By 1LT Chris Post

Though it’s never a good idea to engage in close quarters combat with a zombie, if the coming undead plague outlasts ammunition supplies, then there may be no other alternative. So in these worst case scenarios, which melee weapon is best?

As we’ve argued in previous posts, specialized swords are not an ideal choice for the average survivor because of the skill needed to use them properly, and the constant maintenance to keep them functional. Swords were traditionally the weapons of the wealthy who could afford training for themselves and their paid professional soldiers.

Common people used common items in combat, such as pitchforks, machetes, hammers and axes, and the modern counterparts of those items may be your best option today.

A few good options to consider include a camp ax and machete. These are readily available anywhere and can be purchased for under $50 dollars. Even the cheap models are usually fairly sturdy and capable of delivering a lethal blow in the hands of someone with minimal experience.

But the real upside of these weapons is that they are also useful for day-to-day survival. Camp axes have a flat hammer edge opposite the cutting blade, providing even more functionality.

In a zombie survival landscape, you may be forced to carry your entire world on your back, making multipurpose equipment a vital component to staying alive.


  1. Aluminum base ball bat. drill a hole in the bottom and pour about 3-4 inches of lead into it.
    it will increase the weight a little but makes a difference as you swing it around and top a zombie with it.

  2. Generally I agree with the blunt object concept, but I’m sticking with a katana as my primary. I have a full tang katana, and agree that it requires real skill if you are fighting another swordsman, but the level of skill required for dispatching Z’s is minimal. My backup has to be light enough to swing with one hand whilst being heavy enough at the business end to crush a skull. Claw hammer or machete would do fine, fubar is too heavy, crowbars are two handed weapons for most people and need a handle fitted because they are slippery when bloodied. A small crowbar would do it, hitting with the blunt side. All of these could work as a secondary because they all have functional use as well.
    If not a katana, then I’d carve an indian war club from whatever wood was at hand. Nice and blunt with most of the weight at the business end, whilst light enough overall for single handed use. Cold Steel make one, but it is too big and heavy for most to use single handed.

  3. Are entrenching tools any good?

  4. Quenton Netherton

    If you ask me, any Melee Weapon that is in good condition, strong, and sharp can be as good as a gun. I would personally used any Melee weapon I can get my hands on. The. Again, I’m a weapon collector and my room is full of weapons, so I’m good. Anyway like I said, A good Melee weapon is a great weapon.

  5. Crowbar is a great weapon that should be added to your weapon set for the zombie outbreak. You can use it to open doors and crates. Crowbars very sturdy; since they’re made of metal; and can have a very sharp edge if you grind it down. I wouldn’t suggest doing so, because you just need some force behind it to pierce the skull/head. One last thing you can use a crowbar for is to stir/adjust logs/wood in a fire; very useful item.

  6. Shovels are a great weapon. Sharpen the edges and use it to decapitate whatever gets in your way. Handle gives it a great reach so you can keep your distance and still have enouph control to hit them in the head every time. Plus jus about everyone has one or two.

  7. Heath Braswell

    Best melee weapon is the gunstock warrior club from coldsteel.

  8. youll all find this wierd but my first choice for a weapon would probably be a lawn edger. this is because they are about five feet long, have a large rounded blade and you could swing it like a bat or club if need be and if the head breaks off you can sharpen the shaft and have a short spear to stab with.

  9. I’d have to go with the blunt instrument crowd. Edged weapons will eventually get stuck in a skull but something like a short handled, spike-less mace would be quite handy. Light and small enough be fast and handy in close quarters and yet, heavy enough to punch through flailing arms and get through the skull. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backed machete and a heavy duty knife as backup.

  10. I don’t know about a crowbar. It seems like the curved parts would make it easy for the bar to get stuck in a zombie skull. The same reason it’s useful could get you killed- it’s good at sticking into things.

  11. anything with a sharp edge!

    • No, sharp edges are terrible! They get stuck too easily and if you have multiple zombies surronding you, its sucide to get a sharp edge stuck. Blunt force weapons are the most effect way to survive, not only are they easy to carry but its quick and has a lot of power behind them, for example a baseball bat. A child could kill a zombie with one swing. Best news is a baseball bat will never get stuck inside a zombie.

  12. After reading WWZ, I think Mykel Hawke’s HASP (hammer, axe, shovel, pick) is a good model for the Lobo. Seen on man, woman, wild.

  13. My choices are graphite handled hackets, easy for the whole Family to use as they’re light weight and easy to keep sharp. i also have my long bow, as previously mentioned it can crush a skull and keep you far enough away to avoid blood splatter.
    I also have fighting sticks (bamboo fighting sticks) good for multiple strikes, light weight, and easy to weild.

    • I own the harbor freight fire mans axe and with that I have a straight claw 24oz. Estwing framing hammer and a Estwing camp axe. That’s all I need to kill a zombie !

  14. zombie is my bitch

    I’d say the harbor freight firemans hatchet, which is bearly qualifing as a hatchet due to massive size and yet i smaller that origanal, AND a M 9 Bayonet.

    the axe (which i have) is light weight (2lb, i hve a sleeping bag that weighs more) put a good but of distance betweenyou and the undead basterd, and as i tested it yesterday, not only will it break the skull, i does it without totally busting it open like a wallnut, it just makes a small (but very effective) hole. the spike on the back does the same, only i probally got more than 2 inchs in to thehead, and it had the same result as the axe head. oh and of ur saying it’s not practical, the axe head can cut down tree (and the dead) with equal ease (and comfort), the spike has SOME practical uses ( cou de gra, breaching, hill climbing spike if you have the axe head cover on).
    a heads up on the axe cover: good axe, bad cover.

    about the m 9: well i”d have to carry the axe between the frames of my pack, and i’m thinik about the ar-15 (in m-16 format), so the big blade made it cool, and i thouth the idea of a bayonet was a coo one duenthe the fact i could place it on to a stick.

    it just keeped getting better.

    to be honest the ak verson led me to wanting it ( no i dont yet have, but im working on it) . but back th the point, it has the ability to become a wire cutter (obvious uses), it has a sharpinig stone on the sheath., and if you get the k exclusive one of budk, i has a pouch for…well small pouch purposes ( i made a comment about self coude gra ammo pouch).

    i suggets you look them up, because im getting tierd of being speciffic.

    • Uhh… You okay, man?
      A little worried about that “test” of yours…
      …Um, maybe you should lay low for a while…

      • Cocunuts covered in duct tape,.lol sorry did mean to scare anyone

        Also sorry it looked like I was having a stroke while typing this.

  15. Crowbar all the way you can stab with it, clobber them, open doors, boxes and break locks. Now as a urban tool I would say the crowbar is the best choice but with this I would still carry at least two knives. A full sized hunter/combat knife(Busse Boss Jack), a tactical/survival folder (Ontario Rat Model 1) and a camp axe/hatchet (Gerber Camp Axe). These tools would be for chopping wood, defense against other people, cleaning of any game, any fine carving and general survival. No survival kit should go without a knife.

  16. you can definitely carry all M16/AK47, circuit judge, 9mm, public defender,halyard, Fubar, machete, k-bar

  17. Cricket bat innit g!

  18. Second on the trench spike. Yes it’s a one-use weapon but it was made specifically for penetrating a combat helmet AND human skull while still being easy to pull back out. I’d hate to lose my hammer or pry bar because I was facing a horde and it got lodged in a skull, forcing me to leave it and run. Add some face protection like a balaclava and sunglasses as well as nomex/kevlar gloves and you’re in pretty good shape. Another key point to remember is that this should be a last ditch option if you’re ambushed or out of ammo.

  19. My idea always stays the same for close quarters combat. I learned of it from one of Max Brooks’ books. It is the Trench Spike (knife). It is usually about 14″ overall and has a knuckle gaurd handle(spiked brass knuckle look), long blade meant for skull penetration, and a skull cracker bottom. I would suggest wearing some type of waterpfoof glove while using the tool to avoid small cuts leading to infection.

  20. a well made makeshift pole arm like a naginata made from a light pole and a machete would be effective. But for close range f.u.b.a.r. situations duel wielding 10 pound crowbars making sure to have quick release grips so you cant lose them unless you want too. all the way around crow bars are the best possible zombie weapons because you can use them to kill and open doors fences boxes or anything else plus you can use them to climb the extra 2 feet is incredibly helpful

  21. Come on! everyone knows the Banjo is the best melee weapon out there.

  22. i personally like a small axe and club combo

  23. Sidewalk scraper as primary and crowbar as a secondary. Perfection!!!

  24. Close quarter with a zombie is a bar situation and anything too bulky maybe your death certificate.

    How about a simple claw hammer? If you’re on you back staring at the biting end of a zombie you’re gonna need something you can grab quick and will delivery the final blow.

    …and sorry Ed, but an ash tray isn’t going to do the job…

  25. if i had the chance, i would use an oak staff, not only good as a tent pole, walking stick, and depth gauge for snow and water, it can effectively be used to bludgeon or keep distance between you and the hordes of the undead

  26. I’m good with either a Machete or a Crowbar. The machete has a hook on the front so I can get some leverage when trying to climb a tall fence or ripping some board off a wall or something. And my crowbar…well, it’s a crowbar. Can’t go wrong.

  27. I’ll take the suggestion right out of World War Z. A tool that I think would be very functional would be a wider shovel with jutting spikes on either side of it, like an axe. This tool would also be ideal farming tool while keeping the undead ranks just out of arms reach.

  28. I always am brought to my favorite combination weapon. The one I was issued in the military M16-A4, just attach k-bar and when you do run out of ammo you have a modified pole arm and a bludgeoning weapon. That though is for immediate use after running out o ammo. Just for nostalgia, I have always love the fire ax. Anyway I learned when I was in Iraq as a machanic in the Marines a good Gerber or leatherman is sufficient enough for a lot of random tasks and then the k-bar can have multiple uses. Also for an extra ranged weapon you could resort to crossbows or bows. If you practice enough not having to worry about ammo you could kill a zombie with them.

  29. Courtney Miller

    Multi use is essential…. We’ve gotten so use to a one use item. Personally I love that Truckers tool you guys posted, a little modification like a longer handle, and a spike on it maybe on the end of the handle would make it almost the perfect weapon. Except it’s heavy.

    In that case I saw an awesome Gerber machete, long blade on one end and saw in the other, weld or some how attach a 4″ spike to the end of the saw end and you have one hell of a zombie weapon!!!

  30. There is an item on the market called a “Functional Utility Bar” or simply FUBar, for name sake alone a great zombie stopper, but it has a hammer haed with a prybar on the other end much like a framing hammer, but also prybar as the base. So two splitting ends and one smashing, and comes in 6oz-24oz sizes so the whole family could help in making the zombie FUBar.

  31. A pole weapon is better: less chance of blood spatter infecting you. Bill hooks are still available for pruning trees, and they were used as weapons way back when. Also, a machete or an axe can be mounted on a pole. But remember to balance the weapon for best use and to mark the center of gravity.

  32. Still a fan of the crowbar. Got my hanging with my go-bag!

  33. My choice would be the trucker’s tool: a combo of axe, hammer and nail removal tool. all three weapon types in one.

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