In recent years zombies have invaded our culture, and the shooting world is no exception. Need proof? DPMS has been hosting its Outbreak Omega zombie shootout for years in Minnesota and has drawn hundreds of participants. The shoot actually started as a joke. "It was always an inside joke, people would ask us 'why do you need an AR?' and we'd say 'to kill zombies with,'" said Adam Ballard, project manager of DPMS.
But now it's turned into a bona fide event that draws sponsors and shooters from all over the country.
To celebrate this new subculture of shooting, we put together a tounge-in-cheek gallery explaining the 20 shooting tips you need to know to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Click next if you want to live!
-Photos by: Stephen Maturen
Lesson 1: Head Shots Only
The only way to stop a zombie with a gun is by shooting it in the head. The average size of a zombie skull is about 22 inches tall by 18 inches wide so that calls for some accurate shooting. Conveniently, this is about the same size as steel targets used in shooting tournaments. Hope you've been putting in time at the range.
Lesson 2: Roll Heavy
The more guns the better. A zombie attack will offer targets from 1 yard to 100 yards in a variety of shooting environments and situations. So, you're going to want at least a rifle, shotgun and a pistol. To carry all of these guns you're going to have to get creative, like converting a baby stroller into a gun carriage.
Lesson 3: Shoot Fast
If you want to live you're going to have to shoot quickly. Think light-kicking semi-autos here. One of the biggest factors in shooting quickly and accurately is being able to manage recoil, so leave your high-powered bolt guns at home.
Lesson 4: Engage Multiple Targets
Zombies travel in hordes, which means multiple targets. Take out the targets closest to you first (because they pose the most immediate threat) and then work your way back.
Lesson 5: Ammo Up
Each zombie slayer at this event sends about 300 rounds down range in a day. You need to be able to keep all those shells organized and accessible. Tactical vests and extra magazines are good, but a modified wheelchair works too (more on this later). Some guys simply wheel their ammo around in a big cooler.
Lesson 6: Hunt in a Pack
Join your fellow zombie killers to increase your odds of survival. Communication is key here. Designate which targets you're going to engage and which ones your partner is going to engage. Or team up with a spotter to take out zombies at long range. Wearing matching uniforms like this crew isn't necessary, but it will make you look cooler.
Lesson 7: Master the Scatter Gun
When the zombies close in on you, you're going to need a tactical shotgun with a short barrel and large magazine. The old standby Remington 870 Tactical works, but a semi-auto like the Benelli Tactical (shown here) is faster.
Lesson 8: Keep Your Form
It's easy to let your form slip after a couple hours of shooting. Don't. The first thing that usually starts to go when you get tired is your concentration, so stay focused.
Lesson 9: Identify Your Targets
Is that a zombie or just an old guy with a limp? You need to be able to acquire your targets extremely quickly in a zombie attack, which means low-power optics, red dots and open sights. If you're shooting with a scope, leave it on low power in case you're ambushed at close range. You can always crank it up for longer shots.
Lesson 10: Go Light
The walking dead don't have very thick skulls (after all, they're made out of rotting flesh and bones) so you don't need a .50 cal to bring them down. A .243, .223 or .22 is perfect. The lighter rounds will allow you to shoot longer, faster and cut down on flinching as you send hundreds of bullets down range.
Lesson 11: Get an AR
Why an AR is the perfect zombie gun:
1) Extremely versatile and easy to modify
2) High ammo capacity
3) Easy to shoot
4) Light recoil
Lesson 12: Save Your Empties
When the dead rise from their graves, ammo companies won't last very long. You're not going to be able to just stroll into Wal-Mart and pick up a case of shotgun shells. So save your empty shell casings and stockpile as much gun powder as you can. It's time to get resourceful.
Lesson 13: Modify Your Gun
If you're going to go down in a blaze of glory, do it in style. Check out the safety selector on this 5.56, it apparently belongs to a zombie-killing pirate. Beware the Jolly Roger! Cool gun modifications are the name of the game in a zombie outbreak.
Lesson 14: Bring Your Armor
An assault from a zombie is going to be pretty straightforward: it's going to try to maul you, usually in the face, neck and chest. Some light body armor will help, but even a minor bite on the wrist can turn you from a good guy into a walking dead guy. So, it's nice to have a machete on hand too.
Lesson 15: Don't Shoot The Friendlies
The only way to stop more zombies from popping up is to save the friendlies. Your shotgun isn't going to do you much good in this zombie hostage situation. Time to draw the pistol and make one good shot.
Lesson 16: Fight'em Everywhere
Basic zombie biology tells us that zombies are already dead, kind of, so they don't need oxygen. This means you might have to fight them from a tippy old john boat.
Lesson 17: Have a Close Quarters Weapon
When the flesh eaters close in and all hope seems lost, go to your ace in the hole, the Black and Decker Tactical Chainsaw. Make sure you include the splash plate to keep the zombie fluids from getting into your eyes nose or mouth.
(More on this later).
Lesson 18: Defend the Base
If you are able to escape the hordes for long enough, eventually you'll find a survivors' encampment. The hideout will probably be a decrepit old cabin tucked away in the wilderness, but if you're lucky, you'll find a nice, family-friendly campsite on a freshly cut lawn, complete with camp chairs, Igloo coolers and a standing fire pit.
Lesson 19: There Will Be (Fake) Blood
Even though zombies are dried up corpses, they still manage to bleed … a lot. (The targets for this tournament were donated by Champion, Birchwood Casey and Zombie Ammo. The Zombie Ammo targets came with pink mist bladders, which are an ink bladders you put behind a regular paper target. They spray on impact).
Lesson 20: It's All in Good Fun
This grizzled old Cowboy Action shooter/Zombie killer gets it: The point of a zombie shootout is to have a good time. Almost more people come to this event as spectators than as shooters. Why? Because it's fun to watch. It's like Halloween, but with guns.
"This is about having fun … You just can't take zombie shooting seriously," said Adam Ballard, Product Manager for DPMS.