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The Machete

By Hugo Pecos

As a weapon, the machete has a frightening allure, calling to mind slasher movies and Third World genocide. It's easy to forget that it was developed in the tropics as a farming implement, where it was highly useful for cutting through thick vegetation such as sugarcane and jungle growth.

The machete is a fairly simple weapon consisting of a blade and full-length tang punched from a flat steel plate of uniform thickness with a simple grip of two plates of wood or plastic bolted or riveted together around the tang. The blade and tang are generally 18 to 24 inches long. The weapon has no guard and sports a more elongated knob at the end of its handle. Machetes usually include a simple cord loop as a sort of lanyard, and a canvas scabbard.

Despite its agricultural origins, the machete has a long and distinguished history as a military weapon. U.S. troops used machetes in the Pacific theater and in Vietnam, where it was considered especially useful for the silent disposition of sentries.

The machete depends on velocity rather than weight for its cutting action. It should be held at the handle with two fingers and the thumb during the start of a stroke, thus making possible a longer swing and a faster, deeper cutting blow. The long knob on the handle minimizes the chance of a machete slipping from the hand at the completion of a slashing blow.

Vampires: The machete fulfills the objective of making you look like more trouble than you're worth. Be aggressive, be loud, and don't wait for the vampires to come to you. But keep in mind, all this sound and fury might not be enough to scare off an experienced pack. If set upon, you're better off slashing away blindly at all sides; you might get lucky.

Zombies: A zombie without hands or fingers is much less of a threat, so aim your slashes for the zombie's outstretched hands. Hacking at the hands will also help you avoid getting the blade stuck inside the zombie. As always, your objective should be to buy enough time to escape.

Overall Effectiveness:



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