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HK 26.5 MM Flare Guns
We have seen a number of European military surplus 26.5mm flare guns on the market over the last few years, but what had been the most rare and sought after was the HK variant. All of the 26.5mm flare guns follow the same general principle and general specifications even though they were used (in often identical designs) by both sides during the Cold war. Most of which followed pre-WW2 German designs. While not particularly common among militaria dealers in the US, the 26.5mm flare is an international standard that is readily found on ocean going boats from ocean liners to sailboats, and is considered a mandatory part of many lifeboat survival kits.
The single shot , break barrel design of the flare guns in general makes adaptation to smaller calibers relatively easy by using adapter sleeves shaped like the outside of a 26.5mm cartridge. While adapters can work for almost any smaller caliber that you could cut a barrel blank for (like a poor man's Thompson Contender), the frame is not built to handle high recoil cartridges. The HK flaregun in particular, should only be used with light recoiling rounds. That said, adapter sleeves can be easily made so that it will fire the Olin 12G flares, but under no circumstances should you try any kind of 12g shot loads in the flare gun (just take my word for it, even the Aquilla mini-shells will tweak the frame). The HK flare gun will fire all known commercial 26.5mm flares and signal cartridges. Most of these flares and signal cartridges have reloadable aluminum cases and are of a low enough pressure that they do not deform enough on firing to require any resizing, but you may want to remove the roll crimp at the mouth of the case.
HK does not make their flare guns available to their normal wholesalers or distributors and the flare guns are a desired item among HK collectors. While the smaller semi-automatic flaregun can be found from time to time under $200, the proprietary flares are extremely difficult to find at a reasonable price. The 26.5mm flares are more readily available, and often not as costly as some of the smaller ones. I have managed to find a supply of orange smoke signaling rounds that are compatible with the 26.5mm flare guns. Normally, the price for the HK flare gun has been just shy of $200, with $189.95 being suggested retail from the main US importer, HK USA. Although no special licensing is required to purchase one of these flare guns, HK has apparently put a lot of restriction on when and were they will sell the guns and will not even make them regularly available to their dealers.
Flare guns are not normally used as offensive or defensive weapons, but for signaling. This was fairly common in older European military doctrine when the use of radios was less common. A simple flare launch can signal timing of an action, location, and an alert over a large area very quickly and sometimes more efficiently than with a radio, especially in a noisy environment where not everyone is listening to a radio set for your frequency. Modern US military tactics do not often call for the use of flares, but smoke signaling is still common when signaling rescue aircraft, ambulances, and other emergency type actions.
Fortunately, a small supply of West German cold war surplus flare pistols have hit the market. Made in the early 1980s, these come from old war stocks that were never used and are in excellent condition. Each flare gun includes a shoulder bag that holds the flare gun, a cleaning brush, and has slots for over a dozen assorted rounds. These are currently available for a limited time from us at Savvysurvivor.com in a kit that will include a dozen of the orange smoke signal rounds. All are as new, packed in a light grease on the metal parts and come as shown in the pictures above. ORM-D shipping is required, but each package can go for $100 shipped to most places.
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