By April Dudash
The zombie apocalypse has arrived in Bunnlevel. A Chevy Tahoe is shot to hell. Shotgun shells are scattered among decaying "corpses" on the ground. The undead are lurking around every corner.
This is the (simulated) end of the world. Good thing the 37 PSR Gun Club is offering a new zombie apocalypse survival course this fall and a second annual zombie shoot-out, just in time for Halloween.
The instructors, most of them former Special Forces soldiers, hang out all day surrounded by AR-15s and M4 carbines. They know the weapons, and they know how to fend for themselves in rural areas.
And they love the zombie culture.
"We love 'The Walking Dead,' " said Frankie McRae, owner and training director for 37 PSR Gun Club. "Everyone plays along with the zombie apocalypse thing."
The art of zombie survival was revived in 2009 by the popular film "Zombieland," which taught us to check the back seat for uninvited guests and to double tap our zombie victims. Around this time, the Humans vs. Zombies game, a bloodbath of Nerf gun-wielding warriors who succumb to feeding zombies, spread across hundreds of college campuses, and even sparked interest at military bases, around the world.
But perhaps it was the AMC TV series "The Walking Dead" that first aired in 2010 that took the zombie craze to a whole new level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its own tongue-in-cheek zombie preparedness guide, weapons manufacturers released their own zombie-fighting models, such as KA-BAR's neon-green War Sword, and real news reports of cannibalism raised eyebrows.
And now PSR is joining the fight against extinction by teaching the art of the tactical shotgun, survival medicine, food prep and storage, home defense, and how to stay alive in urban and rural areas.
"If everything went to hell in a handbasket, these are the things you'd need to know to survive," McRae said.
He started PSR in 2009, and it now has more than 300 members from around the state. He is a retired master sergeant from 1st Special Forces Group, and he also runs Department of Defense and law enforcement training out of his second business, Raidon Tactics.
The zombie courses allow McRae and his instructors to put a spin on what they already offer. Their Halloween shoot-out, which they started last year, will allow gun enthusiasts to go through a high-adrenaline obstacle course that involves pig guts, fog and strobes, and a live-fire haunted house.
Participants get to mow down zombie dummies, which have heads full of green ChemLight juice. Try taking a shotgun to that.
"It goes flying 30 feet into the air, green brains," McRae said.
Chris Welch, a 26-year-old adjunct instructor and former military policeman, is looking forward to giving people a different take on survival skills.
"A lot of people think of a bunch of survivalists out in the woods heating up beanies and weenies on the campfire," Welch said.
Can you build a campfire? Change a tire? Do you know basic first aid?
Welch does, and he's been shooting weapons since he was a boy.
"A family that blasts together, lasts together," he says.
He surrounds himself with "Barbies for boys," the M4 carbine, the "gnarly, very, very nasty" 300 AAC Blackout assault rifle, and the MP5 submachine gun with a silencer.
"You are your own savior," Welch said. "You have to fend for yourself."
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Course
- Sept. 15: Tactical Shotgun, $200
- Sept. 27 and 29: Food Prep and Storage, $200
- Oct. 11 and 13: Survival Medicine, $200
- Nov. 8 and 10: Home Defense, $200
- Dec. 6 and 8: Ammo Reloading, $200
- TBD: Basic Survival in Urban and Rural Areas
Halloween Zombie Shoot-Out
Oct. 27 | Registration opens Oct. 1.
Just want to shoot? It's $15 per hour. For the day, military and law enforcement personnel pay $30, and the regular daily fee is $35.
For more information on how to survive the apocalypse, visit range37.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continue to follow Rick Grimes and the other survivors of 'The Walking Dead' as Season 3 of the AMC show starts Oct. 14 at 9 p.m.