I think I may have a new top pick for ‘best overall weapon in case of zombie apocalypse’. Previously I felt that a nicely sharpened spade would be close to perfect for zombie-killing, but therein lies an intrinsic problem. Perhaps I could best illustrate the dilemma with a little Q&A:
Question: How many zombies could you realistically deanimate with your weapon of choice?
Answer: It doesn’t matter.
If your priority during a zombie apocalypse is ‘killing zombies’ then your death is only a matter of time, because the thing about zombies is that for every one you put down there are dozens—hundreds—thousands!—more behind it. Every zombie you engage is a potentially fatal encounter, especially if it only takes a scratch—or a drop of infected blood in the wrong place—for you to join their ranks. So your priority shouldn’t be killing them, it should be avoiding them—and when that’s impossible, just getting them away from you as efficiently as possible.
Enter the humble claw hammer. First of all most modern hammers have really good grips, because nobody wants a hammer flying off and whacking someone in the nose. The issue of ‘what’s best against zombies?’ becomes irrelevant if you’ve lost your weapon. Second, they’re heavy enough to put a bit of heft behind your swings, but not SO heavy that you’re going to get tired swiftly. Third, you can use them one-handed, which means you can switch arms—pretty vital when you think about it. Fourth, they’re common. Everyone’s got a hammer (or should, they’re jolly useful even when there aren’t any zombies around). Fifth, they’re durable, DESIGNED to whack things with and not break. Sixth, decent weight + relatively small point of impact = excellent stopping power.
This last point is important, because (most) zombies don’t feel pain. You can’t ‘wound’ them to death so you’ve got to focus on either dismembering them (inefficient, risky, tiring, carries risk of infected blood splatter etc) or knocking them away/down and effecting an escape. Now, I do think that a baseball or cricket bat is a decent choice of weapon, or even just a well-proportioned length of wood—as long as you’ve got room to swing. Ever played around with a cricket bat in a hallway? Disaster. And when you’re up against a zombie you can’t afford disasters. I’m not saying a claw hammer is perfect, but in a tight space I’d sacrifice a bit of reach for extra weight and a smaller ‘swing area’.
Another thing that’s great about claw hammers is that they’re hammers. Combine them with a bag of nails and you can secure most portals—screws would arguably be better but this is a gorramn zombie apocalypse, you don’t have the LUXURY of ‘better’. The claw is also useful, mostly for prying open locked doors (not recommended offensively, however, the last thing you want is for your weapon to get stuck).
Actually, a decent-sized wrench would be good, too—except I don’t have one of those. Maybe I should take a trip to the hardware store. In any case, if you don’t have a baseball bat with a razor-sharp fragment of modern art firmly affixed to the end then a claw hammer is a pretty decent second choice.