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Improvised Weapons are ordinary objects that aren't normally associated with violence or self defense turned lethal. There are two basic types of Improvised Weapons - found, and engineered. Found improvised weapons are used in their normal state, with little to no alterations required, such as a thick candlestick holder. Engineered improvised weapons require at least minor modification or planning. Traps comprised of unorthodox objects (such as the Falling Piano Trap in Zombieland) are always engineered improvised weapons.
This article will only include improvised weapons of substantial effectiveness. When evaluating a weapon's effectiveness, the most important factor is if it could be used to quickly penetrate a human skull, or decapitate. If it cannot, it is best to use it only as a way to slow a zombie down (or keep their mouth full/immobilized to prevent biting) to buy one's self more time to escape, or find a weapon that actually can penetrate or mostly remove an intact human head.
Melee Weapons Edit
The majority of seemingly good improvised melee weapons are actually poor for killing zombies. The human skull is very strong, and many substances that will fracture it with sufficient force are not made for such a thing. They may break after a few uses, be difficult to wield, or impractical to carry. It is wiser, and easier to find improvised weapons to use to keep distance and create obstacles between yourself and zombies. In an emergency, first find something to act as a liontamer's chair, or as a riot shield, before testing if a tennis racket or guitar will destroy the zombie's brain, which it will most likely not.
Many sturdy tools in a hardware store can double as a weapon capable of killing a zombie. Large hammers, axes, crowbars, machetes etc. Generally use something that crushes bone. A good rule of thumb is if you think it might break your toe if you dropped it on it from eye level, then it is a good solid weight, which is very important. However you should not risk injury to test this, so don't actually drop it on your toe. Things like broomsticks, power saws, knives, and smaller/conventional hammers should not be depended on. Some sporting goods will also be sufficient.
Sports Equipment of many vareities are actually very useful in lethal use against the undead this includes Baseball Bats, Golfclubs, Hockey Sticks, Football Helmet and attire (for charging through and protection) and most infamous being the Cricket Bat, even Ice Skates can be used for swinging\throwing weapons because of the sharp blades on the bottoms.
Many weapons can be constructed at home using common items as well. If a suitable wooden, metal, or other handle is found, duct-taping nails and spikes, each at least two inches in length, to the tip individually, followed by using clear tape or some other additional binding on the finished product, will create an astonishingly sturdy mace, easily capable of penetrating a skull and killing either a zombie or a human with an impaling blow. A metal broomstick handle, with the brush and top removed, can have the socket fitted with a long knife, and with additional binding, such as glue, tape, or cord/rope, can be an extremely efficient spear or glaive. Finally, a couple of razor blades can be attached to both or one of the sides of a plank or similar broad item (a cricket bat if one is available), given some effort and a glue or epoxy, creating a makeshift macuahuitl, able to sever heads in single swings.
If you have a broken or inoperable rifle, you can take off the barrel and use the stock as a club. Additionally, you can follow the style of the Native Americans and attach a blade (from a machete, a thick-bladed saw or a circular saw) to the side to make a deadly weapon.
Ranged Weapons Edit
Molotov Cocktail Edit
To kill a zombie with fire takes a very long time and an extremely hot fire, and zombies from the Dead Frontier game will only mutate with flame. One is unlikely to be able to produce that in the quantity to make it an effective plan, but Molotov Cocktails (high proof alcohol or other flammable liquid in a glass container, with a flaming rag attached) can be a good catalyst for a sophisticated improvised trap. Cocktails make good last-resort weapons if a group of zombies is alerted to your presence and all other weapons are spent. They can be used to burn down the area, along with the zombies, or simply to distract the undead from your presence. Molotov Cocktails have a reputation of backfiring on those with less than ample coordination or attention span. Zombies will always continue their pursuit towards their prey while lit on fire. This can easily spread fire to structures that a band of survivors cannot afford to lose, so use in fields, damp places, and other open areas such as sand-deserts are recommended. Extreme caution is advised when constructing and lighting.
Homemade Projectile-Based WeaponsEdit
Using a thick, forked, but small piece of wood of good integrity, about one and a half feet of either vulcanized rubber, nylon, or some other stretchy material, and a small patch of leather, cloth, or any other relatively tough material, one can easily construct a slingshot. A hole puncher and knowledge of knot-tying will come in handy. When drawn back, it should not go very far beyond the neck after the main arm is extended. If it does, shorten the length of the cord. Make sure your knots are tight, and you are left with an extremely powerful and accurate weapon, depending on how well constructed it is. Using steel balls, maximum damage is ensured, but in any case, rocks provide an endless supply of ammunition.
Without much knowledge of fletching, it is possible to construct a very crude bow. Using a good height of either PVC pipe or suitable wood (about 4.5 feet long for a short bow), a strong, stretchy material of reasonable length (rubber works well, although bowstring materials are preferred, such as flax or tendon), and a little reshaping in the case of wood, a shortbow can be made with a draw weight of about 20 lbs, if constructed well. Given a plentiful supply of straight sticks, rods, shafts, and the like of any material that is not too fragile or heavy, one can construct arrows using tape/cord/glue and shards of glass, screws and nails, pieces of metal, flint or other shaped rocks for the arrowheads, or simply by sharpening the original shaft to a point, creating a good stock of ammo. Zombie headshots should be little trouble, as long as the distance is not too spacious (effective up to about 30 yards).
Every person caught off guard in the wake of a zombie apocalypse will likely be devoured, as well as lose their brains by force but that still doesn't mean that you're automatically on the menu and so it is best to improvise a ranged weapon even if its not the most stunning. Be aware though improvise weapons are not always completely safe and since they are improvised... well they can't be expected have great quality or to last a long time, but it will serve as a surrogate for an under prepared survivor until they are able to scavenge a better weapon.
A "zip gun" is most commonly familiar as an improvised weapon, the essentials are a barrel and chamber. The barrel can consist of a smooth thin walled tube( be warned poorly fitted tubing can result in a backfire, poor accuracy, and bursting) that is best strapped to any material that can act as a handle (wood blocks, clay molds, etc.). The firng pin can consist of a rubber band to a sophisticated tubed spring with a pin that is pulled back, and with enough force will strike the primer of any bullet that can fit properly into the barrel of chamber (preferably low pressure cartridges such as .22 rimfire and 12-guage shotgun shells). "Zip guns" can range from improvised rifles to handguns to shotguns.
But if making one is too complicated it is best to go out and just buy a nail-gun instead. Nail guns are effective up to 50 yards but at such range the nails will have no penetrating power nor accuracy, so some slight modifications will need to be applied such as an improvised stock and stabilizer and sights. Nails and compressed gas will be needed as well.
Weapon Modification and Customization Edit
One example of a modified weapon can be found here.
The Dead Rising Games are a customized weapon gold mine. weapons such as Knife Gloves, (hunting knives + boxing gloves) Paddlesaw, (boat oar + Chainsaws) Rocket Launcher, (pipes + fireworks) and a homemade Flamethrower (water gun + gasoline+ lighter)
Tape It Or Die.com showcases many, many different weapons you can make at home, with certain items and good ol' Duct Tape.
Many DIY zombie weapons may be found at Zombease, such as the Beatdown Bat, Rip-Stick and Pummel Pipe.
Weapon Modification is when one makes a deadly weapon from scratch.
Ropes and Chains Edit
Effective if used correctly, a rope or a chain can slow a group of zombies dramatically. Simply fasten both ends of a rope to a doorframe below knee level, and the zombies will be tripped up, giving time to escape, or to finish off the downed zombie. Likewise, chains can be tied, or even thrown at a zombies legs, tripping them up. Ropes and chains are inherently not deadly, but are to be used only to slow zombies down.