Improvised Weapons

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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 a zombie. 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 oneself more time to escape, or find a weapon that actually can penetrate the skull 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 is sometimes, but not always, useful against the undead. The material of the weapon is very important, as many modern items are lightweight and will not be effective. This category includes baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, cricket bats, etc. Even ice skates can be used for swinging\throwing weapons because of the sharp blades on the bottoms. Sports attire such as (American) football helmets can be used for extra protection against zombies.) However, the thin handles of golf clubs and hockey sticks may break easily after repeated use.

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, it 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.

A simple wooden spear can be fashioned using only a blade and a stick. Simply take the blade and whittle around the tip until you have a long, pointed spear. You can fire harden the tip in a fire if you have no blade. The most useful part of a spear is the fact that it can be fashioned within minutes, out of materials found just about anywhere. You don't have to use a stick. It could be a sharpened curtain rod, or even a bone. Well you maybe tempted to attach a knife to spear, this should be done only if you have a backup weapon available. If it breaks off, it will be difficult, if not outright impossible, to get it back. For this reason, it is recommended you take the traditional sharpened wooden spear, and only after that, attach a blade that you're willing to lose, such as an old (though still sharpened) kitchen knife, or even a pair of scissors. One recommended tactic, should you have time, is to carry multiple spears at a time. Well they may take up space, they can be thrown like javelins, and mastered as such with little training. Additionally, being made of improvised materials, it is possible for a spear to break, the tip to dull, get stuck inside a zombie, or otherwise be rendered useless. Thus, it is recommended to keep several spears at once if you plan to be in the field for an extended period of time. Should you only be able to carry a single spear, then it is possible to attack a blunt object to the handle, which would allow for it to be used like a Bo-staff if the blade became unusable.

Potentially one of the post useful weapons one could make is the Garrote. Created thousands of years ago, and still in use today, the Garrote is a piece of wire, cord, or cloth, with each end attached to a handle. The garrote is placed around the victims neck from behind, and each handle is pulled in a choking motion, causing death by strangulation (in the case of cloth and cord), or severing major arteries (in the case of wire). Making a garrote is very easy. That said, it should NOT be taken lightly, as using improper materials could cause the weapon to break, alerting the zombie or person to your presence. Without need for saying, it is vital to use a strong material. For the rope, any kind of strong, thin, and preferably metallic string should suffice. Piano wire is considered the most effective, but there are ample substitutes that are equally as deadly, and are much easier to find. Should you lack access to piano wire, guitar strings, fishing line, power cords, and paracord all work just as well. Do NOT use material that is elastic in nature. Well durable, these should be avoided, since rather than choking or cutting, they simply stretch as you pull, forcing the user to put far more strain on themselves, as well as allowing the victim to simply pull it off. For handles, anything sturdy will work. Anything in the shape of a ring helps helps with grip, particularly by those small in stature, but even sticks will work. In addition to being almost completely silent (depending on the skill of the user and materials used), the garrote has the advantage of being used to saw locks, bars, and even act as a tourniquet, if the material used is not one that would cut. On top of this, it's worthy being mentioned that a garrote can be hidden just about anywhere. It's small enough even to fit in one's shoe, making it an excellent weapon to hide on your person in case of capture or robbery.

A homemade Icepick is another weapon that would be incredibly useful. Well it is not as small and easy to make as a garrote, it is much faster and quieter than a garrote, and can be used in place of a knife (as a weapon) so as not to wear down said knife. A homemade Icepick can be made by simply taking a screwdriver (or anything with a similar shape), and whittling the head down into a thin, sharp point (picture a giant thumbtack). This works equally as well on anything plastic or wooden, such as a soup spoon or stick in which the front could be sawed off and sharpened.

Ranged Weapons Edit

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 the 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).

Improvised FirearmsEdit

Every person caught off guard in the wake of a zombie apocalypse will likely be devoured, as well as lose their brains by force. That still doesn't mean that you are automatically on the menu, so it is best to improvise a ranged weapon even if it is not the most stunning. Be aware though, improvised weapons are not always completely safe. They cannot be expected to be long-lasting or of great quality, but they 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 firing 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.

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.

Tape It Or showcases many, many different weapons you can make at home, with certain items and good ol' Duct Tape.

A flamethrower may sound like high-grade military equipment, but it is actually very easy to make one yourself. To make an efficent flamethrower;

Get a high quality water gun. It should be able to build and maintain pressure well, be made of high quality plastic, and hold a good amount of liquid.

Get a metal bracket. You'll need a metal bracket, either flat or an L bracket depends on the gun you buy. Attach the bracket to the gun, so that the flat metal comes out parallel with the ground, about 1" below the nozzle.

Wrap the gun. Wrap the gun around the nozzle with tinfoil, so that only the open is exposed (and exposed as little as possible). This will help keep the gun from melting.

Fill the gun. Fill the water reservoir with lighter fluid.

Attach a candle. Attach a candle to the end of the bracket. You can use tacky, gum, or anything that isn't glue.

You can also make one with a few ingredients from your home:

Place rubber bands. Place two rubber bands around an aerosol can.

  • You can use a can of Axe, hairspray, whatever.

Place the bracket. Place the wall bracket (that should already be bent into a 90-degree angle) under the rubber bands so it's held onto the can somewhat securely.

Get a sticky surface. Break off a bit of that plasti-tak and put it on the bottom of the candle.

  • Alternatively, you can use chewing gum.

Attach it to the bracket. Attach the candle to the wall bracket using the plasti-tak or other sticky substance.

Adjust as necessary. Line up the candle wick with the sprayer tip on the aerosol can.

Be aware that flamethrowers pose a threat to anyone in its radius, so be sure to use thick, resistant clothing.

Traps Edit

Ropes and Chains Edit

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Chains (Left) and Ropes (Right)

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.


All you need is a piano, a few pulleys, and a steel cable. Use the pulleys and cable to hoist the piano aloft, then tie the cable to something. When zombies show up, untie the knot and drop the piano on them. Instant head trauma. Other things like broken refrigerators or washing machines can serve equally well, and are less expensive to obtain than a piano.

Protective GearEdit

Homemade ShieldEdit

Shield were widely used in the old ages to block attacks, but in modern days they are useless. On the contrary, in a zombie apocalypse, one not fast enough to dodge or counter may create a homemade shield to protect themselves.

To make a homemade shield, get a wooden board (most table tops will service) that is 1/2-3/4 inches thick, and draw the desired shape (consult and art book for details). Using a saw or other cutting tool, cut along the drawn lines. Cover sides with tape to protect oneself from sharp edges. File smooth before hand if possible. Attached desired handles.

Although it's a little heavy, but it will save yourself from those ghouls. Since you must use one hand to carry the shield, you should use a single-handed weapon that is light and swift like a hunting knife or a machete. Blunt weapons like a warrington/nail hammer, metal pipe or a light tire iron will do the job too.

Another way to acquire a relatively cheap shield without alerting pre -apocalypse is Live Action RolePlay (LARP) shields. While not as durable as a real shield (depending on the quality) they can be much lighter as they are designed for those who are not as fit as a military soldier.

Do not use weapons like axes (not including hatchets), baseball/cricket bats or anything that is too heavy. Even if you have the strength to carry them, they will slow you down and make you more tired or even cause injuries.

Ways to use the homemade shield effectively : 

1. Avoid causing arm injuries : Although it can block attacks, but your arm maybe have a small chance to get an impact from the zombie that can injure your arm.Wear an arm protector or wrap some thick cloths around your arm ( if you don't have the arm protector ) to lower the chance of causing arm injury.

2. Shielding : Put your shield between you like about 6 inches or 8 inches wide, also don't block your sight while shielding. Try to have the blow and on the forearm supported part of the shield OR re-direct the blow to the side.

3.Bash and kill : Bash or hit the zombie in the head with the shield  to make the zombie stagger, and then do a heavy blow to the head.

4. Shove and run : Sometimes you probably will get swarmed by zombies, if you try to escape, there is still a little chance to.First, charge to the path where you want to escape , then shove the zombies around you with the shield, (aim for the top) shove from the front to the side .If the zombie is still infront of you, just incapicitate their legs with your weapon (if it has a long enough reach) or crush their knees to continue your escape. (this method does not work that well, so don't rely on this method too much) Tuck in your arms like American football as you charge.

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