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Melee Weapons

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Melee weapons (pronounced "MAY-lay") are those used in hand-to-hand fighting. Many zombie survivalists promote or even recommend melee weapons over firearms. One such proponent is Max Brooks (author of the Zombie Survival Guide), who has written in his book, with outstanding clarity, "Blades don't need reloading." A Mace, which was a popular melee weapon during the medieval era

Lego Flail

A Lego model of a Flail, a melee weapon used during the medieval era

They can range from simple tools to long blades designed for combat. Since ammunition will become increasingly difficult to come by, it is important to keep a quality close-quarters weapon handy. However, using melee weapons causes you to run the risk of exposing yourself to infection, either through a zombie bite or blood splatter (although Solanum infected blood solidifies, partially minimizing this concern. Safety goggles and a closed mouth while attacking should protect most melee weapon wielders), especially if you are tired or injured. In addition, while a katana or a scimitar might be great to have during a zombie apocalypse, they're about as useful as bare hands if one is wholly untrained.

There are general three types of melee weapons - Slashing (like a broadsword), Bashing (like a club) and Piercing (like a spear). Piercing weapons are rarely practical in fighting zombies, as few melee weapons can reliably pierce the skull with regularity. Bashing weapons do so more reliably, but their weight can exhaust the wielder more quickly. Slashing weapons have the same problem with the skull, but can immobilize the zombie with well placed strikes to the limbs and neck.

While melee weapons may not require ammunition, one should be careful not to underestimate the effects of fatigue while using melee weapons. While adrenaline will endow extra strength and energy, this chemical reaction is a emergency fight or flight response, and will not last long. Only the highly fit should engage in melee battle for more than a few minutes without having an escape plan.

Another potential hazard with melee weapons is that since firearms have made melee weapons obselete in the modern battlefield and market, battle quality melee weapons are not widely available, and difficult to distinguish from low-quality replicas. Melee weapon failure not only leaves a survivor vulnerable to a zombie attack at a moment's notice, but directly injure the wielder, depending on how the weapon breaks. Melee weapons have been known to fly out of excited and sweaty hands, especially if the weapon does not have a textured grip, hilt or handle. Melee weapons are next to useless underwater (unlike the grip and jaws of a zombie). Lastly, most melee weapons that can inflict enough harm to terminate a zombie require a scabbard or carrying harness if the survivor wants consistent use of both hands while travelling.

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