Common Myths to Debunk BEFORE a Zombie War

Things I fear the most:  spiders, walking sticks (bugs), and zombies.  While I know how to deal with the first two threats, I must constantly study how to off a zombie before I become one.  Yet, the hardest part of studying good tactics for a zombie war is that it hasn’t happened yet; there is no comparison to base how one would destroy these creatures.  The only thing we have to prepare ourselves for a possible zombie war is sound logic.  That’s when it becomes necessary to debunk the myths that many horror movies show, however, make no sense when you are really thrust into a world of zombies and survival.  So here are the most basic myths that should be dismissed:

Sadly, they both missed the online blowout Christmas specials.


MYTH:  Zombies run as fast as humans, if not faster.

Well, no and yes.  Unlike the movies, when a zombie is first turned they undergo a stage when their bodies physically die.  Immediately after the death occurs the zombie suffers rigor mortis (a stiffening of joints and muscles) for the first few days until the muscles eventually return to a permanently altered state.  The ability to run down or slowly slide to a living person depends on the state of the zombie before they were changed.  If a person was a runner before being changed then they will most likely be a good runner in the undead realm, if not better.  The reason I say that zombie might now be a better runner is that muscle fatigue will no longer affect the body.  Therefore, the ability to feel no pain will keep the zombie running until the living person is devoured, moves from the sensory range of the zombie, or until the muscles eventually shred themselves to pieces.

Yet, the chances of meeting a sprinting zombie are as slim as meeting a triathlon neighbor in today’s society.  Luckily, this is the rare moment when I would actually thank America for being out of shape.  Yet, the flip side of this is that based on America’s low health scores many of us wouldn’t even be able to out-walk a zombie without overly frequent rest stops.  This brings me to my next point….


MYTH:  Bulk muscle mass is the only way to get in shape for a zombie war.

Many of the UFC fighters are revered in today’s “size matters” world as the meanest, toughest people around.  And, yes, I would rather sleep in a barrel with spiders and walking sticks than to step into the ring with any of those fighters.  But, in a zombie war, close combat is your last resort.  Keep in mind that the goal of a zombie war is to survive, not to find every zombie and punch them one by one into oblivion.  Just sticking around in the same spot just to pulverize a few zombies is a sure-fire method to call a horde of zombies to your location.  I’m not saying hand-to-hand combat isn’t necessary, especially when you are closer to a zombie than you had planned.  Yet, like I said, the goal is to get away from zombies before you become one.

The best way to prepare you for a zombie war relies on primitive prowess.  Just like early Cro-Magnons, we should strive to be more lean than bulky.  Our ancestors were constantly hunting for food by running to catch their food with spears rather than relying on body mass to kick or punch their prey.  Shedding the weight BEFORE a zombie war occurs would prove much more vital to your existence as opposed to building mass.  Keep in mind that you must be able to carry your own personal survival kit across vast distances.  Traveling vast distances with a heavy weight could lead to shin splints and hairline fractures in the lower legs, both of which will greatly reduce your speed.  If you are not used to backpacking or walking/running at least 3 times a week then now would be a great time to start.  The most optimal goal is at least 30-45 minutes of cardio combined with light, free-weight exercise like pushups and sit-up, at least 5 days a week.  Remember that you will be forced to choose between survival tools and rations versus gym equipment.  If you get used to working out with no equipment then you will be well-prepared for a zombie war.


MYTH:  The M4 (M16 variants) is the best assault rifle for killing zombies.

Based on my past experience, I would definitely say the M4 Carbine is the worst assault rifle I have ever fired.  The only reason it is still in commission in the United States military is because a weapons manufacturer named Colt has been lobbying congress to continue its crappy product.  Not to mention, Colt continues to underbid other weapons manufacturers, always guaranteeing their lowest price to their main bidder.  And there is a reason Colt can always underbid.  The M4 is uber-horrible.

Like a baby, the M4 has multiple soft spots that require constant pampering.  Firstly, the iron sights require a nail or a special tool to change the sight picture.  Maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal while on the firing range but no one has time to change the sight picture for every situation, especially when zombies are approaching.  In addition, if you accidentally slam the weapon on the ground then you must re-gauge your sights to ensure you have the same sight picture.  Secondly, this weapon jams like none other.  This stoppage is due to its over-sensitivity to dust, sand, mud, and any other particles you can imagine.  Remember the old Vietnam movies where infantrymen are walking through the jungle swamps with their weapons held over their heads?  That was because this weapon had to be handled delicately to prevent particles from entering the chamber.  Granted, their versions were M16A1s but the main difference between the two weapons is their collapsible butt stock (or lack thereof).  The M4 version has a dust cover but that is mostly there for looks.  Most of the particles enter underneath where the magazine is fed.

Instead, my personal favorite is the AK47.  There is a reason gangs, militants, and countless major militaries throughout the world rely on the AK47. While this weapon is not as accurate as the M4 it packs a much better punch with a 7.62 mm round as opposed to the M4’s 5.56 mm rounds.  When you have to use an assault rifle to battle zombies you want brain-splitting power as opposed to accuracy which is better for hunting wild game.  The best part about this weapon is that you can slam it into the mud, dirt, sand, or snow and still have a reliable weapon that keeps firing.  Also, most AK47s boast woodland features on the hand grip and butt stock which allows you to blend in with woodland environments instead of sticking out with traditional black coloring.


There are many more myths to be debunked, tactics to be learned, and ideas to be shared before the world’s first zombie apocalypse.  Hopefully, we can share some of those ideas before it’s too late.  In the meantime, here is the most useful survival guide I have come across in my efforts to stay current on the inevitable zombie apocalypse.  While it may be classified under humor, it is no joke to me:

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About Manny Garza

After serving 8 years in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst, Manny departed the military in order to pursue his B.A. in Philosophy from American Military University. Aside from college, he writes short stories and essays in the realm of philosophy and science fiction. Manny's short stories are heavily influenced by who he refers to as The Trinity: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Jack Williamson. He is married to his lovely wife, Melissa, and has two dogs named Koopa and Goomba. Aside from being an editor and contributor of Nerd Trek articles, his hobbies include playing guitar, singing, and both tabletop and video game RPGs. Manny currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.