Traveling with firearms can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when you need to abide by TSA regulations and airline rules. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult if you use the right equipment. When it comes to transporting guns on planes, one of the best options is TSA-approved gun cases.
These cases are designed specifically for air travel and provide a layer of security and prevent damage to your firearms. But with so many different types of gun cases, it can be difficult to know which is the best option for your needs and traveling requirements.
However, that’s why we put together this list of the best TSA-approved gun cases on the market. Whether you have one firearm or multiple guns, you need something that’s going to take care of your firearm as well as you do.
Why does the TSA need to approve gun cases?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was created in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The TSA is responsible for the security of passengers and cargo traveling by air, land, and sea within the United States. As part of their mission, they have established requirements for firearms to ensure public safety and reduce the risk of potential threats.
Since their creation in November 2021, the transportation of firearms and related equipment has become a closely monitored activity.
To ensure the safe transport of firearms and related items, they must be in a TSA-approved gun case or container. Whether it’s an unloaded firearm or even replica firearms, they must be declared and loaded in stowed baggage.
Requirements for a TSA-approved gun case.
The TSA doesn’t necessarily “approve” the case. It’s not like they inspect the case from the manufacturer and authorize its use. Instead, they have established certain requirements the case must meet in order to be considered an appropriate storage container and transportation option for a firearm or related item.
Hard-sided firearm case.
One of the requirements for transporting firearms or carrying ammunition on passenger aircraft is to place it in a locked, hard-sided case that is of sufficient strength to withstand ordinary handling. The TSA recommends cases made of aluminum, steel, or fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
Key or combination lock.
Not only does the firearm case need to be hard-sided, but it also needs to be lockable. The lock can be either a key or combination and must remain locked even if it is dropped.
A hard-sided locked case isn’t necessarily hard to find. However, you want to find the right one with the right features to ensure that it meets TSA requirements and helps keep your firearms safely secured while in transit.
The best TSA-approved rifle cases.
Heading out on the hunting trip of a lifetime? You don’t need to leave your hunting rifle at home, but you can’t bring it in your carry-on bags either. Here are the best TSA-approved gun cases for rifles.
Eylar Tactical Rifle Hard Case
The Eylar tactical rifle hard case is designed to offer superior protection for two rifles and other related gear. Constructed from a sturdy rubber material, the case measures 38” in length, 15” in width, and 6” in height, totaling 16.8 pounds. The case offers IP67 waterproof protection up to one meter fully submerged with a rubber gasket lining for added security.
The interior of the Eylar case includes three layers of foam padding – one customizable pull & pluck cubed foam layer, one solid foam layer, and an additional egg-crate style layer for extra cushioning. The case also meets TSA standards for air travel, as it has been adapted with two padlock fittings for secure storage at home or on the go. Moreover, the exterior casing features a pressure equalization valve that guarantees satisfactory mobility with less than significant resistance when experiencing rapid altitude changes due to airplane travel.
The Eylar tactical rifle hard case is an excellent option if you are looking for superior protection while traveling or storing your firearms at home – not to mention its attractive price tag, which comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty.
Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case
The Plano All-Weather Tactical Gun Case is the perfect choice for protecting your firearms against damage. Constructed of heavy-duty foam material, it measures 55” in length, 13” in width, and 7” in height, weighing 20 pounds. The gun case features a continuous Dri-Loc seal which creates a watertight and dust-proof shield to safeguard your weapons from water damage and the elements. Added security is provided with its rugged industrial strength construction and dual-stage lockable latches.
For easy customization and firearm protection, the Plano All-Weather Tactical Gun Case comes pre-perforated with a pluck-to-fit foam that can be shaped to fit any type of weapon. Easy transportation is made possible with its included set of wheels which glide easily without weighing you down. Plus, this gun case is TSA and airline-approved due to its pressure release valve that equalizes air pressure caused by altitude or temperature changes when flying.
The Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case is an outstanding choice when looking for superior protection against the elements while traveling, all while providing maximum convenience with its lightweight frame design and customizability options available at an affordable price tag.
Cedar Mill Hard Rifle Case
The Cedar Mill Firearms Iron Clasp Rifle Case is a perfect choice for those looking for an extremely durable and protective hard rifle case. Constructed with DS2TEK Poly, it flexes under stress but is designed to withstand abuse without breaking down or leaving your firearms unsecured. It also features corrosion-resistant stainless steel clasps that help secure the rifle case firmly shut.
This long rifle case measures 48” in length, 9” in width, and 4” in depth – giving it the capability to store and protect some of the largest rifles and shotguns with scopes, too. It has two layers of pick-and-pluck foam, allowing you to customize it easily for various gun configurations and providing extra protection against shocks or vibrations. It also comes with an IP67 water-proof rating which allows it to resist dirt, dust, sand, raindrops, and other debris – keeping your firearm looking brand new even after many years of use and thousands of miles of traveling.
Not only that but the Cedar Mill Firearms Iron Clasp Rifle Case also meets TSA requirements as well as being engineered to float on water when necessary (you know, in case you’re on a boat and drop your rifle, I guess?).
This gun case was manufactured based on rigorous trials conducted by former TSA officers and private security guards – guaranteeing quality assurance & lifetime strength durability. Plus, this hard gun case is lightweight yet sturdy enough not to slip away if stacked properly together with other cases – providing added convenience during transportation or storage.
This affordable yet high-quality firearm case from Cedar Mill Fine Firearms offers unbeatable protection without compromising on reliability & strength – giving you all the confidence needed when housing your firearms, whether at home or abroad!
The best TSA-approved pistol/handgun cases.
If you need to take a pistol with you on a trip, it’s probably not a hunting trip. However, who are we to judge? Here are the best TSA-approved gun cases for pistols, handguns, and anything else you can’t put in your carry-on baggage.
Flying Camel Hard Gun Case
The Flying Camel Hard Gun Case is the perfect solution for safe and secure storage at home or on the go. With TSA approved padlock adaptable fittings, this case provides superior protection from any unwarranted access to your valuables.
The pressure valve on the case makes it an essential tool for those needing to equalize pressure when changing altitudes or temperatures. By unscrewing the valve, you can use it as a mount for a camera or scope – making it highly customizable and versatile. This is great for a supported firing position.
You don’t have to worry about your gear being damaged either – this case is crushproof and waterproof up to one meter! The dimensions of 11.7″ x 8.3″ x 3.8″ also ensure that whatever you’ve placed inside will be securely fitted with two layers of pluckable cubed foam.
We think the Flying Camel Hard Gun Case is an excellent choice to store away any fragile, sensitive, or personal items with gear. Highly durable and weatherproof, you’re sure to keep your valuables safe wherever you go.
Hornady Treklite Combination Lock Box
The Hornady Treklite Combination Lock Box is ideal for secure storage of handguns and other valuables. It features impact-resistant polycarbonate construction and has a 1500 lb. rated security cable for added security. The dual 4-Digit TSA lock offers advanced security, with 10,000 user programmable codes.
The lightweight and portable gun safe easily fits into suitcases, drawers, or even under car seats while providing superior protection from would-be thieves. This handgun lock box also meets all TSA airline firearm guidelines, making it perfect for when you need to travel with your firearms safely stored away.
The handgun case measures 12.2 x 10.1 x 3.3 inches (exterior), 11.8 x 7.3 x 2.9 inches (interior) and will accommodate up to two full-size 1911 handguns as well as 8.5 x 11″ documents or other items securely stored inside its foam interior that protects valuable contents from damage or loss due to its durable non-slip over-mold and easy to operate combination lock.
Hornady Treklite Combination Lock Box is an excellent choice for secure storage of handguns and other valuables while traveling on the airlines. The only thing we don’t like about this case is that it’s not waterproof. That’s not a deal breaker for those that just need something to travel with.
Pelican 1170 Case
The Pelican 1170 Case is the perfect solution for secure and safe travel with firearms or other handheld portable electronics. This watertight, dustproof case is made of ultra-high impact copolymer with a 3-piece foam set interior to protect its contents.
The automatic pressure equalization valve ensures that whatever you’ve placed inside will remain secure regardless of altitude changes. Additionally, an easy open double throw latch provides quick and easy access to your valuables. An oversized folding handle also adds comfort when transporting the case. Ultimately, this makes the Pelican a great choice for travelers who need their items close at hand.
In terms of size, this case measures 11.64″x8.34″x3.78″ on the exterior and 10.54″x6.04″x3.16″ on the interior. This provides enough room to store two full-size 1911 handguns as well as extra documents or other tiny items with confidence that they are securely stored away from any damage or theft attempts due to its durable construction and tight sealing latches.
Pelican cases are some of the most durable and versatile cases on the market, and they’re even better served as approved gun cases for traveling on the airlines.
TSA Approved Gun Case FAQ
With so many laws and regulations regarding gun cases, we inevitably get a lot of questions from hunters looking to take their firearms with them on hunting expeditions. So we put together a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to help answer some of the most common concerns.
Can TSA open my gun case without me present?
If TSA needs the case opened for some reason or has questions, you must be present. At most airports you can stand in an area that provides you with a visual of the space where TSA checks special baggage.
What makes a pistol case TSA approved?
For all TSA-approved gun cases, whether for rifles, handguns, or ammunition, it must be hard-sided, have a lock, and go into checked baggage.
Do you have to use TSA-approved locks for gun cases?
No, you can use any type of lock, regardless of brand, to lock and secure your case. It can be a key lock, combo lock, have multiple locks; it doesn’t matter.
Does a gun case count as a checked bag?
Yes, most airlines will count your gun case as a checked bag. However, this doesn’t fall under the TSA rules, this is an airline rule.
Does ammo have to be in a locked case?
The TSA requires all firearms and ammunition to be securely stored in a hard-sided, locked case or box. Magazines and clips – regardless of whether they are loaded or not – must also be included inside the case.
Can gun parts be carried in carry-on baggage?
Airline passengers are not allowed to transport firearms in carry-on luggage. However, passengers can place their firearms in checked bags if the airline allows it. The key is, it’s up to the airlines themselves. Be sure to check with the airline about their policies for transporting firearms.
What happens if TSA finds a prohibited item?
Travelers should always be aware of TSA-prohibited items when packing their bags. Bringing such items can result in both a TSA civil enforcement action and criminal enforcement action. That could lead to an arrest by TSA agents and/or a hefty fine. It’s important to check your baggage before you leave home, especially before going through any security checkpoints.
What happens to guns confiscated by the TSA?
Every year, airports seize vast amounts of weapons – loaded firearms, unlicensed guns, and other dangerous weapons. After confiscation, the TSA typically destroys the weapons or they’re kept as evidence for legal proceedings. Occasionally, the state will sell them at a surplus warehouse store.
Best option is to only use TSA-approved gun cases.
It is essential that you use a TSA-approved gun case if you are planning to travel with firearms. This will ensure your guns remain secure and safe during transit and within the airport premises. It is also important to be aware of any prohibited items at all. Bringing such items can lead to legal action being taken against you. Make sure to check airline rules before packing so that you don’t end up having your weapons confiscated by the TSA or other authorities at the airport. With these tips in mind, we hope hunters feel more confident when taking their firearms on trips.