Flare gun for SD?!


October 31, 2006, 03:40 PM
I was perusing some articles on the internet and came upon one where it mentioned a suspect, during a police chase, fired at the officer's patrol car WITH A FLARE GUN!... That sounded pretty screwy to me. Can flare guns be used as a defensive weapon? One man I asked told me yes, and that they can take shotshells. Now that doesn't exactly sound believable to me so I decided to ask all of you on here.

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October 31, 2006, 03:43 PM
I wouldn't think that firing shot shells in something that small would be much fun, unless you have a bionic arm, and good hearing protection.

October 31, 2006, 03:51 PM
I wouldnt want to take a flare to the gut!:what:

October 31, 2006, 04:06 PM
Here's a very recent article about a woman who was shot with a flare gun in Austrailia. She was hit in the head and received very minor injuries.. so I would say no .. no good for SD.


Strangers shoot woman with flare gun
October 19, 2006 02:10pm

A WOMAN has been shot with a flare gun after four strangers knocked on the front door of her Sydney home.

The 23-year-old opened the window blinds of her home in Lidbury Street, Berala, in Sydney's west, after she heard the knock on the front door about 8.10pm (AEST) yesterday.

Police said one of four unknown people standing outside the house then pointed a flare gun at the woman and fired it through the window.

The flare struck her in the head before landing on a couch, sparking a small fire.

The offenders fled.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Auburn Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Four other people in the home at the time of the incident were uninjured.

October 31, 2006, 04:09 PM
One man I asked told me yes, and that they can take shotshells.

Twelve and ten gauge flare guns can take shotshells of the appropiate gauge; however, shotshells produces significantly more pressure than a flare and will cause the flare gun to explode (or fail in unexpected, dramatic and violent ways).

Self defense? Maybe as a last resort, meaning that I didn't have a screwdriver or blunt object handy.

October 31, 2006, 04:24 PM
Now that doesn't exactly sound believable to me so I decided to ask all of you on here.

The fellow who gave you this advice is an idiot and following it can result in seroius injury.
You can shoot 12 ga flares out of a shotgun safely, but you can not shoot shot out of a 12 ga flare gun safely.

Carl N. Brown
October 31, 2006, 04:25 PM
The common Olin flare guns sold at marine supply (and WalMart:eek: )
have plastic frames and plastic barrels: they will accept a minishell
(under 2") but PLASTIC BARRELS do not have the strength for a
shotgun shell.

12 gauge marine flares should not be fired in shotguns either.
Although I have gotten away with firing them in 18.5" no-choke
cylinder bore shotguns, if one stiks (and they will stick in a choked
barrel) it does not do the barrel much good.

As far as using a flare gun for SD, I have taken fired flare shells,
capped them and inserted a plastic shotgun wad backwards like a
badminton birdie. They will persuade stray dogs to leave your
trash cans alone without permament damage to the dogs.

Since you are responsible for collateral damage in a SD situation,
and the potential of a flare as a fire starter is high, I do not
recommend flares for general self defense use. You could end
up owing an innocent bystander a new house or car.

October 31, 2006, 04:31 PM
My cop friends give me stories that every once in a while, some dim wit criminal tries to use a 12 Gauge flare gun as a shot gun. Usually with bad results for all parties involved.

October 31, 2006, 07:04 PM
Can flare guns be used as a defensive weapon? One man I asked told me yes,

as sad as i am to tell you this my father is one of these belivers thank god i didnt get that gene any ways he still sleeps with this flare gun on his night stand while i sleep with my trusty 12g

November 2, 2006, 02:39 PM
I remember back in the 70's, going through a certain training course. We were pulled aside by one of the instructors and shown how to use our mini flare gun (about 2/3 the length of a ball point pen, but thicker) as a last resort weapon if we were shot down over enemy territory.

We would remove the phosphorus 'head' of the flare/projectile, so that the only thing left was the 'motor.' It was metal, and sharply pointed. He doemonstrated by firing it into a tree. Not the most accurate weapon, but it did go into the wood far enough to convince us that it could indeed be used as a last-resport type of weapon.

"Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right." -- Woody Allen

"It's not that I'm afraid to die. It's just that I don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen

"Love between two people is wonderful - if you can get between the right two people." -- Woody Allen

November 2, 2006, 02:56 PM
Umm...what about white phosphorus flares? A flare isn't going to have too much knockdown power, but when you spill burning white phosporus onto someone.....

November 2, 2006, 03:00 PM
Every flare gun I've ever seen is chambered only to take 2" shells. You can't fit any 'real' shotgun shells in there.

Consumer flare guns these days are plastic. Even if you did mod one out to shoot lead it would probably blow up in your hand. You can get mil-surp flare guns that are all metal and could probably take a shotgun shell if you did your part, but there are two caveats: A) the recoil would probably break your wrist, and B) doing so would be creating an SBS, which is obviously spectacularly illegal.

As far as getting shot with flares goes, I've been hit with them and they aren't moving all that fast, nor do they really burn you because they just bounce off. I got a red mark when I was hit (upper arm, drunks screwing around) from about 10 yards away and nothing else came of it other than some lost arm hair. I wouldn't want to take one in the face or while wearing polyester (or soaked in petrol), but they're far from ideal.

November 2, 2006, 03:08 PM
I never thought I'd be having this discussion.
I think I would rather get in close and just stab the guy with my ink pen. The chances of a flare gun seriously injuring or killing your attacker are so slim it's not worth having it anywhere near you to tempt you to try it.
Let's say you get attacked on your boat dockside while you wash your boat. What other things besides a flare might you have on your boat?

A bucket? yep, I'd rather use that
A rope? Sure
A tool box full of tools that you wouldn't want to be caught without when out to sea? Oh yea.

I just can't imagine defending myself with an over rated bottle rocket.

"Who throws a shoe!? honestly!?"
"A man with nothing but a dern flare!"

November 2, 2006, 03:16 PM
IIRC, there was a guy in WWII (Navy, mind you), who used a white phosphoruos flare gun as his primary boarding arm. That was white phosphorus at close quarters, though, so not exactly relevant.

Don't use shotgun shells in a flare gun, it will explode. Don't use flares in a shotgun, you'll screw up the shotgun. And don't fire the flare at people, it would be absolutely useless unless you have WP rounds. And you don't. Besides, those rounds are expensive, why waste them? It's more of a gadget than a weapon.

I'd rather use a Hi-Point, or even better, a rusty butter knife.

November 2, 2006, 03:43 PM
I've heard of it being used as a weapon before, (but mind you this is a story some guy told me).

He saw a man get shot with one of those big MK8 37mm flare pistols during a robbery in a parking lot (the kind used by the airforce and navy to indicate landing gear status) At point blank range the burning flare penetrated the mans chest enough to lodge there, and it took him about 20 minuites to die.

This guy also told me about how when he was a kid they used to get the webly and scott 37mm flare guns (like boba fett had for a blaster) and they'd reload shells to use a small amount of black powder to drive a few ounces of shot. He claimed that inside about 20 feet it had enough force to kill a rabbit.

Neither of these sound like particularly good ideas, since anti personell rounds with a flare gun constitutes posession of a DD, and flares have a disturbing habbit of lighting fires.

I've seen the test result photos that the atf released of using subcaliber adapters inside plastic olin flare guns, and the shattered remains of the plastic frames was more than enough to convince me that it was a verrrrrrry bad idea. However the memo stated that the failure occured after several shots, which means that it did hold togeather for more than one. they also used highbrass magnum loads to test, so its possible that one shot using reduced power or bird loads may have been feasable.

Some surpluss flare guns have steel frames and barrels and come in 12 gauge or can be adapted down to a smaller caliber. In theory these could be made safe for use... but you'd be manufacturing a DD and thats hard time if you don't pay your tax stamp.

Remember, if you're keeping it for self defense, you might have to use it some day, why not just stay legal so you can avoid the prison term.

Prince Yamato
November 2, 2006, 05:33 PM
Doesn't the BATF classify a flare gun that fires something lethal a DD?

November 2, 2006, 05:37 PM
Flares might be good vs vampires... doesn't light give them heartburn? Or is that zombies?

November 2, 2006, 05:39 PM
Prince Yamato - correct.

November 2, 2006, 05:39 PM
Sure, they are great, if you want to burn your house down.

Joe Demko
November 2, 2006, 05:43 PM
Well, what if you used the flare gun to call an artillery barrage?

November 2, 2006, 05:54 PM
"Sure, they are great, if you want to burn your house down."
Hey! that's a good idea for states where you can't stand your ground... you run outta the house and set the place ablaze for the perp's benefit. Barbecued BG!

November 2, 2006, 06:02 PM
I seem to recall seeing some devices a while back that were "dummy" shotgun shells that one could drop a .38spl into. The dummy round wasn't all that impressive, just big enough to have a short barrel and load the round. If I had some safe test area I'd put one of those in a flare gun if it fit and do some tests. I suspect it would KB in very photogenic ways.

B yond
November 2, 2006, 11:14 PM
Just a few months ago police opened fire on a mentally ill woman pointing a flare gun at them. She was hit more than 20 times IIRC, and never got a shot off.

This is a fairly small community so everytime the police shoot someone there's an uproar. One local newspaper decided to take the side of the PD and prove that flares were deadly, so...

1. They shot a flare at a cardboard cut-out from a certain distance; it bounced off.
2. They got closer and tried again; it bounced off.
3. They got even closer and tried again; the cardboard caught fire and they put the picture on the front page of the paper as proof positive that flare guns ARE DEADLY.

My 2 cents: flare guns are deadly if you're made out of cardboard and you get shot with it from close range.

As far as their potential to be defensive weapons? Some of those shotgun adapters Soybomb brought up actually have lines on them so they can be shortened with a hacksaw to fit in a flare gun. Don't know if it's safe or not, my guess is not.

November 3, 2006, 12:12 AM
Trivia: the Nazis made an adapter to shoot a little grenade from their flare gun... The 12-gauge flares are pretty harmless unless they hit you in the eye, which is good since they're for use by panicked drunken boaters.

November 3, 2006, 02:11 AM
I own an H & K 26.5MM flare gun, I've fired it twice. Wow, it's COOL!

Otherwise, has no one here yet mentioned the Hitchcock directed film Lifeboat? A flare gun is used to eliminate a delerious, dangerous survivor aboard a lifeboat.

November 3, 2006, 02:38 AM
It does look like a flare gun with some kind of crazy homemade shell can kill. Whether the perp still has a hand is unknown.


Figure 11 shows a wound caused by a flare gun that fired a homemade 12-gauge shotgun cartridge filled with screws, nuts, and other small metal objects.

Don't look unless you want to see a guy with a big hole in his head.

November 3, 2006, 05:11 AM
You can kill someone with a teddy bear, that doesnt make it a particlarly good weapon. I suppose that a 12guage flare could kill a person if you were shot at contact distance in the eye socket, but I would honestly bet even money that you would just get a glass eye out the deal, maybe if someone got shot in the mouth and managed to swallow the damn thing.

Its been said already but I think it's worth repeating. Plastic 12 guage flare pistol + shotshell = plastic hand.

November 3, 2006, 09:25 PM
Somebody's been playing too much TimeSplitters. :rolleyes:

November 3, 2006, 11:58 PM
Take a look at the link below to see how easy it is to convert a flare gun and make it fire .38 caliber ammunition. It's amazing what you can buy if you're willing to spend the money!


Stay Safe!

November 4, 2006, 01:11 AM
Take a look at the link below to see how easy it is to convert a flare gun and make it fire .38 caliber ammunition. It's amazing what you can buy if you're willing to spend the money!

Huh. I was thinking something like that would be possible, with a commercially manufactured barrel and a bit of glue or something. Didn't know anyone actually made one for commercial sale. Something like that could have real application if you're sailing somewhere where firerams proper are verboten. Although in some countries, the barrel is the firearm, unlike in the USA where the receiver/frame is the firearm, so you essentially "manufacture" a firearm by combining the adapter with the flare gun.

November 4, 2006, 11:42 AM
that drops in to a steel 25 mm flare gun to then shoot standard 12 ga. shotshells. Marine/boat search may find one somewhere.

November 4, 2006, 12:44 PM
The ATF has examined all of these "conversions" for flare guns, and came to two conclusions:

1) They're very illegal by US law
2) You'll lose your hand.

Here's their report, thanks to mp510 for posting it on another thread:



I'll stick to firing real ammo in my real guns, thanksmuch.


November 4, 2006, 11:12 PM
The ATF has examined all of these "conversions" for flare guns, and came to two conclusions:

1) They're very illegal by US law
2) You'll lose your hand.

On a brighter note... after the whiz-bang cracks a cap from the flare gun the LEO's job should be simple... all he has to do is look for the person with a bloody hand/stump that has plastic embedded in it and then lock him up for firing an illegal weapon. :D

Stay Safe!

November 5, 2006, 09:51 PM
Soak person in gas first then fire...

November 5, 2006, 10:21 PM
What do you think the psychological effect of getting hit with a flare would be on the BG?

November 5, 2006, 10:34 PM
Old style "very" pistols (those 25-26mm shells) are certainly low powered...don't know the MV but suspect it's in the Daisy BB gun range.

So I had to take apart a live round (current make...olin...Al. case stuff). Has a powder chamber machined in the projectile...and it's "blooped" out by 12gr. of black powder (looks like FFg). Is the only time I've ever seen BP being used non-compressed.

haven't taken apart a 12ga. round...doesn't smell like BP.

Not real sure I'd care to catch one of those...or the little 2" 12ga. flare...bare handed, but fired at 5yards they bounce off thin plywood (1/8" panneling). The big metal cases shells burn hot and long,,,would be distracting to have one bouncing around insed your car and proably set fire to the seats.

The old USN 10ga. flare pistol gnerally comes loose when someone fires a real shell in one (these were metal, not plastic)...pretty much one shot and it's ruined (may blow up...but I've seen a few that were still in one pice, just wobbly and cracked).
Now those hand held tube rocket launched parachute flares. Close, they are going slow...but out about 10-15yards, they seem to be going full speed. These are moving a lot faster... a metal tubed fin stablized rocket in a plastic launch tube, spring striker/percusion ignition.

November 6, 2006, 05:04 PM
Dammit Mike_in_OC, you took my post.:D

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