View Full Version : Airline approved pistol case question.

April 4, 2002, 06:22 AM
I'm going from Boston to Orlando this month and I have to check a .45 pistol and ammo in separate locked hard cases. Does anyone know what pistol cases are airline approved? Is a case that's padlocked ok or must the case have its own locking mechanism? I've seen some advertised on the web as airline approved and they're expensive. I'm trying not to break the bank. Any and all advice is very much appreciated.

April 6, 2002, 08:32 PM
I use one of those black plastic cases with a cable lock wrapped around it. I then put that case inside my suitcase. I've never had a problem with it.

Just to CYA, call your airline and ask what they require and also ask about the amount of ammo you can carry.

April 6, 2002, 10:07 PM
They have never been too picky with me about the case. I forget what the limit is on ammo, must be factory boxed. I ship large quanities of ammo ahead,ups.

April 6, 2002, 11:01 PM
Any case will do but something big, non-gun looking, and strong is preferred. I go with double pelicans - pelican attache within a pelican roller. Its amazing the things that have been done to my luggage. On my last flight with firearms, both pelican combination locks on my outer case were mangled to the extent that both had to be hammered off after the correct combination was entered.

PS, Tell us how things go for you at Logan.

April 8, 2002, 08:04 AM
I called the MA state police at Logan and they were very helpful and easy to talk to on the subject. My worries came from reading a post here about someone who dotted all their i's and crossed all their t's but still had a hard time at the Buffalo, NY airport. They ended up having to leave their weapon behind. I printed the FAA requirements and the Delta airline requirements just to have with me when I go. The state police seem to be fine. At this point I'm not expecting and major problems. When I get back on 4/29/02 I'll post how I made out.

April 10, 2002, 01:58 PM
fivepaknh: When I fly to pickup fugitives for extradition purposes, I carry my sidearm on my person. Otherwise, I just declare the unloaded handgun in my checked luggage at the ticket counter.

The FARs (FAA regs) state lockable, hard-side case. I usually use a hinged, foam-lined, polypropylene pistol case inside my hard-side suitcase. Some airlines want their agent to view the UNLOADED handgun--others just tell me to sign the 'firearms unloaded' tag and place it in the inner case (and some just say in the suitcase). Sometimes I run a white cable-tie thru the barrel and/or magazine well to further demo that it is unloaded.

If you get the third degree, ask the agent to page the Ground Security Supervisor for clarification. Other than the pilot, this guy has final say as to who flies with what.


April 10, 2002, 10:47 PM
Thanks. The cable tie is a good idea. It might ease the fears of the gun squeamish.

part swede
April 12, 2002, 06:35 PM
Related questions: Can you carry two handguns in the same case? Has anyone ever been told that the handgun case and ammunition must be in different luggage items?
This might be the way they interpret "packed separately" in the vague airline policies. I did not have any problem on the occasion I flew last August, but now I don't know what to expect.

April 12, 2002, 07:00 PM
Most airlines want a BATF approved case. The plastic case the gun comes in has always worked for me. They have a place for a small lock.

The airlines require a BATF approved container for ammo. In addition, some will limit the number of rounds you can carry. The box the ammo came in has always worked for me. I usually put it in a lockable box so it does not get pilfered.

The traveling hunting and weapon carrying public is a large segment of the flying public. You are a customer, not a criminal.

April 12, 2002, 11:58 PM
The Mass State Police told me to put the ammo in a different piece of luggage. They were friendlier on the subject than I expected.
Is the combination lock on the gun case sufficient or do they prefer a gun case with a heavy duty key lock?

Blue Jays
April 14, 2002, 12:19 AM
Hi Fivepaknh-

Depending on your arrangements, you could even ship your sidearms via Airborne Express / Fed Ex / DHL the day before your departure.

Arrive at the hotel the next day and pick-up your packages at the front desk. Just make sure to include the appropriate insurance.

Anytime that I've shipped sidearms anywhere, I call the contents of the package "machined parts," and that's it.

Good luck,

~ Blue Jays ~