These days, everyone wants to talk about what they would do if there was a zombie apocalypse. Of course, this question cannot really be answered without first answering a few other questions: are these slow zombies (Night of the Living Dead) or fast zombies (28 Days Later), fresh bodies only (Night of the Living Dead) or ancient corpses (Zombie 2) or even evil Knights Templar (Tombs of the Blind Dead), flesh-eaters (Night of the Living Dead) or brain-eaters (Return of the Living Dead), and is this a case of “kill the head, kill the ghoul” (Night of the Living Dead) or do all the severed body parts keep coming back for more (Evil Dead)?
You see, I was a zombie movie fan 10 or 15 years before everybody else was, and one thing any longtime zombie movie fan can tell you is that there is no standardized set of “rules.” But for the sake of discussion, let's assume a classic “Night of the Living Dead” zombie apocalypse scenario: slow zombies, fresh bodies only, flesh-eaters, kill the head, kill the ghoul.
In this situation, what kind of weapon do you want? You can go with a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun, a machete, a sword or a club of some kind. Here's what I think about each option:
Club- heads don't break as easily as you might think from watching zombie movies.
Pistol- most people don't shoot very accurately under pressure.
Rifle- this is really a long-distance weapon, and zombies are a close-distance threat.
Sword- good for chopping off zombie heads, but cutting effectively with a sword requires prior training and swords need a lot of TLC if you're carting them around as you wander through the zombie-infested wastelands.
Machete- nice wide blade makes for relatively easy chopping, but blood splatter could lead to infection. In most zombie movies, the tiniest bite means inevitable doom but getting drenched head to toe in zombie blood is no problem at all. However, that makes no sense so I think we can assume blood splatter would be an issue. Still, you need an option for when your gun is out of ammo, and machetes are widely available and low-maintenance.
Shotgun- close-distance, user-friendly, head-blasting power! You don't need to be a sharpshooter to blast a zombie's head off with one of these.
As you can see from this analysis, the ideal combo in case of a zombie apocalypse is a shotgun with machete back-up. Now you know!