D.I.Y. Zombie Survival Rifle Build

Zombies are everywhere.  It seems like they are at every turn these days.  I saw one in Wal-Mart just this morning.  They can often be seen in the fresh meat section for the obvious reasons of attraction.  If you look close enough as you go about your business, you will see them too.

The Zombie Profiled

Some consider this whole zombie thing an epidemic.  If it is such a serious threat to the security of our world, country, society, our families and to each of us as individuals, then how shall we defend ourselves against an eventual onslaught of mindless, quasi-human blood-crazed creatures?  How indeed?

Think first where all the incidences where the term zombie is applied to many things we hear and see nearly every day.  It is currently pervasive in marketing angles even at a stretch.  Take for example a recent ad by Grizzly Long Cut Snuff in a current issue of Outdoor Life. The ad line reads “You think you have enough guns.  Then, the zombies come.”   What in the world that has to do with snuff frankly eludes me (tobacco is not one of my vices), but the point is zombies are given recognition even by marketing gurus (or recent Z-generation college graduates) with the thought it would help sell their products.  Scary.

Since we often rely on the brain source Wikipedia to fill in many of the gaps and voids of things we generally don’t understand on the surface, then we should naturally expect the Wiki-Org to have a dissertation on the term zombie. And indeed they do.

“A zombie (origin Haitian Creole; North Mbundu) is an animated corpse resurrected by mystical means, such as witchcraft.  The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli.”

“In modern times (that’s now I presume) the term “zombie” has been applied to an undead being in horror fiction, often drawing from the depiction of zombies in George Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead.” I’ve seen the movie.  If you have not, then I highly recommend a viewing just for the heck of it.

Hollywood of course has taught us much of what most of us think we know about zombies.  Newer television versions such as The Walking Dead have further portrayed them in a contemporary light.  Now we can all recognize a zombie when we see one.

Other Pandemic Options

However, of course, us preppers and wannabe survivalists don’t really anticipate deadhead flesh eaters to be banging on the frontZombie Apocalypse door.  I suppose though that some radical mad scientist at the CDC might conjure up a scenario where a dramatic new disease (or an existing one) could sweep the country creating zombie-like characters.  See the 1995 movie Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman.

But what about potential epidemics based on such things as a widespread bird flu, brucellosis, bubonic plague, encephalitis, Legionnaire’s disease, COPD, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola, Hanta, mad-cow, rabies, leprosy, botulism, elephantiasis, lower respiratory infections, and naegleria.  Shall I go on?  Google some of those if you really want to break out in a cold sweat or not sleep tonight.  Would we be able to quarantine our own families and keep the sick wolves away from the doors?

Societal Inflictions

And just when you thought there was but a slight remote possibility of one of Doomsday Preppersthe disease threats above coming to a town near you, what happens in America when the entitlement payments stop?  When the “empowered” goes to the local convenience store for today’s lunch of fried chicken or pizza and the EBT card fails to register, what is their reaction going to be?  What if China calls in our loans?

What happens when “Check don’t come anymore?”  The public dole shows up at a hospital emergency room near you with a head cold, headache, or twisted ankle and they are turned away, because the “Care” program bankrupted the country?  Will these people simply turn into hungry SHTF opportunistic thugs and thieves?

When the 47% (more like 52+%) no longer has any government system of support where will they turn?  Perhaps these “disenfranchised” masses will turn on us.  They may gang up to rove through all our “affluent” middle-class neighborhoods to take whatever we have worked to secure, stocked up, and prepared for us to survive.

It’s something to think about and is a prime subject around our breakout hideout campfire.  It’s a whole lot more plausible than an invasion by Hollywood zombies.

Choosing a Zombie-Pandemic-Societal Crash Weapon

Though many preppers may elect to opt out of accepting the value of a defensive/offensive weapons strategy, a great number of Doomsday Preppersus fully recognize the importance of keeping ourselves and families safe from any threat.  This could be a gang of thugs from across the country, your county, hometown, or a next door neighbor bent on taking our food, stealing our gas, prep gear or endangering our lives in the process.

If you are inclined to have a firearm or more for protection, then this is not intended to be another reinvent of your wheel.  Others may be just getting into this and know very little to nothing about guns and shooting.  Selecting and building a SHTF-Zombie long gun may be as foreign to these folks as creating a survival prep food and gear supply was for me years ago.

Again, this is not new science but intended for new preppers or others creating a backup or veterans willing to consider other formats, configurations or features to stock on hand.  Further, please dismiss any arguments or critiques about the choice selected here for any different one that may be more suitable to others.  It is what it is and that debate will never end.

I fully recognize that there are multiple viable options for selecting a solid, reliable platform for a workable survival scenario Doomsday Preppersrifle.  Without details, discussions, or apologies my personal individual choice is the Stoner Armalite Rifle (AR) platform clone.  I accept the good, bad, and ugly of my choice.  So far, it works fine for me.

The Build

All that was just the marinade, now here’s the steak.  My own pick is the AR in 5.56/.223 for all the myriad of reasons and justifications for choosing this base rifle.  There are other good rifle choices and other good calibers to pick.  I chose the AR platform because of its flexibility to customize it to meet my personal needs and interests in a SHTF-Zombie rifle.

I elected to go with the 5.56/.223 because the ammo is very common (if we ever get over the ammunition drought we’re Mr Smashyexperiencing) and easy to find everywhere as a rule.  The magazines are also rather universal and easy to locate in supply.

Also there are virtually endless aftermarket accessories which make certain AR clone versions able to accept all kinds of add-on items to make the firearm more versatile.

These accessories have to be chosen carefully for quality and reliability.  Certainly there is a propensity to overdue it.  Users have to be mindful of all weight added to a firearm that needs to maintain maximum utility.

Here are the items that I recommended to consider adding to a base AR rifle.  Such a rifle version should be “optics ready” and come with a rail system installed.  That would allow for the attachment of numerous accessories on top, bottom and either side alongside the barrel:

  • Collapsible stock.  Adjusts to different lengths of pull for multiple shooters.  Check out Magpul products.
  • BUIS.  Back up iron sights (or synthetic) make for standbys if the optical or electronic sights fail.  Double check those batteries.Doomsday Preppers
  • Optical/electronic primary sight.  I use EoTech, Trijicon, and Leupold.  I like GG&G quick release and Game Reaper one piece scope mounts.
  • Sling attachments.  I prefer GG&G, Midwest Industries, and Blackhawk.  I like the push button release models, but use loop in and clip attachment.
  • Slings. Vero Vellini  makes excellent slings of several types.  The neoprene material stretches making rifle carry very comfortable.  Standard nylon 1-inch slings work hard, but can be stiff and tiring to carry.
  • Buttstock cheek piece.  CAA and others make these.  With a sort of rubberized texture these cheek rests increase facial weld to the stock for more steady and accurate shooting.
  • Grips.  After trying numerous brands and versions I tend to prefer Hogue soft grips over others especially stock hard plastic AR grips.  I like the Zombie green Hogue grips because they glow in the dark.  Think about that.  Stark, Magpul, and Blackhawk make excellent AR grips, too.Doomsday Preppers
  • Rail light.  I use the Nite Hunter lights in both white and green light.  These come in different lumens with rail mounts included.
  • Charging handle latches.  After some use many find installing a larger changing handle or latch alone enhances the ability to pull the handle.
  • Vertical foregrip.  I personally do not like these, but some do.  Try one out to see if it works for you.
  • Angled foregrip.  I have used this Magpul accessory and it does aid in rifle control in sighting and stability.
  • Rail covers.  These are essential to keep the sharp edges of rails from digging into hands, slings, clothing, etc.  I use Tapco, Blackhawk, S&W, and Ruger.
  • Enhanced trigger guards.  These are helpful if you have big fingers or wear gloves.  I use the Magpul polymer versions.
  • Other options.  Some shooters like bipods.  So far, I have not found a use for one.  I use Primos Trigger Shooting Sticks.  Mag well grips may help some handle their rifles better.  Mag couplers hold two magazines together.  These are fine, but add weight.  Magpul magazine assists fit over the bottom of a magazine as a grab hold for a quick mag release.

Certainly there are many more accessory options out there and more coming all the time.  AR accessories are one of the hottest markets going so keep searching the web and supply catalogs.  Continue to read Survivalcache.com and other appropriate print media that reviews ARs.  Buy quality brands not fads.

Finally I recommend you obtain a good AR cleaning kit with ample supplies of consumables like patches, brushes, cleaners and Doomsday Preppers Survivallubricants.  A basic AR tool kit is smart.  ARs are relatively easy to work on, but don’t go over your head until you can.  Buy a good rifle case, too.  Stock up on extra magazines, and ammo.

Building a SHTF Zombie Rifle can be fun as well as purposeful.  Start with the basic rifle learning to shoot it well.  Once accustomed to the mechanism then consider adding components to make it your rifle.  A good zombie rifle should be a good start to protecting life, limb, family, and all else when the balloon goes up or the drones circle.

In this crazy world in which we live that could come crumbling down around our ears at any moment, if we have a little fun with zombies, I doubt it’s really going to hurt anything.  As a psychologist, I might submit that adding a little levity to all this prepping could help reduce some of the stresses of it all.  That would make us better prepared in the long run.

Photos by:
Dr. John J. Woods
Mr Smashy
The Walking Dead
People of Wal-Mart

Written by John J. Woods

John J. Woods, PhD, has been outdoor writing for over 35 years with over 3000 articles, and columns published on firearms, gun history, collecting, appraising, product reviews and hunting. Dr. Woods is currently the Vice President of Economic Development at a College in the Southern United States. Read his full interview here. Read more of John J.'s articles.

46 thoughts on “D.I.Y. Zombie Survival Rifle Build”

  1. I had to explain what the zombie craze was all about in just these terms. The new shooter was surprised that prepppers were aware enough to realize they needed some cover from those who think we are crazy.

  2. I have a DPMS Panther AR and I like it a lot. It was cheap (as ARs go), reliable and easy to upgrade. I've toyed around with upgrading to a Smith & Wesson M&P TS. Its got a 14.5" barrel with a pinned 1.5" flash hider making it a true 16" long, where as mine is 18" long. Two inches may not sound like much of a difference, but for me its the difference between being able to keep my weapon up and open a door with my support hand and clearing it easily vs barely clearing the door period (or not at all with a vest on).

    A well written article with good points, thank you Dr. Woods

  3. Sticking with the shotgun that is if the movies are correct…………..lol……………..it takes a head shot and I don't wanna miss……………jus sayin

  4. It’s always fun to read about AR builds but the real meat of the article is where society could turn south and require such an instrument. The list of potential epidemics is a little stretched, but opening with bird flu could not have been an accident. If there is one disease that could move fast enough yet slow enough to cause a pandemic, bird flu is it. The others either move to fast (killing the host before he can get very far, or too slow (HIV/AIDS) that can take decades to express itself. Ahh, but bird flu will fly under the radar mimicking other diseases until the bodies pile up.

    Your movie list should include the 2011 show called Contagion. Still a little Hollywoodish, but it gets the point across.

    On the AR side, all the Barbie accessories are fun and support the economy, but in practical terms, the necessary accessories should be acquired through honing of one’s experience with the firearm. Many who trick out their ARs discover that simplicity rules over bling. I’ve met many a prepper who has all the trinkets, but none of the experience.

    Now I don’t mean black opps mercenary stuff, but how about carrying the rifle all day long? Or firing under many different conditions like rain, snow, brush, sand, and of course the anticipated urban environ. Until one puts their long gun through the paces, it won’t be clear which aftermarket add-ons are assets and which are liabilities. If you are designing a rifle for a very specific use, the accessories will fall into place quickly, but unfortunately, most ARs are tricked out for fun rather than function. But then again, if someone is prepping for Zombies, then I guess that explains a lot.

    Oh, the Magpul magazine assists you mention are called Ranger Plates and have several advantages including a rubberized rest on the bottom of the mag, a hole at the base of the mag through which you could clip a carabiner, and a two-finger grab point for pulling or holding the mag such as when doing tactical reloads.

    Keep up the writing Doctor John. You’re making a difference and that's what matters.

    • Have to agree on some things , simple is better , All I have on my SCAR17 is a good optic , Not the 1000 yard optic either , more like 400 yd deal and an extended front grip . Thats it . The only other thing I would think about would be a suppressor , but ………………………
      Besides , I think the REAL danger to all are not Zombies but rather the Oath breakers .

  5. Might be more helpful if you discussed different ar clones and their virtues.

    It’s very easy to get lost in the market and end up with a weapon that can barely be considered a range gun, let alone be trusted as a Survival rifle. true for any platform, but especially the ar-15s.

    Ymmv, but generally, stay away from dpms, tapco, norinco and century arms.

    Good companies include bushmaster, armalite, colt, cmmg and larue.

    You want a weapon from a company with a solid rep in the QA department.

    The AR-15 platform is a solid choice for a survival rifle, but not all AR’s are created equal.

    • @Wesley; DPMS is a military second source supplier, just sayin. Colt doesn't even build all the rifles with their name on them. They contract them out to local machine shops in the Hartford area…..that don't even make other guns. CMMG does some work for them also. Just depends on the "spec" they are built to for the contract they are on. You spec the metal, throw it in a CNC and spec the finish. A good home machinist can build a MIL-SPEC lower. I have an investment cast lower that is 22 years old and never had any probs with the rifle built on it. I would never pay Colts price for an AR weapon again. Bought an H-BAR in 1990 for $1200 cuz no one else (not many) made them back then, not much choice. I could sell it today for about…..$1200 (maybe $1400 if I could find a sucker, 100% pristine, used for service rifle competition). You are right though, particularly about options, it is easy to get lost. Be well.

  6. Not only different manufacturers, but different build options.

    Stainless Steel is good for match shooting, but you lose valuable durability compared to a chrome moly barrel.

    The shorter gas systems are suitable for short barrel m-4 clones, but the mid or full length system provides better reliability.

    As far as optics for a survival rifle, you might opt for trijicon products. They currently have the market on using tritium and fiber optics for reflex sights and low light scopes. Tritium systems are good for over a decade, as opposed to those batteries that last a few hours.

    • A decade for an optic is not that long. If a gun was advertised has having a 10-year shelf life you would run from it. Sure the Trij lights for 10 years, but let's say its seven years out and your $1k optic is going to dim soon. So the question is can I count on it or not. Should I send it in now or not. What if things are not going well in the world. Do I want my sight out of my sight for who knows how long.

      On the flip side, a few new batts and all is good as new with your EOTech. And lithium 123s have a shelf life as long as a trijicon optic!

    • The current crop of quality electronic sights — Aimpoint, for example — have battery lives measured in the tens of thousands of hours.

      The M68 CCO — the Aimpoint CompM2 in the civilian world — doesn't even have an "off" position on its switch, merely an extremely low setting on the brightness control for the red dot. Battery life in an M68 is very little less than the shelf life of the battery itself.

    • But one should be looking at how their rifle or carbine will be used.

      The M68 CCO Aimpoint isn't a precision sight. It's a "fast" sight intended for use by soldiers kicking in doors and clearing buildings in urban combat. It offers no magnification, a coarse aiming point and no "light gathering" effects for low light level use.

      The Trijjicon ACOGs use tritium to illuminate the reticule, which is very nice in low-light conditions. True, tritium decays with a half-life that's short enough that the illumination will be reduced after a few years — though even after 20 years it will still be useful — but the tritium capsule can be replaced. And the ACOGs offer many advantages: magnification, a precise aiming point, some usefulness in low-light conditions.

      I don't see it as likely that a survivalist will be kicking in doors in someplace like Baghdad. We're much likelier to be trying to take accurate shots at medium ranges against aggressors. Probably in low light too.

  7. Doc Montana, I believe you nailed the true matters needing to be discussed. Granted, Doc John touched on it well enough for the purpose of generating thought about how your preferred platform should relate to your ability and realistic scenarios; however, I think many suffer from normalcy bias and widely overlook one of the most likely situations we could find ourselves contending with: Social Unrest and how we, as individual preppers/survivalists, will react to 311 million potential threats.

    Persoanlly, I despise normalcy bias. I am not easily lulled into that mindset. I make a conscious effort to expect the unexpected as much as I can. My line of work requires world-class diligence and threat awareness from time to time. I don't want to bore folks with the details but I work on the Texas/Mexico border frequently, facing illegal alien and cartel activity as a perpetual threat…and yes, many of the horror stories are absolutely true(I have seen the results firsthand). Anyway, being placed into this environment and expecting to walk out of it unharmed tends to eliminate normalcy bias, so I think I've got a pretty good understanding of what to expect from the worst of people. Now, where I think a lot of people fail is the expectations of the good and best of people. I'm a fan of detailed and sometimes anecdotal history. The tendency of human beings to regress to base instincts, desperation, and willfull atrocity is hard to ignore…once you finally aware of it. My analogy is "people and pigs". You routinely hear about human and swine physiology and biology compared regarding certain attributes; however, many are unaware of another pertinent comparison. Domesticated swine released into the wild will physically and "mentally" revert to a feral state within weeks! Humans tend to stomp the accelerator through the floor when we are taken from our tranquil domesticated trappings and environments of convenience and reliability.

    All one truly has to do to find evidence of this is to examine third world countries or the violent riots in Europe. Hell, some of the worst examples come out of Africa, illustrating the tendency to revert to warlording and unabated civil abuse. There is a critical difference between Africa and the US, with regard to social afflictions and regression. Many populations in African nations have no delusions of relying on rule of law, social support programs, workable infrastructure, health care, bountiful food supplies, etc. Many Americans have been either ignorantly hypnotized or wrongly convinced that this way of life is setting the standard of reliability and efficacy. What will our people do when the rug is pulled out from under this false standard? We all have the obligation to think this one through and plan accordingly.

    Personally, I think being afflicted with normalcy bias should be added to Doc John's list of epidemics and fully investigated by the CDC. As far as zombies are concerned, Hollywood has truly screwed the pooch on this one. Two generations have been polluted by the thought of defending against mindless and relatively predictable threats or standing their ground against walking bulls-eyes. Sure, every so often a movie or series with screaming and sprinting flesh munching assailants needing decapitation throws a new twist into the genre; however, I think the genre has done too much to damage and disuade people from thinking about those typically honorable, respecting, and even-tempered community members turning on each other.

    "The chief of police would never confiscate all our food."
    "The neonatal care nurse would never prostitute herself for protection and scraps of meat."
    "My neighbor would never kill me for the gas left in my truck."
    "The college kids down the road would never resort to canibalism."

    Those seem like extreme and hyperbolic examples, but each is a valid example of atrocities already having been proven by history. I'm not a fear monger or preacher for paranoia but I see so many people that haven't a clue about the most numerous threat we could potentially face: The members of society we have come to inherently trust due to expectations created by normalcy bias. I think the zombie genre does a lot to distract and mislead people from reality.

    Ok, I'm gonna step off the soap box. That is far more than I normally contribute to discussions here but I thought it was too important not to address from my personal perspective and opinions. Take it as you will.

    • Thanks for the articulate and comprehensive reply Travis. I completely agree.

      The worst in human nature is carried by all of us, but in most cases buried deeply within our DNA. It is only our character and beliefs that prevents us from stepping over the line when desperate or scared.

      I believe that so many folks are at such a disconnect from reality that they need a constant stream of gloom-and-doom to keep up their vigilance. It seems there is no way to remain prepared without some personal brainwashing towards a particular threat with the more preposterous the better. But the long-term damage to their logic and attitude is frightening.

      In my blog post titled "What's the best digital camera for the Apocalypse?" I address the problem with prepping for zombies, but also the psychological bridge that zombies span between killing "things" and killing "people." So in some ways zombies prepare us for doing bad things for good reasons. But the downside is they hide the true nature of such a threat, namely our fellow (human) man.

      On the other hand, I have built in to my personal prepping scenario the inherent disadvantages the masses carry over the mentally prepared citizens, with special positive emphasis for those acknowledging the laws (theory if you need) of natural selection and the predictable behavior of evolution.

      There are those who think they can purchase their way to survival. And those who think they can muscle their way to their survival. And those who think they can outrun their way to survival. And those who think they can stockpile their way to survival. And of course those who think they can shoot their way to survival.

      Me? I will think my way to survival. Millions of years of brain development can't be wrong even if it did bring on the disaster.

      • Thank you for the kind words, Doc M.

        You brought up an interesting point that I hadn't thought of in some time. I like that you highlighted the subliminal perspective of zombies equating to a training analog of sorts. How do you train yourself to kill those in your community that could possibly turn against you? How would one pepare for the moral/spiritual implications that could lead to sleepless nights or a one-time revolver snack. Well, remove the humanity and impose an unavoidable threat characteristic upon them. Set yourself, at the deepest levels, at diametric opposition to eveything the perceived threat embodies. Perhaps George A. Romero really was thinking of our best interests all along.<sarcasm>

        I too have postulated and accounted for likely characteristics and historical precedents of mass migration/desperate refugee crowds in my SOP's and preps. I'll be honest though, this ultimately resulted in me augmenting my perspective on charity during a crisis. The sacrifice and risk to OPSEC was too great to accommodate wanton giving, regardless of how deserved it may be. I have since moved "charitable giving" into a special operations class of rare and selective activity.

        Now, I am of the opinion that "thinking my way to survival" encompasses all others you noted. There are obviously circumstances and events that require a specific approach. The thinking survivalist should inherently know the "when" and "which" or at least be familiar enough with the different approaches to make an informed decision. I've noticed that the thinking-prepper types generally embrace and plan to implement a certain approach specific to conditions. The more well-rounded and comprehensive preppers, in my opinion, tend to be the innovators and orchestrators of more dynamic prepping plans/SOP's. I don't mean to imply geniuses and intellectuals are the best preppers. God knows there are far too many smart people that are simply too stupid to plan effectively! I just think that a good prepper is aware of their situations and circumstances, then can plan and act accordingly, regardless of their preferred strengths or avoided weaknesses.

        Although, I can't truly count my opinion as the most informed available. As preppers, we are intrinsically safeguarding our plans and resources for the sake of the almighty OPSEC; so, it is a bit difficult to gauge a prepper's mentality or build any historical classification or trends, even amongst family members at times. Honestly, we may just be talking out of our butts for all we know. I suppose we've just got to maintain our own diligence and respect everyone's privacy and approach as much as we would like ours respected.

        Glad to speak to you again, Doc Montana. Have a great weekend.

        Utrinque Paratus.

    • This response kinda hits home for me. Last week I was pulled over for expired tag on a vehicle I am waiting for a title to come back on, and when asked if I was armed, I told the officer that I was and that I am a CC permit holder. I was pulled out of my car along with my wife and frisked. Next we spent the following 45 minutes on the side of a well traveled highway in my community watching the officer tear apart my car while another kept "guard" of us. Although we were/are clean in every possible way, we were treated like criminals.
      I know this is a rarity as I have never experienced or heard of such undue treatment, I realize now it can happen. How much more common would this type of situation play out in SHTF? Martial law seems scary at best.

  8. Locally (Kansas) I am looking into getting either a tactical Mini-14, an M&P15, or an SR556. Though since I have a heavy investment into the 7.62x39mm cartridge due to owning an SKS I may just go for either an AK or the Ruger Mini-Thirty.

    Now I have shopped Wally World and will attest to the fact that many of those who shop there are not above using intimidation or violence to get something they want and believe is in limited supply. I can see many of them killing to get their hands on a can of tuna or even chilli. In a situation where a pandemic has swept through civilization many people will drop their masks of civility and act like savages just to live. A prepper needs to be more than just a survivor he or she needs to take a long view and defend that view. The main part of this view should include rebuilding post disaster just as one would after a storm or a wildfire.

    • Hi KS,

      Regarding your three listed rifles, I'd suggest the M&P highly over the others for the following reasons:

      1. S&W makes all AR components in-house so they build pretty tight ARs. Plus their customer service (on a good day) is great.

      2. the Mini14 is old-school technology, heavy, loud, clanky, and comparatively limited in accessories, mods, etc. In it's day it was a rocker, but that was when most ARs were the ones brought back form deployment. The explosion of aftermarket stuff for ARs single-handledly pushed the mini14 into obsolesces. Still good if you got one, but not enough to get one.

      3. Ruger has had some issues (to put it politely) with their SR556 likely due to their unique design and limited experience with the AR platform. Ruger nailed wheel guns, and their Mark series of .auto 22s, and of course the almost perfect 10/22, and their bolt action hunting rifles as well as a few others including their LCP (but of course one has to get a post-recall model) but their ARs are still a work in progress IMHO. Plus have you ever held one? They weigh a ton! If I had to carry one, I'd Magpul the heck out of it and drop as much heavy metal off the frame as possible. But why bother? Just get the M&P.

      4. Finally, no matter how invested you are in the AK line of reasoning, it is nothing you can't overcome quickly and painlessly. Why use a powerful round for short distances especially through an inaccurate barrel? ARs do the job close, far, and all points in between. If you need long shots, get a Barrett, but now you are talking hardcore offensive shooting which is a whole different ball of wax than the anticipated defense or hunting.

      Just remember that since 99.999% of the time the gun will be sitting still, you must have it work perfectly that 0.0001% of the time when the trigger is pulled.

      I address some of these and similar issues in my Prepping Professor blog on blogspot. You can use the link in my name.

  9. I came across this while I was look at survival ideas, and at first I was “oh cool, this looks interesting”. But then I got to the part where you started bagging on low income people. And I was insulted. I’m on ssi and foodstamps. I never once asked to be like this. I never once thought as I was growing up “I want to be so disabled that I can’t leave my house”. I do not beleave I am in an “entitled” category. I dare any one to live off of less then $800 a month, and see how well they do. It’s not really living. It’s just surviving.

    So before you label those of us who have less monetary value then you, remember that we are human too. And even if to government collapses, we will not be the only ones who are screwed. You would be too. Do you really think how many little pieces of paper you own will matter then?

    • I agree. I am disabled and am living on SSI. This is not buy my choice but do to worked related injuries I suffered in my mid 20's. I was still able to work until my 50's but am no longer able to. I have payed into SS my whole working life and now that I can no longer work to support myself I am glad that this is available to me to keep both my wife and myself from living on the streets. I am tired of people thinking that I do this by choice. I would love to be working instead of this. Please remember that all people that are living on disability are not living a life of luxury and would prefer to be working and support themselves.

  10. Doc, I find it offensive that you would take a young ladies unflattering picture and place it at the beginning of your article for amusement. Although some people may find this amusing, I do not. This is an article about a choice of weapons during an at best Hollywood induced fantasy. Been in the military for some time now and can tell you a perfect weapon for every situation doesn't exist although yours is pretty close. And I think I saw that same big ass zombie at my Wal-Mart last week. Thanks for the post. Bro.

    • There are Walmart zombies! Tell me she doesn't feel her jeans are below her fat ass! Quit buying ice cream and chocolate with your foodstamps! And why are they all over weight? Because that's what this adminstration wants, zombies to not think…

  11. As I was reading your post and your replies here along with the choice you're advising people to make and all I can say is… WOW… Could you be any more bias? Very misleading to anyone that isn't familiar with these types of firearms. You mentioned nothing about maintenance and/or upkeep. We all know the M4 platform loves to run wet, if it gets dry, you're SOL. They'll shoot, but you'll have problems with them, failure to eject and/or chamber, failure to properly seat. We also know there are parts that have to be replaced after a certain amount of rounds. You also failed to mention anything about the different twist rates for the ammo you will typically be shooting. Then there is the price of ammo, because you're going to have to shoot it in order to be proficient with it. 1000 rounds is over $500 dols. Don't get me wrong I'm not doggin on the M4 platform, I used it for years while I was in the Marine Corps.
    And I quote "Why use a powerful round for short distances especially through an inaccurate barrel? Are you kidding?!? Aren't we talking about a SHTF scenario? You're telling people that stopping power is something they don't need?

  12. And what kind of accuracy are you talking about?
    Are you talking about going to the range and shooting 2 inch groups from the bench? Or are you talking about engaging a man sized target out to 300 yrds?
    If you're talking about practical accuracy an AK will do that. I know from experience a quality AK is capable of 2.5-3 in. groups, as well as engaging man sized targets out to 300 yrds. Over the past two yrs I've put almost 4500 rounds through my system.
    You talked about accessories… My system starts with an Arsenal Saiga SGL 21. I added Magpul collapsible stock and angled grip, Hogue pistol grip, Tapco G2 trigger, MI sling adapters and hand guard, Leatherwood 1-4x CMR AK scope sitting on a TWS gen 2 dust cover, and a Savvy sniper sling. Oh yeah, ammo is less than $300 dols for 1k.
    Honestly, it seems as if you're basing your advise on conjecture and hear say and not from empirical research.
    And what kind of accuracy are you talking about?
    Are you talking about going to the range and shooting 2 inch groups from the bench? Or are you talking about engaging a man sized target out to 300 yrds?

  13. If you're talking about practical accuracy an AK will do that. I know from experience a quality AK is capable of 2.5-3 in. groups, as well as engaging man sized targets out to 300 yrds. Over the past two yrs I've put almost 4500 rounds through my system
    You talked about accessories… My system starts with an Arsenal Saiga SGL 21. I added Magpul collapsible stock and angled grip, Hogue pistol grip, Tapco G2 trigger, MI sling adapters and hand guard, Leatherwood 1-4x CMR AK scope sitting on a TWS gen 2 dust cover, and a Savvy sniper sling. Oh yeah, ammo is less than $300 dols for 1k.
    Honestly, it seems as if you're basing your advise on conjecture and hear say and not from empirical research
    My son turned me on to these vids 6 or 8 mos ago. Give the readers the whole story so they can make more informed decision. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X5J-gGte_g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHwoZ6SS_pY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnTdQ0_ejJE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN-T_zeTdTM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9aA67Wi7TM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcWCkmocbLI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hLh4J9ihy4

  14. Wow…it’s too bad you have to slam people for shopping at wal-mart and being on ebt. I shop at wal-mart, and I’m on ebt. I’v oke worked hard my whole life, (I’m 47) and unfortunately now find myself unemployed and struggling to feed my family of 7. Since our government will probably be bankrupt before I get to collect SSI, I have no qualms about getting a helping hand. I’m pretty sure if you were lost and starving and came across someone cooking fresh venison on an open fire, you wouldn’t hesitate to take some if it were offered to you (even though you didn’t shoot it, butcher it, or cook it). Judge people’s character…not their station in life. I built up my arsenal years ago when I was an avid shooter, and
    would spend more rounds in a day at the range, than most people stockpiled for y2k. It seems I won’t be welcome in your affluent neighborhood, but I think I’ll be ok with

  15. Rob , very , very well said !!!!!!!!!!!! , Thats one thing this country inherited from the British , that we cant seem to shake off is Elitism . We need to , the British never did us any favors , they force us to revolt and have a revolution , they invade us again in 1812 , they do their best to suck us into two world wars , they encourage our government to implement their invasive anti terrorist measures …….they are not our friends . I also have an good selection , my main go to is a SCAR 17 , but if you had to make due with a Ruger mini 30 , you could until you could find something better , just be armed and ready to use it . In the right time and place , that WW2 issue Mosin Nagant could drop a perp with an AR for you to claim as your own .

  16. Pretty good advice on the AR platform, I also have an AK for several reasons . One you can find ammo all over the place and the 7.62 round will bring down game better than the 5.56 will and it will punch thru some of the cover the bad guys are hiding behind. I like both guns and both will be carried by the family. My sniper rifle is a bit too heavy to carry now since I'm in my 60s. As for zombies -are they good to eat?

    • Its like anything else , its all in the spices , whether its a fresh turkey , zombie , or the newly deceased , two thing are certain , #1 . It all makes a turd , and #2 . a good cook can disguise anything .

  17. To KansaScout, take a look at the Sig Sauer 556R(2nd gen.) It yses AK mags. has a folding stock and if like mine, is accurate and reliable.

  18. I own an AK-74 and I prefer the AK family of rifles, for the reliability reasons, but I have been wanting to get into the AR family. I just haven't been able to convince myself enough to do it.

  19. To return to a pastime of mine that is in evidence on some of the earlier threads on this site and gleefully start beating the dead horse again 🙂 …

    While there are some things that the .223 Remington/5.56x45mm NATO is good for, general purpose survival is not one of them. With the exception of the "mythical" zombies that can only be dropped by head shots I would not recommend it for use against humans regardless of the fact that is what our military is currently relying on. I also think that there is perhaps too much of a focus on MOUT (Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain) with a resultant tendency to pick rifles/carbines with barrels that are too short to get the full power out of the cartridge that they are chambered for. Active duty military serving in combat units can get away with personal weapons that are arguably underpowered because they go almost everywhere in units that have a full range of support weapons available to them as well as the ability to call on air support, artillery fire, logistics resupply and medevac.

    In a SHTF situation the worst case scenario will be you, yourself and you having to take care of whatever Murphy has thrown at you and limited to only what you have on your person at the time. Thus because you don't have the various assorted types of backup available to you that the active duty military will you arguably need to get more performance out of your personal weapon than what the military can get by with. The easiest way to do that is to go with a weapon chambered in a heavier/more powerful cartridge.

    While I have a bias in favor of the .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO, there are other rounds out there that can potentially do what you need done that are not as heavy and generate less recoil. If you absolutely must use AR style weapons then you may very well want to consider the 6.5mm Grendel or the 6.8mm Remington SPC as good choices to go with. Both of those rounds were designed specifically to be able to have significant parts commonality with ARs chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO. The main difference between the two rounds is that the 6.5mm Grendel is a better long range cartridge than the 6.8mm Remington SPC.

  20. I’m building out a new zombie (or Katrina, or SHTF or End of days or hunting/plinking) rifle beginning with a Franklin Armory SBR.

  21. Glow in the dark… A light you can't turn off. Maybe "zombies" aren't light sensitive, but snipers sure are. Maybe they'll just thing it's a big group of fireflies, huddled together for warmth… Stupid.

  22. @All; Having carried around a number of weapons that you good folks have paid for, for nearly 4 decades, I have to say most folks put too much crap on them. Since retiring, I can't spring for a $2K Aimpoint but you can look at what 3 gun guys use. Get a good 1-4x 30mm scope (WITH GOOD RINGS, prolly more important than the scope). Put 45 degree offset sights OR one of the cheaper little holo sights like the Tru-Glo on your strong side cant. Anything inside 25 yds use the offset cant and 25-300yds use the scope. That's all you prolly NEED. If you put a laser on it spend the money and get green. If you put a light on it get a good one. For the light and the laser you have to have a solid, 4 sided, picatinny rail fore end, don't use any of that bolt on crap. You can save a few bucks on the scope and the small holo (doesn't have to be Leupold and Mepro), but spend the money on the fore end, laser and light. After you've done that, SIGHT EVERYTHING (that means all of it) IN AT THE SAME TIME. Don't sight the scope in and use it to sight the other stuff in…..lazy…..Damn it is a lot better than OH, S#!+. Oh FYI, visible lasers are like tracers…they work both ways….remember that.

  23. I think its worse than the writer,Dr. John J. Woods proposes. It's more than the WAL-MART zombies, and they do exist. It's evident on Black Friday, that real zombies exist and that yearly event is a very small window of how quickly and dramatically society will turn. And it'll certainly be worse that EBTs being cut off. It'll be worse than the failure of the JIT (Just In Time) delivery system, the loss of power, the loss of water, the loss of fuel for transportation and heat. It'll be so much worse !

    It'll be worse than the perceived threats of oppression we fear that the DHS, NSA, CIA, FDA, USDA and the U.N.. It'll be worse than our fears of the Russians and/or the Chinese invading this country – it'll worse that all that combined !

    What makes the concept of zombies so plausible and yet so terrible is that, it is estimated that some 65% of the U.S. population is on dependent on one or more type of emotion stabilizing drug. When those emotion stabilizing drugs run out and wear off, it is estimated that there will be some 60 million real zombies roaming the streets and countryside – totally wacked out on their uncontrolled delusions. We've already witnessed several instances of zombie like behavior in Florida and several other states in the past 3 years. Multiply that by about 160 million !

    If you have been stumped by the Department of Homeland Securities recent purchase of 2 billion plus rounds of ammunition, that purchased by the Coast Guard, the NSA, ICE, FBI, FDA, USDA, USPS, etc., consider what I've just described. it may well be totally factual that zombies live among us, but are held in check, until the appointed time.

    I would say that, all things I've stated above considered, come some catastrophic society destroying event, there aren't going to be more that a few thousand survivors, if that, left in this country to write about the "Main event !"

  24. a tacticool or plain wood .22lr rifle will work fine for a zombie apocalypse or any STHF scenario.

    its very cheap to feed compared to .556/.223, easy to train with, can easily be suppressed in many ways, ammo is lightweight, and this cartridge can punch through a human head from even a pistol.

    if you are on the move, it won't be that hard to carry 8 25-round rimfire magazines compared to its centerfire bigger brothers. we're talking about a horde of bad guys here, so having more ammo is better.

    so gimme my Kel-Tec SU22 or a trusty 10/22 and throw in a Vortex PST 1-4x & silencer and you're good to go. I love this scope because its a true 1x and even if the batteries run out, I still have a good reticule for medium-range engagements (50-150 yards or so).

    and I've shot coconut shells clean through with subsonic ammo at 35 yards. that tells you what it can do to a human head.

    cheers yo

    – TZH

  25. love the photo of the soft point bullets.

    Since I am not having to target fast moving baddies and all they need is a head tap I vote for the Ruger MKIII
    pistol {22LR} and a Ruger 10/22 rifle with a good scope, shots out 100 to 200 yards depending on load and shooter

    Here is a bullet drop chart for different manufactures and their different bullet weights & velocity if your manufacturer is not listed just find the bullet weight and velocity closest to your ammo and use that.

    You still have to field test and build your own bullet drop table and wind drift that is what a shooters notebook is for.
    Just for grins all I use is CCI HV 40 grain copper plated solids as it functions in all 22's I have ever tried.
    Bullet drop from different companies can vary from 4 inches to 16 inches @ 100 yards depending on the velocity
    they start from, one reason why I use HV or high velocity for most it ranges about 1200 feet per second.
    I like copper plated because it does not use wax lube wax lube once the rifle gets hot makes the rifle dirty quicker
    and causes foreign matter like powder and dirt to stick in the mechanism creating problems.
    Using 40 grain is a split decision lighter is faster but it has less reward momentum sometimes this fails to cycle the action I have found that 40 grain HV is not unduly hard on any 22 and functions almost all semi autos easily
    ultra high velocity can be hard on some firearms and a few brands have details that cause problems.
    Unless you use them you will not be aware until it may be too late and you need the ammo and it does not perform
    well your in a fix.

    some inexpensive pistols are not going to tolerate ultra high velocity ammo check for split cases erratic groups
    and I have seen on revolvers the cylinder get out of time this does not happen on well made arms but the cost more than cheap ones.
    I cannot / will not slander makers all you have to do is look for reviews on ammo and firearms your looking at buying the internet is loaded with information.
    All I can post is my experience.
    most know this but, using the same brand velocity & weight bullet is imperative to good marksmanship
    mixed ammo and mixed factors of velocity and bullet weight will make your accuracy go wild.
    just imagine 4 to 16 inch variance on a target I have seen people just stuff mixed ammo in the magazine
    on near targets this is not so bad the further out the more pronounced even erratic looking.

    of course all this is Dependant on your rifle and your abilities.

    for most people 100 yard shots are not out of the realm of consistent strikes on a standard target with a bullseye
    6.25 inches in diameter you need a decent scope I like the nikon for 22LR.

    With consistent ammo I only use one brand and bullet weight that eliminates the extreme spread from shot to shot
    and that factors into bullet drop between each round fired the less deviation the more accurate the ammo is.
    Or if your not accurate it's you, not the ammo if it is good quality and all the same, I even like to buy by the case lot
    this reduces the possibility of variance exponentially.


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