Guns of The Walking Dead: A Retrospective

After a decade of post-apocalyptic zombie action, the eleventh and final season of The Walking Dead is set to premiere on AMC. Like any long-running series, the show has certainly seen some ups and downs, but its impact on pop culture has been undeniable. Walking Dead characters like Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, Michonne Hawthorne, and the sadistically wisecracking Negan have become television icons, and their signature weapons are just as memorable.

The Walking Dead TV show features a wide range of firearms, and almost all of them can be found in our upcoming August & September firearms auctions. A link to each gun can be found by clicking the image.

Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) carries a .357 Magnum Colt Python revolver as his duty sidearm.

Watching former Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes and company use whatever weapons they can muster against hordes of flesh-eating zombies is a big part of the Walking Dead’s appeal. Whether its blades or bats or firehoses, martial arts and domesticated tigers, to even weaponizing the undead themselves, nothing is off limits when it comes to the weapons of the Walking Dead. But like any great zombie apocalypse story, it’s the guns that drive the action home.

The .700 Nitro Express, 4-bore double rifle, and .950 JDJ, three great weapon choices against zombies, human marauders, and pumpkins.

Which guns are best for surviving a zombie apocalypse? It’s a fun debate for horror fans and firearms enthusiasts, and The Walking Dead gives us a chance to watch some of those scenarios play out every week. Dozens of handguns, rifles, and shotguns have been depicted throughout the series, so let’s take a look back at some of the most notable firearms from each season of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead’s final season premieres on August 22, 2021.

Season 1: Day’s Gone Bye

The Walking Dead, a television adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, was a unique concept when it first debuted over a decade ago. A weekly television series about a zombie pandemic that somehow managed to balance tense action, blood-splattering horror, and characters with more depth than one might expect from the zombie genre. The visuals were equally iconic, like the haunting shot of Rick Grimes riding into a seemingly deserted Atlanta after waking up from a coma and learning about the outbreak along with the audience.

Merle Dixon picks off zombies with his Winchester Model 70.

Rick’s Colt Python is hands down the most famous gun of The Walking Dead, and its popularity almost certainly contributed to the surge of interest in the revolver that continues to this day.

After a close call inside an M1 Abrams tank, Rick is saved by Glenn Rhee and links up with a camp of survivors outside the city that includes his wife Laurie, his son Carl, and his old partner Shane. The ragtag survivors lack both extensive weaponry and knowledge of the undead walkers, which only heightens the threat.

Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) Mossberg 590 12 gauge, because no list of zombie fighting weapons would be complete without some heavy-duty shotguns.

Understanding the importance of guns in a zombie apocalypse, Rick decides to go back into the city to grab a bag of firearms he’d dropped earlier. The stash includes modern shotguns such as the Harrington & Richardson Pardner Pump Protector to classic heavy hitters like the BAR, which the group uses to fend off a walker attack. Several notable character deaths establishes that no one is safe and anything can happen, and that promise would continue into the next season and beyond.

Season 2: The Greene Farm

After a tense opening season, the second chapter of The Walking Dead takes on more of a slow burn and lets the character breathe a little. There are certainly a few sluggish points, and several episodes early on lack the forward momentum offered in the Season 2 premiere, but there’s still plenty of action and gore to be had as Rick’s group struggles to maintain their humanity in the face of horror after horror. Then a couple of gunfights toward the back half of the season demonstrates that the living are just as dangerous as the dead.

Dale and Andrea guard the group with a Remington 700, a great long-range zombie gun.

Rick’s group is swarmed by a herd of walkers too large to take on with their limited arsenal. After reuniting on Hershel Greene’s farm, the survivors form a loosely knit community dynamic as they lick their wounds and search for Carol Peletier’s daughter. Some of the less experienced characters learn to shoot, including Lauri practicing with a Colt Detective Special, Carl training with a Browning BDA, and Andrea trying her hand with a Smith & Wesson 3913 “Ladysmith”, all decent close-range sidearms against the undead.

Hershel’s Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun. RIAC’s shotguns don’t carry unlimited ammo, but they’re still fun to shoot.

The group suffers a heartbreaking loss, setting the rest of the season into high gear that includes a tense encounter with another band of survivors and a deadly standoff between a SIG-Sauer P228 and Rick’s Python. The friction between Rick and Shane explodes, drawing a zombie horde straight into Hershel’s farmstead, where he valiantly defends his home with an unlimited ammo cheat code.

via GIPHY

Season 3: The Prison

If The Walking Dead’s second season was a cerebral slow burn, Season 3 is an action-packed powder keg. Intriguing new characters like Michonne are introduced, existing favorites like the crossbow-touting Daryl Dixon come into their own, and one of the show’s top antagonists, the Governor, unleashes the big guns against Rick’s reeling band. Season 3 of The Walking Dead takes a broader look at both the show’s apocalyptic landscape and the heavy firepower needed to survive its endless horrors.

Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) katana sword is a contender for the best zombie melee weapon.

While Rick’s group battles their way into the relative safety of a prison, Andrea and her new traveling companion, the katana-wielding Michonne, run into the Governor, a brutal local leader who loves flashy firearms like the nickel plated Beretta Model 92FS. Meanwhile, Rick suffers his greatest loss yet. As he struggles to keep it together, the group realizes that even with some extra guns and ammo they’ve recovered from the prison armory, they’re still woefully unequipped to deal with the Governor.

Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) M1903 Springfield is a reliable rifle for sniping zombies.

The Governor soon sets his sights on the prison, with characters like Andrea and Merle forced to choose a side. Rick seizes guns from Morgan Jones, another returning favorite from Season 1, who has a large stockpile of AR-15s and H&K MP5s. The governor answers back with heavy hitters like the Norinco Type 56-1 and the Beretta Cx4 Storm, and the series’ first true battle erupts.

The big guns are unleashed as the Governor assaults the prison.

Season 4: Too Far Gone

Season 3 was a bloodbath that saw major characters fall to both the ravenous undead and the brutality of the living. The first half of Season 4 steps back a bit and returns to the feel of the first season, an intelligent spin on the horror genre with a healthy dose of grindhouse gore. The numerous collateral effects of the zombie outbreak makes the dream of a permanent home seem all but impossible, and the Governor returns in an M60 Patton to drive that point home.

Tyrese brandishes the famous M1 Carbine, a reliable gun for a zombie outbreak.

While Rick’s group has clearly been stockpiling firearms, the Governor’s new army comes packing guns like the AKS-74U and Valmet M76, and a hesitant Tara Chambler carries an IMI manufactured fully automatic Uzi. Surprised but not defenseless, Rick’s group repels the attackers with weapons like Sasha’s H&K MP5A2 and the clever use of an Mk 2 grenade from Daryl, but not before taking heavy losses.

The Governor’s Steyr Aug bullpup, another memorable Walking Dead gun.

Scattered and divided, the survivors are forced to take their chances on the road for the rest of the season. Some of the show’s most memorable and lasting relationships are forged, and new fan favorites are introduced like the machine-gun packing Abraham Ford and pistol-toting Rosita Espinosa, and their helpless but brainy companion, Eugene Porter.

The back-half of Season 4 also includes the masterful episode, ‘The Grove’, a demonstration of just how great The Walking Dead can be when it uses its post-apocalyptic zombie backdrop to tell tragic human stories.

Season 5: The Road to Alexandria

Four seasons in, and The Walking Dead really hit its stride as a quality drama. Season 5 continues the character-centric focus, but opens with perhaps the most epic episode of the entire series. Rick and company have been forged into a lethal force of zombie slayers, as capable with blade and axe as they are with firearms by this point. There are still some uneven moments here and there, like Beth’s hospital arc, but watching formerly timid characters like Carol become fighting machines helps elevate another strong season.

Abraham’s H&K machine gun is another top zombie rifle.

Rick’s group finds themselves stripped of their weapons and in a dark place, but Carol comes storming to the rescue, taking down an entire community with a customized M16, some bottle rockets, and a horde of zombies in tow. Seizing guns from their captors like the Ruger Mini-14 and Norinco Type 56, Rick’s band battles their way to safety and continues their search for a new home in a world gone mad.

The Colt Detective Special is a fitting gun for Carol’s (Melissa Mcbride) unassuming outward appearence and preference for staying under the radar.

After another tear-jerking midseason finale, the group once again hits the road and soon discovers they have company. Traveling alone and carrying little more than a flare gun and a Smith & Wesson 36 DA revolver, Aaron claims to be a recruiter for another community of survivors.

The walled settlement of Alexandria has an impressive arsenal of anti-zombie weapons, including the FNH SCAR 17S and Heckler & Koch HK416D, but the residents lack the experience and grit of Rick’s hardened band. To call the rest of the season a culture clash would be an understatement.

Season 6: A Larger World

Anyone hoping the show would return to its zombie-fighting roots would not have long to wait in Season 6. Setups and foreshadowing abound as Rick and company struggle to take back their new home and deal with two new groups they encounter outside their borders. Though the second half of Season 6 doesn’t feel quite as polished, seeing an expanded world is a welcome change of pace, and any season that includes multiple scenes with an RPG-7 rocket launcher being fired is great by extension.

Glenn (Steven Yeun) aims a Colt Combat Commander Series 70, a great sidearm against both the undead and human marauders alike.

The first batch of episodes kicks off with a failed plan to divert a herd of walkers from Alexandria, scattering the main characters. The undead breach the walls and tear down half the town in one of the most startling set pieces yet, and the petrified residents are forced to use sidearms like the CZ 82, the Smith & Wesson Sigma, and the Springfield Armory TRP. Even that doesn’t put a dent in the undead horde, and the survivors resort to hand to hand combat to finally win the day.

Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) brandishing an M16 rifle, an effective zombie fighting weapon at almost any range.

A few months pass, and Rick and Daryl encounter the Hilltop settlement. The mysterious Saviors who prey on the people of Hilltop are slowly revealed, a large band of marauders armed to the teeth with everything from modern rifles like the IMI Galil AR to iconic military guns like the M14 and German MP40. The Season 6 finale, ‘Last Day on Earth’, ends with the most disturbing and controversial cliffhanger in the entire series.

Negan and Lucille make their smashing debut on The Walking Dead.

Season 7: March to War

Guns have always played a huge part of The Walking Dead, but the next two seasons would feature a staggering array of firearms as the world further expands and warring factions take shape. Military guns from all eras are unleashed. The Walther P38, the Luger P.08 , the 1911A1, the SIG SG 550 – everything becomes fair game as each side vies for dominance.

Carl flourishes an FN FAL rifle, one of the best guns for a zombie outbreak.

Following one of the biggest gut punches in series history, Alexandria finds itself at the mercy of the charismatically ruthless Negan and the literal army at his back. Meanwhile, Carol and Morgan encounter the Kingdom, another community threatened by the Saviors. Unlike the vulnerable Hilltop, however, the Kingdom includes a small fighting force of men and women wielding everything from the Smith & Wesson Model 945 and the Springfield Armory M1A to swords and spears and axes.

Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) fires a MAC-10 with a rifle scope mounted onto a suppressor. One of the most memorable firearms on The Walking Dead, the MAC-10 and its semi-automatic variants are fun guns to fire.

Rick searches for arms and allies as the season unfolds, cumulating in a dramatic standoff. Groups like the bizarre Scavengers join the mix, fielding rifles like the Romanian WASR-10 and Ruger 10/22 despite their otherwise primitive culture. All-out war breaks out in the finale, and Negan joins the action with a wild-looking MAC-10 modification that was inspired by the gun used by the Snake Plissken character in Escape from New York. Daryl almost tops it with a crazy-looking Seekins Precision SP15 mod, and the Saviors are driven off for the moment.

Season 8: All Out War

An entire season devoted to war gives the Walking Dead’s eighth chapter a distinct identity, while hordes of zombies continue to threaten both sides in Rick’s battle against Negan. Season 8 can feel a bit choppy at times, but some fun action scenes, unpredictable deaths, and interesting twists carry the Savior’s arc to a satisfying conclusion. And if you’re a fellow firearm fanatic, and you love Jeeps and gunfights and heavy firepower, this season has you covered.

M2hb machine gun, a well-known Walking Dead firearm to fans of Season 8. A semi-automatic version is offered in Rock Island Auction Company’s September Premier.

Rick’s posse pulls up to Negan’s compound, gun’s blazing. Almost every firearm from previous seasons makes an appearance, and new rifles like the Century Arms RAS47, the CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1, and the Intratec TEC-9 debut. The Saviors answer back with the SIG-Sauer MPX, the Norinco MAK-90, and an arsenal of small arms like the Glock-17 and the Springfield Armory TRP Tactical Model.

King Ezekiel raises a Colt 1911a1 pistol, one of the many classic guns featured on the Walking Dead.

Bat versus hatchet. Revolver versus Browning. Remington 870 Police Magnum versus Smith & Wesson Sigma. For a season filled with expansive gunfights, the final showdown between Rick and Negan is surprisingly subdued. Perhaps that’s a fitting climax for a series that has always been, at its heart, a show about struggle, sacrifice, and the human condition in the face of so much hardship.

The Whisperers and What Comes After

The next two seasons of The Walking Dead took a fresh turn after the lengthy battle with the Saviors. Daryl, Carol, and Michonne take center stage. Rick’s daughter Judith grows into a competent zombie-slayer after a time jump in season nine, expertly wielding both katana and revolver. Guns grow less prominent as ammo runs dry, and that in turn makes the new villains, the enigmatic Whisperers, all the more terrifying.

The eleventh and final chapter of The Walking Dead looks set to feature a new antagonist, bring back some old fan favorites, and wrap up the story with an expansive 24 episode mega-season. Even after the iconic series draws to a conclusion, its two companion shows, Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, promise to continue the post-apocalyptic zombie adventure for years to come.

When not shooting his crossbow, Daryl (Norman Reedus) uses a wide range of guns, including the FNH U.S.A. FN SCAR 17S.

The Walking Dead features a wide range of historic and modern firearms, and many of them can be found in Rock Island Auction Company’s September Premier Firearms Auction. Spanning the full breadth of American history, from Jamestown to Fallujah, from 1911s to antique revolvers to wartime classics like the M1 Garand, September’s auction includes guns for all ranges of firearm collecting. Take a look at our online catalog, place your bids, and get ready for the largest gun auction this fall!

Rock Island Auction Company features hundreds of machine guns, rifles, and military arms this September.

As always, if there are any questions regarding consignment, registration, or future auctions, please contact Rock Island Auction Company today. Our upcoming auction schedule is updated frequently on our website, so be sure to go through the listing and start making your plans to visit. All our events adhere to the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. We can’t wait to see you here!

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