Tracer rounds as signal flare?

This is a discussion on Tracer rounds as signal flare? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Here's kinda an oddball question: Keeping in mind that in a small airplane every single pound counts bigtime, what might you consider as a reasonable ...

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Thread: Tracer rounds as signal flare?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Tracer rounds as signal flare?

    Here's kinda an oddball question: Keeping in mind that in a small airplane every single pound counts bigtime, what might you consider as a reasonable alternative to a flarge gun and several flares (several pounds). Would you consider 2 or 3 of those little disposable pen flares? (anyone use 'em? Are they worth anything?) Or here's a idea I sort of got from brother Sheldon: Fire several tracer rounds into the air instead of a proper flare?

    Opinions and Ideas, both educated and inexperienced welcome.
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    JD
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    What goes up must come down, that includes tracers. Not to mention that it would suck big time to accidentally shoot down the craft that's looking for you...

    Also, flares tend to "hang" in the air a lot longer than a tracer being fired, while you may have more tracers, you'll get more visibility out of the flare.

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    Tracer rounds as signal flare?

    JD you stole my THUNDER.

    Careful Now! ~ Don't shoot down the helicopter that coming to rescue you.

    Now what do we do? Who is going to rescue the rescuers??

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    That's it - persistence, or lack of it.

    Also the positional aspect whereby a conventional flare, within wind effect limits, stays close to launch location relatively. Parachute flares even better.

    Plus the ''where do they end up" for tracers!
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    I did think about the lack of backstop for shooting tracers in the air, but I figure that if I'm in a place so remote as to need flares to begin with, the already small odds of hurting someone become almost negligible. Certainly never to be fired toward my rescue! (not a flare either for that matter, unless I like it where I'm at, and really just looking for some company). Certainly get better visibility out of the flares, OK, anyone know anything about those little "pen" ones?
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    Distinguished Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    The right tool for the job

    You might want to consider one of these. USCG approved 12ga aerial flares. These are complete with launcher. Don't know if they could be fired from shotgun? If so, three shells weigh .3#.


    West Marine: 12-Gauge High Performance Alerter Plus Signal Kit Product Display

    West Marine: 12-Gauge Alerter Basic-4 Signal Kit Product Display
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    Now I did not suggest using tracers for signal flares...

    I just wondered if you were thinking of them for your .410.
    But if you are interested there are a number of small signal flare kits out there. They are cigarette pack sized, include several rounds, and would have the hang time you need to signal someone.

    But then if it is dark one of those new 3-Watt LED tac lights would go real far as a signal, or even one of those high output green laser pens which are suppose to be good as a signal for up to 15 miles!

    N daylight I would prefer a signal mirror those are real obvious at range also. The big plus here is you are not very likely to start a fire with these when the danger level is high.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

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    I'll confirm that I got the Idea by taking Sheldons' statement out of context. I'm the goofball that is responsible for this madness.

    As for using them in my .410, I was hoping for actual flares for that gun. Don't know if they make .410 tracers anyway. I have seen .22 tracers. I've been kicking around trading my over/under for the even-lighter henry survival rifle. That is a .22 semi-auto. My .410 seems to have a quite short effective range, but I need more experience with it to decide. Can't find a range around here that'll let me shoot shotshells out of it. I use it now to shoot squirrells that are skylined in the trees, but in a true survival situation (and ONLY in a true survival situation), I'd be willing to shoot a .22 without a proper backstop. Hopefully I won't be missing and wasting ammo anyway, and I can carry any more .22 rounds that .410 rounds anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by airslot View Post
    You might want to consider one of these. USCG approved 12ga aerial flares. These are complete with launcher. Don't know if they could be fired from shotgun? [/url]
    Yes, they actually get a little more altitude from a shotgun. Won't always cycle an autoloader though.
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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cupcake View Post
    Or here's a idea I sort of got from brother Sheldon: Fire several tracer rounds into the air instead of a proper flare?
    Ummmmm.....you don't let brother Sheldon out unsupervised do you?

    Sorry, just couldn't resist. Lots 'o experience with tracers in the service. They burn out very quickly and put out a relatively low amt of actual light compared to a flare. I think you're far better off with a variety of signal devices. Rocket flares, parachute flares, smoke canisters, and signal mirrors are all part of the small signal pack I have on my boat. Stick to the 12 ga flare gun. I've tried the small, self contained flares and they just don't have the candlepower, the height, or the time aloft of the real deal. The piece of mind is worth in IMHO.

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    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    Keeping in mind that in a small airplane every single pound counts bigtime, what might you consider as a reasonable alternative to a flarge gun and several flares (several pounds).
    I would carry a flare gun. if a few pounds is that big of a deal, go on a diet.

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    Tracers go fast and far, no way to track them back to you (unless you're shooting a whole string out of a MG). There are some amazingly bright pulsing strobes that I'd consider. Small, but efficient. Don't forget the transponding GPS units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cupcake View Post
    Here's kinda an oddball question: Keeping in mind that in a small airplane every single pound counts bigtime, what might you consider as a reasonable alternative to a flarge gun and several flares (several pounds). Would you consider 2 or 3 of those little disposable pen flares? (anyone use 'em? Are they worth anything?) Or here's a idea I sort of got from brother Sheldon: Fire several tracer rounds into the air instead of a proper flare?

    Opinions and Ideas, both educated and inexperienced welcome.
    Think about it -- a single tracer round is not likely to be seen, mainly because of the speed, not much light, and no light at all on its descent. [Hitting something would not be much of a concern unless you were shooting directly at or in the path of an aircraft]. A lot of tracers will weigh more than your flare gun and flare. Below is a picture that I took of a weapon that was firing 18,000 rounds per minute from a C-130 airplane. Now, let's see -- what is the weight for a minutes worth. Perhaps a flare or two plus a flare gun is not so bad after all, and the tracer round is not such a hot idea.


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    Yes, tracers will burn out quickly, move too fast, and will not be nearly as visible as a flare would be, especially in the daylight. With NVG's on and a squad firing tracers, its a pretty impressive sight (think Star Wars only greener) thought not quite as cool as old Spooky.
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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Alrighty then. The tracers are a no-go for signalling. I appreciate all the input. I've just gotta decide on the other choice then. A Personal locater beacon in in the plans, but I always have a backup incase the electronic devices don't survive. As we say in aviation: A flashlight is a device for storing dead batteries.
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