I am not sure how many Walking Dead fans read this, but I am sure that like me they spend an unhealthy amount of time yelling at the television. The choice of weapons on that show is absurd. It has gotten better in recent years, but it’s still enough to make a true gun guy foam at the mouth.
Darrell’s crossbow is my biggest pet peeve. It looks cool and no doubt it has all the basement warriors watching the show drooling with excitement, but it’s a foolish choice that should have left him dead in the first days of the zombie apocalypse.
I have used crossbows a bunch and I can honestly say that I can’t think of a worse choice for fighting off a zombie hoard. Any crossbow is extremely slow to load, impossible to carry and has limited range. A compound bow is much better in every respect, except maybe for exciting those mall ninjas who, when they are not watching Walking Dead, hide in their mom’s basement and fantasize about Lara Croft. That said, anything that shoots a stick is a poor choice. The only way to survive a massive effort to kill you, no matter if it’s a zombie hoard or a rioting, murderous mob is a magazine fed semi-auto. (Full auto has its place, but they are hard to find in civilian life and less effective in most situations than a well manned semi-auto.)
Then there is Rick’s Colt Python. The Python may be one of the coolest handguns on the planet, no argument, but it’s a poor choice for surviving TEOTWAWKI. This revolver only holds six rounds and it’s very slow to reload compared to a magazine fed pistol. No good for a zombie hoard unless there is a director there to yell “cut” and save you just as they are about to overrun your sorry ass.
Then there is Rick’s limp wristed, wimpy style of holding the gun. I suppose like the crossbow and the Python, the producers think it looks “Badass.” But, to a gun guy, it looks like Rick is in serious need of some instruction on how to work a handgun.
I get it, it’s TV. Clearly they pick the guns for their visual appeal rather than any true tactical advantage. So I suspect that’s how they ended up equipping their über-bad guy “The Governor” with his gun. His carbine may well be the most badass-looking gun ever on the show. But what they probably didn’t know was that that the Steyr AUG is also an excellent choice for any zombie apocalypse or, I suppose, to raid a prison full of survivors. That’s not to condone The Governor’s actions, I would like gut shoot him myself if he had not already had a Japanese sword run through him (and accounting, of course, for the fact that he is a fictional character.)
My point is simple. While his rifle, the Steyr AUG, has an on-camera profile that makes a nerdy producer pop wood, it’s also a serious fighting firearm.
The AUG, (Armee-Universal-Gewehr—universal army rifle) is a piston driven, Austrian bullpup, 5.56 NATO rifle. It was designed in the 1960s and has seen extensive use by military and law enforcement all over the world.
The AUG feeds from 30 round magazines that fit behind the trigger. The bullpup design ensures that it is a short firearm which has lots of advantages in CQB, when riding in a vehicle or even to hide it in a diversion bag so you can carry unnoticed.
It is reliable and accurate enough that I have seen them used in three gun matches with targets out to 400 yards, yet it is one of the best CQB rifle designs ever.
In early April of 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the grand opening of the Steyr Arms facility in Bessemer, Alabama. This impressive new facility will change a lot of things. One is that the AUG will be made there, which means that there will be better visibility for this gun here in the states. With the suggested retail price about two grand, shooters will be able to own one of these unique firearms for about the price of a good AR-15.
While I was there I was able to burn up a bunch of ammo with the AUG. As a hard core AR-15 shooter, it took a few shots to adjust to the different “feel” of the gun. But by the time I was into my second magazine I was ripping off double taps and keeping them in center-mass at 25 yards. The gun is very controllable, easy to operate and is notoriously reliable.
I also shot the Steyr L9-A1 and M9-A1 pistols with their unique triangular-trapezoid sights. While they also took a bit of getting used to, I found that I could acquire the target fast and make transitions quickly with these sights. I simply used the rear sight like a ghost ring and ignored it, while focusing on the front sight. The striker fired trigger was nice and smooth and I could work the targets well with this pistol. Plus the price is great, with a MSRP running $560.00 and the street price no doubt well south of that.
I understand that you have not heard a lot about Steyr in the tactical Gun Guy circles, but I think that may be about to change. With this new facility in Alabama and a good team of people here in the United States, coupled with these and many other great products I think they are going to get a lot more attention.