A Flare, also sometimes called a fusee, is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light or intense heat without an explosion. Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications. Flares may be ground pyrotechnics, projectile pyrotechnics, or parachute-suspended to provide maximum illumination time over a large area. Projectile pyrotechnics may be dropped from aircraft, fired from rocket or artillery, or deployed by Flare Guns or handheld percussive tubes.
The Hand Flare appears in Battlefield Play4Free as the Front Line Flare for the Front Line Medic training option. Once deployed, it allows teammates to spawn near the flare. Unlike the Request Reinforcements flare, it is deployed on the ground rather than being fired into the air.
— Battlelog description
The Hand Flare is unique among the grenades in that it is a utility grenade like the M18 Smoke Grenade. The Flare cannot do any direct damage and instead creates a very bright red flame along with a small plume of red smoke. Deployed Hand Flares also cause a small amount of terrain deformation in areas with softer ground, like sand or grass, creating a small crater. With this, the Flare provides a small amount of concealment with the smoke, and flame has slight blinding effect on players nearby. This is mostly apparent on darker maps, like Dawnbreaker or Infiltration of Shanghai, where Flares can serve as excellent light sources and signaling tools. However, Hand Flares are still very effective at obstructing visibility on other maps when multiple Flares are deployed in a single area, especially small corridors or hallways, as the red smoke is difficult to see through and the flames are quite bright.
The Hand Flare also functions as a counter to the night vision IRNV and FLIR scopes. Deployed flares will blind night vision optics with white light if they are looked at directly with scope, making them useless to aim with. This is especially effective on the FLIR due to it using white-hot thermal imaging, so the effect is somewhat amplified compared to the IRNV. Hand Flares can be good counters to players using these scopes to fire through smoke, throwing a Flare into the smoke will blind their optics and force them to move to a different area to see around the smoke.
The Hand Flare can also be utilised as a creative anti-vehicle weapon. In game modes where 3D Spotting is disabled such as Hardcore, many light and heavy-armored vehicle operators would rely heavily on Thermal or IRNV Optics over the default Zoom Optics to acquire targets. In such cases, it is not uncommon for many vehicle operators to have Thermal or IRNV Optics turned on for the duration of the game and never turning it off. The Hand Flare can be used in a creative trap by masking gadgets such as C4, M2 SLAMS or AT Mines that would other wise be easily noticed by spotting or identified by special optics. The brightness of the flare will blind all optics which exposes itself to the flare and masking the explosive. As such, many unsuspecting vehicle operators may proceed to either turn off their Optics, or keep their Optics turned on and drive across the Hand Flare in thinking it is nothing but harmless usually resulting in target destruction. However, bare in mind in such game modes that Friendly Fire may be enabled, and thus friendly vehicles will also be effected by this. As such, it is recommended to only install the trap in places near enemy controlled areas or the enemy un-capturable base where collateral damage to friendly forces is minimum a risk.
All grenades were rebalanced with Battlefield 4's Fall 2014 patch to discourage grenade spamming. Originally, the Hand Flare had a resupply time of 1 second, so if a player was standing on an Ammunition Box they would essentially have an unlimited amount to continually throw, which was somewhat of a problem in smaller gamemodes like Team Deathmatch. As a result, the Hand Flare's resupply time was increased to 6 seconds from 1, although it still remained the fastest resupplying grenade available.
- At Gamescom 2013, commentator Corey Dunn mentioned that the hand flare is capable of burning infantry. However in the actual game, they do only a very small amount of damage.
- It is possible to kill an enemy player with the Hand flare. A reliable method to do this is to equip the Engineer kit with M2 SLAMs and a DMR. Then, the player must place an M2 SLAM near an unsuspecting enemy player and shoot it once with the DMR before throwing a hand flare. After a second or so, the flare will do enough damage to detonate the M2 SLAM, killing the player and counting it as a kill with the hand flare on the killfeed. This method will only work if performed on deformable terrain (grass, dirt, and sand) as the Flare will not trigger the SLAM unless it creates a crater in the ground.