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 weapon that can be used to scare away or even kill wildlife.

Overview Edit

The distress pistol fires glowing red balls of light and noise that are effective at deterring hostile wildlife from attacking the player, and unlike the hunting rifle, it can even deter a bear from attacking. Its usefulness is offset by its rarity.[1]

Locating Edit

Distress pistols are only found inside a special orange case accompanied by as many as 8 of the flare shells they use as ammunition. Cases are located inside the Tail Section of an airplane at the Summit of Timberwolf Mountain and in the yellow train car fallen to the bottom of the Ravine Basin. Additionally The Hunted, Part One inserts an orange case into the basement near where that scenario begins.

Use Edit

The distress pistol counts as a ranged weapon and is equipped in the same way; select with the "2" key on PC. The pistol holds only one round at a time and must be reloaded manually; this is notable because animal struggles can occur when the player has simply forgotten to reload. Aim while holding the "RMB", click "LMB" to fire. Reload with "R".

The launched flares are low velocity and will arc significantly while travelling forward until they impact a surface. The flares will glance off surfaces they hit obliquely and may bounce around before coming to rest. More perpendicular impacts will see the flare stick in place. The round will burn for 20 game minutes brightly and with localized smoke, but cannot be interacted with by the player in any way. Spent rounds will remain visible even after it has burnt out.

Animals Edit

All animals within range to hear the initial shot of the pistol will flee. All animals near the impact site of the launched flare will also flee (if they are not already fleeing from the initial shot).

It is possible to shoot a flare directly at an animal and have it stick to the animal. If it does stick, this causes a bleeding wound and will eventually kill the animal. The animal will also immediately flee from the impact (if it isn't already fleeing from hearing the shot). Tracking the so affected animal is made easy due to the fact that it now glows bright red and leaves a smoke trail in addition to drops of blood.

Animals wounded by the distress pistol bleed faster than from other more traditional ranged weapon wounds. This effect, plus the ease of tracking after tagging an animal with a bright glowing flare, may render hunting with the distress pistol, while difficult and non-traditional, desirable to some players. Certainly for bears, who will not charge their attacker when wounded by a flare shell unlike when attacked by other means.

Bleed out time Edit

Bear shot with flare

Bear Edit

Zone Hit Time to Die
Head 30 minutes
Chest 50 minutes
Hind  ????
Foot 2 hours and 20 minutes (140 minutes)

Deer Edit

Zone Hit Time to Die
Head immediately
Chest 15 minutes
Hind  ????
Foot  ????

Wolf Edit

Zone Hit Time to Die
Head immediately
Chest 30 minutes
Hind  ????
Foot  ????

Game history Edit

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

Trivia Edit

  • 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.

References Edit

  1. Hinterland Games, 2015, The Long Dark — December Update (v.298), “Timberwolf Mountain”, viewed 16 December 2015 <>
Fishing Fishing tackleHookLine
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Light FlareFlashlightStorm lantern
Repair Quality toolsRifle cleaning kitSewing kitSimple toolsWhetstone
Weapons Distress pistolHunting rifleStone
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