With the Walking Dead new season starting I saw a few posts from fellow gunbloggers (namely NJT, The Miller and Says Uncle) that go against convention and suggest that a shotgun is not the best zombie survival weapon. This theory is also espoused by Max Brooks in The Zombie Survival Guide. He actually advocates a .22lr pistol for dispatching zombies. I am going to have to both disagree and agree with them. While another choice in firearm and caliber may be better at actually dispatching zombies more efficiently, surprisingly, I believe conventional wisdom is correct in this case and think the 12 guage pump shotgun is the all around best zombie survival gun. Now before you jump on my case, I'm looking at the big picture here. While most gunbloggers and readers are familiar with and are usually somewhat practiced with firearms the average person is not. The average zombie figher may never have even picked up a gun before. I know, I know; you say let the zombies eat them and we'll have an ideal utopia of gunbloggers and gun blog readers, right? Keep in mind, I'm trying to be helpful. Usually, when I'm asked this question, it's by an average Joe/Jane and I'm not going to advocate something like an AR-15 to them. I do always say that if they want to be prepared when the zombies come they should buy a firearm and practice with it, but I know they won't. They want a quick fix like everyone else, a magic bullet if you excuse the pun, one gun to cover everything. To them I say get a 12 guage pump and here's the top ten reasons why.
1.)The 12 guage pump shotgun is availible almost everywhere. Chain stores, sports shops, gun stores and poice departments have them. They will be very easy to find and are inexpensive if you purchase ahead of time.
2.)Because of this widespread availiblility, ammo for them will be extremely easy to find and you will most likely run into 12 guage shells most often.
3.)They are extremely easy to operate.
4.)You don't have to keep them sighted in since they are designed to be point shot. Most Zombies you need to shoot will be at short range.
5.)They are extemely effective with almost any shot size. You are not shooting living flesh, you are shooting dead and rotting flesh with no ability to repair and heal itself. You'll probably get good penetration even with bird shot. People tend to forget zombies are not very sturdy.
6.)You can be reasonably sure your headshots are going to hit the brainstem or you can take most of the head off easily.
7.)You can incapacitate a zombie quickly by separating its spine or blowing a leg off in one or 2 shots and run away.
8.)Reloads - while slower - are straightforward and easy. You push shells into the firearm until you can't fit any more and you won't accidentally drop the mag while you're panicked.
9.)You'll get used to the recoil. After taking out a few to several hundred of the walking dead you won't be crying about your shoulder, since you won't really feel it anymore.
10.)The noise and flash will disorient Zombies closest to you and if you can't reload quickly most hunting shotguns make effective clubs.
As you can see I'm talking Zombie survival here, not zombie hunting. Hunting is a whole other scenario, one in which my weapons choice will be extremely different. Go see the blogs mentioned at the top of this post for that discussion. As for the problem of hoards of zombies and the limited ammo capacity of most pump shotguns, I'm thinking that's why I carry this Molotov Cocktail. :)