WHERE ARE ALL THE ZOMBIES?
That’s what I asked when I saw my first so-called zombie shooting match in 2009. Even now, most zombie matches are that in name only. At least today we can get well illustrated large size paper targets to help create the illusion of post apocalyptic encounters with these undead monsters. Some targets even bleed. These targets are visually fun, but no static target can really address the fundamental core of all zombie apocalyptic fiction. You need to destroy a zombie’s brain to kill it; and when killed, the zombie will acknowledge his defeat by falling down and not getting up!
A realistic reactive target should be the defining characteristics of a zombie shooting competition. Since none existed, I was forced to invent it in order to create a zombie shooting competition worthy of the name ... a shoot that would make the participant feel like they were in the movie Night of the Living Dead … a shoot I would like to go to.
Zombie Shooters United LLC (ZSU) and www.ZombieShootingCompetition.com were born of this effort. A standardized, easily reproduced target is the prerequisite for creating a real zombie shooting sport. Economy, reliability, durability and realism were my objectives in developing the new target. It can be fabricated anywhere of materials commonly available, many of which are often free for the taking. The target is easy to operate and maintain. Body shots won’t bring it down, but shots into the simple trigger mechanism in the “brain” will drop it consistently over a broad range of calibers. The targets are dressed in real clothes and have realistic hands and faces to complete their horrific appearance.
In production, each unique target takes about a day to complete. Since all shots are directed to the “brain,” the body can last indefinitely. The target head (mask) can take 75 to 100 hits before serious maintenance is needed. Replacement of the target’s trigger mechanism and mask are a simple operation when needed. Any machine shop, most auto-body shops, and quite a few advanced home workshops have the equipment required to make these targets. Outside of simple hand tools, the fabricating equipment needed is as follows: To drill: solid drill press. To cut heavy steel material: band saw or plasma cutter. To bend heavy steel: Oxygen-Acetylene torch with heating or cutting tip. To join heavy steel: welding equipment.
Members of Zombie Shooters United can download detailed plans to build their own regulation targets or they can purchase target mechanisms or full targets and additional replacement trigger mechanisms from ZSU at a nominal fee. It won’t take ZSU affiliated clubs using Zombie Shooters United regulation targets, rules and courses of fire long to recoup their investment.
The ZSU match experience is the apex of the zombie shooting sport and as such commands a premium for that level of quality. Survey the average zombie match online and see how much money shooters are paying for the chance to just imagine two-dimensional paper and steel targets are zombie hordes.
The ZSU matches finally give would-be zombie shooters what they really want, intuitive, exciting, frighteningly realistic life or death encounters with the undead.