Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Ammo Question In the IZA

So here's some advice about the IZA...

In my own zombie fiction, traps and trip lines do play a prominent role...so of that I approve, oh yes I do...

Zombie beasts of burden and power plants...well, The Walking Dead did the first--but I hadn't thought of either, and probably never would have...

But what about the burning question of ammunition????

 Ariel Williams says that you definitely want 9mm...

Me, I'm not so sure...

I'm a long-time fan of the 9mm (aka the "europellet"...)...I'm not automatically opposed to the suggestion...  It's not my favorite round, but I have a very high opinion of it.

I also have a high opinion of the .45... Though I find the weird pro-.45 partisanship of so many in the firearms community...well...weird...

The .40 caliber and .38/.357 are also contenders in this arena, of course. And the fact that .357s have the ability to fire .38s as well is a non-trivial consideration...

My own preferred round is the 10mm, which is superior to both the .45 and the 9mm (and the .40...though not obviously superior to the .357...) It hits harder and shoots flatter than any of them (and more easily allows for higher capacity than the .45...). Unlike the .357, it's a round around which people build autoloaders, which I prefer. C'mon guys...15 rounds in a full-sized Glock vs. 6 in a revolver? Not to mention rate of fire? No contest...

Contra the findings of the FBI, I find full-power 10mm rounds eminently controllable in a full-sized platform like the Glock 20, and, well, just about controllable in a compact platform like the Glock 29. Though, admittedly, I'm more naturally adept at shooting than most people.

I'm not one of those shooters who always wants more power, and scoffs at concerns about recoil...  Heck, I find the .44 painful and hard to manage for most hot loads. (And I don't care much for wheel guns...) Anyway, I'm not exactly all about the ft-lbs on target...

So, anyway, ignoring the fact that what you really want for your front-line weapon is a shotgun...I just want to raise friendly objections to the claim that your sidearm ought to be 9mm...

[Sorry!...got all excited and didn't make the main point:

9mm is the most plentiful ammunition...but it's also the ammunition most in demand...

So those things might very well cancel each other out.

It may very well be that 9mm is the worst ammo, not the best, from an IZA perspective... That is, it may be that its very popularity makes it the most scarce handgun ammunition...]

5 Comments:

Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, this might be slightly outside of the scope of your concerns here, but I actually think that's a common problem with these sorts of considerations.

The hypothetical situation in quesiton requires primarily an understanding of a few key points:

1) What kinds of zombies are we dealing with here?

Are we dealing with fast-moving, highly aggressive zombies, or are we dealing with your standard-issue shambling masses? Are there, as you indicate, animal zombies? Etc.

What kinds of threats are we facing? I'll presume the zombies can't use tools or weapons themselves, but can they infect us with a pathogen through blood or saliva, or are they reanimated corpses requiring of us some sort of religious conversion (lol)?

Furthermore, do they require bloodflow to the brain? Can they bleed out? How much of the brain needs to be destroyed before they stop coming at us? Even 10mm rounds might be difficult to employ if they can get around with nothing but a brain stem.

2) What kind of duration of survival is required of us?

Are we holding out indefinitely, until the ends of our lives, or are we escaping an infested area to a safe area within a week, month, or year(s)?

3) How much ammunition are we willing to grant ourselves?

If you can store thousands of rounds of ammunition, you're in pretty good shape for a long while. If you're going by what you're likely to have in your house at the time, we might be in for a rough time for any sort of serious duration.


My long-standing position has been that ultimately, we're going to have to seriously consider going medieval on these zombie asses.

First and foremost, when considering our threat management, most, if not all, standard zombie representations are highly vulnerable in one key area: They can only harm us in melee combat. Typically, the most serious concern is that the zombies bite us.

If I were to have to combat zombies, I would prioritize body armor. If I can get my hands on some full-body chain mail or thick leather or polymer armor, it is highly unlikely if not impossible that any zombie does me serious damage without completely overpowering me en masse. I find that most (again, if not all) portrayed zombie situations are completely bereft of body armor considerations. My guess is that this is because simple body armor solutions render most standard zombieS largely ineffective.

If I can safely engage zombies at a melee level, I reap some great advantages. Solid melee weapons will last longer than hundreds, or maybe thousands of rounds of ammunition. If I can suit up in full body armor and have access to a set of 3-7 high quality weapons, along with a controlled means by which to engage the enemy through barracades and fortifications, I'm going to outlast most firearm-toting survivalists.

There's no question that firearms can serve critical purposes when faced with overpowering force in the form of, oh, say zombie bears or hordes of hundreds of zombies, but, and depending on the zombies and fortifications being considered, overpowering force could be mitigated to the extent that it is incredibly rare.

I would personally suit up, absent bonda fide chain mail, in my motorcycle gear (good luck biting me through that) and take a quality medieval mace. I'd keep the firearm usage to an absolute minimum and concentrate on melee combat whenever possible.

I'll admit that I have a Conan-the-Barbarian-esque preference when it comes to combat, but I still think my position is strong. If busting skulls is all that's required, a quality spear and mace combination with body armor is a killer solution. Throw in some small, incredibly sharp blades for emergency purposes and I'm ready to take on a few metric shitloads of zombies.

I'll admit I'm unorthodox, but hey, I'd either survive gloriously or die a complete and utter badass.

8:31 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

I gotta say, I did not read your link before posting. I'm surprised they even briefly mentioned motorcycle gear (never heard it before). I'm even more surprised they mentioned it in such a nonchalant manner. It strikes me as the most important consideration above all else.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous J said...

I've often heard .22 LR suggested as the ideal anti-zombie round: cheap, easy to shoot, relatively quiet, and the most common cartridge on the planet. The idea seems to be that if headshots are required anyways then why shoot anything more powerful than required?

A few good reasons to insist on a serious caliper:
- .22 won't reliably penetrate the skull at a distance
- rimfire shells (e.g. .22) can't be reloaded
- harder to disable zombies with a shot to the leg or pelvis
- defensive firepower may be needed against other survivors, and a .22 is clearly insufficient here

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, it's obvious that the ideal weapon for the IZA is something that requires no ammunition at all, but can still get at the brain, which is all that matters. Preferably, you want something with a long handle that keeps you out of biting range. So, really, what you want is a naginata or a halberd, or something like that. In World War Z, I recall the Rexford Tugwell character mass producing a sort of sharp shovel for use in reclaiming the continental US called a 'lobotomizer'. But you are concerned with ammunition...

OK, given, but why this concern for stopping power? A knocked-down Zombie just gets up again, unless you destroy its brain, for which you don't need stopping power. It seems silly to expend ammunition just to buy the 20-30 seconds it would take for the typical shambolic undead to right itself, when the same effect could be produced with a long pushin' stick.

The ideal IZA ammunition is very cheap, plentiful, and does the minimum required: goes into an undead skull and scrambles brains. Zombies do not dodge, neither do they weave. They are slow moving, and can be shot with little risk from 10'. Shotguns bring then little advantage. It follows that the ideal IZA ammunition stockpile is the .22 rimfire cartridge. These are super cheap, you can buy them in boxes of 1000 ($150/box). An ordinary family could stockpile 5,000 rounds with little financial hardship. A bolt action .22 is super simple to maintain in even post-apocalyptic life, and the same ammunition can be used in a semi-auto pistol for emergency backup and abandoned power plant situations...

But that's not actually very interesting, is it? It sounds more like you are more interested in the possibility of a sudden reversion of society to a Hobbesean state of nature, where tactical considerations are much more complicated and interesting. Of course, then you're pre-gaming a scenario where you are shooting at the un-un-dead, and that comes off as, well, unwholesome.

12:32 AM  
Blogger tehr0x0r said...

Well the sort of zombies we are talking about is of course very important. What/how much damage is needed to take them down? Does a single shot to the head do it? If so then power obviously has less importance. I was an advocate for .45 for a long time but have since been fairly well converted to 9mm based on it being popular and thus being easy to get ammo for. That said the past year since Sandy Hook has proved that its popularity makes ammo go scares quickly, I thin you are right that in a crisis the 9mm might be bad for a lack of ammo. A few months ago I went to the range with a friend who is looking at buying a handgun and we were going to shoot a few different ones but there was no 9mm available so we went with .40 and I was presently surprised at how much I liked it in a full sized. That said, we also shot it out of a compact and couldn't hit anything so there is that. Never done the 10mm myself, who even makes a 10mm or 10mm ammo. S&W my manufacture of choice doesn't even have a 10mm that I aware of.

12:15 PM  

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