A new Horde Update brings some welcoming changes to the state of the game. The Flare Gun in World War Z can now be found anywhere on the map. Allowing us to keep this weapon on us as we navigate the zombie apocalypse. Before, we could only call in Air Strikes on New York Episode 4.

You may also be interested in our Sporting Carbine (PAC-15) review.

We noticed this unique secondary weapon does not show up in the menus while navigating the various weapons. The only way to know was to find it in-game or read the patch notes. Not sure if that was an intended decision or an oversight on the devs part.

Flare Gun Details

This new secondary gun fires a bright flare into the distance. But it is not to call for help to other survivors or reveal our location. The Flare Gun acts as a small incendiary grenade. The brightness of the projectile is used to ATTRACT nearby zombies!

It lures zombies into a small area. Acting as a distraction. After 3 seconds, the flare will blow up and set all the zombies on fire. Mainly used to provide some breathing room or group the zombies together. The glare will take the attention off of your team. Very useful while defending objectives. It has a total of 23 shots by default.

  • Inflict Burn Damage
  • Crowd Control
  • 23 Ammo Capacity
  • Affected by Secondary Perks
  • 3 Second Duration

Effects and Features

Here are some interesting ways to effectively use this new weapon. Since it gets the attention of zombies, it will cancel some of their actions when timed correctly. Works the same for Special Zombies like spitters, lurkers, and bombers.

After 3 Seconds the flare will explode causing Fire Damage, Setting everything on fire in a small radius (about 10 feet).

Cancel Bull Charges

Bull charges can be canceled with the Flare Gun when timed correctly. For instance, while the Bull (special enemy) is stomping the ground. If we shoot the projectile at his feet he will instantly stop.

You won’t have much time to react if switching from your primary weapon. Run up to their back and melee or shoot the weak spot. Very useful if you don’t have god-like dodging skills.

Unpin Teammates

If your teammates are being pinned you can help them recover. Firing a flare nearby will allow them to get up. This is sort of risky. World War Z has friendly fire. The explosion and fire will hurt your team. But in many situations, it’s better than letting zombies chew them up instead.

Essentially borrowing a feature from the Stim Pistol without health benefits of course. Unpin your friend but damage them in the process. It might be a good trade-off depending on the situation.

Distract Zombies

This is the most obvious effect. You get to choose when and where the zombies will stay. Providing crowd control. Cant make them run to the other side of the map though if that’s what you are thinking.

Only the undead in that 10-foot area will be affected. Forcing them to stand still gives us valuable time in a chaotic situation. The downside is we can’t kill anything while we have this gun out. Would it have been better to just shoot them instead?

Range and AOE

The range seems to be about 10 feet. It is like 5x the melee distance. This is only an estimation because World War Z does not provide official stats for this weapon. All these numbers are from testing it in several playthroughs.

The Area Of Effect for the damage and the explosion is the same. About 8 feet. A slightly smaller circle than the attraction feature the weapon also has.


The damage output of this weapon is decent. On easier difficulties, it can outright kill stuff. But if you play on insane the damage will feel underwhelming. Becoming less useful for damage and more for crowd control.

If you only manage to hit one zombie it won’t seem like much. You can see the full potential only when firing into big groups. So for example, if it did 30 damage (takes 100 to kill) to each zombie. The more we hit the higher our DPS.

I often find myself just shooting instead of distracting. If we are focusing on damage potential, the flare gun has about the same power as the crossbow with no upgrades.


YouTube video

How to find the Flare Gun

The Flare Gun can be seen anywhere primary and secondary weapons can be found. This includes Supply Crates (the ones that need to be opened). Spawn rate seems to also be affected by difficulty.

Not sure if RNG was playing a cruel trick but I played 10 matches on insane and didn’t find a single one. Then right after, decided to play 5 matches on easy and found 2.

Spawn Locations

Spawn locations for specific guns are random. We spotted one on a chair and another at a work table. It is very small and hard to miss. So look everywhere and keep an eye out.

The places where guns CAN spawn are fixed positions. Like the ammo crate. But what weapon WILL spawn is random. We can influence how often primary and secondary weapons spawn with a mutator if you’re playing on an online private server.