The preferred definition of a zombie is a relentless adversary that had at one time died and been revived by some type of biological virus. The only thing that will stop the undead is destruction of the brain.
As seen in some movies and TV shows decapitation only removes the biting portion and creates what has been referred to by other zombie experts as a “land mine”. Being that our brain controls all of our bodily functions, both voluntary and involuntary, it is of course well protected. The majority of our vital organs are protected by bone, muscle, and/or cartilage. The skull of a typical adult human has an average thickness of around ¼”. In the early to mid-twenties a human’s skull fissures are fully sealed. The brain itself is completely encased inside the skull except for the opening in the atlas that allows the connection of the brain stem to the spinal cord. This fact is especially evident when high velocity low mass impact occurs within the cranial vault. Hydrostatic pressure is created inside the cranial vault that presses the brain against the inside of the skull and cuts the four neural strips that cross the brain. At the same time it presses the brain stem down into the opening of the atlas severing the connection to the spinal cord and the rest of the body. This is the most effective way to dispatch the undead although not the best overall as the gunshot from the high powered rifle will certainly attract more undead as well as the living.
The quiet ways of destroying the brain of a zombie are hindered by the very thing that is meant to protect our brains from damage. The thickness of the skull makes penetration by smaller edged weapons all but impossible on anything but a severely decomposed body. When the body dies and the head is in a downward position pressures can build within the cranial vault and cause separation in the fissures or other weaker areas of the skull. This can give you an entry point into the skull to scramble the eggs. Without the benefit of decomposition a heavier weapon will be more able to breach the skull and cause significant damage. I’ve seen it take someone more than 15 minutes to get into a skull using an oscillating saw and chisel. With blunt force trauma it is more effective if the force is focused on a smaller point. With a knife the ease that it pierces the skin is determined by the sharpness and fineness of the point. Think of it like a needle vs. a chisel. If the force of the blow from a heavy weapon is focused on a smaller point more energy is transferred to that spot and therefore more damage is done. (Use code " blog5 " for 5% off in our store)
So in short, when deciding on a weapon to use keep in mind the basic anatomy of a zombie and the things that are needed to defeat the skull and reach the brain. Something with enough mass to do damage, and a smaller area to focus the energy to the skull and more effectively destroy the brain. Good luck, and good hunting. - Country1059