Escape From Tarkov Flares: What Do They Do, How To Use

Escape From Tarkov Flares: What Do They Do, How To Use
Images via Battletstate Games

Written by 

Harry Boulton


24th Aug 2022 15:12

Escape From Tarkov flares are a new addition to the game with the recent patch 12.12.30, bringing a whole new way to receive loot in-game. Previously, airdrops in Escape From Tarkov would only arrive at random points during the raid, but now you can have a bit more control and potentially snag yourself some fantastic loot. So, to find out all about Escape From Tarkov flares, make sure to carry on reading.

What Are Flares In Escape From Tarkov?

Escape From Tarkov Flares explained
Click to enlarge

Escape From Tarkov flares allow players to manually call in airdrops, when they would otherwise be completely random. There are currently four different colours of flare in the game, and two separate ways of firing them.

The more common means of Escape From Tarkov flare is the RSP-30 reactive signal cartridge, which is a 2x1 slot item that is consumed upon a single use. It fires directly up when used, and needs to be assigned to a quick select button.

The other means of calling in an airdrop in Escape From Tarkov is through the ZiD SP-81 26x75 signal pistol, which can be equipped in your pistol slot, and takes single cartridges of 26x75mm flares across four different colours.

What Do Flares Do In Escape From Tarkov?

Escape From Tarkov Flares use
Click to enlarge

Currently, the only colour of flare that has any use is the red one, across both the RSP-30 and SP-81. This is the colour that is currently used to call in airdrop supply packages, which can be any of the five types of supply drop.

The other colours have no use at the moment beyond the visual signal of a flare, but it has been indicated in recent episodes of Escape From Tarkov TarkovTV that they could be used in quests, or to distinguish between airdrop types in the future.

All of the colours apart from the white version are part of the Escape From Tarkov flea market banned items list currently, so we could see them integrated perhaps sooner than we think.

How To Use Escape From Tarkov Flares

Escape From Tarkov Flares how to use
Click to enlarge

If you are using the SP-81 flare gun, then all you need to do is equip it by pressing '1' (or whatever button you have assigned to the pistol slot) and then firing as normal. If you are in possession of the RSP-30 cartridge though, it can be a little more complicated.


At first glance, it looks as if you would either use it as you would a healing item - by right-clicking and then hitting use - or it would fill into the grenade slot, but instead, you need to assign it to a quick slot in order to equip it

All you need to do this is to hit any currently unassigned number on your number-row when hovering your mouse over the flare, or drag and drop it onto any of the free numbers at the bottom of your screen. Then, once in-game, press the number you assigned it to and it will be equipped, letting you use it with left click.

Of course, the main reason that you would be using a flare and calling in an airdrop is to loot it yourself - and that is an incredibly valid reason due to the high chance of expensive items inside, but there are some other clever things you can do. 

Due to the appeal of looting an airdrop, and the fact that it isn't the most discreet thing in the world, you can very easily use it as bait if you're in desperate need of some PMC or scav kills. Bring a marksman rifle into the raid with you, let off the flare in a fairly open, fairly high-traffic area, and then move back to a vantage point and pick off anyone who comes to try and collect your loot. The great thing about this strategy is that you'll still be able to collect your goods at the end, making it a win-win scenario.

So, that's everything you need to know if you want to use an Escape From Tarkov flare, so get out into a raid and enjoy the abundance of great loot falling through the skies. If it's Escape From Tarkov fuel in particular that you're on the lookout for though, make sure to have a read of our guide for the best ways to get your hand on the valuable item.

Escape From Tarkov Lighthouse Boss: Everything We Know
Escape From Tarkov Halloween Event Details
Is Escape From Tarkov Down?
Escape From Tarkov: How To Switch Sights, Change Reticule
How To Play With Friends In Escape From Tarkov