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    TSA approved gun cases

    So I'm going on vacation in 1 week and will be flying to my destination. I see that the TSA requires a "hard sided" container for your pistol to be checked in. I'd prefer to buy a metal container just so there's no room for any problems, but has anyone else been approved by the TSA to use a hard plastic container or other non-metal container? If so, can you tell me which one they approved so I can think about buying it? Appreciate any info.

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    Anything that is hard sided with locks...make sure the gun can't be accessed.

    Some guns come with the hard sided locking case...my sig did.
    This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deputy x 2 View Post
    Anything that is hard sided with locks...make sure the gun can't be accessed.

    Some guns come with the hard sided locking case...my sig did.
    Yeah I thought about using the blue hard plastic case that came with my Sig... but I read reports from some officers that the TSA didn't approve it because it's "plastic." Guess it just depends on how stingy your TSA security guys want to be... would rather not take a chance of my case not being approved and having to take my pistol back out to the car where any thug could break in and get it while I'm on vacation... but money's tight and i would prefer not to spend another $30 on a metal case if I can help it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    Yeah I thought about using the blue hard plastic case that came with my Sig... but I read reports from some officers that the TSA didn't approve it because it's "plastic." Guess it just depends on how stingy your TSA security guys want to be... would rather not take a chance of my case not being approved and having to take my pistol back out to the car where any thug could break in and get it while I'm on vacation... but money's tight and i would prefer not to spend another $30 on a metal case if I can help it too.
    That isn't true at all, TSA approves any hard sided case, which includes your Sig, S&W (plastic), HK, Kimber, Glock, etc cases. I just throw a padlock around the handle area, check it and call it a day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthegym View Post
    That isn't true at all, TSA approves any hard sided case, which includes your Sig, S&W (plastic), HK, Kimber, Glock, etc cases. I just throw a padlock around the handle area, check it and call it a day.
    Alright... but if they reject it I'm going to demand some answers from you! Appreciate the help

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    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    Alright... but if they reject it I'm going to demand some answers from you! Appreciate the help
    Haha, no problem. I do recommend though that you call your airline and TSA for a definitive answer because some airlines may be more complicated than bring it to the counter and you're all done. I believe it was American who actually escorted me to the TSA guy who inspected my gun and he was pretty much freakin' out... it was pretty funny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthegym View Post
    Haha, no problem. I do recommend though that you call your airline and TSA for a definitive answer because some airlines may be more complicated than bring it to the counter and you're all done. I believe it was American who actually escorted me to the TSA guy who inspected my gun and he was pretty much freakin' out... it was pretty funny.
    Yeah I thought about calling them too... but how many times do you call someone in advance for something, and they give you an answer, then when you show up you get a completely different answer and that person says "I don't know why they told you that over the phone, blah blah blah." Guess I always expect the worst. :/

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    I fly with pelican cases. Never had a problem....how was he freaking out? Is he one of those tsa guys that don't carry and know nothing about firearms because those guys are fun to mess with lol.

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    I've traveled with Pelican cases as well as the hard case my Glock came in. Be sure that you're the only one with the key or combination to the lock (don't use TSA locks), and if possible, put the locked case into another piece of luggage. Some airlines allow you to transport ammo and firearms in the same case. Though I don't think it's a very good idea, FAA doesn't have a problem with it. The airlines can make rules more stringent than TSA. If traveling with ammo, be sure that it's in the original factory container or better (as in plastic reload containers or similar). Most airlines have restrictions on the amount of ammo you can transport. Print out both the TSA regulations as well as the airline rules either the day before or day of your flight. This has saved me a lot of time and confusion in the past. Delta airlines is notorious for not understanding their own rules with regard to ammo. I haven't checked lately, but the last time I flew with them I was allowed 11 pounds of ammo. The lady at the counter insisted I could have 9. After showing her the printout from the Delta website, she insisted on weighing my ammo. I refused until a uniformed airport police officer was able to stand by, as to not cause panic with other passengers. Airport officer showed up, we had a chuckle as she weighed my two boxes of ammo (which weighed well under 11 pounds), and I was on my way.

    Know the rules before you fly and CYA. Good luck, and have a nice trip!

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    About 2 months ago I flew out of Portland to San Jose using only the black Smith & Wesson plastic case that came with the M&P9c I carried down there. There is a hole on the handle of the case that allows a lock to secure it closed. This case was secured in a larger piece of luggage that was not locked. The ammunition I carried was downloaded into a factory ammo box and store with the gun in the same case.

    When checking in, just advise the clerk that you need to check a firearm in your luggage and depending on the airport, you may go to a differnt counter or hang out at the current one to wait for approval.

    There were no issues at PDX or SJC. Per TSA and the airline I flew on, this was a secure and suggested method of transporting firearms and ammunition. On the outbound flight it added 5-10 minutes to the check in process. On the inbound flight it added 20 minutes becaue I had to wait to see if there would be any problems, but there wasn't any.

    Over all it was pretty painless. There's really no good excuse not to carry anywhere the law allows.
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    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    So I'm going on vacation in 1 week and will be flying to my destination. I see that the TSA requires a "hard sided" container for your pistol to be checked in. I'd prefer to buy a metal container just so there's no room for any problems, but has anyone else been approved by the TSA to use a hard plastic container or other non-metal container? If so, can you tell me which one they approved so I can think about buying it? Appreciate any info.
    As far as I know, there's no officially TSA approved containers as there are, for example, locks, if that's what you are asking. I use a Palikan case with key lock only I have the key to, which I then put inside my soft case luggage, which then has a TSA approved lock on that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    Yeah I thought about using the blue hard plastic case that came with my Sig... but I read reports from some officers that the TSA didn't approve it because it's "plastic."
    I have flown dozens of times with my Pelikan case and never had an issue.
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    I've flown twice with the Flambeau Safe Shot Pistol Gun Case 10''. Available at MidwayUSA for $6.99.

    I bought two sets of combination Master Locks when I flew. No problems what so ever.

    I know the person who runs the website is on here, but this is where I got my information:

    8541 Tactical - Flying with Firearms
    Brad

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    I'd hateee to fly with a firearm, I see TSA guys stealing stuff all the time.

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    If you don't put your ammo in the original box...remember it can't be transported inside the magazine UNLESS the magazine has a hard cap.

    TSA is the only one who will "inspect" your gun. Inspect means they will call a LEO over to verify it is unloaded/ packaged per TSA rules. A station agent from the airline will oversee this process...once the case is locked and the key returned to you...they will place it in your baggage.

    And your free to move about the country.
    This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaps0063 View Post
    I've flown twice with the Flambeau Safe Shot Pistol Gun Case 10''. Available at MidwayUSA for $6.99.

    I bought two sets of combination Master Locks when I flew. No problems what so ever.

    I know the person who runs the website is on here, but this is where I got my information:

    8541 Tactical - Flying with Firearms
    This case looks almost identical to my Sig case except the color. Looks like the majority of people haven't had any issues using a non-metal case, so I guess I'll take my chances. Only problem is I don't have any kind of container for the ammo, if they don't let you keep the ammo in the magazine. Don't want to just put the ammo in a zip lock bag or something, but don't really know what else to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor13 View Post
    I'd hateee to fly with a firearm, I see TSA guys stealing stuff all the time.
    I've had firearms stolen once. Investigation uncovered it was the baggage guys and not the TSA who were responsible for the theft.

    I'm sure that both groups have their share of thieves despite TSA = They'll Steal Anything.

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    I would put my money on the baggage handlers. In the baggage area there are too many TSA's present when the bags are opened. Once the bag clears...they are put on a baggage tug and off they go..

    I've seen how they access luggage that are locked..without a key....

    If TSA opens your bag for inspection...they will leave a "I messed with your stuff note".

    Don't get me wrong...TSA aren't all upstanding employees
    This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deputy x 2 View Post
    TSA is the only one who will "inspect" your gun. Inspect means they will call a LEO over to verify it is unloaded/ packaged per TSA rules. A station agent from the airline will oversee this process...once the case is locked and the key returned to you...they will place it in your baggage.
    I flew Southwest and the agent at check-in (remember, no curbside with a firearm) checked the firearm to determine if it was loaded or not. I took it a step further and stuck a pencil inside to keep the slide partially open so no one needed to finger **** my gun. It was clearly unloaded.

    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    This case looks almost identical to my Sig case except the color. Looks like the majority of people haven't had any issues using a non-metal case, so I guess I'll take my chances. Only problem is I don't have any kind of container for the ammo, if they don't let you keep the ammo in the magazine. Don't want to just put the ammo in a zip lock bag or something, but don't really know what else to use.
    I'd buy a box of ammo and put it in that. I packed a 50 round box of ammo and kept it in it's original package. They will not let you fly with loose bullets.
    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaps0063 View Post
    I flew Southwest and the agent at check-in (remember, no curbside with a firearm) checked the firearm to determine if it was loaded or not. I took it a step further and stuck a pencil inside to keep the slide partially open so no one needed to finger **** my gun. It was clearly unloaded.
    Someone correct me if I am wrong...but NO one (station agent or TSA) is to handle a firearm. Perhaps that was just a directive at the airport I was assigned to.
    This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deputy x 2 View Post
    Someone correct me if I am wrong...but NO one (station agent or TSA) is to handle a firearm. Perhaps that was just a directive at the airport I was assigned to.
    Wasn't aware of that rule.

    No one handled it, just a visual observation.
    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by deputy x 2 View Post
    Someone correct me if I am wrong...but NO one (station agent or TSA) is to handle a firearm. Perhaps that was just a directive at the airport I was assigned to.
    Pretty standard rule across the country from my experience. Saw a guy get ripped by a supervisor in HNL and another at ATL for handling my M-4. If they need the firearm moved for any reason, they're supposed to have the person checking the firearm move it. They're allowed to feel the foam and areas around the firearm, but never touch or handle the firearm. If there's a problem (loaded gun, passenger not able to unload etc.) my understanding is that they are to inform their supervisor and have a uniformed airport LEO assist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creedstaind View Post
    This case looks almost identical to my Sig case except the color. Looks like the majority of people haven't had any issues using a non-metal case, so I guess I'll take my chances. Only problem is I don't have any kind of container for the ammo, if they don't let you keep the ammo in the magazine. Don't want to just put the ammo in a zip lock bag or something, but don't really know what else to use.
    You can transport ammo loaded into magazines, provided that the magazines are in a mag pouch or holder that totally encloses the exposed cartridges. What the FAA wants to prevent is loose cartridges rolling around in baggage and potentially getting lost. I strongly recommend transporting your ammo in the original box or reload boxes, however in a pinch, you can transport ammo loaded into magazines if the cartridges are not exposed and cannot become dislodged in flight. I've successfully argued that a disposable Ziplock container was "equivalent to or better than" a factory shot shell box. Initially the TSA agent told me that the ammo wouldn't be able to be transported. A supervisor assisted and asked the TSA agent what would happen if the factory cardboard box was dunked in water. TSA agent said it would break up. Then the TSA agent was asked what would happen if the Ziplock container was dunked into a bucket of water. TSA agent stated that the container would keep the shot shells dry. The TSA supervisor said "This container is better than the original box."

    YMMV from airport to airport. When traveling with firearms, be sure to plan ahead and know the rules before you fly. CYA the best you can to avoid unnecessary delays or hassles.

  24. #24
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    OK folks, I fly with checked firearms several times a year.

    Like anything in law enforcement there is some room for interpretation in TSA's regulations. There is the bare minimum, then there is what I consider "best practices".

    First, the requirements for the container is that it is hard sided, lockable and cannot be flexed open while locked, but unlatched. An example of the latter are the cheap plastic cases that you can lock, but still lift an edge.

    The container must be locked and only you retain the key or combination. This means NO TSA LOCKS. This doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule because I managed to fly my first time with TSA locks. I think they are so used to seeing them, that they don't know any better. However the everyone and their brother can open a TSA lock. CFR and TSA regs state that you are to be the only one with access to the case. However I have run into one situation where a supervisor demanded that I give him the combination to my case otherwise he would refuse the case and it wouldn't fly. Instead of cancelling my whole trip I relented and gave him the combination. My solution to that is now to use keyed locks. I carry two keys. This also prevents the screener who opens my case from being able to open it later when I am not present.

    I suggest Pelican cases for flying. Not only are they extremely durable, but they will pass through the scanners without problem. The last couple times I have flown, they did not ask to open the case. If you resort to a metal box it may cause you some issues with opening the case. In either case, I stencil my name and cell phone number on the side of the case. If TSA can't get ahold of you, your case may not fly.

    Ammunition may be loaded in magazines, however the entire cartridge must be covered. The simple solution to this is to place the magazines in a magazine pouch. Ammunition may also be carried in it's original packaging. When I am flying to matches I use Frankfort Arsenal plastic boxes. I tape them closed. You MAY carry ammunition in the same lock case as the weapon as long as the previous conditions are met. You can also just toss it in with your regular luggage. I usually throw mine in my duffel because my rifle case is heavy enough.

    Be polite. They have the final say on if it flys or not. I carry a copy of the TSA and CFR regs that apply to flying with ammo and firearms. This helps if I get someone who "knows the rules" but doesn't really know the rules. The one time I forgot to print out the pages, I got screwed. I got the last laugh, but my rifle almost didn't make it on the plane.

    Finally, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to place ammunition or anything that could be considered firearms parts in your carry on luggage unless you are duly qualified under Federal Regulations to carry a firearm on a plane. They have no sense of humor about the magazine you left in your go-bag or the cartridge that stuck in the bottom of your backpack.

    I put some information together here:
    8541 Tactical - Flying with Firearms

    I know it was posted earlier, and thanks for that. The info was current as of last month. That was the last time I had to check a firearm.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog F4i View Post
    I put some information together here:
    8541 Tactical - Flying with Firearms

    I know it was posted earlier, and thanks for that. The info was current as of last month. That was the last time I had to check a firearm.
    No problem. I couldn't think of your handle on here but wanted to give you the necessary credit.

    I'm not sure if you have it on your article or not, but I also took photos and recorded the serial number of my firearm that I was flying with. I then printed this information and took it with me in my carry on. This way, should my firearm go missing I had all of it readily available to distribute. I also had photos of my luggage and the locked box it was inside of.
    Brad

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