Original U.S. WWII VK-M12 Van Karner Chemical Arms Co. Brass Flare Signal Pistol with Lanyard - dated 1945

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great example of a rare VK-M12 37mm Flare Signal Postol, made in 1945 by the Van Karner Chemical Arms Co. These are similar to other examples made by International Flare Pistol Co., however the grip is much more swept back. The design is covered under U.S. Patent 2,433,309, which was applied for on March 23 1944 and granted in 1947. It is also made almost entirely of brass, with other parts made of what looks to be galvanized steel. Flare pistols of this design were very popular with the U.S. Navy, as they were resistant to corrosion by the sea air. We have seen that these are often attested to have been used on PT Boats due to some having a "PT" marking on the side, but we have not been able to verify this.

The pistol still shows the model information embossed on the right side of the frame:

VK - M12

The left side shows the manufacturer information:


The pistol is 12 1/4 inch overall length with an 8 inch barrel, and has the standard "top break" design used by most flare pistols. The condition is great with only light were from service, and it still has the original rope lanyard attached to the grip. The left side of the grip has what looks to be a date of PT 8/45, probably for August of 1945. The right side is marked with serial number B 913, and the barrel, frame, and ejector are all marked with assembly number 861 inside the breech.

In very good overall condition, in complete working order with a functional ejector and the firing pin still present. Included with the pistol is a copy of a Claims Court case record from 1947, which involves work done to restore WW1 era Machine guns, however it is unclear if this has any bearing on the flare pistol itself.

These flare guns were made for commercial and military wartime use. Imagine being stranded in a life raft, after the sinking of your ship by a U-Boat, the most valuable item in your survival kit may have been this flare gun. The gun has certainly seen service and an interesting life; if it could only talk... These are encountered fairly often, but are usually overly polished. Don’t let this one get away, this one actually looks as old as it really is.

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