A device used to launch an emergency beacon into the air. Fires Flare Shells.
In-game description

The distress pistol, often called a flare gun, is a break action, single shot weapon that can be used to distract or scare away wildlife.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The distress pistol fires glowing red balls of light and noise that are effective at deterring hostile wildlife from attacking the player. The distress pistol is significantly more inaccurate than the hunting rifle or survival bow. Similar to the revolver, the distress pistol serves as a defensive weapon, as it will deter any animal--including bears--from attacking when fired.

Locations[edit | edit source]

Distress pistols are most often found inside orange cases accompanied by up to 8 flare shells, which are used as ammunition. Distress pistol cases are located inside the Tail Section of the airplane at the Summit of Timberwolf Mountain and in the yellow train car fallen to the bottom of the Ravine Basin. Other case spawn only in survival mode, in Bleak Inlet Fallen Lighthouse.

For some time after the release of Episode 3 (between 1.60 and 1.62), a pistol case could also spawn at the plane crash site in Pleasant Valley . However, after the next update (v1.64) , the pistol no longer spawns at that location.

Distress pistols, along with a few shells, can also be found lying on the ground near frozen corpses in Hushed River Valley even if it, in this case, spawns rarely. Some observed spawn locations include:

In The Hunted, Part One, there is a case in the basement near where that scenario begins. 

In Wintermute[edit | edit source]

In the first mission of Episode 1, if the player chooses to put the Distress Pistol Kit onto the floatplane, the kit will appear on the ground near Mackenzie's Crashed Plane in the subsequent mission.

When the player travels to the Carter Hydro Dam in Episode 2, the distress pistol will always be found in the first floor bathroom.

When exploring the plane crash in Episode 3. The player can find a distress pistol with 7 rounds in one of the planes.

Use[edit | edit source]

The distress pistol is a ranged weapon and is equipped by selecting the "2" key on PC. The pistol holds only one round at a time and must be reloaded manually after it is fired. Aim while holding the "RMB", click "LMB" to fire. Reload with "R".

The launched flares fire at a low velocity and arc significantly while travelling forward before impacting a solid surface. Flares that hit surfaces at an oblique angle glance off the surface, and can bounce around before coming to rest. Flares which hit surfaces at perpendicular angles stick in place. The round burns brightly for 20 game minutes and emits localized smoke, but the player cannot interact with the round. Wolves and Timberwolves will avoid the immediate proximity of a burning Flare round on the ground (the same behavior as with dropped emergency Flare and Marine Flare). Spent rounds remain visible even after they have burnt out.

Animals[edit | edit source]

Animals within hearing range of the flare shot flee immediately (approximately 30 meters). Additionally, animals within visual distance of the impact site of the launched flare will also flee.

Distress Pistol rounds which hit an animal will always kill it: immediately on a critical hit (headshot, etc), or shortly after from blood loss, except Moose which cannot bleed out and require 3+ flare shells to kill. While bleeding the animal will trail with it's tracks; additionally as the Flare round burns it will remain embedded in the animal, glowing bright red even at night red and trailing smoke.

Animals wounded by the distress pistol used to bleed far faster than from other more traditional ranged weapon wounds.

Bleed out time[edit | edit source]

Wildlife take a specific amount of time to bleed out, as follows:

Zone Hit Bear Deer Wolf
Head 30 minutes immediately immediately
Chest 50 minutes 15 minutes 30 minutes
Hind 120 minutes ???? ????
Foot 140 minutes ???? ????

Game history[edit | edit source]

The distress pistol was introduced on 16 December 2015 in version 0.298 also known as the Timberwolf Mountain update.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The flare round that is launched and glows is a model of the shell part of the ammunition that should have been left in the gun after firing.
  • The distress pistol closely resembles the real-life Orion flare gun.
  • A bug was present (patch 1.72) between January 22nd and March 26th of 2020 which prevented Distress Pistol rounds from damaging animals in Survival and Wintermute. The result of this bug caused direct hits with the Distress Pistol to bounce harmlessly off animals and land on the ground, merely frightening them.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Cooking Can openerCooking potRecycled can
Fire Starting
Starter FirestrikerMagnifying lens
Accelerant AccelerantJerry canLantern fuel
Ice Fishing Fishing tackleHookLine
Hand Tools
Standard HacksawHatchetHeavy hammerHunting knifePrybar
Improvised Improvised hatchetImprovised knife
Weapon Distress pistolHunting rifleRevolverSurvival bowStone
Ammunition Flare shellRevolver ammunitionRifle ammunitionSimple arrow
Lighting FlareFlashlightMarine flareStorm lanternTorch
Mending Quality toolsRifle cleaning kitSewing kitSimple toolsWhetstone
Sleep Bear skin bedrollBedroll
Story Jeremiah's knifeScrap metal shard
Other CharcoalMountaineering ropeSnareSpray Paint


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