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File:Flaregun 2894.jpg


"I just shot a guy with a flare gun!!!"


An emergency tool used to signal rescuers to your location, the Flare Gun is a must should you get lost or in need of assistance.

In fiction, the Flare Gun also serves as a weapon, though probably Awesome but Impractical, as it can be very inaccurate.

Examples of Flare Gun include:

Board Games

  • The Flare Gun is actually one of the better weapons in Last Night on Earth, especially since you can pick it up from the discard pile at the Airplane Hangar.

Comic Books

  • In the first Gargoyles series, Hudson shot Demona with a flare gun while she was making her escape. Amusingly enough, he credits From Russia with Love for the inspiration to do that. Seems he's a Sean Connery fan.


  • James Bond uses a flare gun in From Russia with Love.
    • James Bond also uses one in Thunderball, to signal for help.
  • Viggo Mortenson's character in The Road uses a flare gun on people he thinks are following him with malicious intent.
  • In The Breakfast Club, Brian is in detention because he brought a gun to school to kill himself with since he got an "F" on an assignment, but it was a flare gun that goes off in his locker, thus getting him caught and sent to detention. Cue laughter from the rest of the kids.
  • Judge Dredd. The Lawgiver pistol could fire flare rounds. At the end of the movie, after Rico's pistol runs out of lethal rounds, Dredd uses it to fire off a flare to distract Rico. Watch it here, 3:30-3:45.
  • At the end of the execrable Joe Don Baker movie Final Justice, the police escort finally stops being a Neutral Female and uses one to dispatch The Mole.
  • In Tremors, one of the many weapons used by Burt and Heather Gummer on the Graboid that smashes into their underground "rec room."
  • The Cat from Outer Space has some minor troublemaker attempt to shoot down a helicopter with a flare gun.
  • The Guns of Navarone: while Andrea is sniping at the German soldiers on the mountain, a German officer uses one to mark his position and direct his troops' fire.
  • Atlantis the Lost Empire: a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Used in a Chase Scene in Striking Distance to blow up the local Serial Killer's car.
  • The protagonists of Congo use them to stop heat-seeking missiles hitting their plane.
  • Raw Deal: Arnold Schwarzenegger fakes his death by opening the valves on a refinery storage tank, then firing a flare gun into the spilt fuel. He then rides a motorcycle Out of the Inferno.
  • Jaws 2: a hysterical female victim of the shark blows herself up with a flare gun, after she spilled petrol hurling a petrol can whose cap had come off at the monster shark.
  • Used to drive off the Spinosaurus the final time they bump into it in Jurassic Park III. The Spinosaurus had ruptured the fuel tank when it attacked their boat, so the flare gun set it on fire, at which point it retreated in pain.


  • In the Matt Helm novel The Intriguers, one character uses a flare gun as an improvised weapon to incapacitate the Big Bad. Afterward, Matt uses it to signal for help.
  • A variation: in The Fifth Elephant, Sam Vimes used a modified Clacks flare (no gun involved) as a weapon against a werewolf. Said werewolf's over-confidence and instincts made him catch the flare rocket in his mouth, which promptly exploded and killed him. Later the story was greatly exaggerated, leaving the flare out, and making Vimes an in-universe Memetic Badass: the man who killed a werewolf barehanded.
  • Flare Guns were routinely carried in the Biggles books set in WW 1 and were occasionally used as a makeshift weapon to set enemy planes on fire.
  • One of these causes the death of Fredrich Müller in All Quiet on the Western Front. He was described as being "quite conscious and in terrible pain," after he was hit, allowing him time to say goodbye to his friend and pass his boots along to Paul.
  • Anna Kelso uses one against assassin Yelena Federova in the Deus Ex novel, Icarus Effect.

Live Action TV

  • Desmond shoots Mikhail with one on Lost.
  • On Wings, after the gang crash lands in the water on the way to Boston for Helen's Big Break as a professional cellist, when the cello bobs up from underwater, Helen uses the flare gun's one charge to shoot and sink her cello.
  • Hawaii Five-O episode "Death's Name Is SAM": A terrorist group tries to use a heat-seeking missile to shoot down a jetliner. McGarret has police officers fire off flares at the landing field to distract the missile and save the jet.
  • Jack Bauer once shot a guy with a flare gun.
  • ICarly has Spencer fire a flare gun at a door and Lewbert fire two flare guns at the ceiling when he saw his ex for no apparent reason
    • iStart A Fan War had a character catch a flare that had been shot at him but didn't go off, only for it to explode in his hands.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "The Initiative" Xander gives Buffy a flare pistol to signal for help if she needs it when she goes to fight Spike. It turns out to be just what she needs when a team of Initiative soldiers attack Willow in a dorm corridor; Buffy fires the flare, overloading their night vision goggles.
  • On an episode of Night Court, Dan had to remove someone's appendix due to his incompetence with a flare gun. (Loooooong story there.)

Tabletop RPG

  • The Shadowrun supplement Street Samurai Catalog had the Micro Flare, a penlight sized flare gun that could be used as a weapon.
  • Dark Conspiracy supplement Darktek. The flare gun can fire signal and illumination flares and in an emergency can be used as a weapon doing burn damage.

Video Games

  • Urban Dead: Humans can obtain flare guns from certain locations. They do 15 points of damage, but have very low accuracy. As in real life, players can use flare guns to signal their location to humans and zombies alike.
  • Team Fortress 2: One of the unlockable weapons the Pyro can get. While hard to aim and easy to dodge, flares will do a small amount of damage to a target and set him on fire, causing afterburn damage. The bonus comes if you hit an already-burning opponent with a flare, which causes a Critical Hit. Needless to say, being killed by failing to dodge a flare at long range while on fire can be quite embarrassing...
    • A later unlock is the Detonator: a modified flare gun whose flares cause a small explosion as Alt Fire (or a smaller one when it hits an object) in exchange for increased self-damage (making its already rather pathetic Rocket Jump outside the beta even less useful) and only getting a mini-crit on burning enemies instead of full one.
  • This is one of the available weapons in SMOD, an add-on mod to Half Life 2.
  • A flare gun can be used as an item (and an ability) in Warcraft 3, but it only reveals terrain and invisible units from anywhere on the map.
  • One of the WWII-era weapons in Time Splitters: Future Perfect. It appears in story mode when Cortez uses it to shoot a guard (and accidentally give a signal to start a bombardment of the island he needs to be on). Like most other examples, it's not very accurate but sets enemies on fire.
  • Blood has a flare gun for the standard FPS pistol slot, though more powerful than the standard with the ability to set most minor enemies on fire with one shot, compared to several bullets from other shooters. Very useful in the sequel where some minions teleport when they take damage. With a flare gun the burning flare teleports with them.
  • Alan Wake has a flare gun as an available weapon for fighting your light-hating enemies. It's the most powerful weapon in the game, easily capable of instantly destroying most weaker enemies and producing light for a few seconds afterwards to drive away any surviving enemies. Naturally, you don't find a lot of ammo for them, but they're very handy for emergencies.
    • The Flare Gun is also the only way to defeat the final boss. (so you get infinite ammo for it).
  • In the ruins of La-Mulana, the Flare Gun is one of the weapons available, which fires a projectile straight upwards. It usually becomes useful for solving puzzles by killing monsters in tricky places, or as another source of ammunition, but is probably not Lemeza's preferred weapon.
  • Fire Emblem: the Torch staff, usable by only staff wielders, illuminates squares in Fog of War.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin: the Flare unit has the unique ability to fire Flares which illuminate sqaures in Fog of War.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, there is a combat item called the Flare Gun. When used it "Calls down an 'Arrr Strike'", and a pirate ship fires a cannonball at your enemy. To get the best reward in the Mysterious Island War quest, you need to use it in "The Last Stand" adventure.
  • The Ship: a Source engine game that features passengers on a cruise ship trying to sneakily off their targets without getting killed themselves, has flare guns as a potential projectile weapon, typically found in glass cases or life vest boxes on the exterior of the ship. As there's no reloading in the game, it only holds one shot and you have to carry multiple guns for multiple shots, but it's very powerful with a one-hit kill (unless, of course, the enemy jumps in a pool).
  • Far Cry 2 has a flare gun as a pistol-slot item. It can torch an enemy to death with one flare (if you hit), but it's real use is as a very large supplement to your Molotov Cocktail supplies for starting brushfires. NPCs under attack will also fire them into the air on occasion to try (and fail) to summon reinforcements.
  • The Flare Gun is the starting weapon of the Salesman class in Survival Crisis Z, and can be obtained by everyone else relatively early on. It's a one hit kill on basic zombies, but it's inaccurate and has a very short range.
  • Bulletstorm: The Screamer's special rounds are flares. They set people on fire and send them flying with a direct hit.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has a new DLC, Lonesome Road, which introduces a flare gun. It isn't all that powerful, but it is quite useful in spooking the various monsters listed as 'abominations' in the game.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Jonny Quest episode "The Sea Haunt": Dr. Quest and Race Bannon use Very pistols against the title monster. The writer apparently thought that because they were "pistols" they could fire multiple times without reloading like a revolver: they're actually single shot.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Homer, Bart, Ned Flanders and his sons get lost at sea when a Boy Scout trip goes wrong. They see a plane fly by and Flanders produces a flare gun, which Homer snatches and fires...and shoots down the plane by accident. D'oh!

Real Life

  • Truth in Television: Flares are commonly used as Improvised Weapons by ship crews when they are attacked by pirates.
    • A Danish cargo ship used a flare to to set an enemy pirate boat on fire.
    • Though, accuracy goes out the window, as when firing a flare gun it is advised to close your eyes and look away, as looking directly at a lit flare is akin to staring directly at the sun.
    • Something rarely addressed in fiction is the fact that some modern distress flares are actually a kind of highly specialised 12-gauge shotgun shell. Substitute a round of ordinary buckshot for the flare and you have a very short Sawed-Off Shotgun, and they're legally classified as firearms in many jurisdictions.
  • Know the classic Deep Purple song "Smoke on the Water?" 'Course you do, but you might not know it's based on a real incident where some idiot with a flare gun did, in fact, burn the venue Deep Purple was performing in to the ground.