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Flare gun for SD?!

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Tearlachblair, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. Tearlachblair

    Tearlachblair Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    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.
  2. Cromlech

    Cromlech Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    England, U.K.
    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.
  3. Jackal

    Jackal Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Northwest Washington
    I wouldnt want to take a flare to the gut!:what:
  4. hexidismal

    hexidismal Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Ulster County, New York
    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.


  5. pcf

    pcf Member

    May 5, 2003
    Arlington, TX
    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.
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    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.
  7. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

    May 10, 2005
    Kingsport Tennessee
    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.
  8. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

    Jul 10, 2006
    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.
  9. salvador31c

    salvador31c Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    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
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2006
  10. rc135

    rc135 Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    Near the Rockies
    Flare Gun as Weapon

    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
  11. quatin

    quatin Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    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.....
  12. Zero_DgZ

    Zero_DgZ Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    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.
  13. BulletFan

    BulletFan Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Portland, Tennessee

    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!"
  14. Eightball

    Eightball Member

    May 31, 2005
    Louisville, KY
    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.
  15. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    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.
  16. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Doesn't the BATF classify a flare gun that fires something lethal a DD?
  17. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Flares might be good vs vampires... doesn't light give them heartburn? Or is that zombies?
  18. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

    Jan 10, 2004
    Prince Yamato - correct.
  19. dasmi

    dasmi Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Sure, they are great, if you want to burn your house down.
  20. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Just two minutes from sanity.
    Well, what if you used the flare gun to call an artillery barrage?
  21. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    "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!
  22. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    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.
  23. B yond

    B yond Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Cops shot a woman with a flare gun up here!

    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.
  24. telomerase

    telomerase Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    The bear-infested hills of Grafton NH
    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.
  25. Husker1911

    Husker1911 Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Omaha, NE. Alright, Lincoln on Game day Saturdays.
    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.
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