What Type Of Gun Case Do You Need To Fly With A Firearm

We are often asked what type of gun case and lock is required to fly with a firearm. As of the date of this article the TSA definition for traveling with a firearm on an airline is that “The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked.   A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.” This wording has been recently changed from simply that the gun needs to be in a hard case that is lockable, to a better description of the quality of gun case that is acceptable.

The new definition eliminates most of the cheaper gun cases that are better suited to storing a gun or transporting it to the local gun range. Most inexpensive gun cases are too easy to pry open, and are not designed to keep someone out of the gun case. We have always believed that the definition of an approved gun case does not meet our definition of a recommended gun case for flying. If you combine the cost of the firearm to the cost of the trip you are taking, and add the incalculable cost of a ruined trip if your gun was to get damaged, it is always better to buy a more durable gun case for air travel. Brands that we recommend are SKB or Kalispel Style gun cases.

The lock that is required for a gun case when traveling by air has also changed several times over the last 10 years. Years ago, any simple lock would suffice. Then the TSA changed the ruling that the lock had to be TSA approved. This rendered any current gun cases obsolete since most did not have TSA locks. After several years of the TSA approved requirement, the definition has now changed to “The firearm must be in a hard-sided container that is locked” which does not require a TSA approved lock. However, the laws state that “TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.” And, “If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.” This ruling in effect mentions that TSA will cut off the lock if they need to gain access to the case. We have had reports from travelers that their TSA locks were cut off. So depending on the airport, having a TSA approved lock does not necessarily guarantee that your locks will not get cut off. We recommend keeping a spare set of locks in your gun case so that if your locks are cut off, you have a spare set to re-lock the case and be able to get home. Many travelors have had to scramble to buy locks at their destination in order to be able to bring their gun home with them on the return trip.

No matter which gun case you ultimately choose, be sure to buy one that will not only meet the guidelines, but will also protect your firearm from damage during the trip. Many top end gun cases cost between $200 to $300. In relation to the total cost of a trip, it is cheap insurance to be assured that your firearm will arrive undamaged and ready to go.


What Is The Best Type Of Foam In A Gun Case

We are often asked what is the best type of foam in a gun case – egg carton style or flat foam? This is actually more a question of foam quality and gun case quality, rather than the type of foam itself. Most high end gun cases have a higher quality of foam over cheaper cases. You would not have a cheap gun case with expensive foam, nor would you typically have cheap foam in an expensive gun case. Gun cases brands such as SKB and Kalispel typically have higher quality foam to give your firearm the protection it needs. Where as mid grade cases such as Guardforce offer egg carton style foam to help keep the case price more affordable.

The foam in a gun case serves two purposes. It protects the gun from impact damage. And it also serves to keep the guns in place so that they do not slide around and rub into each other, or the side of the gun case. Cheaper gun cases tend to have egg carton or convoluted style foam to try and create pressure points to keep the gun in place. Some cheaper to mid grade gun cases also have Velcro straps to help keep the gun from sliding around. These straps may create wear spots on your guns finish over time.

Most higher end gun cases such as SKB and Kalispel tend to have higher compression foam. This acts to not only better protect the firearm form impact, but also helps put more surface pressure on the gun to keep it from sliding around. Some SKB gun cases even have molded interiors to prevent the gun from moving in the case. Where as Kalispel Style gun cases have high compression flat foam. This puts even pressure along the entire length of the gun, and almost insures that the gun will stay put in the gun case. Egg Carton style foam looks like the inside of an egg carton with ridges and valleys. This type of foam can never achieve as much pressure on the gun as flat foam since it only comes in contact with the gun at the tip of each point. Another benefit of flat foam is that it is typically in layers so it can be custom cut for your specific gun if you so desire.

In summary, flat foam typically will better protect your gun by preventing movement in the gun case.  And usually this type of foam is found in better quality gun cases that feature thicker wall construction, and durability. So in our opinion flat foam is the better choice if you can afford the case that it comes in. Explore Products personnel can help you select the best quality gun case for the money for what ever type of application you need.