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?”

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Gunwriter and IDPA master Chris Christian takes a turn at Zombie targets with one of his S&W M&Ps.

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.
By Massad Ayoob

Kenn Blanchard
P.O. Box 2
Upper Marlboro, MD 20773
(888) 675-0202

3625 W. Old Potash Hwy, Grand Island, NE 68803
(800) 338-3220

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Kenn Blanchard’s zombie targets are fun and profits go to a good cause.
Bluetooth and SmartPhone make zombie targets more realistic, says Mas.

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Zombie Max ammo. It’s a novelty product, for goodness sake!

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6 thoughts on “Night Of The Living Zom-B-S

  1. Robert

    I just finished reading “Night of the Living Zombies” You state one could have trouble defending themselves in court having used zombie ammo and that psychologists would have a field day. Yet, recently Dept.of Homeland Security(oxymoron)had an Expensive “Train as you Fight” scenario using the Zombie theme. Shooting unarmed ,Men,Women and Children who appear injured(Zombies don’t exist)seems rather reminiscent of some previous historical Genocides in American history.(Indians,civil war) I’m just saying.Sounds like HLS needs counseling.

  2. Mr.machinist

    Thank you so much Mr. Ayoob for manning up and writting a serious response to this shamefull and irresponsible trend.

    I have quit buying magazines and gun and ammo brands that promote this immature mentality and have also quit playing the video games that glorify such sensless violence.

    I have taken self defense training for years and find NOTHING entertaining or amusing about shooting any living creature, I do so only to be responsable and prepared.

    It’s very refreshing to see a gunwriter not whore himself out for advertising dollars for a change, good for you Mr. Ayoob and God bless.

  3. Beantown

    Excellent article and I will be sure to pass it along. I am shocked how the zombie fascination has infiltrated the gun culture. Rubbish like this reflects poorly on the legitimacy of gun ownership. As respectable and responsible gun owners, we need to let manufacturers know how we feel about this exploitation. This type of marketing brings in new customers, but is it fostering responsible gun ownership? I think not. It is attracting customers that purchase potentially deadly weapons because of a social trend based on complete fantasy.

    All upstanding citizens have the right to own firearms, but it also comes with great responsibility. Printing zombie targets and producing guns and ammunition marketed toward “Zombie Eradication” is irresponsible. It is bad enough that movies and video games glorify gun ownership without enforcing safety and responsibility. These manufacturers that have jumped on the zombie marketing bandwagon are turning a legitimate sport that is already subject to controversy into a video game. I love a good zombie movie, and I am a big fan of the Walking Dead TV show, but we need to separate reality from fantasy in shooting sports.

    As a society we need to make sure we are not blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. As responsible gun owners we need to make sure we are stewards for such efforts.

  4. JackB

    I wish the Zombie meme was the worst embarrassment for responsible gun owners. I can’t believe the losers who show up to be turned away at my supposedly upscale indoor range. One droppants would-be thug had a loaded glock in the pocket of his oversized jeans

  5. Mike

    While gun ownership and use should be taken seriously. I find little difference between the scenarios presented in idpa, and the “zombie” matches. In both scenarios you are presented with one ore more targets that must be neutralized. The targets don’t shoot back in either game, and the chances of five armed assailants attaching me in real life are nearly as slim as five zombies attacking me. My point is take gun safety seriously be responsible, but have fun and don’t stop others from having fun because its not your cup of tea.

  6. WONT

    MR Ayoob:

    Much respected for making light of a childish trend in a sport not intended for children, but!

    Adding 2 VERY IMPORTANT things to ur already excellent article –

    1) Manufacturer’s “ZOMBIE” ammo is usually their top-of-the-line Defensive stuff remarketed as “ZOMBIE”. Didnt realize this until I started comparing.

    2) I have some “zombie” stuff. NOT because Im SUPER-COOL but because its the only damm stuff I could find “equivalent” to what I’d normally buy but has since disappeared from the on-line/store shelves!! e.g. 12ga. TAP-FPD… maybe U, with LAW connections can find some -no doubts- but the only thing I could find was their stupid “equivalent” (at the time) -their ZOMBIE TAP – same-difference!

    Bottom Line: With the FED buying up EVERY OUNCE of the HP ‘good stuff’ -shorting the market, us “civilians” just gotta buy what’s available – when it IS!! PERIOD!! …pay no mind to the nonsense along the way.

    know what I mean?!! : / {grrrr…}

    PS: NOW – even most of the “zombie” stuff is gone!!!


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