View Full Version : Airline-Approved Handgun Carry Case?

December 16, 2001, 06:09 PM
I will be flying from Louisville Ky to Salt Lake City in January. I understand that I can transport a handgun on the airplane as long as I have the handgun in a locked container and then put THAT container inside another container such as a locking suitcase. (I'll keep the ammo in another locked suitcase).

Does anyone know where to find an "airline-approved" gun case so I can take my handgun with me? Does anyone know what the requirements of the gun case would be? Actually, ANY help with taking firearms on an airplane would be a big help!



December 16, 2001, 06:33 PM
Last time I flew, any hard case that locked was acceptable. The factory case that came with my USP compact was fine, and it just has a little plastic catch (that would take all of 10 seconds to cut with a knife) to put a padlock through. Don't know if the standards have changed after 9/11, though.


December 16, 2001, 09:09 PM
I flew SouthWest on 29 November and 2 December. Took my Beretta 92FS in the blue plastic factory hard case. I showed the counter agent it was empty and then wrapped the freebie cable lock 3 times through the handle of the box. (The second time, the agent also said the magazine had to be removed.) Per the SW regs, you can take 300 rounds of pistol ammo, in boxes that allow for cartridge separation, up to 11 pounds. I then put the box and ammo in a duffle bag with a small combo lock on the zipper pulls. YMMV.

December 16, 2001, 10:37 PM
I guess I thought it would be more "intense" (can't think of the right word) than that. I guess I will just use the plastic case the gun came in and put a lock on it. (Although Rocko, if it took a whole 10 seconds to cut off that little catch you must be using an awfully DULL knife! ;)

I will call the airline (not sure who I will be flying at the moment) right before I leave and see what they say. I just trust the advice here more since you often get different stories from the airlines - depending on the person you talk to.

Oh... ndmarksman... was the "freebie cable lock" something the airline provided or did you provide the lock? I am guessing that maybe they used "their" lock on your case and only removed the lock once they gave the case back to you at your destination. ???

THANKS for the info guys....


Double Naught Spy
December 17, 2001, 02:16 AM
I am not sure what you mean by taking the gun with you. To check a gun, I believe most airlines require the container holding the gun to be hardsided and so you may not need a special case to check your gun if you already have hardsided luggage. Here is the information from Delta:

Shooting Equipment
One item of shooting equipment is accepted as part of a customer's free checked baggage allowance. For each item listed, one item of shooting equipment is defined as one or a combination of the following:

One rifle case containing:

two or fewer rifles (with or without scopes)
one shooting mat
one small pistol tool kit
noise suppressers
11 lbs. of ammunition
Cases containing more than two rifles will be assessed an excess baggage charge.

two shotguns
two shotgun cases
11 lbs. of ammunition
Cases containing more than two shotguns will be assessed an excess baggage charge.
One pistol case containing:

two pistols
pistol telescopes
noise suppressers
a small pistol tool case
11 lbs. of ammunition (10 lbs. max. on Delta's Connection Carrier SkyWest)
Cases containing more than two pistols will be assessed an excess baggage charge.
You may purchase a hard-sided case (12" x 52" x 4 1/2") with suitcase type lock (capable of holding two rifles with scopes) for $75 plus local tax at most Delta Airport Ticket Counters.

When checking a weapon, you must:

declare to the Delta representative that they are checking a weapon (If a Security Checkpoint is prior to the Delta ticket counter, you must declare the existence of a weapon to security personnel.)
present firearms unloaded and sign a "Firearms Unloaded" declaration
lock the weapon in a hard-sided, crush-proof container and retain the key or combination
maintain entry permits in your possession for the country or countries of destination or transit
ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes
Note: Firearms transported to the United Kingdom as checked baggage require a permit from the United Kingdom. The passenger must contact the United Kingdom for more information regarding this permit.

Ammunition in excess of 11 lbs. per passenger or that contains incendiary projectiles is prohibited.

December 21, 2001, 02:01 PM
Thanks for your excellent post, Double-Naught. "Taking the gun with me" meant:

When I travel to SLC, I do NOT want to leave my gun at home. I merely wanted to have it in Utah when I get there. I know I can't carry onboard the aircraft. I know I have to have it "checked" and then I get it back when I get off the plane.

I wasn't sure how it went and was hoping that others with experience doing this would share their experiences with me.

For example, if wearing a shoulder harness, do you remove the gun from the harness at the counter, remove the ammo, and then place the gun in the gun case? Do you re-arm yourself as soon as your weapon is returned (or do you go into a men's room and discreetly do it)?

December 21, 2001, 02:42 PM
To avoid getting detained or shot:eek: , I would suggest putting the handgun in the hard case before entering the airport.

another okie
December 23, 2001, 11:13 AM
Ditto the above. Do not carry the gun into the airport and expect to unload it at the gate. Have it unloaded and secure when you show up.

Check the airline's web site for the exact rules, such as the Delta rules above. On Southwest you have to search the site a little to find the rules, but they are there.

December 24, 2001, 12:55 AM
I agree with you guys. Although it appears that it is legal to carry a concealed weapon in the airport (except beyond the screening area), I am SURE that pulling out a weapon, dropping out the magazine and then pulling the slide back to get the bullitt out of the chamber *MIGHT* attract too much unwanted attention at the ticket counter.

I guess I just need to do it a few times and then, like everything else, it will be no big deal. It's kinda like "carrying" the first time... you just KNOW that SOMEONE will notice and you will be in trouble. Here, I KNOW they will "notice". I just want to try and stay out of trouble. (As well as keep other's around me from getting excited.)



Shawn Dodson
December 24, 2001, 01:55 PM
I fly frequently with my handguns. I've used both soft and hard handgun cases, inside my padlocked duffle bag. No problems whatsoever.

When you check-in at the counter quietly say "I have a firearm to declare." You'll have to fill out a tag, place it in your bag, and, depending on the airline, allow them to inspect the gun to verify it's unloaded (this last part can be interesting indeed!). They'll instruct you as to what they want you to do. Sometimes I've been taken to a room off to the side of the terminal, apparently so as not to alarm others who are checking-in at the counter. Sometimes they want me to open my duffle bag and let them inspect my gun(s) right at the check-in counter. But most of the time I just fill out the tag and place it in my bag. Most don't want to inspect my guns.

You can also take ammunition but it must be in a piece of checked luggage that's separate from the one containing the firearm. I normally don't bother with ammunition because I check just one bag -- my duffle bag.

December 25, 2001, 12:34 AM
That sounds great Shawn. But if you don't bother with ammunition, doesn't that make taking the gun with you kinda worthless... or do you immediately buy new ammo when you get to your destination???:confused:

David Scott
December 25, 2001, 09:33 AM
Sports Authortity has molded, lockable pistol cases marked "airline approved" for $21. I saw them while Xmas shopping.

December 25, 2001, 06:02 PM
I have done this a few times. The best way is to not follow the minimum rules. You will always be safe if you put the gun in a hard case (like a small Pelican case), lock that, and then put that in a larger bag. I have had them argue with me that the larger bag needs to be hard-sided, but they were wrong. As long as the gun itself is in a hard case and unloaded. 90% of the time they want you to show them it is unloaded. I have done this both at the counter and in another room. I generally keep the slide locked open in advance. A cable-tie through it will be reassuring to them.

Ammo ussually needs to be in original packaging or at least not lose. Don't have ammo in a baggie but sealed up so it will not rattle around.

One point that they often get confused on -- they sometimes think that the red firearms tag needs to go outside the bag. DO NOT LET THEM make you put this on the outside. It goes on the inside, or else someone will steal your bag. When you pickup the gun, sometimes it comes out on the belt and other times they removed it and have it in a special room, so look for it in both places.

December 25, 2001, 06:03 PM
I once arrived at Delta (about 10 years ago) without a good case. They said I could not bring the AR-15 without an approved case, but offered to sell me a Delta rifle case for $25! I could not believe it.

4V50 Gary
December 26, 2001, 03:30 PM
Any of those hard plastic cases that you can pick up for $5.95 will do - so long as it takes an external padlock.