Improvised Weapons are ordinary objects that aren’t normally associated with violence or self defense turned lethal. There are two basic types of Improvised Weapons – found, and engineered. Found improvised weapons are used in their normal state, with little to no alterations required, such as a thick candlestick holder. Engineered improvised weapons require at least minor modification or planning. Traps comprised of unorthodox objects (such as the Falling Piano Trap in Zombieland) are always engineered improvised weapons.
This article will only include improvised weapons of substantial effectiveness. When evaluating a weapon’s effectiveness, the most important factor is if it could be used to quickly penetrate a human skull, or decapitate. If it cannot, it is best to use it only as a way to slow a zombie down (or keep their mouth full/immobilized to prevent biting) to buy one’s self more time to escape, or find a weapon that actually can penetrate or mostly remove an intact human head.
The majority of seemingly good improvised melee weapons are actually poor for killing zombies. The human skull is very strong, and many substances that will fracture it with sufficient force are not made for such a thing. They may break after a few uses, be difficult to wield, or impractical to carry. It is wiser, and easier to find improvised weapons to use to keep distance and create obstacles between yourself and zombies. In an emergency, first find something to act as a liontamer’s chair, or as a riot shield, before testing if a tennis racket or guitar will destroy the zombie’s brain, which it will most likely not.
Many sturdy tools in a hardware store can double as a weapon capable of killing a zombie. Large hammers, axes, crowbars, machetes etc. Generally use something that crushes bone. A good rule of thumb is if you think it might break your toe if you dropped it on it from eye level, then it is a good solid weight, which is very important. However you should not risk injury to test this, so don’t actually drop it on your toe. Things like broomsticks, power saws, knives, and smaller/conventional hammers should not be depended on. Some sporting goods will also be sufficient.
Sports Equipment of many vareities are actually very useful in lethal use against the undead this includes Baseball Bats, Golfclubs, Hockey Sticks, Football Helmet and attire (for charging through and protection) and most infamous being the Cricket Bat, even Ice Skates can be used for swinging\throwing weapons because of the sharp blades on the bottoms.
Many weapons can be constructed at home using common items as well. If a suitable wooden, metal, or other handle is found, duct-taping nails and spikes, each at least two inches in length, to the tip individually, followed by using clear tape or some other additional binding on the finished product, will create an astonishingly sturdy mace, easily capable of penetrating a skull and killing either a zombie or a human with an impaling blow. A metal broomstick handle, with the brush and top removed, can have the socket fitted with a long knife, and with additional binding, such as glue, tape, or cord/rope, can be an extremely efficient spear or glaive. Finally, a couple of razor blades can be attached to both or one of the sides of a plank or similar broad item (a cricket bat if one is available), given some effort and a glue or epoxy, creating a makeshift macuahuitl, able to sever heads in single swings.
Using video game controllers, handhelds, and their accesories can also be used as weapons, although their power is ultimately weak. They should only be used if you have no other weapons in sight. The Nintendo DS stylus should be sharpened for more power against a zombie. If you have a controller, should you use it’s grips or Wiimote against the zombie. Note that they may break after a lot of uses.
If you have a broken or inoperable rifle, you can take off the barrel and use the stock as a club. Additionally, you can follow the style of the Native Americans and attach a blade (from a machete, a thick-bladed saw or a circular saw) to the side to make a deadly weapon.
To kill a zombie with fire takes a very long time and an extremely hot fire, and zombies from the Dead Frontier game will only mutate with flame. One is unlikely to be able to produce that in the quantity to make it an effective plan, but Molotov Cocktails (high proof alcohol or other flammable liquid in a glass container, with a flaming rag attached) can be a good catalyst for a sophisticated improvised trap. Cocktails make good last-resort weapons if a group of zombies is alerted to your presence and all other weapons are spent. They can be used to burn down the area, along with the zombies, or simply to distract the undead from your presence. Molotov Cocktails have a reputation of backfiring on those with less than ample coordination or attention span. Zombies will always continue their pursuit towards their prey while lit on fire. This can easily spread fire to structures that a band of survivors cannot afford to lose, so use in fields, damp places, and other open areas such as sand-deserts are recommended. Extreme caution is advised when constructing and lighting.
Homemade Projectile-Based Weapons
Using a thick, forked, but small piece of wood of good integrity, about one and a half feet of either vulcanized rubber, nylon, or some other stretchy material, and a small patch of leather, cloth, or any other relatively tough material, one can easily construct a slingshot. A hole puncher and knowledge of knot-tying will come in handy. When drawn back, it should not go very far beyond the neck after the main arm is extended. If it does, shorten the length of the cord. Make sure your knots are tight, and you are left with an extremely powerful and accurate weapon, depending on how well constructed it is. Using steel balls, maximum damage is ensured, but in any case, rocks provide an endless supply of ammunition.
Without much knowledge of fletching, it is possible to construct a very crude bow. Using a good height of either PVC pipe or suitable wood (about 4.5 feet long for a short bow), a strong, stretchy material of reasonable length (rubber works well, although bowstring materials are preferred, such as flax or tendon), and a little reshaping in the case of wood, a shortbow can be made with a draw weight of about 20 lbs, if constructed well. Given a plentiful supply of straight sticks, rods, shafts, and the like of any material that is not too fragile or heavy, one can construct arrows using tape/cord/glue and shards of glass, screws and nails, pieces of metal, flint or other shaped rocks for the arrowheads, or simply by sharpening the original shaft to a point, creating a good stock of ammo. Zombie headshots should be little trouble, as long as the distance is not too spacious (effective up to about 30 yards).
Every person caught off guard in the wake of a zombie apocalypse will likely be devoured, as well as lose their brains by force but that still doesn’t mean that you’re automatically on the menu and so it is best to improvise a ranged weapon even if its not the most stunning. Be aware though improvise weapons are not always completely safe and since they are improvised… well they can’t be expected have great quality or to last a long time, but it will serve as a surrogate for an under prepared survivor until they are able to scavenge a better weapon.
A “zip gun” is most commonly familiar as an improvised weapon, the essentials are a barrel and chamber. The barrel can consist of a smooth thin walled tube( be warned poorly fitted tubing can result in a backfire, poor accuracy, and bursting) that is best strapped to any material that can act as a handle (wood blocks, clay molds, etc.). The firng pin can consist of a rubber band to a sophisticated tubed spring with a pin that is pulled back, and with enough force will strike the primer of any bullet that can fit properly into the barrel of chamber (preferably low pressure cartridges such as .22 rimfire and 12-guage shotgun shells). “Zip guns” can range from improvised rifles to handguns to shotguns.
But if making one is too complicated it is best to go out and just buy a nail-gun instead. Nail guns are effective up to 50 yards but at such range the nails will have no penetrating power nor accuracy, so some slight modifications will need to be applied such as an improvised stock and stabilizer and sights. Nails and compressed gas will be needed as well.
Weapon Modification and Customization
One example of a modified weapon can be found here.
The Dead Rising Games are a customized weapon gold mine. weapons such as Knife Gloves, (hunting knives + boxing gloves) Paddlesaw, (boat oar + Chainsaws) Rocket Launcher, (pipes + fireworks) and a homemade Flamethrower (water gun + gasoline+ lighter) Keep in mind that most of these will require obscene physical strength and will most likely break. Generally most improvised weapons seen in video games will pose more of a danger to you than your opponent; however, there are some that would be surprisingly effective if made correctly and in the right hands. Such weapons include:
From Team Fortress 2, the Boston Basher, the Beggar’s Bazooka, the Pain Train, the Axtinguisher, the Powerjack, the Loose Cannon, the Southern Hospitality, the Crusader’s Crossbow, the Huntsman, the Fortified Compound, the Bazaar Bargain, and the Spy-Sicle (if made of metal).
The Boston Basher is a baseball bat encircled with 4 vertical lines of square-based metal spikes. The difference between this weapon and a spiked bat (spiked bats are useless) is that the Boston Basher’s spikes are more like the decorative spikes on top of cast-iron fences, only shorter and sharper. Of course, there’s still the danger of hurting yourself, even in the game. Be careful!
The Beggar’s Bazooka is a rocket launcher constructed mostly out of piping, and appears to be made up of 1 central pipe reinforced by a bunch of wider-bore pipes of various lengths. The grips are mismatched and old, but military in origin. (these grips could be improvised, if nothing military is available.) Apart from that, the Beggar’s Bazooka has a leaf sight from an old rifle and a metal funnel attached to the rear as an exhaust vent. Ammunition might be hard to find, but with the right expertise can be improvised. (Syrian rebels certainly do!) WARNING: This might be heavy.
The Pain Train is half a 2-by-4 with a leather-wrapped handle at one end carved from the plank itself. A railroad spike is driven through the other end. The in-game weapon also has bent, rusty nails at the spike end, but don’t add these, they’ll get stuck in a zombie and/or reduce the weapon’s effectiveness.
The Axtinguisher is a large axe comprised of an old axe handle with a sharpened rock as a blade, lashed to the handle with leather strips. The in-game weapon has a few small coils of barbed wire around the head, but these will be about as useful as the above Pain Train’s bent nails in a zombie apocalypse.
The Powerjack, in the game, is a car battery affixed to an antique car jack. A vintage or modern car jack (broken, of course: a working one you can use for its original purpose) can be substituted for an antique one. Battery acid may leak from the battery, so wrap it tight with duct tape.
The Loose Cannon is, well, a small cannon with a carved wooden stock. It fires an explosive cannonball, similar in appearance to a cartoon fused bomb, a pirate grenade, or an early mortar bomb. With a blacksmith (if you aren’t one yourself) and the right tools and materials it is entirely possible to construct one. In the game, the weapon has a “charge-up” period, and if it’s unfired at the end of this period the weapon will explode. Early siege mortars were much like this, until the gunners discovered that it’s much safer to put the bomb in the mortar fuse-first, because then the flash of the mortar firing ignites the bomb.
The Southern Hospitality is a pipe wrench with a spiked D-shaped knuckle guard and a utility knife blade fastened to the upper part with adjustable metal rings. With sufficient strength, one can wield this weapon one-handed. If you don’t have that strength, make the guard large enough for 2 hands.
The Crusader’s Crossbow is basically a crossbow with a revolving cylinder of bolts (short arrows fired by crossbows). In the game, the ammo was hypodermic needles (this is a Medic’s weapon), but bolts should be used if building this weapon. For my reason why, see Axtinguisher or Pain Train.
The Huntsman is a recurved bow carved out of wood with a grip wrapped in black duct-tape. With the right woodcarving skills, the Huntsman can be made quite easily. If you don’t have these skills, find a Boy Scout, Cub Scout, or one of their manuals. Even a 1954 Cub Scout manual has woodcarving in it.
The Fortified Compound is basically a Huntsman made out of metal. It’s also basically the bow from Thief.
The Bazaar Bargain is an old SMLE with a military laser sight and a Middle Eastern jezail stock. After WWI, lots of SMLEs wound up in the hands of the people the British Empire was trying to conquer. The people proceeded to add the (exotic-looking but surprisingly ergonomic for a 14th-century design) stocks from the matchlock muskets they’d been using up until then. Unless you live in the Middle East or Istanbul, these rifles are extremely hard to come by. However, regular SMLEs are more common. In the US, rifle sights are plentiful, and some are laser systems, but if you can’t find a laser sight then a laser pointer will do.
The Spy-Sicle is basically an icicle used as a dagger. This isn’t really a good weapon if made out of ice, and a metal version is hardly an improvised weapon. An old-fashioned marlinspike (a metal rigging tool used on sailing ships) is as close to a Spy-Sicle as you can ever get, unless you custom-order a metal version beforethe zombies come.
Tape It Or Die.com showcases many, many different weapons you can make at home, with certain items and good ol’ Duct Tape.
Many DIY zombie weapons may be found at Zombease, such as the Beatdown Bat, Rip-Stick and Pummel Pipe.
Weapon Modification is when one makes a deadly weapon from scratch.
Ropes and Chains
Effective if used correctly, a rope or a chain can slow a group of zombies dramatically. Simply fasten both ends of a rope to a doorframe below knee level, and the zombies will be tripped up, giving time to escape, or to finish off the downed zombie. Likewise, chains can be tied, or even thrown at a zombies legs, tripping them up. Ropes and chains are inherently not deadly, but are to be used only to slow zombies down.
Shield are widely used in the old ages to block attacks, in modern days they’re useless.But in the opposite, in zombie apocalypse,if you are not fast enough to dodge or counter, you better make a homemade shield to protect yourself.
To make a homemade shield, get a wooden board that is 2 inches thick, 45-55 centimetres long and 40-45 centimetres wide ( you can make round shield if you have a cutting machine, it will be more lighter but smaller in size ).Then take a 1.5 or 2 inches wide tube and cut it into a small pipe like 8 inches long..After that, bend each end of the tube to form a grip and the link to attach the shield, and drive holes at each end of the tube and secure it to the shield with screws/bolts ( bolts will work the best ) at the left/right side of the shield ( depends on which hand do you use ).Finally, your homemade shield is ready for duty.
Although it’s a little heavy, but it will save yourself from those ghouls.Since one must use a hand to carry the shield, so you should use a single-handed weapon that is light and swift like a hunting knife or a machete.Blunt weapons like a warrington/nail hammer, metal pipe or a light tire iron will do the job too.
Do not use weapons like axes ( not including hatchet ), baseball/cricket bats or anything that is and heavy even you have the strength to carry them, they will slow you down and make you more tired or even cause injuries.
Ways to use the homemade shield effectively :
1. Avoid causing arm injuries : Although it can block attacks, but your arm maybe have a small chance to get an impact from the zombie that can injure your arm.Wear an arm protector or wrap some thick cloths around your arm ( if you don’t have the arm protector ) to lower the chance of causing arm injury.
2. Shielding : Put your shield between you like about 6 inches or 8 inches wide, also don’t block your sight while shielding.
3.Bash and kill : Bash or hit the zombie in the head with the shield to make the zombie stagger, and then do a heavy blow to the head.
4. Shove and run : Sometimes you probably will get swarmed by zombies, if you try to escape, there is still a little chance to.First, charge to the path where you want to escape , then shove the zombies around you with the shield , shove from the front to the side.If the zombie is still infront of you, just incapicitate their legs with your weapon ( if it has long reach ) or crush their knees to continue your escape. ( this method “shove and run” does not work that easily, so don’t expect on this method too much )