Death of the Undead: Is the Zombie Fad Finally Over?

cdc zombie preparedness

Even the CDC took zombies seriously. What happened with the gun industry? (Photo: CDC)

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.

hornady zombie max

Hornady’s Zombie Max remains popular. What happened to the rest is no mystery. (Photo: Hornady)

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.

See Also: Top 5 Popular but Non-Optimal Guns for Zombies/SHTF

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.


Pocket pistols are pretty low on the list of survival weapons…but it does come with a flashy green (red light) laser sight. (Photo: Ruger)

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.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

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  • Rich March 25, 2019, 4:34 am

    What many people don’t realize is, we have a zombie apocalypse every election day. That is when drooling, mindless hordes, bent on the destruction of civilization, descend on the polling places and vote for DEMOCRATS…

  • ejharb August 28, 2018, 11:22 am

    I’m the last TWD fan standing of my circle of gun culture friends. Gotta see what’s gonna happen to the goofiest man to carry a colt python.

    Every body else just #walkaway

  • Mike Watkins May 21, 2018, 12:23 pm

    “It seemed like no one was immune to the fever”.

    Dang! Once again I was a stinkin’ outlier.

    Why can’t I just get with the program? Conform, for Pete’s sake?

    What horrible deviation in my dna makes me so immune to being exactly what all my fellow Americans are? Programmed, that is, by hollyweird and mad avenue?

    Curse the day I was born abnormal!

  • Cody M April 30, 2016, 5:35 pm

    Fwiw the hornady zombie max is exactly the same bullet as max defense but with a green pellet and they are usually cheaper due to demand. That’s my main positive out of the zombie craze.

  • jim April 29, 2016, 8:01 pm

    Lady in Seattle just injected herself with a virus that is intended to extend the length of the DNA “caps” in her cells, thereby extending her life/combatting aging… Not a controlled study…a Patient Zero kind of lone wolf-Dr. Frankenstein experiment. Nice, hunh? Zombies…it could happen!

  • rt66paul April 29, 2016, 2:58 pm

    When you can use “zombie apolypse” as a reason for a CCW in a shall issue staet, I think zombies are a great reason to train.

  • Ryan April 29, 2016, 10:45 am

    A zombie apocalypse is as practical as us here in the USA becoming invaded by a huge force of armed militants or terrorists. Lots of people think about it and also prepare for it, that is just one more reason to sell guns and ammo. It works and it will continue to work.

    • D.A. Moran April 29, 2016, 12:13 pm

      The U.S. is already invaded. Wake up. They control and run everything while we fall for the illusions created by false voting and puppeteering politics. We are the ones who invade countries!

  • Ben April 29, 2016, 9:28 am

    Whether zombies or crazed (insert any group you want), if they don’t go down after a few shots to the body; SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD!!! Or better yet, if you have time to place your shot then start with the head just to be sure. Aim small, miss small!!!

  • LKLAWSON April 29, 2016, 9:13 am

    Oh good Lord. Stop whining ya wuss. Businesses are in business to make money. Coming out with “Zombie Themed” products helped them make more money and was ultimately harmless. So what if you didn’t like it? Maybe you don’t like shiny chrome guns. Should gun manufacturers not make those because you object? Maybe you don’t like pink guns, or even anything but traditional gun blue. Should manufacturers only make guns in classic blue with knurled wood stocks? Everyone has to think like you? What are you a liberal? :rolleyes:

  • Alan April 29, 2016, 9:12 am

    I wish! It’s become ridiculous and tiresome.

  • Rich April 29, 2016, 9:09 am

    We really DO have to worry about a zombie apocalypse, every four years – that’s when the drooling, mindless hordes descend on the polling places to vote for LIBERAL CANDIDATES, all the while moaning such things as “En-ti-tle-ments” and “Gun-con-trol” and “Gim-me-free-stuff”…

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