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Shields?

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Nov. 3rd, 2008 | 12:36 pm
posted by: gnomestress in zombie_survival

I looked back a few pages and I didn't see anything about this recently so I thought that I would ask the experts.

A friend of mine is an airsoft fanatic and recently she attended a zombie airsoft event. You could choose between two blades (boffer), a blade and a shield, and using airsoft guns. My friend chose sword and shield, as she has experience with boffer fighting and wanted to try it out. It turned out to be fairly effective.

My question is, how useful do you think a shield combined with a typical blade would be? I'm not talking heavy shields here, I'm thinking somehting light like a riot shield. Maybe even a clear one if you could find it. Would it be worth having around or would it be too cumbersome?

Personally, I think it might be a good fit with the "blades don't need reloading" mentality. The downsides I could see would be not having two hands to swing a weapon and the overall bulkiness of a shield.

Edit - Thanks for indulging my musing, everyone! :)

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Comments {40}

DeviantSaint

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from: deviantsaint
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
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hmmm that would be interesting, I'd look more into how the police use barricades for entry. since fighting zombies is essentially crowd control again non armed targets I think it is applicable. if used in conjunction with a puncture proof suit and helmet with kevlar balaclava and eye-pro, you might be on to something.

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ash1977law

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from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Wrong. A riot shield propperly weilded in a block can hold back a crowd, and if the officers are disciplined can push a crowd back. A lone officer with a sheild vs an armed assailant is odds on going to win because he is able to block the weapon blows coming in. In a fight with an unarmed assailant is suddenly finding himself pulled around the place and overbalanced as his shield is grabbed.

They can have some limited use. See 28 Days Later for use of a riot shield in confined quarters when defending a barricade. However, their usefulness is severely limited and from experience a shield will at most slow a single 'grabby' assailant down and will restrict your own options with regards to hitting them on the head.

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lindsay40k

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from: lindsay40k
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
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The problem with crowd control techniques is that Zed does not experience pain nor fear. One of the purposes of a riot shield is to enable terror tactics such as a shieldwall charge to intimidate unruly mobs; other than a group of survivors pushing Zeds into a hole, I can't see much use.

Could be helpful against poorly-armed bandits, I suppose.

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DeviantSaint

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from: deviantsaint
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I wonder if there's a way to test the hypothesis.

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ash1977law

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from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
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Yes, I've tested it. A couple of zombie-themed Lrps with slow moving zombies.

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ash1977law

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from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
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A shield????

OK...

A shield is such a liability in combat with the undead that I can't imagine where to even start.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Would you mind elaborating? I could see possibly having them grab at it but other than that I don't see a big downfall to a riot shield. They're lightweight, you can get transparent ones, and there are ones that can withstand gunfire.

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Rod

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from: rodshark
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Well first of all, a shield is designed to protect a person from projectiles and weapons.

Against grabbing, biting, surrounding masses, it adds bulk, takes one of your arms away, and gives a person a false sense of protection and keeps them looking and facing front instead of staying mobile and looking all around. While you are pushing a mass of zed away from the front with your shield, one of the zed you knocked down could bite your legs and feet.

So unless you are blocking a door or entranceway, a shield is a liability.

Good full hand/arm gauntlets and thick, knee high, mulehide boots are far more effective protection against zombies.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
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I can see how someone who has never used a shield before not knowing what to do with it in combat. Someone who has actually used a shield knows that it's not just for blocking, it's for bashing. The way I'd forsee using it would be shield bash to knock off balance, then follow up with the actual blow. Of course, someone with below average strength would have trouble with this but someone with below average strength would be screwed using a blade anyway, especially in a situation where you're surrounded. Using it for blocking only or holding back a mass of people is just stupid, that I agree with.

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Rod

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from: rodshark
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
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"The way I'd forsee using it would be shield bash to knock off balance, then follow up with the actual blow."

Yes, which is why I mentioned the "Zombie you knocked down (but more than likely didn't kill since you are using one handed weapons and not able to get your entire body behind the blows due to carrying the shield), biting your feet or legs.

Every zombie you knock down but don't kill instantly becomes a snapping, grabbing obsticle that can kill you.

Using a long pole weapon to keep zed at bay while you get to safety is a much better option imo.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Ah, I gotcha. I thought you meant that the person using a shield would use it just to knock them over. That would be silly, for sure. Of course, someone using a shield would want to make sure that they landed a good blow, which can be difficult for a lot of people.

So you would prefer using something like a shovel/axe and push them away if you can't get a good head blow in? I could see that getting very tiring very quickly.

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Rod

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from: rodshark
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
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A shovel or an axe would be way to heavy and cumbersome.

A good 5' or longer piece of aluminum, fiberglass, or wooden pole would be preferred. Something fairly durable but lightweight.

The goal isn't to bash zed on the head, its to clear a path to get to safety. And pushing them out of the way and keeping them at bay while you run for the clearest path is a better strategy than standing and going toe to toe with zed.

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BriarFox

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from: gwydion01
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
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Exactly. The whole point is to avoid encounters, especially at close range, with zeds. If you are in a situation where you have to make this kind of decision, you did something wrong way back along the way.

That being said, a shield is both a benefit and a liability at the same time.

Pros:
One more thing between you and zed.
Improvised bashing weapon
Potential improvised camo. More research is needed on the sensory capabilities of zed in this arena, however.
Could be used as an effective (however noisy) equipment sled, depending on type.

Cons:
Weight
Takes an arm (or more) to use
Limits mobility
Requires training (often involving several people) to use effectively
Limited alternative usages.

There are only two real scenarios in which using a shield would be a consideration.

1. You are very highly trained in a mace/buckler combo, the kind that is strapped to your forearm and may or may not have a spike (for bashing purposes). This sort of proficiency requires YEARS of practice. Not very feasible. And again, the goal is to avoid close quarters interaction with zed. Rule this one out.

2. You and a few dozen of your well trained buddies armed with larger shields and spears utilize a phalanx style maneuver. Yes, it requires training (but not much compared to some other forms of martial defense) and violates the avoid at all cost cardinal rule, BUT....
with sufficient preplanning and limiting the usage to a level 1 or 2 outbreak, this is actually a viable strategy. Granted, a permanent barrier is preferable to a shield wall, but you could do a lot worse.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
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That sounds awfully cumbersome. I get the concept and while I think it would work well in some situations, carrying around 5+' of anything can be a pain in the ass. Have you ever walked with a piece of lumber on your shoulder or something simliar? It hits things you don't think it would. So when pushing back zombies it's easy to keep track of but definitely not while you're running/crawling/climbing. And of course it would be all but useless against 'fast' zombies but then again, if you're that close to fast zombies you're pretty much SOL anyway.

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Rod

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from: rodshark
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
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Not really, they are called "walking sticks" for a reason. Like I said fairly durable yet lightweight.

And if you are climbing it can be used as an aid to climbing (pole vaulting or as a hand/foot hold) or to test the area in front of you when crawling someplace dark.

Carrying it while running would be a little awkward, but not terribly so. No more so than running with a shield, sword, axe, rifle, or other large weapon.

And yes, in melee range with fast zombie = dead/zombified.

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The nonmighty and nescient Stu

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from: chainkill
date: Feb. 4th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
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I disagree that you are dead once you get into melee range with a walking stick. You just need to shift your grip on the pole weapon to the center, and suddenly you have highly effective melee weapon. Now, if you get in that close with a group of zombies... you're as boned as if you get in close with a group of zombies no matter how you're armed.

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Rod

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from: rodshark
date: Feb. 4th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
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In single melee with a SLOW zombie, a staff/walking stick is an effective weapon. But against a FAST zombie (like the ones in 28 days later, the Resident Evil "Lashers" and similar fast moving zombies) then you are pretty much a goner.

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a knight in rusty armor

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from: dukesewell
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
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If you're using firearms, it'd limit you to handguns and the like. Reloading would get complicated in a hurry. If you're using blades, it takes away one of the hands most people need to generate enough force to dispatch a zombie, and can interupt several-strike patterns. If you're on the run, it can be a pain in tight spots and for climbing under or going over things.

I guess it might prove useful to have in a homebase, but I'm not sure it'd be of much value, and could be a potential hinderance, when on the move.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking using it with a blade, not a firearm. I could see that being difficult, if not nearly impossible, even with handguns. I was thinking more along the lines of using an edged weapon. I could see how someone who isn't very strong wouldn't be able to dispatch a zombie but someone in that situation shouldn't really be using blades in the first place. They'll tire too quickly and would be better off using a firearm.

On the run, I could see it being an issue when climbing or going through a tight spot but it could just be left behind.

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ash1977law

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from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
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Ok...

Firstly a shield is designed to stop incoming blows and projectiles. It is not designed to deal with foes who grab and bite. If Zeds start hurling rocks or using clubs then is the time to use a shield.

A full body shield restricts your ability to fight. Your blows end up coming round the shield at an odd angle. If you were using a flail it would be fine, but a machette/maul/axe/crowbar will end up at best bouncing at one quater strength off the back of the Zed's head. Even a smaller shield will need to be pushed in the Zed's face to be effective and then you end up with the same problem.

A Zed dosn't care if you are whacking at his legs with a weapon. He'll grab the shield and you'll end up either overbalanced and on the grown on top of (or below) him, or you'll end up being pulled around the place by the Zed. Remember - Zeds are tenacious, don't tire, and still have the full weight of a human being. So there you are on the ground or being hauled about by Zed and his mates turn up three paces behind him...

Riot shields can be used to push at or barge against a Zed, and are effective as such. If you are at a good defencive point (top of stairwell) and need to shove them back down it is a good tool.

I've done full contact live action games on both sides of the living/dead divide and folks universally find that dropping their shields is the best bet.

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drums and guns

(no subject)

from: c0lormeplaid
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
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Riot shields can be used to push at or barge against a Zed, and are effective as such. If you are at a good defencive point (top of stairwell) and need to shove them back down it is a good tool.

or find yourself needed to make a run out of your compromised bug in location. I think shields would be useful then for various party members to pull a quick "shove and run".

I completely agree with your explanation of why they wouldn't be useful in combat.

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Jon

(no subject)

from: thanatos616
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Would you happen to know where i can find an online community of people that would be willing to play a live action zombie infestation. I'd like to join in on one of these activities here in Miami, but i need to know where to look first. Thanks for any help.

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ash1977law

(no subject)

from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
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Sorry - I'm UK based.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

(no subject)

from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I wondered where you experienced such an awesome LARPing experience and then I realized that you're in the UK. Just so you know, the vast majority of American LARPers envy your superior European LARPing. /bow /green with envy

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McKee

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from: mckee92
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
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Live action zombie events would be killer. Any links or places I should check? (I'm in the UK, but not well connected with that kinda stuff.)

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ash1977law

(no subject)

from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
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Try the Rule7 forums.

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McKee

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from: mckee92
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
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Cheers.

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lindsay40k

(no subject)

from: lindsay40k
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
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Wouldn't a buckler be useful in single combat? Being able to deflect and disable Zed's leering jaws whilst keeping the limb used pretty safe, disorientating him long enough to bring down another weapon - or even drop it for a two-handed strike?

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ash1977law

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from: ash1977law
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
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With the buckler against a living person you can bash them in the face and they'll move back. A Zed dosn't care about his broken nose and will likely grab your buckler arm and lunge for your elbow/shoulder. At the very least you now have a zombie grabbing onto your buckler - and if the shield is strapped to your arm you now have a full weight of a human strapped to your arm.

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Drew

(no subject)

from: ilblissli
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
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i personally would much rather stick with my full motorcycle race leathers and helmet. much more mobility and you don't have any weapon restrictions. add to this, that you can hop on a motorcycle/dirt bike to escape Z and have little to no fear of anything.

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(no subject)

from: eidelonn
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
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I have always thought the full gear for motorcycle raceing would be the best defence in the event zombies arose. It keeps your leg from being skinned off against pavement at high speeds? Undead Teath - pft!

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BriarFox

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from: gwydion01
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Thirded. I keep my combat rated set of hardened leather armor ready to go at all times.

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Fearsclave

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from: fearsclave
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Problem is that actual swords and shields aren't exactly light. In the hands of a strong, trained person they'd likely be very effective. In the hands of a noob who gets tired from swinging boffer swords, they'd be pretty useless.

All weapons require training and practice in order to be reasonably effective. Edged weapons require lots of training and upper body strength and a degree of fitness that's pretty darn rare these days. Like I said a few posts back, if you can throw off a few hundred pushups in a row, you're probably strong enough...

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BriarFox

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from: gwydion01
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Word.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
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Oh, for sure. I'm saying in junction with the blade method, as if you've already determined that you are strong/desperate enough to choose chopping at zombie heads as opposed to other methods of killing them.

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hisaki_kage

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from: hisaki_kage
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
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I rather just take the sword alone. If you have a shield and you use it against a zombie, I think it would only do good to use the sharp tips of the shield to stab at the zombie. But that would take to long and you could do much more damage then a sword. Even if you use the sheild to cover yourself, they'll grab whatever is exposed or pile ontop of you or something. Yeah, I don't think shields would be much help.

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Drew

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from: ilblissli
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
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i would like to add that a meat shield would be a really good bet as well. by meat shield i mean someone smaller/weaker/slower than you are. offer them up as a sacrifice as you get away. problem solved.

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Hannah, the one and only Gnomestress

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from: gnomestress
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
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You don't have to be the fastest, just don't be the slowest? :P Beware, though. Someone who doesn't want to be left behind might decide to take you with them!

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Asha

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from: maeths
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
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The long and the short of it is that a shield is something that the zombies can grab at. I'd only want one to block the spray of zombie goo when I shoot them in the head.
Maybe if you used the shield to strike zombies so that they fall down and then you can swing down at their skulls, but that would only really work in a 1 or 2 zombie situation and only if they were a bit clumsy.

Riot armour & helmet certainly wouldn't be a bad idea.

Edited at 2008-11-03 10:30 pm (UTC)

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McKee

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from: mckee92
date: Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Personally I'd only see the use of a shield as displayed in 28 days later, holding off zeds at the top of a staircase or corridor, using the shield as a mobile barricade. I figure that as part of a defence, it would work well with a second person behind the shield user, with a polearm, attacking over the top at the zeds heads. Its the best of both, the shield protects and the spear attacks.

The shield would also work well if escaping: a few people with the shields operate a rearguard, 1st person holds for a while, then runs behind a second shield, which can be moved aside to let them past (unlike a proper barricade) and quickly replaced to stop the following zeds. That way you could get a phased retreat, the last lot of people obviously taking more of a risk to help the rest escape.

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