"2. Does the locked case need to be inside your suitcase?"
If you ever expect to see the gun again.
Just put the gun container inside a larger suitcase.
It works very well.
The spokesman in the video I just posted actually makes the case (no pun intended
) for using a large, separate container regardless of the size of the firearm. This makes it relatively difficult for a baggage handler or TSA screener to steal the gun case by concealing it under clothing or inside another container during a "routine" baggage search.
He states (albeit without references to actual instances) that the few times he's heard of gun cases disappearing during air travel occured because
the traveler put a small pistol case inside a non-secured or TSA-locked suitcase.
Also, if it isn't obvious, the gun case should be made of a material that can't be readily cut with hand tools. Translation: thick steel.
This rules out most gunmaker-provided and cheap aftermarket pistol cases, since they're usually plastic or aluminum.