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British Flare Pistol with a 1945 US Flare


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#1 Mickey D

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 07:44 PM

One of my employees had this British No4Mk1 aircraft flare pistol he aquired from his father-in-law. It was stashed at the duck blind for 30 years in the event they needed help. ???
Anyway, I was able to buy it from him for $225 complete with 10 flare canisters dating from 1945 to 1958.

As many of you know, the barrel lugs are to hold the gun in a socket receptical in the side or top of the fuselage of the aircraft. If the radios were out upon returning from a mission, different color flares were used to signal problems with the aircraft or casualties on board.
Quite a novelty item, huh?

I have seen most shown as hammerless. This one has a hammer, but is DA only.
Anyone have any feedback on this particular model with hammer and how stable would the flare cartridges be?

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/No4Mk1f.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/No4Mk1a.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/No4Mk1g.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/No4Mk1h.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/M37A2.jpg
http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/M37A1.jpg

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/M8info.jpg

Edited by Mickey D, 07 August 2008 - 08:09 PM.


#2 StevenL

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:26 AM

I've only seen the US flare pistols like that without a hammer. Note that your pistol is not the same one as in the scan you posted, though the M-8 model US pistol looks rather similar to it. I have another British flare pistol that shares a lot of things in common with yours. Does it have an arrow shaped stamp? As for the flares, I'd hesitate to use them. If you really want to fire it you can probably find new flares that are the correct width at a boating or camping store.

#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:35 AM

As for the flares, I'd hesitate to use them.


And don't store them anyplace who wouldn't mind burning down. Old ammo and pyrotechnics (specially something almost 60 years old) should always be treated as unstable and as a risk for fire or explosion.

#4 Mickey D

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:42 AM

I've only seen the US flare pistols like that without a hammer. Note that your pistol is not the same one as in the scan you posted, though the M-8 model US pistol looks rather similar to it. I have another British flare pistol that shares a lot of things in common with yours. Does it have an arrow shaped stamp? As for the flares, I'd hesitate to use them. If you really want to fire it you can probably find new flares that are the correct width at a boating or camping store.


Thanks StevenL. Many of you here are way ahead of me in knowledge about vintage military stuff.
I was using the scanned page as a reference to how the pistol was used. I agree, I'm not planning to fire those old canisters as they may be unstable. Plus I'd rather keep them intact for their historic nature.

I did find a site for 37mm flares, but they are a bit pricey.
http://www.firequest...m_products.html

I really don't have a need to shoot flares, but it's good to know they are available.Thanks for your help!

Mike

#5 Brian Keith

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:47 AM

That's neat!
We did a flair projector exhibit a couple of years ago, but we didn't have one like this.
Live flairs are hard to find and I agree with Forum Support, they should be handled with care.
I have a "flair gun" book at home and I'll try to check it tonight, and report back if I find more info.
As you say, the gun is British, but the flairs you show are US issue.
BKW

#6 Brian Keith

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:32 PM

OK,
My reference book is: Flair Guns and Signal Pistols, by Robert M. Gaynor Jr.

It is the best overall book on this subject that I have found, but it doesn't list this exact model.
As with many British (and American) wartime produced products, they evolved (sometimes very quickly) and nobody was thinking about us collectors 50-60 years later.
According to this book, yours is kinda a cross between the No. 3 MKII and the No. 4 MK I he lists. So, he doesnít cover your No. 4 MK I*. The biggest difference is that the No. 4 MK I he lists doesn't have the exposed hammer. In the description of the No. 3's he says, "Some have been modified by removing the hammer spur to facilitate only double action operation, perhaps for safety reasons."
In my notes, I saw one sell on an line firearms auction sight for $100 in 2005. I noted it was marked No. 4 MK I*. It was in fair condition without any flairs.
He mentions that this pistol was made of stamped steel, designed by the Molins Machine Co. of London.
Thatís kinda of confusing, the Brits used Mark (MK) designations and also * to differentiate variations. Just look into the SMLE rifles if you want to really be confused!
Hope this helps.

BKW


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