My takeaway from SHOT Show back in January: 2012 was the year zombies replaced whitetails as America's number one game animal. They are everywhere, and the Mayan calendar tells us their time is here. Is the zombie shooting trend silly? Of course it is, but look at it this way: a lot of people have bought guns in the past four years and zombie shooting gets these new gun owners outside and shooting their new guns. They are having fun, and practicing, becoming better, safer shots and more responsible gun owners in the process. And, there is a lot of high-speed stuff available for the zombie hunter. Here's a gift guide for the aspiring or advanced zombie hunter.
Hornady Zombie Max Ammo
Available in a range of rifle and pistol calibers as well as in 12 gauge buckshot, Hornady’s Zombie Max ammo has a polymer tip in bright chartreuse green, which for whatever reason has become the unofficial zombie color. The disclaimer on the website sums up the whole zombie fad: “Warning: this is live ammunition.This is not a toy.” Seriously, it says that. Nevertheless, even though this is nothing more than regular Hornady ammo with a marketing campaign, Hornady ammo is good stuff.
Cold Steel Gladius Machete
Although you typically want to avoid close contact with zombies, for fear of the infectious bite, if you find yourself within arms reach you’ll want to have the Cold Steel Gladius Machete in hand. Patterned after the short sword of the Roman legions, the Gladius has a 19-inch blade made for stabbing and chopping at close quarters. Like all Cold Steel blades it is scary sharp and can hack through anything living or dead. It comes with a baked-on, rust-resistant matte finish and a scabbard. Pro tip: Wear it Roman-style on your right hip, just to be historically correct. MSRP: $49.99
5.11 Tactical Light ATAC L2
5.11 Tactical’s ATAC L2 flashlight has a super-bright 220 lumen setting, a 220 lumen strobe setting for blinding attackers, and a dim 10 lumen setting if you need to skulk around in the dark without attracting undue attendtion from the undead. It runs on AA batteries, which you should be able to find long after the complete collapse of civilization. Get it from Gunsite with the Gunsite Eagle logo on the side for added coolness. MSRP: $84.99
Tactical Tailor Three Day Plus Assault Pack
For a Bug Out Bag, look at Tactical Tailor’s Three Day Plus pack. It has 2847 cubic inches of capacity, which should hold everything you need to get away from the undead and in contact with a band of survivors to join. The pack has padded shoulder straps and waist belt, plus a hydration sleeve for a bladder so you can drink on the run. Founded by an Army scout who started out modifiying gear for himself and fellow soldiers, Tactical Tailor makes all its gear in the U.S.A. MSRP: $225
Blackhawk! S.T.R.I.K.E Ωmega Vest
Made of breathable nylon with webbing front and back for attaching S.T.R.I.K.E. pouches (sold separately) the Ωmega vest has ambidextrous shoulder pads and it adjusts for girth with laces on the sides. It also has inside map pockets, D-rings for extra gear, a hydration bag pocket and more. The only thing it has that you won’t need is the stout drag handle on the back. Face it, if you get bitten your friends are just going to shoot you. MSRP: 139.99
Mossberg 500 Chainsaw ZMB Series
This is a model 500 Cruiser dressed up for Halloween with the “ZMB” logo, a chainsaw-style forend grip, and tactical rails. It has an 18.5-inch barrel and weighs just 6 ½ pounds. It comes with a combination laser/flashlight, too. It holds six rounds, which is way more than you will be able to stand to shoot unless you use low-recoil buckshot or slugs in this gun (I have painful first-hand experience). On the plus side the Chainsaw’s intimidation factor is off the charts, and shooting stuff with light loads from the hip is fun. MSRP: $614.
Model 1866 Winchester “Yellowboy”
If you have seen “Shaun of the Dead,” you know that in England gun laws are strict and you have to kill zombies with record albums and cricket bats. Unless you can get to the Winchester Tavern, where an 1866 Yellowboy hangs on the wall. Uberti’s replica makes a fine, old-school zombie gun on this side of the Atlantic, and you can get it in low-recoiling, easy-to-find .38 special chambering also .45 Colt and .44/40. MSRP: $1049
Mehron Zombie Character Makeup Kit
Not everybody gets to be the human on Halloween–somebody has to be the zombie. If you draw the short straw, you need Mehron’s zombie makeup kit. Maker of theatrical makeup since 1927, this New York based company offers a zombie kit with complete instructions, a selection of gruesome colors, 3D gel so you can build layers of decoy flesh on your face, tooth stain to simulate the poor oral hygiene of the undead and more. MSRP: $34.95
DPMS Blackout Carbine
Zombies are attracted to loud noises like gunshots. I know this is true because I saw it on “The Walking Dead.” You can plink away at them quietly and unobtrusively out to 200 yards with a DPMS Blackout rifle and subsonic .300 AAC Blackout ammo. DPMS offers two carbines that can cycle the 240 grain subsonic Blackout ammo. Both have heavy, 16-inch barrels fitted either with a suppressor adapter or mock suppressor. MSRP: $1199
Smith & Wesson Model M&P15 Sport
A Halloween zombie shoot without a .556 AR carbine is like Thanksgiving without a turkey. The M&P15 Sport has a 16-inch barrel, a telescoping stock and it weighs about 6 ½ pounds, making it a compact and handy rifle to carry with you on the lamb. The flattop receiver has a Magpul rear folding sight and a rail for an optic. The M&P is one of the lowest-priced ARs on the market, so you will have money left over for magazines and ammo–and you are going to need a lot. MSRP: $739
Zombie Industries Roger Rabbit Zombunnies
From Zombie Industries come these life-size undead bunnies. The foam targets come in packs of three and they show bright orange when hit. If you ever get bored playing zombies, you can switch to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” but you will have to come up with a Holy Hand Grenade on your own. MSRP: $24.95