suggest a good pistol each, assault rifles for most and one or two sniper rifles, maybe a shotgun.

Additionally, each member of your squad should carry a machete, for the nasty situations when the zeds get much closer than desirable.

Most of all, one member of your squad should carry a flamethrower. Not only are they very handy for cleaning out rooms in buildings quickly, they also work like a charm as an instant disinfectant...

As armour i would recommend full-body motorcycle suits. They are light, durable, will easily hold off bites and scratches, provide quite some added protection around elbows, back, knees etc to fend off some attacks as well as absorb shocks from heavy landings. Standard military boots should go without saying.

A light helmet (the modern kevlar stuff, military edition), and a bandanna to cover mouth and nose, holding off at least most spraying body fluids.


Since these zombies are "rabid" I would assume you can easily attract them by pissing them off with high pitched noises or other distractions. Get yourself an army of drones. Coordinate them to fly through the city attracting the zombies as they go until they reach a central point outside the city. Proceed to blow them up with pre placed explosives. I would assume with unlimited money it would not be hard to create an mobile zombie proof command base you can park outside city limits to control your drones.

Any weapons they bring would be fully situational to the environment they are going to. As for armor I would go with a bio suit riot gear combo. If any bodily fluids can transmit the disease you will want to be very careful that nothing gets on you while your bashing your way through any left of zombies who may of not been able to leave the city during your initial drone flyovers. It may even be useful to bring along a portable decontamination room to wash off any guts before you undress from the gear.


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