Jump to content

Can a flare gun be used as a defensive weapon?


Recommended Posts

I don't see why it wouldn't be somewhat effective. I think pepper spray would be more effective though. I'm not sure how much of a punch a flare gun would pack. Even if it wouldn't knock someone down maybe it would at least catch them on fire.



So far so good, somewhat new owner of a second/new Garmin GPS V 20 plus finds so far with little to no problem. We'll see what happens when there are leaves on the trees again.

Link to comment

Consult local firearm laws where you live. Here in NJ, a flaregun is legally considered a handgun, and requires the same permit to carry one. Pointing one at a person in a non-life threatening situation will get you in the same amount of trouble as if it were a .45 (LOTS!). Carrying one without a permit will land you in jail. Not all states are as restrictive as NJ is, but it's a good idea to check. As for using it for self defense: I've always been taught that you dont point a gun at a man unless you are ready, willing, and able to kill him. Anything less and you run the risk of being killed with your own weapon. Think about it.


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

Link to comment

If you do have to use it (hopefully you wouldn't need to in a defensive situation), make sure your aim is good. The aunt of a friend of mine had a snake in her backyard and, not really knowing what to do, decided to try killing it with a flare gun. The flare hit the ground just in front of the snake, bounced over her fence, and landed in a neighbor's palm tree. The tree caught fire, of course, and the fire department had to be called. No major damage was done, but it certainly shows the need for care with one.


At least the event resulted in a funny story. icon_smile.gif



When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

Link to comment

I go by the Nickname Captain Leno here..

There is a real reason for that...

I have a pretty nice boat, and run Lake Michigan for Salmon, and could confortably take along 6 or so other fisherman.

What type of Flare Gun are you carrying ?

I am assuming your carrying the most comman type made by Sola and sold under several diffrent brand names.

They can be purchased at Walmart, and load a small 12 gauge flare.

They are sold with 4 flares, 3 Red Streaks, and one white streak (the practice Flare)

First and Foremost, I think you should check your local authorities on this issue.

You may be carrying a Fire Arm without a Permit which in some states can be a Felony and end up costing you much more than you expect.

Second, If you feel that you need to carry some sort of personal protection, I think you should carry something a little more suited for the situation, and suited to your training.

But getting to the flare gun.

Yes, A 12 guage flare gun would most definatly fend of a would be attacker.

But here is something to ponder.

A flare gun is Single Shot, and does not Reload very quickly, so you must be accurate the first time, and hope there is only 1 atacker.

Also, the range on a flare gun would probably only be accurate within 10 feet, they just do not pack that much Muzzle velocitiy.

And a Flare Gun can do a lot more damage than just fend off a would be attacker.

a Flare Gun Could and Would without Hestitation start a Forest Fire...

And a Forest Fire, under any conditions, with very little wind, can without hestitation outrun you to your vehicle, and burn you to death along with everything else in it's path.


Simply put, a Flare Gun is really over all a poor choice for personal protection.

There are much more fitting and safer things for one to carry with them to protect your self.

Link to comment

As pointed out before, flare guns, though using the same basic charge as a light shotgun load, carry little muzzle velocity. The reason for this is that the flare weighs a great deal more than the standard birdshot load. With that little muzzle velocity and depending upon the distance to your target, the flare may not penetrate, but merely ricochet. In that event, you're more likely to start a fire than harm your attacker, but more importantly, the fire you start may be your own, as a ricochet back in your direction could be the unintended result.


Flare guns simply were not made for defense. If you're really that concerned about an attack, a standard handgun is a much better bet.


Always wear proper caching safety equipment!


Link to comment

Originally posted by -=(GEO)=-:

I own a flare gun and I carry it loaded with me when I go caching. I was wondering if such a gun could also be used against an attacker (mostly human) or would something like pepper spray be more effective?


A cache a day keeps the blues away...


Shouldn't you really be carrying it unloaded! Does a flare gun have the same type of safety system as a regular handgun? I would hate to see what would happen if it accidentally went off in your pack.


I think you would be much better off with something less potential lethal. A can of pepper spray, a hiking staff, and some common sense will handle all but the most extreme wildlife or someone with a regular gun. If someone did pull a regular gun on you would you actually pull out your flare gun to defend yourself? Pulling it gun would probably get you shot and even if you got a shot off first, you would only get one, so if you missed, you would probably just make your attacker even more agressive.


So, IMHO, if you really feel you need a gun for protection while caching then get a real gun otherwise as I said, Pepper spray and a staff should cover you.


"We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. We are the Borg."

Link to comment

I've been searching the web, and have yet to find a case of anyone dying from being shot at by a flare gun. I HAVE found instances like were mentioned above, where the flare just deflected. It appears they have very little penetrating power, and about the worst thing they do is burn where they contact and bounce off. I also found where it has been successfully argued in court that a flaregun is not harmful enough to be classified as a weapon. Still, I stand by my original post. In many places, a flaregun is legally classified as a handgun. Carrying one loaded is the same as carrying an unregistered loaded pistol, in the eyes of the law in these places, and could net you some serious jail time. The act of pointing it at someone, in a non-life threatening situation, could also land you in jail, even in places where its not regulated as a handgun. You should never threaten to use lethal force unless you are mentally prepared to kill someone, and can live with the results.

Get yourself a hiking staff, and a can of pepper spray (check local laws on the pepper spray too!), and if you are REALLY that scared to go out alone,check out the animal shelter for a dog, size extra large.


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

Link to comment

All your answers have been very helpful and have made me reconsider the use of the flare gun for self-defense (mostly because of the risk of forest fire and/or self-immolation icon_eek.gif).


Captain Leno guessed correctly regarding the type of the flare gun: its a standard Orion 12 Ga sold over the counter at Wal-Mart for $25.


The fact is that in NY, a flare gun is classified as a non-gun and is easy to buy (I don't know about carrying it around though). So much easier to purchase than pepper spray for instance! I tried that route only to be told that I would need to be in law enforcement to get such a spray icon_confused.gif It just does not make sense to me.


The other problem is that getting a hand gun in NY state is a real expensive hassle too. That's why I had settled on the flare gun option. Not for the lack of training in handling firearms (I was in the military for a year in Europe).


For the most part, the places where I go caching are safe. However, I cache alone and I recently found out that a number of muggings and rapes have occured in an area (a nature preserve) that I would have never suspected to be dangerous icon_eek.gif


I truely believe that making assumptions about the "safety" of any given remote area is a mistake, particularly when going alone and I want to be prepared in case of a nasty encounter.


So maybe a staff is an option, but I'd rather be able to put a bit more distance between me an a potential attacker, be it man or beast icon_wink.gif


A cache a day keeps the blues away...

Link to comment

Glad you're reconsidering!

Even though the flare gun may be legal in your state for it's intended use, any other use may still cause it to be classifield as a weapon. Much the same that s screwdriver, in your toolbox, is perfectly legal, but that same screwdriver, coupled with the threat to stab someone with it, is now considered a lethal weapon. While not a lawyer (LEP! Where are you?), I have been on the expensive end of defending a supposed firearms violation, and its not fun, or cheap. (in case your wondering, it stemmed from having 2 homes, and only having to list your primary address on the permit, but having firearms stored at the secondary location. Police claimed they were therefore not legal. Took $10,000, and 2yrs of living with the threat of 20yrs in jail, to straighten it all out. America, land of the free, blech)


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

Link to comment

...that a sure-fire way to avoid being accosted was to wet your pants (the lighter the pant color, the better), drool from the corner of your mouth, and walk by dragging one foot limply behind the other.


I can't claim to have tried it myself, but if I were to come across someone who did, I think that I'd be giving them a wide berth.



Link to comment

I may have missed a point, but why use a flare gun for selfe defense?


Maybe the flare gun if you get lost deep in the vast wilderness or something, but as your main selfe defense item?


Why not a Glock 9 or something (permit too), if it is such a worry for defending yourself. I do not carry one on the hunt, but I do own one. I have thought about it, though. Luckily so far I haven't ran into a situation where I have needed it.


I see the point of killing two birds (no pun) with one stone aspect. Flare gun for location in the event of getting lost and as self defense, but I wouldn't carry one.


That's what the GPS is for (and spare batteries). Mark your coords before you leave your vehicle (If there's some remote chance of getting sidetracked) and....Well... that's it.icon_smile.gif


And yes, I did skip the one reply that I needed to read the most... Oh well, that's my input anyway icon_razz.gif

Link to comment

I'd have to agree. If you are going to put yourself on the line for concealed, assault-with-a-deadly..., and arson charges, why not at least arm yourself with a slightly less useless weapon (like a big Maglight flashlight or toenail clippers)?


Face it, if you are 10' away, you are going to miss. Any closer, you are as likely to get burned and injured as your would be attacker. Leave the flare at home, buy a signal mirror, and choose 'flight' over 'fight' whenever possible...

Link to comment

Originally posted by -=(GEO)=-:

I'll get a slingshot instead!

Scary thing is, even a $%@$# slingshot is a regulated weapon here in the lovely state of New Jersey. Just TRY and buy one. Even online they wont ship to a NJ address icon_frown.gif


Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

Link to comment

My first thought was "why are you caching in a place where you are worried about your safety?".


My second thought was -- well, I won't share that one with you.


Try getting a dog. They not only protect you from whatever... but they also help you to meet new "friendly" people.


Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups.

Link to comment



'Scott Johnson' wrote:


Self Defense?


My first thought was "why are you caching in a place where you are worried about your safety?".



2 things:


1) $#%t has happened to me before in places that were supposedly 'safe'.


2) Make no assumptions about the safety of *any* public area. As I already mentioned, the crime rate of a given area is usually not posted for everyone to see as I recently found out icon_frown.gif



My second thought was -- well, I won't share that one with you.


Have the courage of your opinions...send me an email icon_wink.gif



Try getting a dog. They not only protect you from whatever... but they also help you to meet new "friendly" people.


Darn...Too bad I'm a cat person! icon_cool.gif I hope that does not make me 'unfriendly' icon_eek.gif


The fact is that a dog can be incapacitated instantly with pepper spray...I'd rather be self-sufficient.


A cache a day keeps the blues away...

Link to comment

A flare gun is not a weapon and should never be used for self-defense. It is a signaling device and is only intended to be used in that regard. Anyone who expects to effectively defend him/herself using one has been watching too much T.V.


There are many self-defense weapons and devices on the market that would be much better choices. Even a walking stick would be better.


"Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something."

-- Plato

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...