The Personal Record of Martin Ashton

What would it be like to watch a zombie outbreak progress to the level of zombie apocalypse?  Writer Justin Haxby is answering that in the The Personal Record of Martin Ashton , a blog-style serial story that leads up to his forthcoming novel Sanctuary.

Unlike most of the zombie fiction out there, this story assumes that the outbreak happens in a world where people know about the threat of zombies.  Characters even talk about what they’ve learned from reading books from Max Brooks.  We’re excited to see the story as it is developing, and encourage you to read along with us.


Why You Need To Get LASIK Eye Surgery

Time Enough At Last - Credit: WikipediaHow many of you out there are familiar with the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough At Last“? It is about a bank teller bookworm who through a series of global events ends up being one of the few people left on earth. As he wanders around he finds a library with all the books he could ever read, but tragically trips and breaks his glasses. Continue reading

Do Not Rely On Unsustainable Resources

Many people have seen movies such as Zombieland, I Am Legend, Mad Max, and The Road. If you have not, I suggest you stop reading this and rent them before you no longer have the electricity (due to the inevitable zombie apocalypse) to power your DVD player. In these movies as well as one of my favorite series, The Walking Dead, you see the survivors driving around in cars and using guns. That is all good and well if the breakout has just recently happened. And if cars and guns are what you need to make it through the initial event, then by all means do so. However, there is going to come a point where you will run out of the resources we as a civilization have become accustomed to over our history on this planet. Continue reading

Weapon Review: The Reaper

Today we at ZPDN are very excited to bring you our initial review of one of the most lethal blades we’ve ever seen: The Reaper from Zombie Tools!

One look at their site and you’ll realize that the guys over at ZombieTools are kindred spirits in our fight against the shambling undead. These guys take the necropocalypse seriously, and they have the weapons to prove it. We’ve been dying to get our hands on these death-dealing devices for a long time now.

Here’s how Zombie Tools describes The Reaper:

This 4-foot tool is truly an instrument of death. Cut from quarter-inch spring steel, she barely notices when you hit bone. With black leather wrapped around the handholds of the aluminum slab grip, this 6 pound piece of potential violence makes one ooze badassery just holding it.

My wife’s birthday came up, and if a present of a 4-foot instrument of death doesn’t say “Happy Birthday!” I don’t know what does. My wife has had her eye on The Reaper for more than a year now, and this was the perfect opportunity to arm please her on her big day.

The first thing we noticed about The Reaper is the weight. This blade feels heavy. This isn’t like a Cold Steel sword; this thing is solid from tip to tip. (And please don’t get us wrong; we like Cold Steel blades. We just like this one so very much more.) One of the reasons The Reaper is so heavy is that it has a full tang blade, meaning that the metal in the blade runs all the way through the weapon – all 4 feet! This is one way to differentiate real blades from showy props. The last thing you want in the zombie apocalypse is a blade with a rat-tail tang. The grip, made from aluminum, blends almost seamlessly with the tang of the blade. The handle is almost the perfect width for my wife’s hands, and fits very comfortably in mine.

Detail of the Reaper's blade - notice the spatter pattern

The blade of The Reaper has a very solid feel, and very little flex or bend even under severe pressure. The blade is thick enough that you don’t need to worry about it breaking under a twisting pressure. We also love the decoration on the blade – it adds just the right distressed look to the blade. Don’t let that distressing fool you – this blade is more solid than any we’ve handled before. On the handle this distressing takes on a

Detail of the Reaper's hilt. This thing was made to fit your hands. The distressing grooves actually improve your grip!

dimensional quality, actually digging small groves into the aluminum. When we first unboxed it, my fear was that this distressing could perhaps cut the wielder’s hand during normal use, but after rubbing my hand over the handle my fears quickly vanished. The guys at Zombie Tools clearly made this weapon to be handled, and there are no burrs or jagged spots on the handle at all. The distressing grooves actually add to the grip of the blade, making it easier to handle, especially when your hands are wet.

Here's a photo with the Kydex sheath on.

The black Kydex sheath, which covers just the blade, is better than I expected. Even though the sheath stays on the blade quite securely by itself, my wife plans to secure this even further using a clasp near the bottom of the sheath in order to ensure that it stays in place during practice with the weapon.

That brings me to another point – it would be wicked awesome to be able to get a training blade appropriate for drills and workouts – something not sharp, nor very pointed at the end. The real thing begs to be drilled with, given its weight, but it is dangerous enough that I don’t want to spar with it. A training “blank” with about the same dimensions and as heavy or heavier than the real thing would be the perfect training tool.

I’m a big fan of customizing weapons, and another customization that would fit The Reaper well is to be able to attach the sheath to the blade via a paracord lanyard. Thus when you need to pop it off to lop the heads of a mob of stenches, the sheath will stay attached to the blade and won’t get lost in the fracas. The other customization the blade begs for is a carry strap. This blade is likely longer than your rifle, and it’d be only natural to strap it on your back. The Kydex sheath is threaded with eyelets, so these will be useful in making some of these customizations.

The Reaper really lives up to its picture – this thing is hardcore to the bone. You know that game people play where they say:

“Look to your left. The first object there is now your weapon in the zombie apocalypse. How screwed are you?”

(What, you’ve never played that game? You clearly have never been to my house.) I want to keep this Reaper next to me all the time now. But my wife isn’t letting go of her new baby any time soon, so I’d better get myself my own blade from Zombie Tools. Hmmm … the Hellion sure looks awesome!

One last thing we want to mention is the killer customer service we received from Zombie Tools. Blades this awesome take time, and with Christmas back-orders, I was expecting to get the blade a few weeks after my wife’s birthday. The guys there worked their tails off to get this blade to me by her birthday (thanks Chris!) and they were awesome to work with. These guys care about their craft, a point made clearly when you heft their blades. We hope they keep outfitting mankind to deal with the undead threat for years to come.

We’re trying to work out how best to test out the Reaper’s cutting power in a weapons test, and as soon as we figure that out we’ll bring that to you. Until then, Zombie Tools gets the ZPDN seal-of-approval!

The verdict: 5 out of 5

A 5 out of 5!

What’s the best zombie-slaying weapon you’ve ever encountered? Tell us about it in the comments!

Colder versus Warmer Climates

Zombie on a skating rink

Ice skating rink = not cold enough!

If you are one of the lucky few who survive the initial zombie outbreak, do not pat yourself on the back yet. Yeah you might be good with a hatchet and maybe you dispatched a handful of walkers with a shovel, but by no means does that make you a battle-worn veteran. Your main objective is to stay alive and not just minute to minute or hour to hour. You want to maximize your chances for long term survival. Most people concern themselves with what supplies and weapons they need and not necessarily where they are going to setup their base camp.

There is only so much ammo that you can find as well as supplies such as clean clothing, food, and fresh water. With the scarcity of these resources the best thing you can do is put yourself in a position to use the least amount possible. That is why the climate you choose to setup shop is so critical. Let’s say for example you are located somewhere in middle America when the you-know-what hits the fan. Heading north into Canada or west to the Colorado Rockies will greatly enhance your chances of making it through alive.

Besides food spoiling faster, flesh rots faster, you sweat more, and smells all around are much stronger in warmer climates. If you find yourself in Miami during the summer and come across a group of walkers, they are going to smell you out in a heartbeat. You will be the needle they find in the proverbial haystack. If you manage to find a way to cover up your human-smell, there are other things to be worried about such as dehydration, heat stroke, and fast moving zombies.

You are going to go through water quicker in warmer temperatures than you would in colder weather. Most of the bottled water will be gone shortly after word spreads of the outbreak. Water is the most essential thing we need to survive, so why put yourself in an area where water is even more scarce? I think you might be able to find sun-tan lotion on the shelves in the stores you ransack, but between the lack of water and heat you face, you are setting yourself up to be someone’s snack.

Now let’s say you take our advice and head to colder weather. For starters you will use less water. If you need to find water there is a much better chance at melting some snow or finding a mountain stream. Now if you go up to higher altitudes, say 5,000ft+, you will need to consume more water than if you were at sea level. However, with the access to more possible fresh water sources, the higher altitude should not play a major factor.

One might argue that you need to have more survival clothing and than you would in warmer climates. This is definitely true, but if you are reading this we know that you have been preparing and stocking up. The extra clothing that you have on and the cold weather will significantly reduce the olfactory glands rotting in the zombie’s face. Zombies that cannot track you by their sense of smell is a very good thing.

There is another benefit to the colder temperatures and that is slower moving zombies. The rotting flesh of the zombies will be exposed directly to the bitter cold, which will cause their festering muscles to tighten up and not be as flexible. Slower zombies means better chance at getting away or taking them out with your shotgun. Your chances of survival long term are increased since many cold weather locations have a lower population. Less people equals less zombies. If you can get to higher altitudes with rockier terrain, that will give you another one up against the zombies since they are not known for their climbing skills.

So right after reading this I will assume that you will be breaking out your maps to search out the best cold climate locations and heading over to the local outfitters to pickup an extra pair of thermals.

Practice up and get $10 off Zombie Industries Bleeding Zombie Target for being a ZPDN reader!

I am pretty sure that you wouldn’t be reading this unless you had at one time contemplated what the world would be like if it were infested with zombies. So in the spirit of preparing for the inevitable- we searched for ways that you can prepare for what you may have to do in the necropocalypse. What we found was awesome:

Yes- the target does actually bleed. You can find out more about them on the manufacturer’s site at They even have a hollow space in the chest cavity and the head for an exploding target, like these.

And oh yes, did I mention that you can get $10 off the price just for being a ZPDN reader? Oh yeah. Be sure to use coupon code ZPDNET when you checkout at and start your zombie training!

And just to get you excited, here is FPSRussia shooting some with a 300 blackout.

The Alpha Strategy

If you have ever read about financial planning that will stand the test of time, maybe heard some of Dave Ramsey’s stuff, or spend any time on, you have probably heard of The Alpha Strategy, by John Pugsley.

This book, which is only about 100 pages long and which has become far more relevant these days for explaining financial strategy to even a young audience- used to be available online, distributed for free by John Pugsley himself at the Unfortunately though- it has recently come to my attention that this link is no longer valid. That is why has decided to continue to host this book for free download for as long as we are able:

The Alpha Strategy