In the unforgiving landscape of flesh-eating corpses, being able to recognize the best Project Zomboid weapons is the difference between life and undeath. From your first minutes desperately swinging at the dead with whatever spare pencil or banjo you find to walking out of the military base loaded to the gills with advanced weaponry, knowledge is your truest ally.
I’ve racked my brain and scoured the streets of Zomboid’s Kentucky-like landscape in search of the best and brightest options to keep myself from becoming a finger-licking-good zombie combo meal, and these are some of my insights to help you avoid a similar fate.
Where are the best places to find Project Zomboid weapons?
Project Zomboid is pretty intuitive when it comes to finding items in the world. In a kitchen, for example, you’ll likely find canned food, can openers, cooking utensils, and of course, kitchen knives. Likewise, you’ll have a good chance of finding tools like the hammer or axe in hardware stores or inside storage crates in warehouse.
When it comes to the more dedicated weaponry, like firearms, you'll need to get a bit luckier. You should always keep your eyes open for zombified police, they often will have firearms on them left over from before the hordes detected their secret blend of eleven herbs and spices. Finding a police car can also be a big boon, if you can get into their trunk there’s a chance you’ll find something there, too. You’ll sometimes find gun cases with a pistol or longarm inside of wardrobes in high-end neighborhoods. Likewise a pistol may appear in a nightstand, or even a shotgun on the body of a suicide victim in the bathroom, but these are unreliable methods compared to going straight to the source.
The real place to search if you want firearms is inside police stations, gun stores, military bases, barricaded survivor houses, and both police and military checkpoints. While they tend to be dangerous and difficult to get into—often totally overrun with zombies—they’re one of the only ways to get some of the best firearms, including the M16.
Also, the longer you survive (in days) the more useful and rare items can spawn on zombies. As you survive longer you’ll start finding everything from axes to katanas to firearms. They’ll still be rare, but the possibility will at least be there, and you’ll be able to see them on the zombie visually. So keep an eye out for a zombie stuck through with a katana like the world’s deadliest hors d'oeuvres for your shot at one.
How to use weapons
How do I use weapons, anyways?
Using melee weapons takes some getting used to. Each weapon has different attack animations in relation to your target, and timing your swings to keep them staggered will be the difference between a kill and becoming a buffet item. It’s extremely easy to get bitten when fighting early on, so make sure to get some practice in before you expect any real success. Try to take on zombies alone or in very small numbers as you practice with a new weapon, to minimize your chances of being overwhelmed.
Once you have some confidence, lead zombies to more advantageous situations. The other side of a window or low fence is a good choice, as they’ll always fall to the ground after climbing over to reach you, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. You can stand over them and swing down on them to keep them down, which is an especially good choice with weapons that don’t knock down as easily.
Firearms are totally different. They're the worst thing—or best, if you're attracting or distracting zombies—when it comes to staying inconspicuous. Often, firing a single shot can be akin to ringing the dinner bell for a large range around you. That said, they can be an excellent way to quickly clear out a crowd you otherwise couldn’t handle before moving in to quickly loot and run.
Unlike melee weapons, if you’re often using firearms you’ll be constantly hurting for ammunition before you deal with durability. Sadly, some of the easier locations to scout for firearms also don’t come with much ammo, and you’ll be lucky to find the occasional box of rounds in a closet or dresser. Your best bet is the same place you’ll find the better firearms: the gun store, shooting range, police station, and military base.
Do I need to worry about my weapons breaking?
As with all good things, your weapons will come to an end as their durability runs down. Your Maintenance skill is a huge help in stretching out how long they’ll last, but it's slow to improve. It lowers the chance you’ll lose durability when using a weapon, but only increases when you use a weapon and it avoids losing durability. Sort of a zombie-killing Catch 22.
Keep your eye open for duct tape, wood glue, and other repair items. They let you repair your weapons as they break, to stretch out their lifespans. Just be prepared, each time you do so, their maximum durability will go down, so continually stockpile additional weapons as you find them.
Project Zomboid best weapons: Which to wield
You’ll develop your own feel for the weapons you find as you get more experience with Project Zomboid, but you’ll likely settle on a few favorites. Some live for the thrill of the instant kill with a hunting or kitchen knife, others want the power of a magnum or M16, and who can resist becoming a ninja with the rare katana? But for me, these are the picks that fill my zombie-slaying heart with joy to find:
- Weight: 5
- Recoil delay: 50
- Reload time: 25
- Aiming time: 20
- Range: 0.61 — 7 tiles
- Damage: 1.5 — 2.2
- Accuracy: 70
- Knockback: 0.8
- Knockdown: 8
Not the rarest and not the strongest, the JS-2000 is nevertheless my weapon of choice for its horde-clearing power and more commonly-found ammo. Able to drop multiple zombies with a single shot, and even more accurate and deadly at point-blank range, it’s the best choice for most situations, whether calculated or desperate. I use it to clear an opening for an escape, to train up my firearms skill in case I need heavier firepower later, and to quickly and easily attract zombies away from areas I want emptied. It gets even better if you manage to find ammo straps or a sling to upgrade the reload speed and carry weight. Just be extremely cautious with sticking around after you use it, you quickly become the loudest ice cream truck imaginable to the zombies for 200 tiles around.
- Weight: 2
- Swing time: 3
- Range: 0.61 — 1.5 tiles
- Damage: 0.8 — 1.1
- Knockback: 0.5
- Knockdown: 2
Easy to find, durable, and capable of hitting two zombies per swing, the bat is a home-run find in your first house. It’s a great blunt weapon choice—only replace it with the elusive crowbar for durability. It’s got a smooth swing that will let you knock zombies to the ground with one swing and then follow up with an overhead finisher afterwards. It’s easy to build up a small collection of these in your stash since they’re not hard to find in your average residential neighborhood.
- Weight: 3
- Swing time: 3
- Range: 0.61 — 1.5 tiles
- Damage: 1 — 2.5
- Knockback: 0.3
- Knockdown: 2
An absolute beast of a weapon, the axe does everything you want and more. With great durability, range, and damage, the axe takes some getting used to on the slow swings, but it punches far above its weight. You can chop down the trees you need to build or patch up your base, break down doors to get into or out of places, and cleave your way through small groups of zombies with ease. Just watch yourself, the swing time can get you into trouble if you’re getting swarmed.
- Weight: 1.5 — 1.7
- Swing time: 2
- Range: 0.98 — 1.55 tiles
- Damage: 1 — 1.7
- Knockback: 0.3
- Knockdown: 0
The crafted spear is the weapon of the everyman, the reliable carpenter's weapon, which has varied durability based on your carpentry and stats. It also depends on what you decide to duct tape onto it. If you enjoy keeping zombies at a distance, and plan to do some carpentry, the crafted spear is your friend. Easily created from common foraging materials like tree branches and chipped stones, the spear doesn’t last long at low levels of the maintenance skill, but it’s simple replace and can also be used to fish at the edge of rivers.