Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weapon Debate: AXE VS MACHETE

People have been arguing about this for ages, and it remains a hot topic for fellow survivalists who are preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  

You'll be counting on it to fight the living dead within arm's reach! This could be one of the most important weapons in your entire armory.  And please don't forget Rule #7: Buy Quality Stuff!

Let us now examine the two most popular melee weapons for destroying zombies: The Axe & the Machete.

I. Why do we need melee weapons? 
  • guns will run outta ammo, these won't
  • they can be stealthy (gunshots will attract the zombies to your location!)
  • relatively simple to maintain
  • cheaper than guns, easy to replace
  • some can serve as handy tools for daily survival
Every survivor mush be equipped with at least ONE melee weapon.  There's no harm with carrying another one for backup as long as it won't slow you down.  

Train your loved ones to handle these in a SAFE and effective manner.  These are not toys!

II. Know your stuff!

these are the military variant

A. The Machete (and its many sisters)

These are slashing weapons with blade lengths between 33 to 60 centimeters. It is likely that these were short swords adapted to farming or agricultural purposes mostly for tropical cultures.  Its great to have one of these for cutting a path through the jungle or for harvesting various crops. This and its many wonderful incarnations have proven to be deadly weapons throughout history.  The Nepalese Kukri, Indonesian Golok, and the Ginunting from the Philippines are popular examples. 

B. The Axe

porn... for Gimli and Paul Bunyan

Its interesting that the axe may have the opposite origin compared to the machete in that it was originally designed as a tool & then adapted later on to warfare. When early man saw how well axes could mess with trees, it didn't take long for the humble wood chopper to join the sword as a weapon of war.  

III. How do you kill a zombie with these weapons?

With the AXE, you deliver a powerful blow to the top middle area of the zombie's head.  With the right swing, the impact of the heavy axe head will split the skull & destroy the undead gray matter inside.  I endorse the overhead swing to destroy zombies.  Its easy and you can practice this maneuver all day long.  

A MACHETE can destroy a zombie by cutting the head off.  You need to swing the blade in an arc towards the neck.  You can sever the head with enough practice.  The body will go down without the nasty undead brain controlling it, but you will still need to permanently solve the problem by taking destroying the brain with a second blow.  This is important because the head will still try to bite.

IV. Comparison

1. Which can do the job most efficiently?
The Axe seems to be the more likely of the two that can destroy a zombie with one hit if used properly.

2. Which is more durable?
In an undead world, you'll be doing this a lot.  Bone & tissue are tough things, especially if its on a rotting corpse.  Repetitive use will damage the machete more because the blade is long and narrow.  Some machetes are more durable than most, but even the most common hand axe was built to chop into hard substances such as wood.  

3. Which is faster and easier to use?
Speed is important, time is life.  You will certainly be outnumbered so getting things done with a faster weapon will be essential.  

Since most people do not battle with the living dead on a regular basis, it will be hard to compare both weapons.  What I do know is that the axe requires less specialized training for the average person to become proficient with it.  

With an axe, I can train your grandmother into a cool zombie hunter with only a few lessons.  Getting her to take out a zed with a machete will certainly be more complex.

V. My choice:

I must conclude that the simple one-handed axe comes out as my preferred melee weapon. Its cheap, durable, easy to obtain, and the simple training course I've been developing can give many ordinary people the edge against the living dead. 

Stay safe & vigilant!


  1. one word....tomahawk....powerful enough to destroy a zombies brain....light enough to swing often...useful enough to use around your survival camp..especially if you get one with a hammer head on the reverse side...

    1. Absolutely correct... In my opinion, the red simply exists no more practical, efficient, and effective zombie killing tool than the tomahawk... It is light, fast, utterly brutal, effective against both live and dead opponents, easy to maintain, durable, easy to repair, works in close quarters, and has a myriad of other useful applications.... I'd take a well made hawk over any sword/machete you care to mention... (it's worth noting that I do use the hawk/axe as a fighting weapon... Sca).. And I'm far better with it than most swordsmen are with their swords... So, the hawk all day, every day.

    2. hello Dean Waller,

      at the time of this article's writing, I had a very limited collection of melee weapons and the inspiration for this came from my experience from examining what was available at our various shopping malls.

      in recent years, the tactical market boomed in Manila and suddenly we were awash with cold steel, united cutlery, and other similar products. many of which are at a premium price due to the logistics required to make them available in my part of the world. things have settled down a bit, and there are now a lot of choices.

      I always find it really cool to be in contact with people who have a background with traditional weapon-based martial arts such as yourself.

      my country (and this part of the world in general) has a myriad of weapons-based martial arts that could be lumped into the umbrella of Eskrima and Kali. we even have several tribes who have used war-axes in battle for centuries which are similar to the form and function of the Native American Tomahawk. I'll do my best to get to know them better.

      I agree that the hawk is the best. I even got my wife got one for Valentine's sometime back. that was a hilarious unboxing experience!



    3. Hi.... Originally my fascination with the axe/hawk came about because of the misconceptions about it being a clumsy, slow weapon,... It begged the question, if it was so useless, then how did the vikings achieve so much success with it?... This lead me investigate the historical use of axes for fighting.. Where I found that virtually every civilisation has at some point used the axe in war, and more, many "elite" warrior units were axeman,.. This led me to my first purchase, (a cold steel norse hawk, still one of my favourite fighting axes).. And the realisation, that the hawk /axe, can be an incredibly fast and versatile weapon... The application of a few escrima techniques soon showed me the incredible potential.... I think the misconception of the axe comes from the view that the wood axe and the fighting axe are the same thing... Nothing could be further from the truth... In fact? As an experiment.. I recently took on in a "duel" a friend of mine who is an accomplished fencer.... With my trusty old norse hawk (head wrapped for safety) and quickly found that the ability of the hawk to hook his blade allowed me to close on him and "kill" him with comparative ease.... As I said before, in a fight, against anyone, anywhere, the hawk/axe, every time.

  2. yes sir! it really is a wonderfully practical item. acquiring the real deal in our part of the world would be a little challenging, but definitely worth the extra work.

    and I'm sure the lady zombie hunters would appreciate all the extra work we could get done around camp!

  3. Dang.. that folding axe thing is bad ass

  4. A concealed-carry axe, now that's a concept!

  5. I am putting your link for this on my blog. ( job.

  6. hello Zimrian, thank you! I am honored sir!

    As for a mace, I agree that they destroy brains very effectively. Too bad they were not in use in my part of the world. Bashing a coconut with one of those should be a blast.



  7. I would go for the axe of course, since the machete is quite daunting, if I must say so. Killing zombies during our past time is no match when we're battling the great outdoors. So, I agree with you, go for quality AND trusted brands that have been here for years. Since our survival depends on this important tools, I sometimes can't understand why some people go for the cheap varieties - opting to save money but not their lives! I've been reading a lot of reviews about axes and machetes and this is a great link I wanted to share

    1. you brought up an excellent point: survival is a daily thing. a dedicated weapon is fantastic but the essense of the machete and axe is they were both born to do both things.

      I truly appreciate a dedicated zombie slaying weapon however having a single multi-purpose item on my hip weighs much lighter than a woodcraft axe PLUS a battle axe on my back.

      I'm man enough to say that I'm not as tough as Gimli or Paul Bunyan.

      Cheers to ya Alice :-)