A few years ago it seemed like the gun world had become completely infected with zombie apocalypse fever. It wasn’t just niche manufacturers–major players in the gun industry were rolling out flagship zombie-themed guns and gun accessories–anything that could be zombified turned almost overnight.
Everyone had to have something to sell to the horde of zombie-crazed fans. EOTech developed a contagion reticle for their XPS-2 series, Hoppes was cranking out TEOTWAWKI Elite Cleaning Kits and it seem like every gun maker had something splattered with chemical waste-green and rotting blood-red highlights to capitalize on the Romero-reborn phenomena.
All of this was inspired by an outbreak of zombie entertainment. Movies and television including 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, and even the Others, the White Walkers of Game of Thrones have re-imagined the zombie concept, proving that there is no story that can’t be made better–or worse–with the addition of a tireless, insatiable existential threat. Even real-world agencies had skin in the game, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
It seemed like no one was immune to the fever. Zombie comedies, zombie video games, even zombie romance novels devoured hearts and minds. It was always inevitable: zombies were going to come after guns.
The craze was maddening, even infuriating. People rallied against the zombie invasion and stamped it out. Guns are not toys, get this crap out of here, I’ll never buy another product from you guys again. Gun owners have spoken.
As if the products themselves were infected, the zombie guns phenomena was eradicated.
Today it’s almost as if nothing happened. Sure, Hornady continues to make their ever-popular Zombie Max ammo, and zombie bleeding targets will always have a market, but big names including Bushnell, Mossberg, Ruger and SIG have quietly contained their undead-themed product lines.
There are two reasons why this is only going to be a short-term purge. Most importantly, the dead can never truly be killed.
Right now the world seems focused on more important things. Election fever has taken over, national and world politics are the focus of gun owners and the gun industry. Personal security, national security, and peace of mind are all getting rocked. Things are decidedly more serious today and they will continue to be serious for many months, and perhaps years, to come.
Eventually, people will need a break from this, too.
The zombie phenomenon will never go away. It will continue to shamble and lurk just beyond the horizon, and you don’t have to go far to see it continue on outside of mainstream channels, where despite outliers like The Walking Dead and Z Nation, people seem to be giving zombies a pass.
In fact, people will pay a subscription to see the zombie experiment endure. Real money. This is the “Zombie Go Boom” or ZGB Network.
“When the zombie apocalypse arrives, will you survive? Zombie Go Boom is a live action zombie series that is essentially a combination of Deadliest Warrior, Mythbusters, and The Walking Dead,” explains ZGB.
“Using real-life settings we put weapons and everyday objects to the test to show you what will kill the undead and help you survive the zombie apocalypse.”
The ZGB Network is home to original short films, “real world” zombie elimination techniques, and general zombie nerd fandom. It is user-supported with subscriptions running $5 per month.
Available for free with a two-week trial, the ZGB network is available streaming anytime, anywhere, to you laptop, tablet or smartphone.
The continued popularity of zombie entertainment, on the big screen or home-brewed, guarantees that zombies will stay contemporary and relevant even as they fade from the world of guns and gear. For better or worse, the zombie craze is only taking a pause, just lagging behind, waiting for the next outbreak to lurch back onto the gun scene.
When they do make their return to guns–it’s only a matter of time before the next craze, driven by new shows, movies, games and nostalgia for the last craze all crash together–manufacturers will have to keep a couple of things in mind if they don’t want the gun and zombie enthusiast communities from turning on them again.
Most of the stuff that flooded the market was, let’s be honest, half-assed. Companies churned out products without any appreciation or understanding of their zombie fan base. Many followed the “shrink it and pink it” model to market firearms to women, only with day-glow green paint and a splash of gore instead. So many of products didn’t have any special function that would make them more useful in an actual emergency, disaster, or, you know, outbreak situation.
In order to respect the dead, or rather, the undead, gun companies will have to embrace what zombie gear really is: preparedness. Zombie gear is prepper gear, in an accessible pop culture disguise.
When we take a look what’s still around following the near-universal “stop it,” collective sigh (and middle finger) the gun world gave the last round of zombie gear, we’re left with reasonable products. Solid self-defense ammo, somewhat reusable reactive targets and moderately ruggedized cleaning kits–useful things that command a price premium on their own, but may not sell as well without a little zompoc marketing.
If firearm and gun accessory makers keep this in mind the next time zombie fever rolls across the country, things will hopefully be a lot more bearable–and more people will start, even jokingly at first, dealing with real-life emergency planning.
Ever wonder what it would be like if the zombie apocalypse broke out right now? It’s kinda funny, actually.
Deep down, people love zombies. They have a gruesome magic, an ability to block out the big picture and make us focus one what’s important. Take the cat, the dog is already dying. Grab all the guns and ammo, and when it comes to Funfetti: buy cheap and stack deep.