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  1. #1
    spanish073187's Avatar
    spanish073187 is offline Junior Member
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    tsa approved gun case

    Currently doing a bit of travel recently and wanted some recommendation on gun cases approved by airlines. As for specs, 2-3 standard size pistols with some extra room for mags or ammo, and durable (because baggage handlers really could care less what is in the case). Any recommendations or manufacturer suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    VAMarine's Avatar
    VAMarine is offline Administrator
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    Any hard sided case that can be locked will be OK. If I recall the ammo can't be in the same box as the guns. Ammo also has to be in a box that that is meant to hold ammo, this includes the original box or plastic ammunition carrier. Ammunition can not be loaded into magazines.

    I've got a case from ADG that's held up well.

  3. #3
    SMann is offline Member
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    Look at Pelican cases. I have several and they're awesome. I've seen them survive several overseas deployments with Marine units having surface scratches as the only damage. We didn't treat them gently either. They're not cheap, but they'll last forever. Guys in my unit have traveled on commercial airlines using Pelican cases to transport weapons and never had any problems. If you get one with the pick-n-pluck foam you can customize the interior to match your contents. Good stuff.

  4. #4
    lamrith is offline Junior Member
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    Diggin up this older thread as it has a good title... All the travel/airline threads I found in a search were a few years old, and specific to that persons trip. I am hoping we can get some basic info saved in one place.

    Can we get some info from those in the know and sticky this maybe?

    Specific airline rules tend to vary in verbage, but they all generally refer to "lockable hardcase" with the owner retaining ther key/combination. I also know that I need to declare it at check in and sign an disclosure that it is unloaded.

    One question I have is how do most of you do it if you do not have a dedicated "all gun" case?
    Do you all tend to use the Mfg original plastic case with a lock added and put that inside a checked bag?
    If I put a lock on the stock case does it have to be TSA friendly like typical baggage locks, or specifically not?
    Would something like a Gunvault MV500 work or even be preferable? It would of course need something done to pad the weapon from slamming around, but seems it would be more durable and secure than a plastic case?


    I am looking to travel in a few weeks and bring my weapon, I have already verified the laws at my destination, my concern is the actualy travel. I am thinking of having it unloaded and safe in a case inside my one checked bag and am hoping to be fully prepared to make sure the trip goes smoothly.

  5. #5
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamrith View Post
    ...Specific airline rules tend to vary in verbage, but they all generally refer to "lockable hardcase" with the owner retaining ther key/combination...
    Quote Originally Posted by lamrith View Post
    Do you all tend to use the Mfg original plastic case with a lock added and put that inside a checked bag?
    That works quite well.
    If possible, I would add a cable, locked separately, that would secure the case (or, better, the gun within the case) to the frame of the luggage.
    I have cut a hole in an MTM pistol case, and, with the help of my neighborhood hardware store, made up a plastic-coated cable, forming a small loop at each end that is then swedged with a standard cable fitting. I loop the cable through the barrel of the pistol (which proves it to be unloaded), thread it through the hole in the plastic case, wrap it around the steel-tube frame of my soft-side luggage, and lock those end loops together with a non-TSA lock. Then I close the MTM box, and lock that too.


    Quote Originally Posted by lamrith View Post
    If I put a lock on the stock case does it have to be TSA friendly like typical baggage locks, or specifically not?
    I believe that most airlines, and TSA, prefer that the gun-case lock not be a TSA-openable one. But the baggage lock should be the TSA type.


    Quote Originally Posted by lamrith View Post
    Would something like a Gunvault MV500 work or even be preferable?
    I believe that it would be acceptable, but unnecessary.

    You can access, and download, specific-to-the-airline and TSA instructions on the web. I suggest carrying copies of those instructions with you, since airline counter clerks, and some TSA operatives, are woefully ignorant.
    It is important to avoid having to change planes in New York City, anywhere in New Jersey, and maybe also in Boston.

    Another simpler strategy, which I prefer, is to ship your gun(s) from yourself wherever you are, to yourself, wherever you're going to be.
    You may legally do this yourself, without any recourse to any FFL licensee. Use UPS or FedEx.
    You may even address the package to yourself, in care of the hotel at which you'll be staying. (Warn the hotel to look for the package, and to hold it for you. They do not need to know what's in it.)

  6. #6
    lamrith is offline Junior Member
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    Nice another PNW guy!! I am staying this side of the country for this trip, so sad my former home state is so backwards minded on firearms. I hear Chicago is a bad airport to fly in/out of with a handgun as well..

    Good Info steve, thanks!

    The mailing idea does sound interesting. My issue would be it is my only rig for carry & HD, and I would rather not be without it for a week. Though I think fedex/ups require overnight shipping on handguns which negates that issue, Please correct me if I am wrong.. However it is very $$? I just sent a UPS NDA letter out and it was $56, for a 1# letter. A 5-10lb package would be much more and much higher than a baggage fee.

    You know I have a old combination Ski lock that I could get at minimum thru the frame and out thru the ejector port if not thru the barrel also. A quick dremel of the factory case to let the cable out to fasten to bag frame and golden, plus the padlock on the case itself..

    I am flying Southwest and have thier documentation saved, will make sure it is on my droid as well in case I lose the printed copy.
    Updated April 24, 2012: "General. Firearms (e.g., sport rifles, shotguns, and handguns) may be transported as Checked Baggage, so long as they are unloaded and encased in a hardsided, locked container acceptable to Carrier for withstanding normal Checked Baggage handling without sustaining damage to the firearm, with the Passenger retaining possession of the key or combination to the container lock.

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    FedEx, five pounds, NorthWet Washington State to a New York City (dreamer!) residence:
    Standard Overnight = $85.82
    Two-Day AM Delivery = $57.65
    Express Saver = $37.61

    Other distances and lesser weights will vary the shipping cost.
    UPS rates are about the same.

    And a checked bag costs...? (No answer required. Just thinkin' about it.)

  8. #8
    lamrith is offline Junior Member
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    I did some more research on it, Soutwests website is pretty much verbatim of TSA guidelines
    TSA Special Items Guidelines

    Southwest airlines Firearms & Ammunition Guidelines

    I already have a TSA lock I will put on the outside bag. Then a normal padlock on the gun case once it is inspected at check-in. I will test out the ski cable lock too, this weekend. I know it can go thru the barrel and out the ejector port then around the frame of the outer bag, but need to see how it works with the case...

    Southwest gives 2 free checked bags per person too! WOOT!

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