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If some other bloggers are calling SHOT 2012 “The Year Of The Zombie,” I think they’re missing something important. SHOT 2012 was really “The Year The Zombie Jumped The Shark.” Zombie ammo? Check. Zombie ammo boxes? Got it. Zombie knives (obviously not designed by anyone who’s read Max Brooks’ survival guides)? Roger. But why stop there?…

This is the lens cover from Leupold’s VX-R Zombie Patrol 1.25-4 scope. It’s the same scope I reviewed last year, with a green FireDot reticle which I actually like, and also with a slime-dripping ‘Zombie’ graphic on the eyepiece bell and the cranially-fixated scope cover shown here. Which I hate.

Eotech is also gearing up for the Global War On Zombies with their XPS-2Z holosight. I dig Eotech gear, but like all ‘Zombie’ gun gear this scope’s ‘cool factor’ will have a shelf-life shorter than raw oysters.

I have to give Eotech a grudging hat-tip, because they designed a whole new (and extremely cluttered) ‘Biohazard’ reticle for it instead of just giving it a new name and a day-glo green ‘Zombie’ logo. But I’m not sure they’re going to recoup their costs, once the zombie hype quiets down.

We’ve all heard of Hornady’s Z-Max bullet line, but answer me this: if you really wanted to penetrate an undead skull with a .380, wouldn’t you want FMJ bullets instead?

Zombie Industries treated us to a Rogue’s Gallery of paper, 3-D, and slime-filled bleeding zombie targets.  Several of them were downrange at Media Day…

And they showed why I’m disappointed at the marksmanship skills of most of my fellow journalists. Everybody knows that Zeke only goes down for good if you scramble his brains, so why are we looking at so many torso hits?

I don’t wish ill on any of these manufacturers, but I don’t predict a long life (or living death) for this gun/zombie fad. It may linger as a socially-acceptable (or at least tongue-in-cheek) excuse to stock up on guns and ammunition, and to practice firing at simulated human(oid) targets.

But I hope next year’s SHOT Show is as zombie-free as Will Smith’s New York safehouse at the beginning of I Am Legend. Let’s pray for sunlight, and let’s bring plenty of bleach.

UPDATE: Shooting Gallery gun guru Michael has taken responsibility for the Zombie trend, and apologized.

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  1. It’s silliness to be sure. You-all at TTAG ought to take on the subject head-on: What is the zombie craze REALLY about?

  2. Anyone else wonder if the recent zombie mega-fascination in society is a subconscious desire to return to a state of simple, straightforward survival where politics, societal mores taboos, and every other piece of modern BS has been wiped clean?

    Further, zombies are the perfect enemy. They represent animal regression and the fear of forced change, and they also allow people to kill other humans without the requisite guilt of it.

    • Yes. Obviously zombies are a blank slate onto which a person can write in his nemesis of choice. The fun in TTAG doing a zombie post would be looking at the phenomenon from an American pro-2A standpoint. There is enough variation in political outlook among TTAG readers to make the comments section quite interesting.

      Questions could include: Who among us is most like a zombie and why? What does the “zombie apocalypse” mean? Does anyone really take zombies seriously? Is there any scientific support for zombieism? and, of course, the standard What is the perfect zombie gun?

      And, with all the new zombie themed firearms products, Foghorn could do product reviews!

      It might be fun.

      • I think that’s a lot of it. Zombies are the Nazis in a Wolfenstein game. You can shoot at them all day long and not raise much ire.

        • Sure. “Zombieland” is my personal favorite. The Tallahassee character in the film is so All-American: drives a Caddy, into guns, ruggedly independent, goes about his work (killin’ zombies) with diligence and good cheer, loves Twinkies, and, as we find out during a tender moment, he loves his family.

          So I read “Zombieland” as a Pro-American zombie film. Beyond that I will not comment. 🙂

    • While “Zombieland” is fun to watch, the whole firearm industry fascination with bringing out these products is rather tiresome.

      I agree with Silver’s last paragraph on why it is probably such a popular fad. At least I hope it is a fad.

  3. Zombie Blaster Ammo, non-projectile MEGA-BLAST 12ga. 2 3/4″ blank cartridge (keep out of reach of children. not a toy)

    okay, I’ll say it: W.T.F??

    volume knobs that go to 11 I can understand, as a gag gift idea.

    would like to get my hands on some dragon’s breath rounds, though….

  4. how dare manufacturers try to inject levity and humor into the serious and austere world of firearms. how dare they, i tell you. it’s unconscionable!

    • +1

      Lighten up TTAG. The zombie thing will pass. Or not. If it brings in revenue to the manufacturers, maybe they’ll recycle some of that extra pocket change into making some new and innovative products. And if it brings some more people around to the 2a movement though sparking an interest in self-defense (be it from zombies, government, or goons) than its a good thing.

      While I don’t waste my money on a theme, I don’t mind the companies capitalizing on a fad. Some zombie articles would probably bring this site some more hits too. Next traffic analysis update I want to see the hits that the zombie merchandise articles pulled. I bet its high.

  5. “…as zombie-free as Will Smith’s New York safehouse at the beginning of I Am Legend.”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure there were several dozen ‘zombie’ mice and other animals in his lab from the very beginning. 🙂

  6. If you enjoy Science Fiction and Fantasy books and films of the sort provided by
    The Weapon Shops of Isher
    A.e.van vogt
    “The right to buy weapons is the right to be free”
    or his The Weapon Makers or the books Of Robert Heinlen, Andre Norton, Murray Leinster, and the other greats of speculative fiction,

    Then the last few years with its overflowing glut of Zombie and Vampire tales has not provided much in the way of entertainment.

    I for one am more than a little sick of the never ending river of these books, films, TV shows and video games… And I am frankly amazed at how long it has lasted … fads like this in popular entertainment used to burn themselves out in 2 or 3 years at most… but not it seems the Zombie-Vampire craze we seem to be stuck with at the moment….

    Perhaps all this idiotic branding that we see in the firearms and ancillary gear market place as reported here, means the it is about to breath its last.
    One can only hope!

  7. As a longtime member of both the Zombie Survival Wiki and The Global Zombie Outbreak Survivor Initiative I can honestly say that all the “zombie gimmicks” are irritating at best.
    The allure of the zombie situations for me aren’t really about any of the before mentioned reasons. I’m fascinated by the idea of a zombie outbreak because it represents the worst case scenario in a total break down of society. It’s interesting to plan because with a little logic one will realize that the way one would survive a total melt down of society (Zombies in the case of most discussions) isn’t to have an uber cool gun (Though that does help) or cool gadgets made by manufacturers for “Zombie Killin” but to be prepared to live a more simple, low key life away from the majority of the population. Instead of buying a “zombie” specific Eotech; one would be more likely to outfit a gun to be more versatile and ready to handle multiple scenarios. People that are genuinely interested in situations like we’re talking about ought to be interested storing up on non perishables and water (yes those are more important than weapons) and then worrying about guns.
    Most members of the sites I frequent about the subject tend to view zombies as more of a fun “what if” scenario to talk about a massive SHTF situation. None of us really take it seriously………I’m certainly not going to buy some gimmicky weapon site or knife that cost more and doesn’t really do anything better than it’s competing products.

  8. What are the sociological roots of our current fascination with zombies? This reply could probably be a post in its own right…on another blog. Since it has almost nothing to do with guns, I’ll keep this content in the ‘comments’ section.

    Here’s my thesis: I think the zombie phenomenon is a manifestation of unease about the state of the world, and of pessimism about our American place in it. Our hypothetical responses to the fictional zombie pandemic give us a sense of control and purpose, and that’s why the zombie fantasy has become so popular.

    Our current unease doesn’t begin to equal the (entirely justified) widespread fear that the cold war engendered, and which manifested itself in the monster movie genre of the 1950s and the survivalist movement of the 1980s. But when any society is faced with diminished expectations about its future, it frequently turns to fantasy and escapism.

    After all, a zombie pandemic would pretty much solve all of our pressing national and global problems overnight. Greenhouse emissions? Zombies would pretty much solve that issue, unless they farted a lot. Overfishing? The national debt? Medicare and Social Security solvency? America’s global trade imbalance? Let’s face it: when you have to whack your formerly-dead neighbors in the head with a pickaxe, these financial and environmental problems don’t keep you awake at night any more.

    Perhaps the Zombie Apocalypse is the kind of imaginary disaster (whether natural or created in a laboratory) that evens the global playing field, and allows Americans to once again come out on top. Think about it: there’s nothing you can do to survive all-out nuclear war unless you literally live in a bunker, and the same would hold true for any kind of ‘invasion from outer space’ fantasy. But almost any American can survive a zombie outbreak with some planning, some luck, and a whole lot of determination. Not to mention guns.

    And we might be excused in speculating that Americans would come through the zombie ordeal a little better than most cultures. Think of the crowded Europeans, whose governments have a history of corralling and herding them to their deaths by the millions. Think of the Third World, whose initial survivors would have few sturdy buildings to shelter in and no firearms to defend themselves with.

    Americans, except for inner-city dwellers, would fare much better in this fantasy environment. Our love of self-reliance, wide-open spaces and guns could give us the mindset, skillset and toolset to survive this kind of imaginary disaster.

    As long as the zombie craze is good silly fun, and to the extent that it nudges people into really *thinking* about how to prepare for and survive a disaster, this zombie stuff is all good. None of us want to be the hapless and helpless victims of nature’s wrath, or of human nature in its aftermath.

    I shudder with horror any time I see an image of the Superdome. Its owners may have fixed it up since Katrina, but it will always represent the Hobbesian Jungle to me; a sociopath’s paradise where the weak have no recourse against the strong and ruthless. Thanks to my planning and preparation, I know that that will *never* happen to me and mine.

    But when the zombie craze becomes nothing but a meaningless marketing gimmick, crowding more innovative and actually useful products out of the market? Then it’s time to give it a rest.

    (Disclosure: I’ve been a fan of zombie movies and the occasional zombie book for a few years now, and several of my friends are certified zombie-genre fanatics. When World War Z comes to theaters, you bet I’ll go see it!)

    • Thanks, Chris. I was half joking about the zombie post. I think it does reflect many of the fears that folks who have recently armed themselves have, so I think it’s relevant in spite of the marketing craze.

      Two films that attempt to treat the same fears from a European perspective are “Children of Men” 2006 and “Blindness” 2008. They play out as you suggest they might.

      I apologize for poking you-all at TTAG about the zombie thing, but I couldn’t resist, especially on the heels of Shot Show.

      Thanks for all your hard work.

  9. Talking about killing zombies is a convenient and politically correct euphemism for shooting people in a world where anti-gun folks don’t believe that the would-be victim of a violent crime stopping the assault and surviving by any means necessary is the right thing. I know some people who believe that if someone is trying to kill/rape/beat you, killing them to stop them would be a greater tragedy than taking the chance that they might not kill you. This point of view is clearly the result of brainwashing, because human instinct in this day should result in forcing an attacker to advance through a hail of gunfire and leave blind with your fingernails embedded in their necks if they do actually manage to kill you. But saying that is bad, so let’s talk about what works on “zombies.”

  10. I’ve got my tactical AR-15 with tactical light and tactical laser, and my tactical Glock with tactical pistol bayonet, and my tactical machete in a coyote tan tactical sheath.

    Sigh. If only there was a socially acceptable way to indulge my fantasies of indiscriminately mowing down scores of people.

    *snaps fingers*

    I’ve got it! Zombies!

  11. I followed Ace’s link over here, I’m a long-time Moron. For 3 years now I’ve run a website dedicated to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Weapons, movies, books, how-to’s and everything even remotely Zombie related.

    The thing I’ve learned is that it is much easier to put the “Zombie” tag on things/skills that have practical uses. Like the CDC says, if you’re ready for the Zombie Apocalypse you’re ready for anything. Basically it’s a lot safer psychologically putting the Zombie costume on a real disaster. Sort of like playing racquetball. Sure you’re getting a game in, but you’re secretly getting a workout. The “Zombie” thing is just an easier way to deal with painful subjects like survival in the face of disaster, losing your family or civil unrest. I know a lot of people who have unknowingly become Survivalists because they debate Zombie Survival techniques. I’d rather have that then nothing at all. Good hunting and stay FROSTY.

    • Welcome, and thanks for your excellent comment. I see your point that zombies are a way to put a humorous face on real dangers.

      • Glad I found you guys. I have a very active Facebook page so feel free to come by and post anytime. However, I don’t know why there is a picture of my son for my Avatar? I’m not 12, I’m 38. Good hunting and stay FROSTY!


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