TSA approved Pistol Case Questions

Discussion in 'Firearm Accessories & Gear' started by RJCXJ, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. RJCXJ

    RJCXJ New Member

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    So I've looked up the rules for transporting firearms on airplanes. I understand the rules.
    TSA: Traveling with Special Items
    and
    TSA: Traveling with Special Items

    AND I'm flying southwest so here is there policy. Southwest Airlines Travel Policies - Guns and Ammunition

    What I REALLY want to know, is based on the requirements, what cases have YOU used to transport firearms or if you have a case (IE Pelican or whatever) that you would recommend that meets these requirements.

    I would like to transport at least 2 pistols. (Yes I have googled this but the results were not that impressive)

    I also went and bought a case and some locks and I am not that impressed with the setup. I will probably take the empty case and locks by the Airport this week to see if it is adequate as I cannot afford the hassle of scrambling for an approved case at the last minute.

    Links and or pictures would be great!

    BTW. Ammo is limited at 11lbs..... 100 rounds of 40 cal and 100 rounds of .45 cal meet that and allow for your carry rounds too (Hollow Points etc.)

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. Gordo323

    Gordo323 New Member

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    Are you planning on checking them as second checked bag or putting them inside your checked suitcase?
    I have used my factory Sig blue plastic case and packed it inside my checked bag with a good lock on one side (Do Not Use A TSA Lock) and then used the factory magazine lock to secure the other locking point to a hard point I made on the inside of my suitcase itself, so a baggage handler would halve to steal my whole bag to steal my gun!
    Pelican makes durable cases , however a bit spendy, but are worth it!
    I've never checked any ammo. though>:confused:
     

  3. oldandslow

    oldandslow New Member

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    RJ, 6/23/10

    Flying with firearms and ammo is not really as big a deal as it is made out to be. I make a yearly 6000 mile trip through the states once a year traveling with two pistols and ammo and the airlines pretty much have things worked out. I have always used one of the factory hard boxes which the pistol was shipped with. I get a key lock from Home Depot and lock the pistols inside the case within my suitcase. Most airlines prefer ammo to be in their factory boxes so I pack my 11 pounds of ammo in the factory boxes and put it inside the suitcase.

    When you check in ask one of the information people if you need to check in at a special location if checking a firearm. Some airlines want you to, some don't. There is nothing worse than waiting in a long line and when you get to the front of the line you are told you should have gone to a different check-in site.

    You need to declare the pistol and ammo to the check-in attendant. Sometimes they will take you somewhere where you can show them that the firearm is unloaded, most times they will take your word for it. They will give you a firearms declaration tag that they will put with your pistols inside the suitcase.

    Then it is off to TSA screening. Every time the TSA people have taken all my stuff out of the suitcase, opened the ammo boxes and pistol cases to inspect them. They then repack everything and have me lock up my pistol case and suitcase. The TSA folks seem pretty comfortable with the process also. After TSA clears the bags they are taken back to the airline counter and put on the belt for the plane.

    One note- if you are landing in some locations where high cap mags are not allowed you might want to mail them to yourself ahead of time. I travel through Hawaii and California often and mags over ten rounds capacity can cause legal problems (I think the same is true for other states, like New Jersey. One way to check is to look at the website Handgunlaw.us). I usually carry .45's and the mags hold less than ten rounds so I am OK. When I traveled with my Glock 19 this last summer I had to mail the 15 rounds to myself before I transited through Hawaii.

    So pack your stuff, check your pistols and ammo and have a good trip.

    best wishes- oldandslow
     
  4. ALSGUN

    ALSGUN New Member

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    I flew not too long ago with a pistol, I was in a hurry so I went and bought a small metal box with a key lock and just put it in a suitcase. Had no problems at all when I checked the bag and declared the contents.
     
  5. jetspeed8

    jetspeed8 New Member

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    I use a pelican case for my pistols when I travel domestic and internationally. I have had no problems. Customs issued me a a customs (weapon) form to keep with me so I can just breeze thru the airport, when coming off a international flight and rechecking my bags for the domestic leg.
     
  6. RJCXJ

    RJCXJ New Member

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    Thanks guys!!!

    Great input!!!

    I think I will plan on putting my case in one of my bags. (going to be gone about 12 days) I like the idea of cable locking it inside the bag!!! Means I can pull one of those locks out of the plastic for the first time!!!!

    oldandslow
    Thanks for the step by step!!! Just what I was hoping for.

    ALSGUN and jetspeed8. Thanks for posting your experience!

    I think I will get a pelican case and be done.
     
  7. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

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    I have to shake the dust off of this to ask a question. I was under the impression that the TSA has to be able to open the gun case to inspect. To that I have to use one of those TSA approved locks on the guns case. IS that correct.

    This is the 1st time I'm flying out of NJ to FL with my firearm as opposed to driving. Per the airline and airport I have to have my firearm stored in a locked case INSIDE a checked bag.
     
  8. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    No, that is not correct. NOBODY has the key or combination to the lock except you. They "may" want to look inside.

    http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/
     
  9. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

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    Anyone have an idea if something like this would work for putting into my checked bag via TSA requirements?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. rwar1423

    rwar1423 New Member

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    I use a hard, lockable case (plastic), using TSA approved locks. Place ammo in its original box or empty box. Your empty magazines can be in the lockable case & the box/es of ammo (up to 10 lbs) can be in the same checked luggage. Each airport has different procedures. It's easier with the TSA approved locks, because if there's a need to open the case after being x-rayed, they have the tool to use. If you have a key, you have to find key, turn it over to agent, wait to get key back.
     
  11. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

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    Are you saying its a case like a pelican case and the ammo goes in the case with the pistol and mags? I suppose a pelican 1170 or similar will do for that. If TSA needs to be able to access and they can't they'll break it open. So it pays to use those TSA locks.
     
  12. rwar1423

    rwar1423 New Member

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    It can be any lockable case (metal or plastic). If you buy a new gun, some of the cases they come in are lockable (have hole for lock). TSA won't cut your lock if they need to check inside. Once your luggage is x-rayed & good to go, the agent comes out to tell you you're free to go to gate or gives your key back if you gave the agent one. You can have empty mags in your gun case. Ammo can't be in the gun case, but can be in the same luggage you have gun case in.

    I bought a plastic lockable gun case that can hold 2 guns & 3 mags for each gun.

    One thing to consider with deciding what kind of gun case to buy is the weight. That's why I went with plastic.
     
  13. drvsafe

    drvsafe New Member

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    Kind of a scary proposition when you do t get the same information from more than one source. I do t mean you all here, but rather gun shops or ranges. I am going to print out the TSA regs as well as the airlines regs and bring them with me. TSA says the ammo can go in the case with the firearm as long as its in a secure box and not in the mags others say differently. Being that I live and am flying out of New Jersey I will also bring all of my documentation regarding the registration of the firearm, my fpid card and naturally my FL CCW permit. I'm going to give myself an extra hour over my normal hour cushion and follow the rules. Naturally I will update you all on how it goes.
    Since the original case for the particular firearm I am bringing doesn't have a Hasp to use a lock, I am purchasing a case to travel with. I decided to go with a SKB 3I case and I will cut the foam to fit all my gear. I didn't like the pull and pluck of the pelican cases, the SKB has solid layers of foam. I will turn use standard master lock keyed brass locks.
     
  14. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    TSA approved lock is a violation of federal law. And no, you NEVER turn the key over to a TSA agent, that is also a violation of federal law. Check out the link I posted, watch the video.
     
  15. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    Flew Southwest Portland OR to Vegas and back last May

    Plastic case, 3 pistols. Locked with two non-TSA locks, cable locked
    to an eye inside my softside suitcase.

    Portland----declared, they sent me and bag down the concourse to "the
    gun guy". Watched as he swabbed the suitcase, good to go.

    Vegas---declared, they take the bag. I'm told "go down there by that
    American flag, wait 10 minutes. If nobody comes out to get you you
    are good to go.". Nobody did.

    FWIW, in the last several flights I've made with guns they haven't asked
    me to open the case once. Lay the guns flat in the case, lay the case flat
    in the suitcase. Don't have any x-ray opaque items above or below the
    gun case. If they can get a good flat look at the case they can see what's
    in it.


    Airlines---Southwest and Alaska are the most gun friendly.

    Tip: Buy one of the cheap $6 or so luggage scales. Guns and ammo are
    HEAVY---doesn't take much to bump up over the 50 lb. limit. When the wife
    and I came back from Vegas, we shuffled stuff around to where she had
    all the magazines for both guns, and my range bag in her suitcase. Both
    hit the scales at the airport at 49 lbs. Cheap insurance---the heavy bag
    fee is a lot worse than the cost of the scales.
     
  16. hmh

    hmh New Member

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    Non TSA locks, a walmart hard lockable pistol case, unloaded ammo in factory box. When you get up to the counter just say "I would like to declare a firearm" fill out a several line card. As easy as that.
     
  17. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    I wouldn't give the TSA a chance to steal my firearm ;)