Posts Tagged ‘gear review’

So many gun choices, so little time. Make sure you think logically about your gun purchases.

Welcome back Survivors,

We all realize that we need weapons for the ZPoc. Even the most hardcore melee expert among us must recognize that a distance fight with overwhelming numbers is a better option than muscle fatigue before death. Therefore we use the most advanced tool allotted to us: the firearm. No history lesson, no uppity garbage. Straight to business.

We need to be very prudent with our selections. Unless you have money to literally burn then you’re like me. So cost is an object. We’re going to look at economical and versatile weapons that will fit our needs.

Ruger 10/22
Up first is the Ruger 10/22. This rifle is affordable and has almost as many aftermarket parts as the 90’s Honda Civics! If you don’t like the standard rifle configuration you can buy an Archangel conversion kit (complete with bayonet). A .22 caliber rifle is so versatile it would take days to list all its attributes, but for us it means we have a ton of lightweight ammo for a weapon that is lightweight and reliable. The most attractive aspect of this rifle is its price. You can pick up a Ruger 10/22 for around $200.

The Ruger 10/22 carbine. Quite possibly one of the greatest guns ever built.




A good way for you to contribute to ZAI is give us a good range report on it, its weight, its capacity to weight ratio, and its accuracy! You don’t have to be a prize winner to contribute. Just be honest!

The Conversion kit
Many of us have AR style rifles. Quick note: AR does not stand for Assault Rifle. It stands for Armalite Rifle. Assault rifles fire multiple bullets with a single squeeze of the trigger. Don’t be drawn into that tired argument.

The .22 conversion for the AR rifle is a drop-in bolt and a magazine designed for the .22 long rifle shells. I recommend the CMMG conversion kit for price, but I will not recommend their magazines. Buy Blackdog magazines for your conversion.

This lightweight kit adds an additional tool to your arsenal. The ability to swap over to the .22 on the fly will give you more capabilities and an abundance of ammo for little weight. It also utilizes your primary weapon so there is no adjustment to reloading, sights, or fundamental manipulations. Excellent for training on a budget as well. I highly recommend it!

The Kel Tec Sub 2000 series
Pistol carbines are a great idea. Accuracy and precision chamber for your secondary weapon. They also make them in a lot of popular magazine patterns and calibers. Being able to have the same ammo for both your pistol and your carbine is outstanding for close in urban work. It also saves on weight because you use the same magazines as your pistol.

One consideration for a Zpoc gun is one that uses the same caliber and magazines as your sidearm.

The rifle conveniently folds for transpiration and storage, which is critical if you need to move quickly. Ideally, weapons of this nature show their versatility simply by being themselves. They give the user a lot of options for an excellent price.

These are just a few things for you to consider when buying your weapons. More soon.

I’m Zom TAC and this is something for you to consider.
Stay alert, stay alive.


Ed. Note; A while back we posted an article about buying a gun. Zom TAC has taken this a bit further and added some other considerations. Tell us what you think in the comments! -Eric ZAI.

We see a lot of questions about BOB or extended fight bags which is a good thing because it shows that preparations are being made. However what do you carry on yourself every day? What is the minimum number and types of tools you will need to make it back to your cache of weapons and food? Everyone is different so I thought I would write this article about what I have in my pockets.

Like most men I have a routine when I leave a room. I pat down the front of my pants tapping the contents to make sure I have what I need. Cell phone, wallet, and keys are fairly standard. I carry those things plus four additions I hope you will consider.

Pocket knife
I carry a Kershaw Select Fire pocket knife. I wrote a review of it here. In addition to a nice big sharp blade this knife also has a full-sized driver set built into the handle.

Wire saw
I have chosen the M48 Kommando Survival Saw. There are much better wire saws out there but this one is tiny. I have rolled it up and use a twist tie to keep it contained. Although I will not be cutting firewood or falling trees for a shelter with this thing I can easily use it to shorten wooden handles, cut plastic pipes, or use it as a small length of chain to fasten something together.

I carry a very small multi-tool made by Sheffield Knives. I chose this one because of its quality and size. Sheffield makes great tools and this one is no exception. The pliers are big enough to wrench on most bolts, it has bottle and can openers, a set of screw drivers, and a small blade.

Credit card tool
It is true that the functions that this tool provide are diminished from the functionality of a standard tool set, however all of the functions on this tool are redundant backups to other tools I carry on my person. It is always advisable to carry back-ups and back-ups to back-ups.

I know you are thinking all of this stuff plus my cell phone, wallet and keys makes for some full pockets, but I have found a way to keep it simple. The wire saw fits in the change pocket of jeans. The credit card tool fits inside my wallet. The knife clips to the top of the pocket, keeping it from crowding the bottom. And the multi-tool is small enough to sit in the bottom of my pocket and stay out of the way.

These are the tools I have decided I need to carry everyday, what’s in your pocket?

Even "Ahnold" had questions about which gun to buy in "The Terminator"

I wrote this piece a couple years ago when I was getting asked “what gun should I buy,” quite frequently. Lately, it seems I get asked this more and more, so here it is. It is long winded, but I feel it is informative. If you feel I missed your favorite gun, or didn’t give your favorite gun enough credit, well, that’s just the way it goes. Feel free to comment about it. Obviously, this list isn’t all encompassing. It is intended to give some basic information, and perhaps help the less informed reader think clearly about firearms. Enjoy -Eric

So you want to buy a gun . . .

There has been a lot of talk lately from a bunch of people I know about buying guns. Most of these folks aren’t gun nuts, white supremacists, vigilantes or any other of the liberal tags of people who want guns. They are you average law-abiding citizen who realizes that there is a potential in the very near future to at the very least, not be able to exercise their God given right to own a gun. Worst case scenario, is that these people realize they may need to use a gun to defend themselves in a basic absence of a real government. So I will address several issues that will hopefully spur some thought for the citizen who wants to purchase what is perhaps their first firearm.

First and foremost, one must ask the question of why he or she wants a gun. Is it for home defense? Is it for hunting? Is it for personal defense? Is it for stashing in a 72-hour bag? Is it for holing up in the event of a governmental collapse?  Dependent on how one answers this question determines what kind of gun one should buy. It is pretty rare that one gun can cover all the bases. But there are a few guns or combinations of guns that do all these things fairly well, but not all of them perfectly.

Here is a basic list of several types of firearms and their main uses:

Bolt Action Rifle; Chambered in about every caliber ever made. Can be loaded singly, or with a magazine. Fires one round each time the bolt lever is rotated and locked back. Can be highly accurate. Can be found in numerous configurations from plinker for targets up to a full tactical sniper rifle. Most often used for hunting and precision shooting.

Lever Action Rifle; typically chambered in lighter power calibers because the action is slightly weaker. It was often referred to as the cowboy rifle because it was one of the early American repeating rifles, used by cowboys and eventually the military. It is fairly accurate, and can be fired quickly by actuating the cocking lever for each round fired. Used primarily by cowboy action shooters and re-enactors, but still used for hunting as well.

Semi-Automatic rifle; this is typically a magazine fed rifle, that automatically extracts a fired round and loads another one. Each pull of the trigger fires a round then the weapon is reloaded and locked into battery after every trigger pull. Can be used for hunting, but the paramilitary applications far outweigh hunting. Calibers range from small plinking rounds, all the way up to 20mm.

Pump-Action Shotgun; Much like the lever-action or bolt-action rifle, the pump shotgun requires the user to cycle the action manually after every round is expended to lock the weapon back into battery. Used for hunting, home and personal defense, law enforcement, and paramilitary operations worldwide. For the most part, only one chambering, 12 gauge is worth owning.  Shotguns also come in semi-automatic, break-open single shot, lever and bolt action. Semi and pump should be the only ones looked at for nearly any application.

Single-Action Revolver; the quintessential cowboy gun. Usually holds six rounds in a cylinder and is fired and cycled by a single pull of an external hammer device. Each time the hammer is drawn back, the cylinder rotates to align the next round into the firing cone at the breech side of the barrel. Chambered in calibers ranging from plinkers all the way up to overly-large rifle calibers, and some shotgun calibers. These are used again by re-enactors. Don’t rule them out for hunting small game, and perhaps self defense.

Double-Action Revolver; this is possibly one of the best starter handguns, and is perfectly fitted for home/personal defense, as well as sitting in a 72-hour bag. Similar to the single-action revolver, in that it has a cylinder and hammer and operates much the same way, although instead of cocking the hammer manually, a single pull of the trigger will move the cylinder and hammer into battery simultaneously, then drops the hammer to discharge the round. The design lends itself to utter reliability. It is nearly idiot-proof in that you just point and pull the trigger. It can have a live round under the hammer, and with today’s safety standards, will not go off accidentally even if dropped. It can be used for hunting, and is still used by a large amount of law enforcement officials worldwide. The strength and design of this weapon lends itself to holding some pretty stout calibers.

Semi-Automatic Pistol; Operating much the same way as the semi-auto rifle, this weapon is typically magazine fed, and after cycling the action, each pull of the trigger will fire a round and recycle the action into battery. Caliber sizes are limited by pistol size, and often by the type of round, for instance, most semi-auto pistols do not fire rimmed cartridges like calibers often chambered in revolvers. Can be used for hunting, although calibers often don’t meet legal standards. Most often used for home/personal defense and 72-hour bag applications. Widely considered the end-all weapon for individual defense worldwide.

This is a brief look at various weapon types available. There are obviously quite a few other makes and types out there. This list just covers the basic types available and used today.

The most important things to remember about owning a firearm is that it doesn’t make the man, it is only worth a darn if you know how to use it, and without training with the firearm, one may not even bother purchasing it. An untrained person with the most expensive and high-tech weapons system is no match for a highly trained individual with the most rudimentary gun.

How much training is enough? There are a lot of schools of thought on this. Some feel that a person is not fully trained on their weapon until they have shot 5,000 rounds through it, and can perform immediate action and combat reloads in the dark under duress. Some feel that several hundred rounds a week are sufficient. Truth is, training on a weapon is an individual thing, but one should have sufficient experience with the weapon so that they are comfortable using it in the worst possible situation.

So, what gun is the right gun? The simplest answer is: the one you have in your hand when you need it. But quite a bit more thought should be put into owning a gun than that. It is a pretty serious decision. Once you own a gun, there is a whole new problem set involved with ownership. Where are you going to store it? Is it in a place where it is readily accessible if necessary? Is the potential for it to be used against you there?

There is also the whole morality and thought process surrounding the actual use of said gun to take another’s life to protect your own, or even to stop a violent crime from being committed against a total stranger. These things should not be taken lightly. For some, this problem is enough to keep them from owning a gun.

Once all these issues have been addressed, the time comes to make the actual decision as to which firearm to buy. For this process we will look at the idea of personal/home defense.

There are a lot of combat style (or assault) rifles on the market, as well as pistols and shotguns. The predominant assault rifle on today’s market is the venerable AR-15, arguably the cowboy gun of our generation. That isn’t to say that the AR is the end all of firearms. There are several few other “assault-style” rifles out there.

Quite a few nations use what is commonly referred to as the NATO battle rifle. The NATO BR is basically any variation of the FN-FAL or H&K G3 (known to civilians as the 91 or 93). These rifles are almost always chambered in .308 NATO, or 7.62x51mm. This rifle is used by one government agency or another on just about every continent on the planet.

Also high on this list is the Kalashnikov, or AK-47, AK-74, MAK90, AKM or RPK. This is the soviet answer to the M-16/AR-15, and replaced the reliable SKS in the hands of third world terrorists and communist militaries worldwide. Almost always chambered in 7.62×39, they are cheap, reliable, and ugly. But with perhaps more than 50 million copies worldwide, who can argue with numbers?

Similar to the NATO BR is the Galil. It is the Israeli battle rifle. It combines some of each of the above mentioned weapons, and is seemingly flawless, much like all the weapons Israel makes. It is typically chambered in 5.56 NATO. These are difficult to find in the U.S.these days.

The M14/M1-A is a standard style .308 NATO rifle used by U.S. Military forces since around late Korean War times. It is still fielded today by Soldiers in Iraq, though typically in a one weapon per platoon as an impromptu sniper weapon. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the above mentioned weapons, but it does have an amazing history of reliability, and unmatched accuracy.

Depending on the use of the intended rifle, it is important to weigh the pros and cons.

Here is a short list of the pros and cons of each of the above listed weapons.

AR-15/M-16/M4 is one of the most used, most modified, and possibly one of the best weapons on this list. If one has a lower receiver package, he or she could purchase and attach any number of variations and calibers on the lower ranging from a .556 M4 Style upper, to a .50BMG single shot upper, and just about everything in between. This includes pistol calibers and plinkers. This weapon has often been pooh-poohed on by a lot of armchair quarterbacks based on its initial fielding failures in Vietnam. Some of the features that make this one of the best rifles on the market today are: Drop-free/straight load magazines. This could mean the difference between life and death. It is easy to disassemble and clean. It isn’t finicky about ammunition. Although all weapons should be cleaned, this weapon can really go a long time dirty and still function. It is easy to use at the beginner level. They are usually under $1000.00, and are readily available even at sporting goods stores. Cons about the AR platform are that even though it can run dirty for a long time, once it does get too dirty to function, it won’t function. It isn’t the most accurate weapon on this list, although Marines shoot the weapon 500meters, and most shooting teams in theU.S. use it. Some of the lightweight materials on it make it prone to potential breaking when used outside of just firing the weapon, i.e. hitting someone with it, prying open a door and what not.

AK-47, is a hardy, brick wall of a weapon. It will operate in any condition, and misfeeds are nearly unheard of. One could hit the exposed charging handle with a hammer if necessary and it wouldn’t affect the weapon. The Soviet block models have a threaded on barrel, whereas the Chinese style weapons have a pressed on barrel. The Soviet models, with a bayonet attached, can be thrown as a spear if necessary and they won’t break. Cons for this weapon are that it has loose tolerances and is relatively inaccurate. It is ugly, with a lot of exposed metal that can lead to operator burns on a hot weapon. One of the fundamental flaws with this weapons system, and every other on this list except the AR is the lack of a drop-free magazine. It has a pin-rotate magazine style that can be hard to operate, and leaves the potential for the magazine dropping out during firing.

NATO BR, in any of the configurations, this is a pretty solid weapons system that hits pretty hard due to the .308 chambering. They are well made, and have tight tolerances. The weapon is pretty accurate, and has few functionality issues. Some cons are that current and impending restrictions are making getting not just the rifles, but replacement parts hard to come by. Again, this weapon does not have the drop-free magazine.

The Galil is nearly unavailable these days in the states. It is an impressive piece, but the lack of worldwide use makes it hard to rate. It is something of an amalgamation of ARs, AKs, and NATO BRs. Cons are that things like parts and even magazines are nearly non-existent.

The M1A/M14 is an amazing rifle, proving itself in combat on nearly every continent since the late 1950s. It is robust, simple, and sturdy. It is exceedingly accurate out of the box. The .308 chambering makes it a premier semi-auto sniper system throughout the world. Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock used this weapon extensively duringVietnam, once getting a confirmed kill at nearly 1500 yards. It does suffer from the non-drop free magazine. It is also expensive. Here is a video of me shooting my M1A SOCOM 16.

Recoil should be noted here. Any of the weapons listed with the exception of the AR in .556 have fairly stout recoil that can affect follow-up shots.

Pistols – the above list of the different types of pistols pretty much covers it. There are myriad pistols on the market in countless calibers.  The main thing to keep in mind when choosing a handgun is to think about how much money your life might be worth. Then spend accordingly. Choose a pistol that is comfortable for you to handle, as well as carry on your person for possibly days on end. The caliber range should be somewhere between 9mm at the bottom and .44 magnum on the absolute top end. If going with a semi-automatic, look at what the American military, including special operations groups is currently or has recently carried as a sidearm.

Shotguns – again, the list of manufacturers is pretty large. Purchase one that is not too light, as recoil will be unmanageable. Avoid shotguns in any configuration that is not pump-action or semi-automatic for a home/personal defense weapon. If you are using this piece primarily for hunting or skeet/trap shooting, feel free to explore over/under or side by side break-open type guns. For home/personal defense, one should only purchase a weapon in 12ga. That handles at least 3-inch magnum shells.

Recommendations: This list is obviously biased. Here is the best advice I can give to anyone now looking to buy a gun. If your purpose of buying a gun is because you think you are not going to be able to buy one in the next few years, due to restrictions, then look at buying the “scary” looking guns. Specifically, guns usually three or more of the following: Detachable magazines, flash hider, bayonet lug, pistol grip, carry handle or collapsible stock. Yes, that is everything on an M4/AR-15 and most stuff on an AK and NATO BR as well. So, if you are thinking “fire sale” then run right out and buy one of those.

Keep in mind, that the above mentioned guns are bullet hoses, and eat up ammo at a pretty ridiculous rate. Currently, .308 ammo is running right around .50 per shot, 5.56 is around .30 a shot, and 7.62×39 is about .20 a shot. That being said, .556 and .308 are typically reloadable, non-corrosive ammo, whereas the 7.62×39 is not. If possible future restrictions are what is urging you to buy the firearm, take note that ammunition and reloading supplies are also on the hit list, so stock up now. Also if you believe that you may face a situation in this country where you are on your own, and might be in a position to be pilfering magazines and ammo off the dead/wounded, remember that you will be most likely to get AR-15 ammo and magazines.

One of the best options is what is somewhat referred to as the triple threat. It is a combination of an “assault” rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol.

For the price of a more expensive NATO BR, or even an M1A-M14, one can purchase an AR-15, a solid pump-action shotgun, and a good combat pistol. Such examples are a Remington 870 tactical, which retails for around $300, a berretta M9/92 ($500) and a Bushmaster AR-15 (900). This combination spans all three categories quite well.

Another school of thought is to purchase a handgun and carbine that have interchangeable magazines/ammo, like a Ruger P94 .40 caliber pistol, and a Ruger PC4, .40 caliber tactical carbine. This means one only has to carry one type of ammo, and magazine. Another combo is a Berretta M9 and CX Storm Carbine. These limit any long range shooting, but lessen the burden of multiple cartridges and magazines if one finds themselves on foot for any length of time.

While the idea of an AK or NATO BR seem like the way to go, it is hard to argue with the service record and “bang-for-the-buck” of an AR.

If I was going to go out and start from scratch, I would find a dealer who sellsBushmasterAR’s as a Davidson’s distributor (this option gives a lifetime warranty to the weapon) and purchase an M4 style rifle. I would then buy a Remington 870, and a berretta M9, or Springfield Mil-Spec 1911. I would then purchase at least 1500 rounds for the rifle, 1000 for the pistol, and 500 shells for the shotgun. That would be my base supply (and absolute minimum to have on hand at all times) any shooting done would not be with this ammo. Ammunition, if new or factory reloaded, and stored in a cool, dry place can last for at least five years. Surplus ammo cans can be purchased pretty easily and cheaply, and make great storage.

The 72-hour bag: Also known as a “bug-out bag,” this is a duffel bag, backpack or tote box that is easy to get to and carry. It should contain enough food and clothes to last 72 hours away from the home. Some refer to it as a “go to hell kit” or an “Oh-shit bag.” Aside from food and clothes, it should also have a small but complete first aid kit, binoculars, regional map, any medications needed, at least 100, but preferably 500 dollars, and possibly gold or silver. It is also advisable to have another handgun that one is trained on and familiar with and at least 100 rounds of ammunition in this bag. Make sure it is light enough to carry. Remember, trying to get prepared for an event during the event is like putting on a condom after sex.

Reader “tucosgunwasempty” has an opinion about some rifles. Here is his input:

“Okay, so you wanted my thoughts on guns, more specifically it sounded like you were after my thoughts on things which will likely be banned and also firearms chambered for .308.  Here you go.”

AR10: This can be a good choice.  They are bigger and of course more robust than an AR15/M16/M4 which means that it will be a bit heavier as well.  If one is familiar with the M16 family of weapons then the controls on this are almost identical and there is no learning curve since the manual of arms is the same.  Parts are much more limited than an AR15 for any mods you might want to do and as a result they are also much more expensive.  Try looking for a free-float quad rail for an AR10.  Also magazines are nowhere near as available as they are with the M16 and its derivatives.  What the AR10 does have is .308 power.  It’s a stopper for sure and carries much, much more kinetic energy at much, much greater distances than the 5.56/.223.  The rifle being chambered in .308 combined with the modularity of the AR10 design of an upper and lower receiver means that you can also get uppers in different chamberings within the .308 family of cartridges such as .270 and .243 for a much lower cost than popping for a complete rifle.  I think the biggest supplier of these is

FAL: These certainly have their fans.  This is a solid design in every sense of the word and is popular around the world in countries that were never part of the Warsaw Pact and were never forced to arm themselves with the Kalashnikov.  Also in .308, this thing is big.  Even with the non-NFA minimum of a 16-inch barrel these are big, similar to the AR10 since the length of the .308 cartridge requires a long action and subsequently a long receiver.  There is a fair level of aftermarket accessories for these.  You do have to watch yourself when it comes to any repair parts as recent importation restrictions limit the number of non-US made parts that can be in one of these and you can get yourself into serious trouble even if you inadvertently installed a few metric springs.  I don’t know a whole lot about these, but you can get a lot more information from DSA at

AK: The Avtomat Kalashnikov is popular the world over and I couldn’t disagree more.  My main problem with it is that it is stone-cold butt-ugly.  Sure it’s got a .30-caliber chambering.  Sure there’s tons of aftermarket upgrade stuff.  Sure you can get one cheap (relatively, these days).  Sure they’re still fairly easy to find.  Sure you can get high-capacity magazines for it.  Sure it’s supposed to function flawlessly even if you pour dirt into the action.  But it’s ugly.  I’d rather put a sling on pig’s ass and walk around with that over my shoulder.  Plus, they just do not have the accuracy potential of the AR design or the M1A design, or even the FAL design.   If you put the same amount of time, money, and energy into an AR that it would take to make an AK shoot 1″ at 100 yards, you could shoot a fucking germ a mile away with an AR.  The differences between the AR design and the AK design are interesting from an engineering standpoint and I think that looking at them this way sums up the differences in the two rifles extremely effectively.  The AK was designed to be quickly and cheaply manufactured and then used by large groups with little training in the operation and maintenance of the rifle.  The AR/M16 was designed to be manufactured using (at the time) high-end manufacturing processes and then used by individuals with extensive training in both the operation and maintenance of the rifle.

M1A/M14: This is a well-made, extremely effective design.  It has a robust action and the potential for extreme accuracy with little to no effort.  Out of the box, most models from Springfield Armory can outshoot their owners.  The National Match models have accuracy potential that 99% of the population does not have either the skill or talent to effectivly exploit.  They also don’t have a lot of the features which scare pussies such as pistol grips and folding/collapsing stocks.  This means that sometimes when ban come down the pike the M1A flies under the radar.

There are also a good number of companies that make HK91 knock-offs.  I have no idea which ones, if any, produce quality results.


So there you have it, folks. This is the list as I wrote it a while back when getting asked a lot of the same questions I am getting again lately. Obviously most of this is my opinion and open to interpretation. I hope this helps, or at the very least, opens debate.


Semper Vigilans, Semper Paratus

Zombie Awareness International

Late last year I did something I (and many of you) have done before; I broke the tip off a knife using the blade as a screwdriver. It was my favorite knife: a CRKT M-16.

This review is the result of many hours reading reviews, asking friends what they carried, and going to at least a half dozen stores handling and testing out different knives.

The knife I ended up buying was the Kershaw Select Fire.

This knife also has a full sized driver set built into the handle. It accepts all ¼ inch driver bits and also has built in magnetic holders for 4 bits in the handle.

The knife may be too large for small hands with a 3 3/8 inch blade. Closed it is almost 5 inches long, and is on the heaver side due to the handle being a glass filled nylon.

Kershaw has used a lesser known type of steel called 8CR13MoV. With a slightly higher carbon content than AUS-8 steel it falls between 440b and 440c making a very hard blade that can keep an edge.

I usually hate gimmicky knives but this one fits all of my needs exactly. The driver is big enough to be useful in most applications, the blade is high quality and the handle fits nicely in my hand.

Thanks to Kershaw for making awesome knives.