How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

For those who live in areas where firearms are not an option and those that are smart enough to have a back up.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by ShooterMike » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:15 pm

Good point about the bamboo. In the Japanese sword arts, green bamboo is a staple of cutting practice. It's said to reasonably well mimic forearm bones. I have no idea if this is true, as there is no bamboo near me and I've never cut it. But I trust the historical sources, as the Japanese have a well defined history with cutting mediums.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:53 pm

ShooterMike wrote:Good point about the bamboo. In the Japanese sword arts, green bamboo is a staple of cutting practice. It's said to reasonably well mimic forearm bones. I have no idea if this is true, as there is no bamboo near me and I've never cut it. But I trust the historical sources, as the Japanese have a well defined history with cutting mediums.
I actually read somewhere, and posted about it in another thread, but the has been a lot of tests that have been done in the field biomedical research to support that theory. Here is one of those quotes from the book I quoted previously.
Naturally Based Biomaterials and Therapeutics: The Case of India wrote:Bamboo has emerged as a promising biomaterial for bone repair and replacement applications. Researchers have found there are many structural similarities between bamboo and human long bones. For example, bamboo has a gradient structure in the radial direction resembling the bones gradient structure from outer cortical to inner spongy bone. In addition, across the bamboo stem (for the bamboo Phyllostachys Bambusoides), the average modulus elasticity is 18GPa, which is the same as the value of human cortical bone. Bamboo also has fairly high longitudinal tensile, bending and compressive strengths, all of which is necessary for a good biomaterial meant to repair or replace
However, in my experience (with bamboo, not biomedical or bone related stuff). As with most fibrous materials, the angle at which it is cut it in relation to the grain/fibers is SUPER important. Just like wood, but even more so. Chopping a piece of bamboo at a 90 degree angle (crosscut) is a pain in the ass. You really need at least a 45 degree angle to effective bite and sheer thru a piece.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Nick Adams » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:31 am

i guess I sort of collect machetes, have a couple dozen probably, also own quite a few swords

First most [ but not all] swords were designed to be used against others armed with swords, I think the chances that you will get into a fight with another person armed with a sword is about zero
A good machete that is sharp is very capable of doing extreme damage to a person, no doubt about that. I have a bamboo grove I keep cut back with a machete and no trouble to cut a thick bamboo stalk clean through with one strike, it would do a number on a person.
If you do ever have to use your machete as a weapon who do you think you will be using it against? not a guy with a sword and lets hope not a guy with a gun. I think most likely a person armed with a knife or maybe a blunt weapon like a hammer or bat. Against these a machete would be very effective I think.
Also you have to realize if just having a weapon keeps you from having to use it it is effective too. I think most people armed with a knife or hammer would think twice before attacking a guy with a machete
OK I understand its neat to fantasize about getting into hand to hand combat in the post apoc world but lets face it will be more likely you will need a machete as a tool.
I like the WWII British machete, thicker then most and not as long makes for a better all round tool I think, kind of heaby to carry though

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by JohnnyMayhem » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:35 am

I snatched up the 18 inch machete that Kershaw put out over at the factory sale last weekend. I wound up doing the milkjug test and it was thrusting right through with no problems, then slicing right through with very little problems. (other than having to pick every thing up afterwards.)
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:39 pm

Nick Adams wrote:i guess I sort of collect machetes, have a couple dozen probably, also own quite a few swords

First most [ but not all] swords were designed to be used against others armed with swords, I think the chances that you will get into a fight with another person armed with a sword is about zero
A good machete that is sharp is very capable of doing extreme damage to a person, no doubt about that. I have a bamboo grove I keep cut back with a machete and no trouble to cut a thick bamboo stalk clean through with one strike, it would do a number on a person.
If you do ever have to use your machete as a weapon who do you think you will be using it against? not a guy with a sword and lets hope not a guy with a gun. I think most likely a person armed with a knife or maybe a blunt weapon like a hammer or bat. Against these a machete would be very effective I think.
Also you have to realize if just having a weapon keeps you from having to use it it is effective too. I think most people armed with a knife or hammer would think twice before attacking a guy with a machete
OK I understand its neat to fantasize about getting into hand to hand combat in the post apoc world but lets face it will be more likely you will need a machete as a tool.
I like the WWII British machete, thicker then most and not as long makes for a better all round tool I think, kind of heaby to carry though
I think that assuming you will be better armed than anyone looking to do you harm is a dangerous assumption to make. I think that many preppers make that assumption way too often. The idea that "I'll have a rifle, everyone will have pistols so I"ll be fine", or "I'll have a sword/machete and everyone else will have knives". The fact is, most aggressors are going to pick targets that they feel they have an advantage over and can easily overcome. You should assume that they will as armed, even better armed, or have some sort of advantage over you (numbers, element of surprise, etc). That just isn't a rule of thumb for SHTF, but an something that can happen on any given day.

I'm not saying machete and sword fights are going to be a rampant part of everyday life. I'm just pointing out that you should never underestimate a bad guys capabilities or tools. They have the same access to whatever weapons that we do. The difference is, they actually are planning to use them in an aggressive manner, rather than as a "just in case" defensive weapon. If anything, this gives them the advantage.

But I whole heartily agree about the utility and tool aspect of a machete being the number one priority. I have a machete of some sort in every one of my kits, my trunk, and my work rooms. Not because I'm stashing weapons, but because I use them a lot. Whether it be breaking down some fallen branches from a road/path, doing yard work, or cracking the occasional coconut that falls in my lap. When I camp, I don't bring an axe, my primary wood processing tool is also just a machete. Been using one since I was a little kid.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Steeltalons » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:35 pm

This is a grosses messer that was recently made for me by Scott Woodruff, a member of the MyArmoury forum. Blade is 21-1/2" long, so it would handle well in close quarters. Grip scales are elk antler. Point of balance is 2" in front of the guard, so even though the blade is substantial it feels very light in the hand and handles quickly. Back edge is sharpened for a short distance from the point. Steel came from an antique hay knife, and was slack-quenched to give a harder edge and softer back. With it is a "pricker" (a combination tool that functions as an awl and a sharpening steel) and two "by knives". Blade is about 1/4" thick near the guard but has proper distal taper forged into the blade, which contributes to the balance. It is a fighting weapon, but it COULD function as a machete if need be. And well capable of (literally) "dis-arming" an opponent!

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by ShooterMike » Fri Dec 26, 2014 1:03 pm

That is an awesome, awesome messer! I think really well done messers of that size make as close to the perfect close quarters fighting blade as you're likely to find anywhere. Excellent job by Scott BTW.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Steeltalons » Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:56 pm

For myself, I prefer shorter weapons. None of my swords has a blade longer than 24 inches. If I want something longer, I will use a polearm (I have a glaive, a halberd, and a poleaxe; of the three, the glaive is the best overall, being a custom piece by Arms & Armour). Of all of them, I'd say this messer is my favorite in terms of looks and handling. I have an unsigned 450-year-old wakizashi that is only 1/8" longer, but the messer feels much better in terms of balance and overall handling, plus the blade is about a third again as wide as the wakizashi blade and I honestly feel it would be the better cutter. Also, there is the issue of the wakizashi being a traditionally forged laminated blade which can bend and stay bent from a poorly made strike. It already has a very slight set in it from who knows what point in its long history. Although the messer is made from antique steel, it is HOMOGENOUS steel that I am sure is quite a bit tougher than the nihon-to, plus the edge isn't hardened to the same degree and would therefore be less prone to chipping or cracking (which are usually fatal in traditionally made Japanese blades - thankfully mine has none of those). The messer would definitely be going with me in a SHTF situation, if at all possible.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by satow » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:02 am

A staff or spear is much more effective.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Steeltalons » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:35 am

Not so much in close quarters - not enough room to swing a staff, and once you're past the pointy end of a spear, the spear wielder is at a decided disadvantage if he doesn't have room to maneuver. I have a glaive that has a good point for thrusting as well as an edge for cutting, if I need a polearm, but even the medieval footsoldiers who were armed with polearms generally had some sort of close-quarters weapon (big dagger, short sword, one-handed axe, etc.) as a back-up if they couldn't use their primary weapon.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Das Sheep » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:13 am

Sworbeyegib wrote:Cold Steel makes a gladius machete that is pretty damn cool for the price. It's about as pure "fight" as they come.
I saw the Gladius Machete at Academy sports on clearance and picked it up.

Its really massive.

And while its a bad Machete, I would not want to fight someone wielding one.

The edges needed to be touched up, like most cold steel machete's, but its awesome now.

I don't think of my various cool machetes as weapons, I mean, I have guns, but they are pretty neat and if needed I am sure they could be.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Steeltalons » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:31 am

The Condor "Bush Cutlass" has gotten good reviews. I got one on sale through the Sword Buyer's Guide online store and I have to say it IS a nice piece of cutlery. Sort of a cross between a short saber and a machete. And it comes SHARP!

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by sakimoto » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:54 pm

Pretty darn effective if you ask me! If you know how to sharpen one razor sharp it is deadly. Light easy to handle. A woman can use it easily. Look up haitian machete fighting. They are experts at it. They are considered agricultural tools here.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:57 pm

Steeltalons wrote:The Condor "Bush Cutlass" has gotten good reviews. I got one on sale through the Sword Buyer's Guide online store and I have to say it IS a nice piece of cutlery. Sort of a cross between a short saber and a machete. And it comes SHARP!
I have to say though, as much as I love Condor's products, their bush cutlass is the only one I was unimpressed with. I handled it side by side with the Cold Steel cutlass machete at a gun show, and the Cold Steel one blew it out of the water in every way. I almost picked up the Cold Steel one just for the heck of it, but left with a Smatchet instead.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Steeltalons » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:32 pm

Sworbeyegib wrote:
Steeltalons wrote:The Condor "Bush Cutlass" has gotten good reviews. I got one on sale through the Sword Buyer's Guide online store and I have to say it IS a nice piece of cutlery. Sort of a cross between a short saber and a machete. And it comes SHARP!
I have to say though, as much as I love Condor's products, their bush cutlass is the only one I was unimpressed with. I handled it side by side with the Cold Steel cutlass machete at a gun show, and the Cold Steel one blew it out of the water in every way. I almost picked up the Cold Steel one just for the heck of it, but left with a Smatchet instead.
Not having any personal experience with Cold Steel's stuff (I have heard that their swords tend to be great beaters, but are often over-weight for the types they are supposed to represent, and their 'grosse messer' - actually technically a Kriegsmesser - has had quality issues reported), I have no basis for comparison. The bush cutlass is a part of my bugout gear, though, strapped to my ALICE pack. Unlike the messer, which is a weapon first but could be pressed into service as a tool, the bush cutlass I am treating as a tool that could do secondary duty as a weapon.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:43 pm

Steeltalons wrote:
Sworbeyegib wrote:
Steeltalons wrote:The Condor "Bush Cutlass" has gotten good reviews. I got one on sale through the Sword Buyer's Guide online store and I have to say it IS a nice piece of cutlery. Sort of a cross between a short saber and a machete. And it comes SHARP!
I have to say though, as much as I love Condor's products, their bush cutlass is the only one I was unimpressed with. I handled it side by side with the Cold Steel cutlass machete at a gun show, and the Cold Steel one blew it out of the water in every way. I almost picked up the Cold Steel one just for the heck of it, but left with a Smatchet instead.
Not having any personal experience with Cold Steel's stuff (I have heard that their swords tend to be great beaters, but are often over-weight for the types they are supposed to represent, and their 'grosse messer' - actually technically a Kriegsmesser - has had quality issues reported), I have no basis for comparison. The bush cutlass is a part of my bugout gear, though, strapped to my ALICE pack. Unlike the messer, which is a weapon first but could be pressed into service as a tool, the bush cutlass I am treating as a tool that could do secondary duty as a weapon.
Yea, their swords do tend to be a bit heavy and unbalanced. But the item I was referring to was their Cutlass Machete, which you can usually buy for about $30-$35 bucks.

http://www.knifecenter.com/item/CS97DRM ... -Ex-Sheath

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The blade was just a tad thinner, but broader and better balanced. And the handle, though slicker (easily fixed with some friction tape), was by far much more comfortable. Though that may just be because I have some xxl meaty paws. The Cold Steel's tang also goes thru the entire length of the handguard as well. The Condor does have a much better sheath though.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Zimmy » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:32 pm

I've used machetes as a work tool for years.

This is the best I've had:

http://ontarioknife.com/tools/machetes2 ... ete-detail

Machetes are all about technique. Something like a 4" thick live mesquite may take me 3-4 hits and a novice 20-25 hits. I would grab a machete on a table of weapons ahead of any rapier or broadsword or katana because a machete feels like an extension of my arm and the others would be unwieldy in my inexperienced hands.

Another plus for a machete might be the general opinion of the population. A machete is known to be damned dangerous by many ethnic and cultural groups and might make an impression where a guy with a shiny fancy sword may look like both ridiculous and interesting prey.

Another factor I consider is the perception of a policeman. In my vehicle there's a backpack, walking stick and various construction tools. My machete blends in much better than a sabre or katana might.



If you know nothing about blades, I suggest you pick a style you have some kinship with and buy the tool of that style. Then geek out on that weapon until you know everything about how it feels, how it moves, and where it is.

I say that because you probably aren't gonna spend hundreds or thousands of hours cleaning fencelines and clearing brush.

All that being said, falchions are danged sexy to me and look like something I could upgrade to with my current muscle memory set with machetes.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Leif3141 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:50 am

I'd also like to point something out- where do you plan on buying the sword? As others have sort of hinted at here - not too many places to realistically consider. I'd like to point out my experience of buying a "real" mace. I scoured through the internet and found a company that was supposedly reputable in creating real medieval weapons that weren't just show pieces. The first day while having the mace, I tested it on some cardboard boxes full of newspaper - and it broke. The cost of this was also at a "real" price point, and I'm no blacksmith, but it seems a mace would be easier to make sturdier than a blade. Also - as another has pointed out - machetes are generally shorter in length in comparison to a lot of swords, and could be used indoors much easier than a sword with a 2 ft or longer blade. I see literally no reason, other than for your own enjoyment, to buy a sword over a machete or two for prepping purposes, because to me that's money better spent on something else. I am no swordsman, but have used machetes in many a forest, and feel pretty confident in their ability during a fight if I had to use one.

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:09 pm

The only sword I would buy is from zombie tools..... Because they look fun to chop crap with
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Abuhin » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:28 am

Sworbeyegib wrote:But the item I was referring to was their Cutlass Machete, which you can usually buy for about $30-$35 bucks.

http://www.knifecenter.com/item/CS97DRM ... -Ex-Sheath

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The blade was just a tad thinner, but broader and better balanced. And the handle, though slicker (easily fixed with some friction tape), was by far much more comfortable. Though that may just be because I have some xxl meaty paws. The Cold Steel's tang also goes thru the entire length of the handguard as well. The Condor does have a much better sheath though.
Hmm. I've been curious of this product. I want to get a sense of Cold Steel's quality with their blade classifications. Cold Steel also makes a cutlass marketed as a sword. The 1917 Cutlass. The blade lengths are identical, and the steel is also 1055, but the width for the sword isn't given on their site (or I couldn't find it).

Is there any practical reason at all one would spend over $200 more by picking the sword over the machete? For whatever scenario would require melee fighting, contrived though it may be, how is the 'actual' sword advantageous? Even if I was rich enough, I suspect the machete would still be better.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by chrispy » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:15 am

There are plenty of examples of the machete being used very effectively as a primary weapon. Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, Soloman Islands, East Timor, Rwanda, Somalia. All have very clear examples of the severe injuries caused by cheap machetes and bush knives weilded by terrorists and militia.

Do not delude yourself that these are 'ineffective'

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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by chenessfan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:25 am

Abuhin wrote:
Sworbeyegib wrote:But the item I was referring to was their Cutlass Machete, which you can usually buy for about $30-$35 bucks.

http://www.knifecenter.com/item/CS97DRM ... -Ex-Sheath

Image

The blade was just a tad thinner, but broader and better balanced. And the handle, though slicker (easily fixed with some friction tape), was by far much more comfortable. Though that may just be because I have some xxl meaty paws. The Cold Steel's tang also goes thru the entire length of the handguard as well. The Condor does have a much better sheath though.
Hmm. I've been curious of this product. I want to get a sense of Cold Steel's quality with their blade classifications. Cold Steel also makes a cutlass marketed as a sword. The 1917 Cutlass. The blade lengths are identical, and the steel is also 1055, but the width for the sword isn't given on their site (or I couldn't find it).

Is there any practical reason at all one would spend over $200 more by picking the sword over the machete? For whatever scenario would require melee fighting, contrived though it may be, how is the 'actual' sword advantageous? Even if I was rich enough, I suspect the machete would still be better.
Well, machetes usually are shorter, very thin and flexible and lack a good point. Due to their flexy nature, it's much harder to set aside blows by other weapons or win the center and without a thrusting point you are at a distinct disadvantage against someone who can both cut and thrust. All this makes them inferior to a good sword when it comes to melee fighting (though lack of length may under some circumstances be an advantage).
However, as long as you're not actually fighting another machete or sword with your machete, these problems aren't really noticeable.

In response to crispy: nobody doubts that machetes can be quite deadly when pressed into service as a weapon. I'm convinced though that there are much more effective melee weapons and if one is really concerned about melee combat, one should get an actual melee weapon and most importantly, the training to go along with it.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Pc Genie » Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:30 pm

I would agree with Chenessfan, machetes are quite useful weapons to use, but you can do much, much better.

In short, among tools it is the most weapon-like, among weapons it is the most tool-like.
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Re: How Effective is the Machete as a Weapon?

Post by Stonedog » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:16 am

For me it's the condor golok....I modified the tip to give it a more parang shape....not as blunt...more pointy.

While I wouldn't want to thrust all day with it (I would want a gladius or spatha for that) it will be just fine in a pinch!

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