Core77 isn't the only one eager to help you prepare for the end of days, many exhibitors here at the 2012 SHOT Show are marketing gear specifically towards would-be zombie hunters. From Armageddon cleaning kits to bayonet-fitted anti-zombie rifles, this SHOT Show is all about the undead.
Reporting by Barbara Eldredge
According to armorer DoubleStar Corp, "In a post-apocalyptic world, red dots and holographic sights will not be a viable solution. Technology is dead, and the undead are coming after you. You aren't afraid. You're prepared. Armed with your DSC Zombie Slayer, the mobs of the undead will meet their match." This rifle is easy to shoot and its attachable bayonet is sure to come in handy when the world's ammo runs out.
Otis Zombie Cleaning System
Otis Technologies recently launched its Zombie Cleaning System for 5.56mm rifles, 9mm, .40 &.45 caliber pistols, and 12-gauge shotguns. Suppressing a chuckle, one fella at Otis told me that it is important to keep one's firearms clean and ever-ready for the apocalypse.
Gerber's Apocalypse Kit, as seen on AMC's Walking Dead
Gerber has even teamed up with the hit TV show Walking Dead to produce their sold-out Apocalypse Kit. The kit's canvas roll bag contains two styles of Gator Machete, a Camp Axe, Parang (the #1 selling product on Gerber's website), and three styles of knives. Gerber's senior brand manager Jason Michelotti told me that their zombie marketing has "had a huge impact on our business and enabled us to reach a new consumer. It has enabled us to stress the attributes of preparedness and survival." In addition to all of their zombie fighting tools, at the Gerber booth, you can kill a real live zombie! Well, you can pretend to kill one, anyway.
There are also an array of zombie-themed targets. In addition to zombie-printed paper targets, Zombie Industries makes a gruesome-looking manikin zombie target that bleeds when hit. They were quite popular at the range yesterday.
So what's the deal? Why are people suddenly so interested in killing zombies? My theory is that some people are uncomfortable with the implications of firing at human-shaped targets. Zombies are human shaped without being human. Framing gun practice as zombie-killing practice brings a level of fantasy and whimsy to the firing range that goes beyond playing Rambo. I ran my idea past Brant Fitzgerald, a video game designer at Undead Labs (they're gearing up to launch the zombie-themed game Class3). He gave it some thought. "For me growing up, using guns was a way to put food on the table," he said. "So many video games now put guns in the hands of twelve year olds and send the message that killing people is a way to have fun. In our game [Class3] you aren't allowed to kill people, only zombies."
What do you think? Are you more likely to go to the range if your target is an emissary of the undead?
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Barbara Eldredge is a design writer and researcher living in New York City. An MFA candidate in SVA's Design Criticism program, Eldredge has spent the past year exploring the relationship between design, guns, museums and morality for her forthcoming master's thesis.