Urban Survival Weapons: How effective is a samurai sword, really?

Urban survival weapons are objects that protect you and your family from the carnage that occurs in a city during an economic collapse, natural disaster, or zombie apocalypse. 

This includes bladed weapons, but are those really the best choice?

My friend has a wife and two infant children. He works long hours, sometimes at night, and doesn’t keep a gun in the house. When I asked him what he had for self defense, he showed me a samurai sword. Oh boy...

I love swords. Samurai Showdown was one of my favorite arcade games.

But to trust the safety of your family to an ancient technology most commonly used, these days, by anime characters with blue hair fighting amorous tentacle monsters is just irresponsible.

There are valid reasons for not using a gun as your primary urban survival weapon.

They’re expensive. During times of civil unrest, they’re usually out of stock. They require background checks and if you’ve previously been convicted of a felony (no judgment here), you may not be allowed to own one.

My friend’s case is different. He’s “morally” opposed to owning firearms because they’re dangerous machines of murder and destruction, and only the police should have guns.

(Ask him in a separate conversation at least an hour later if he trusts the cops, and he’ll say “Hell no, cops kill people!” His wife feels the same way. Ah, the joys of public disarmament through mainstream media indoctrination... I love it.)

Call me a sexist Neanderthal, but if you’re a man, its your obligation to protect your family with the best urban survival weapons available to you. That was true 100,000 years ago when all we had were rocks and sticks, and its still true today.

The inclination to bare arms in defense of your family is hardwired into your DNA, and all the communist propaganda in the world won’t change that. But I digress...)

Samurai Swords... Are they useful as urban survival weapons?

They aren’t as good as having a gun, but they are MUCH better than nothing.

Lets analyze the pro’s and con’s, starting with the cons. That way, I can put the pro’s at the end of the article in order to make my last impression a positive one, thus tricking some readers from the on-line sword community into not hating me forever.

Here we go...

Range: Can you whoop ass from a distance?

The range of a samurai sword freakin sucks - at least compared to plenty of less expensive, more compact urban survival weapons that are commonly available.

A typical samurai sword is 40 inches long.

That means it will extend your effective fighting reach by only 40 inches - even less if you decide to grasp the sword by its handle as Miyamoto Musashi, the Japanese katana master, suggests (instead of pinching it at the end of the handle using your pointer finger and thumb, as I suggest).

Slingshots, crossbows, and taser guns have better range, as does pepper spray.

Pepper spray can disable an attacker from 12 feet away! Better range usually makes for a more versatile urban survival weapon.

Why would you try to slice and dice your enemy from up close, giving them their best chance to fight back, when you don’t have to?

Ease of Attack: How deadly is it when wielded by an average schmo?

One slice. One kill. That is the way of the katana.

At least, that's how it works in the movies. Unless its two swordsman fighting each other (always masters), in which case the scene might last 20 minutes.

Real life is different. I don’t care how sharp a sword is. It is not likely to result in instant death, or even disablement, from the first strike on a moving target who sees it coming.

I love watching swords slice through watermelons as much as anyone, but those watermelons are usually stationary, so they’re easy to hit with a perfect swing.

A tatami mat is super fun to cut, too, but its post is dug firmly into the ground.

Because it doesn’t give on impact, it absorbs the full power of the swing, so the blade cuts through it just as easy as it would through the flavorless, gelatinous soy anti-gunners derive their strength from.

Cutting tests performed on dummies made of ballistic gel (designed to simulate human flesh) don’t look anywhere near as devastating.

Psychological Aspect: Are you mentally prepared to go into berserker-mode?

Not only is it physically harder to defend yourself using a samurai sword, its also psychologically harder!

We all want to be Braveheart. But in real life, its a ghastly thing to smash another human being in the face or body with a sharpened piece of metal.

It most likely will take multiple strikes before your attacker stops fighting you. That's a lot of blood, a lot of screaming, and a lot of gore - all in the sanctity of your own home.

You’ll be lucky if your whole family doesn’t have PTSD after that.

When its over, will you really feel like a hero, or will you feel like Freddie freakin' Krueger? Does anyone actually want to engage in this level of barbarism if it can be avoided?

I wouldn’t, nor would I want my wife to have to do it if I wasn’t home.

As urban survival weapons go, a gun is so much easier, more reliable, and more humane. One trigger pull, two at the most, and its over. Anyone can do it.

A warning shot can scare off attackers before they break down your door, or you could simply yell at the top of your lungs, “I’ve got a gun, BIZNATCH!”

Informing burglars you have a loaded firearm in your hand is usually enough to send them merrily back into the night in search of easier prey. This is true even if they have guns themselves.

Armed criminals are not as likely to be intimidated by the sound of “I’ve got a samurai sword!”

Quotes for Better Living:

Confucius once said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, even if its big enough to be considered a katana. Unless, of course, your katana shoots bullets. Then you should bring it.”

Pros: The Katana isn’t all bad! Its actually really cool!

Believe it or not, there are pros to making a samurai sword your primary urban survival weapon.

First, at least in my experience, zombies aren’t very much effected by mace or pepper spray. Some of them don’t even have eyes, and they require multiple bullets to stop their advance. On the other hand, slicing off a zombie’s lower extremities instantly disables it.

So, in a zombie apocalypse (if that ever happens), a samurai sword might just be the urban survival weapon you need, especially since their bodies seem to become extra squishy and soft around bladed weapons. Maybe they’re made of soy.

Second, “Swords require more skill than guns.” Would you believe that in a debate, I literally heard a guy cite this as a reason to choose a katana over a firearm??!

And he was RIGHT! Because girls only want boyfriends with great skills. Nun-chuck skills. Bow hunting skills. Computer hacking skills. To survive a zombie apocalypse, you need to have great skills!

Third, if you purchase a good quality samurai sword (not one of those cheap, $30 knockoffs from Chinatown, but a decent one from Japan), then the souls of your vanquished enemies will get trapped inside the blade, making you stronger.

And being strong can only help you in a zombie apocalypse (and every other freakin kind of apocalypse).

Stay alive.


Did You Know?

“Bushido” is the Samurai code of honor, which consists of 7 virtues: justice, courage, benevolence, respect, honor, honesty, and loyalty.

“Kiri-sute” is the legal right of Samurai to kill commoners on the spot for perceived offenses, like accidentally bumping into them on the street without apologizing.


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