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Night of the living zom-b-s: the zombie meme has risen, and shambled into the world of the gun.

It started in 1968 with George Romero's classic black & white thriller, Night of the Living Dead. It played on mankind's intuitive fear of its own dead, and the theme never went back into the grave. It has now, Heaven help us, shambled into the world of shooting. We now have zombie cartridges, zombie guns, zombie targets and even zombie ammo boxes. There are zombie matches, I'm told, though being culturally deprived apparently, I've never shot in one.

Of the undead-related firearms products, Hornady Zombie Max ammo seems to have gotten the most attention. It's their Critical Defense bullet, with its plastic tip a sickly green instead of the usual color. I've lost count of how many magazine readers, followers of my blog (, or my self-defense advice column in the GATE (Go Ask The Experts) section at, have asked: "If I shoot someone in self-defense with a Zombie Max load, will I have a problem in court?"

I remind them the package itself says that Zombie Max is not for use against human beings. It's obviously a "novelty product." When you need to show that you are a reasonable and prudent person who acted reasonably and prudently, equipment that looks as if it was selected by someone who believes in supernatural monsters will be gold to a politically motivated prosecutor or a greed motivated plaintiff's lawyer who wants to hang you out to dry. If the evidence you brought to the shooting scene can be construed as you seeing the situation as the game and movie series Resident Evil come to life, I think that's gonna get in the way of your establishing that whole "reason and prudence" thing. What's your take on it? Do we agree that having used the same maker's "Critical Defense" brand might be a whole lot more defensible when the nits start getting picked?

There are psychologists and sociologists who theorize the whole zombie meme only appeals to people who wish to commit mass murder. They suggest that since the zombie is already dead, it's OK to shoot these humans en masse. Personally, I can't help but notice that in most iterations, the zombie is slow moving and unarmed. It reminds me of Harris and Klebold, the rabid little dogs who perpetrated the mass murder at Columbine High School. They were known to set their electronic killing games on a mode where their human targets couldn't shoot back, as they worked their way up to murdering helpless people for real. I, for one, don't see a good reason to be associated with that.

I admit it's subjective, but I personally think the only zombie movies worth watching are the ones with some humor in them. Fido. Shaun of the Dead. Zombieland. One exception-humorless, but with social value--is the TV show Walking Dead, which puts some pretty good human dynamics into the plotlines, and would be just as meaningful if it depicted some other sort of post-apocalyptic social breakdown.

The new generation of Zombie targets, I'll also admit, are fun. I have two favorites. One is the "Darkotics" series, with splatter effect when the bullets strike. The other is the one put out by my friend Kenn Blanchard, an ex-lawman and current pastor and author of the incisive book, Black Man With A Gun. Books and targets alike can be ordered from Kenn. Proceeds from sales of the zombie targets go to his church.

Yeah, I know: What's the point of having a whole body target in the first place, when everybody knows you have to shoot a zombie in the head? Well, two things there. If the zombie rules were real, the logical defense gun should be a Ruger 10/22. You wouldn't blow your ears out with the constant shooting of hundreds of 'em, and on head shots it shouldn't matter that you're only shooting .22s, right? Alas, reality shows us that .22 rounds sometimes ricochet off human skulls. So, occasionally, do the larger-caliber hardball handgun rounds many jokingly say would be good for zombies. Doctors call that thing the cranial vault, after all, and powerful hollowpoints that bite in and keep going straight would be called for on headshots.

In any case, my theory is the "shoot the zombie in the head" thing is a BS theory. It's only gonna work on movie zombies. For the real zombies the ones we deal with every day--the only way to deal with them would be to shoot off their Bluetooth or put a slug through their smartphone. Either should render them helpless....

The zombie meme provides us all with amusement, in more ways than one ... but I won't be sad when it finally slides into its grave and stays there.

Kenn Blanchard

P.O. Box 2

Upper Marlboro, MD 20773

(888) 675-0202


3025 W. Old Potash Hwy, Grand Island, PIE 68803

(330) 338-3220
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Title Annotation:HANDGUNS
Author:Ayoob, Massad
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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