A scare pistol (or generally a scare gun) is a weapon that looks very similar to a firearm, but does not fire solid projectiles. Differentiation between the two forms is possible only if you know what details to pay attention to. As a rule, alarm pistols and revolvers are used for self-defense. (Alterenativ e.g. in sports for the starting shot) However, in certain situations it can also be advantageous to simply draw attention to yourself - without the need for defense. This brings us to the raison d'être of signal weapons, which can be useful in any household
Despite the fact that alarm guns do not fire projectiles: Gun is gun. And if you want to own, care for and maintain one, there are various legal requirements that you have to follow. At this point, you will learn what these are in concrete terms - and how versatile the subject of alarm firearms is.
With a few exceptions, you are only allowed to handle weapons of any kind and ammunition if you are of age. This also applies if you wish to acquire and possess signal or alarm firearms. If you want to carry these weapons in public, another requirement must be met: the small firearms license. For the alarm guns: Each of your weapons must be specially approved by the PTB - this is also the "PTB" logo in the circle on the weapon. PTB stands for "Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt".
In addition to these basic requirements, there is also a lot to consider. For example, you must ensure and provide proof of proper and legally compliant storage: No one may touch your signal or alarm firearms, even with the tip of their finger, unless they themselves are authorized to do so, i.e. are at least 18 years old. Further regulations apply to the transport from A to B: Your weapons must be transported in a closed container, the ammunition must be kept separate from the weapon and you must not be able to access the weapon itself during transport. The legal basis is: The weapon must be stored in a closed container. If you take it abroad, different permits are required depending on the country. And: Not all weapons that are allowed in Germany are also allowed in other European countries! Here you have to do your own research, because each type of weapon is subject to different legal regulations in each country. This also applies to alarm guns and signal devices.
Alarm guns are primarily used for self-defense and take cartridges with the help of a magazine. These are often filled with CS gas; alternatively, bang or blank cartridges or models with pepper are also available. When the trigger is pulled, a firing pin or trigger strikes the primer of the cartridge, just like a firearm. This primer acts as the initial explosive, which in turn is responsible for the explosion and thus for the bang. To allow the (additional) gas to escape, the cartridges burst open at the front, virtually clearing the way.
Although noise and gas are usually used to achieve the desired effect (for example, to make an attacker flee or become incapable of attack), you should not underestimate alarm guns: They are still weapons that can result in serious injury and even death if handled improperly or negligently.
Signal devices are based on a different purpose: they have only the approximate appearance of a classic handgun, but are legally considered a weapon. Their somewhat abstract shape makes it easier for you to identify them as signal devices (for example, due to their large, hinged barrels or uncharacteristically round-shaped grips). Their use is to attract attention - without having to defend yourself with them. With signal weapons, light signals in various colors (and calibers) are fired when the trigger is pulled. These can have different meanings (especially coming from the military sector). Fixed codes allow you to distinguish between opponents and competitors in a battle, and on a ship in distress you can transmit your location. They are even used in the private sports sector: The famous "starting gun", as it actually exists, is given in many places with signaling devices; either by light or acoustic signals. (marathon, horse racing)
Depending on the weapon model, either cartridges or gas cartridges are used for alarm pistols and revolvers. Among the cartridges, PAK ammunition (pistol automatic bang) and RK ammunition (revolver bang) are the most common. Both are available in different calibers. Both RK and PAK cartridges are also divided into bang and irritant ammunition. Firecracker cartridges (with the green cap) are initially only very loud. Irritant ammunition (yellow cap for CS gas, red cap for pepper ammunition) hurts. It causes nausea and severe burning in the respiratory tract up to respiratory distress.
For signal weapons, the 4 caliber in the form of cartridge ammunition is strongly represented by default. Illuminating ammunition goes out within a few seconds after firing and serves only to reveal one's whereabouts. The glow can also be accompanied by acoustic signals: a white-red-white star (light) with a shrill, whistling sound indicates, for example, an NBC alarm (NBC: nuclear, biological or chemical weapon or a possible attack or accident with such) in the German armed forces.
In the civilian sector, the colors green ("all is well"), red ("emergency, help") and white-yellow (general luminous signal) are used for signal weapons. Depending on the ammunition, this reacts differently when fired; for example, with a flash bang to measure the distance. In comparison, parachute cartridges glide to the ground particularly slowly and glow for a long time.
Depending on the environment, irritant ammunition can also affect yourself as a shooter! So think carefully about where and how you use irritant ammunition (for example, with or against the wind direction, indoors, etc.). Also, never use live ammunition in combination with a scare gun. The barrels of pistols and revolvers are machined in a way that prevents a projectile from penetrating. This usually involves the integration of an additional element in the middle of the barrel. If you overuse the weapon, you risk malfunctioning and destroying it; moreover, if the weapon cannot withstand the load, you may sustain serious injuries. (Caliber size!)
You are responsible for everything you do or don't do with your weapon; civilly, criminally, and in this particular case, under gun law. Be it a scare gun or a legally "real" firearm.
In principle, both variants can be sold freely in Germany from the age of 18. However, this primarily only includes the acquisition and possession; for carrying, the small firearms license is required. You should keep in mind: Every time you carry your alarm and signal weapons, you must have both the small firearms license and an official photo ID or identity card with you. Without an identification document that clearly identifies you, your small arms license is not legally valid and will be considered non-existent.
Training in the proper use of your firearm is recommended even before you purchase one. This will help you reduce and eliminate mistakes from the very beginning. This in turn means that you have learned to use the weapon safely and have mastered it. Whenever you have the opportunity, test different models and avoid blind purchases. Especially in the beginning, it makes sense to look for well-known domestic manufacturers (for example, individual models from Röhm).
In addition, your weapon should fit well in the hand. So make sure that you, as a right- and left-handed person, use appropriately designed right- or left-handed alarm pistols and revolvers. Signal devices are generally ambidextrous. In addition, each of your weapons must have a PTB test mark. If you privately purchase a scare gun that does not have a PTB mark and was first transferred to a private individual before 1970, then this model is legally equivalent to a live weapon. A small firearms license is then no longer sufficient. The weapons ownership card is required - and this takes you to the next level of weapons ownership in Germany.