Having just celebrated Halloween, I got to thinking about the best handgun for a zombie apocalypse. Because a zombie apocalypse can happen at any moment, I’m not going to go into detail about your long gun options. After all, it’s not like most people are toting around their AR-15 in their daily routine. Plus, this site is about concealed carry so it only makes sense to focus on the best handgun for zombie defense.

Rick Grimes may opt to use a six shooter during the zombie apocalypse, but I’d much rather pack an automatic. Death by zombie is rarely the result of a lone zombie – unless the attack is an ambush (think Zombieland). Additionally, World War Z is an exception because those zombies are freakishly strong and fast.

It’s time to face facts, most automatic reloading pistols have magazines that carry double or even triple that of their revolving counterparts. If I’ve learned anything, more bullets are better.

In the midst of a zombie horde, the last thing I want to be doing is reloading. But, if I must reload my handgun, reloading a magazine is much easier (and faster) than using a speed reloader. Manipulating the ejector rod to dump spent casings and aligning cartridges with the chambers makes reloading a chore. And when seconds matter…well you get the idea.

Revolvers aren’t without merit. After all, revolvers are bricks and can be used as a melee weapon when things get real thick. However, if you find yourself in that situation you’ve got big trouble. Therefore, automtics are the best handguns for a zombie apocalypse.

Caliber Choice For The Undead

Ah yes, let’s talk about bullets. There are a few considerations when selecting the right caliber handgun for the zombie apocalypse. First, common knowledge dictates that head-shots are a must to drop a zombie. Second, eventually you’ll need to scavenge ammunition (or reload spent casings) no matter how much ammo you have in reserve. Finally, you need a round that will reliably discharge.

Penetration & Caliber Choice for the Zombie Apocalpyse

Since head shots are required to stop a zombie, you’ll need a round that can reliably penetrate the skull. The NIH wrote extensively on bullet penetration with regard to humanely killing livestock and small game.

“…the .22 rimfire with 145 J [joules] will dependably penetrate the human skull and not exit, whereas the 9 mm Parabellum 459 J will invariably perforate the human skull under similar conditions”

Although livestock and small game are anatomically different from humans, it was the best I could do. However, the results show that a .22lr round was effective in most cases. But, the results were less than promising for my peace of mind.

“In a study using a .22 rimfire in an Equine Infectious Anemia control program, firing from 1.5 m, 3 of 8 equidae were killed with a single shot […] targeting variation was sufficient to explain the system failure”

Although a horse’s skull is thicker than a human, you still better be a crack shot to ensure penetration. Therefore I’d recommend a 9mm round, at a minimum, for zombie defense.

Ammo Availability During A Zombie Apocalypse

Many people take the availability of ammo for granted, as evidenced by the recent shortage of popular calibers. Therefore, common calibers are going to be more readily available to scavenge. Sure, you will probably be able to locate some .22lr because it’s a popular caliber for plinking.

Because it is used by a majority of military forces, there should be an abundance of 9mm rounds. However, 9mm NATO rounds are over-pressured compared to the 9×19 parabellum ammo sold in the civilian market. Therefore, make sure your handgun can handle this additional pressure when selecting a handgun for the zombie apocalypse.

Another option for big caliber folks is the .45 acp. Because the 1911 is one of the most popular handgun models, chances are higher that you’ll find another gun enthusiasts’ stockpile with this caliber ammo. However, it probably won’t be as plentiful as 9mm during a zombie apocalypse.

Will It Go BANG When You Need It?

This section is going to be real short. During the zombie apocalypse you want a round that has the highest probability of firing. Although my opinion is based on anecdotal evidence, I would avoid rimfire ammunition. In my experience, common malfunctions are far more frequent in rimfire ammo when compared to centerfire cartridges. The last thing you want to hear when a zombie is trying to gnaw on your neck is “click.”

Reliability = Zombie Survival

Every gun owner knows — or should know — that maintenance is key to proper firearm operation. You won’t know how much free time you’ll have while dodging zombies. Therefore, you’ll need a handgun that is easy to maintain. Field stripping should be accomplished without the need for tools, bonus if you can strip the handgun down further with common tools.

Additionally, you don’t want a “prima donna” gun that’s finicky about what ammunition works. After all, you’ll be scavenging ammo. You don’t want a handgun that relies on Remington 124gr ammo as a condition of reliably firing!

Finding Replacement Parts In The Apocalypse

Speaking of maintenance, you’ll probably be doing a fair amount of shooting to fend off hordes of the undead. Inevitably, your gun will require replacement parts. Therefore, it is advisable to pick a handgun that will have parts readily available.

Unless you come across a gunsmith shop that hasn’t been raided, chances are you’ll need to scavenge gun parts too. Thus, easily finding parts will be directly tied to the number of a particular model of handgun in circulation.

Additionally, you’ll also need to consider replacement magazines for your gun. Theoretically, you’ll be reloading in a pinch and won’t have time to keep track of your magazines like you do on the range.

The Best Handguns For The Zombie Apocalypse

1. Glock 17/19

best handgun for the zombie apocalypse

Glock pistols are incredibly reliable, and exactly what you want from a handgun during the zombie apocalypse. The rugged design was adequate for military applications. In addition, to being battle tested, this makes the Glock 17 widely circulated.

Another great perk of the Glock 17 is the versatility. For instance, Glock 17 mags can be used in a 19 model. Having magazines that are useful in more than one handgun will come in handy during the end of the world.

2. Sig Sauer P320

one of the best handguns for zombie defense

Another fine choice for a zombie hunter would be the Sig Sauer P320, whose modular design makes scavenging parts easy. If something breaks, just find a part that works and you can easily swap out the trigger, barrel, or various other components to get your pistol operational.

Like the Glock, Sig Sauer’s P320 is still in service today. Military application, chambered in common round, and easy to maintain make this the #2 best handgun for the zombie apocalypse.

Parting Shots

Well, that about covers it. Hopefully this helped you select the best handgun for a zombie apocalypse. Although it’s not a “science” I’ve tried to justify my picks to help you survive when the end of the world hits. Nobody wants being munched on by a swarm of zombies to be their final memory. If you found this content informative or entertaining, please share with your networks it helps me out a ton!

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