We are going to be looking at a few TSA approved gun cases so that you don’t run into any problems at the airport when you want to take you firearm along with you to your travel destination.
TSA Prohibited Items List
Any and all firearms, replica weapons, toy guns & BB guns are NOT allowed in your carry-on bag. Firearms must be unloaded and transported only in checked bags. Your weapon must be inside of a hard-sided, locked case and declared to the airline that you are flying at the time of check in. Your locked container may be checked in alone or it can be placed inside of another checked in bag.
Pelican Pistol Cases
Pelican cases got their start back in 1976 in Torrance, California and have quickly become the global leader in the design and manufacturing of high-performance protective cases, temperature controlled packaging and advanced portable lighting systems.
Today Pelican products are used every day by police departments, firefighters, military personnel, photographers and others like you and me who have counted on Pelican products to protect their gear and their lives.
Pelican is still located in Torrance, California with 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space, Pelican has grown into a global enterprise with six manufacturing facilities, 23 international sales offices, and multiple advanced case centers, network stations, and service centers around the world. Global expansion along with smart acquisitions and new product introductions have all added to the success Pelican realizes today.
The Pelican V100 Vault comes in two different colors. You can get this gun case in a khaki tan color or you can purchase it in black.
This is a small TSA approved gun case that is perfect for your personal handgun. The interior measures out at 11″ × 8″ × 4.5″. It is made from high-impact polymer which assures you that your firearm is protected however ever you decide to travel, via road, trail or by airplane.
The case itself is crushproof, dustproof, and weather resistant. It has heavy duty handles that are ergonomic and will stand up to the toughest conditions and environments.
Unlike most cases in the marketplace Pelican uses five layers of protective foam inside the V100 vault. There are two stainless steel lock hasps at each corner of the case which afford you extra security during transport.
It is also designed with two push button latches which offer secure closure and easy-open access which is important when buying a gun case of any kind.
The Pelican® V200 Vault Medium Handgun Case looks just like the Pelican® V100 gun case but is just a little bit bigger. It is also available in black or tan like the V100 case. The V200 is constructed with a high-impact polymer exterior and 5 layers of interior foam to protect your handgun over rough roads or airline travel. Built for hard use, high impact and supreme weather resistance, the new Vault series cases are the most rugged and secure in their class. Two push-button latches draw the lid close, and a pressure-release valve enables closing the case with minimal effort. Two stainless steel lock hasps allow you to secure the contents of the case with aftermarket padlocks. The V200 Vault Medium Handgun Case is O-ring sealed. A heavy-duty, fold-down handle holds up to heavy loads. Dimensions: 14″x10″x5.5″.
Equipped with a host of premium protective features at a price more travelers can afford, as only the 42-year veteran of hard knocks could deliver.
The Pelican Protector 1200 gun case is a medium sized gun case with the interior measuring out at 9.3″ × 7.1″ × 4.1″.
Pelican’s Protector Cases are virtually indestructible cases used to store and transport equipment that can be sensitive to damage. Excellent for transporting sights, optics, and other expensive gear. Pelican’s unique Pick N’ Pluck foam allows you to customize your box for your own needs. Each box features tongue and groove construction with a neoprene “O”-ring for a waterproof seal. A comfortable fold-down handle with stainless steel pins in the hinge and handle complete each Pelican box.
There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not you are required to purchase and use TSA-style locks for your gun case when you’re flying with your firearm or if you can use a regular heavy-duty lock?
For your luggage, TSA-styled locks may be a good idea. You do not have to use TSA-approved locks to secure your gun case and it is highly recommended that you do not use a TSA-approved lock and that you use a good, solid, reliable lock that you may already have in your possession.
Note: If your gun case requires two or three locks to secure your firearm case, you will need a lock for each locking point on your case. You cannot use one lock if there are two locking points. I hope that makes sense.
UPDATE: Based on some feedback we have been getting we would recommend you take both styles of locks with you to the airport. Take your TSA-approved lock and take your regular heavy-duty lock. Depending on the airlines, gate agents, TSA agents, someone may tell you that you are required to have one style lock and someone else may tell you that you need the other style lock. I would lead with my personal heavy-duty lock and have the TSA-styled lock as my backup. You definitely want to CYA.
Now Let's Look At Each Airlines Gun & Ammo Policies
Southwest Airlines Firearm & Ammo Policy
This is the updated Southwest’s Firearms Acceptance Policy
Customers are responsible for knowing and following the firearms laws of the state(s) that they will be traveling to, from, and through.
Southwest customers must declare the gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter (no firearms will be accepted curbside) and ensure that the firearm(s) chambers are free of ammunition and the magazine clip has been removed (when applicable). Paintball guns and BB guns are considered the same as all other firearms.
Firearms must be encased in a hard-sided, locked container that is of sufficient strength to withstand normal handling, as follows:
A firearm in a hard-sided, locked container may be placed inside a soft-sided, unlocked suitcase.
A firearm placed inside a hard-sided, locked suitcase must be encased in a hard-sided, locked container.
The locked container or suitcase must completely secure the firearm from access. Cases or suitcases that can be pulled open with minimal effort do not meet the locked criterion.
The Customer checking the luggage should retain the key or combination to the lock, and may use any brand or type of lock to secure the firearm case (including TSA-recognized locks).
Firearms may be checked and will count toward the two-piece free baggage allowance for each fare-paying passenger. We allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.
Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for the misalignment of sights on firearms, including those equipped with telescopic sights.
Firearms are never allowed in carry on luggage.
Paintball guns are allowed in checked baggage and are not subject to the container requirements of firearms.
You must declare the paintball gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter.
Compressed gas cylinders are allowed in checked baggage or as a carryon only if the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e., the cylinder has an open end). TSA Security Screeners must visibly ensure that the cylinder is completely empty and that there are no prohibited items inside.
Small arms ammunition for personal use (provided it is properly packed) is permissible in checked baggage only.
The ammunition may be placed in the same container as the firearm and must be securely packed in cardboard (fiber), wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
When checking ammunition, Customers are limited to 11 pounds gross weight (ammunition plus container) per person.
Magazines or clips containing ammunition must be securely packaged (placed in another small box or in a secure cutout in the carrying case, in order to protect the primer of the ammunition).
Make sure guns are unloaded and definitely never transport a gun in your carryon baggage!
Gunpowder (black powder) and primers or percussion caps are not allowed in checked or carryon baggage.
Loose ammunition or loose loaded magazines and/or clips are not allowed.
Paintballs must be packaged in a leak-proof container and will be subject to limited release.
American Airlines Guns & Ammunition Policy
Traveling with firearms and ammunition
Laws on the possession of firearms differ between states and countries. Please check the requirements of your destination before you travel. Contact Reservations for international travel requirements and if any portion of your trip is operated by another carrier.
Within the U.S., you can only travel with firearms and ammunition, including pellet and BB guns, in your checked bags if you’re over 18 years old. You must check them with an agent at check-in and declare that you’re traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Firearms must be:
- In a locked hard-sided container where the firearm is totally inaccessible
- Rifle cases require locks on each end
Ammunition must be:
In the original packaging from the manufacturer or in packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition (made of fiber, wood or metal), with a maximum of 11 pounds (5 kgs) per container or customer. Ammunition is not accepted loose or in magazines or clips.
There is no limit to the number of items you can carry in your rifle, shotgun or pistol case, but bag and oversize / overweight charges may apply.
Loose ammunition, magazines or clips and firearms are not accepted when traveling to or from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (POS).
Delta Airlines PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED ITEMS
Ammunition, Explosives & Firearms
While firearms and ammunition can be checked as sporting equipment with strict guidelines, there are a few exceptions as required by law. Review the regulations before you bring anything potentially hazardous to the airport.
Declared to the Delta representative that you are checking a firearm
Declared the existence of a firearm to security personnel if there’s a security checkpoint before the Delta counter
All firearms must be declared by the passenger to a Delta representative at the main ticket counter
Present firearm(s) unloaded and sign a “Firearms Unloaded” declaration
Firearms must be packed in a locked manufacturer’s hard-sided container specifically designed for the firearm, a locked hard–sided gun case or a locked hard-sided piece of luggage. Handguns may be packed in a locked hard-sided gun case, and then packed inside an unlocked soft-sided piece of luggage. However, a Conditional Acceptance Tag must be used in this case
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, plastic or metal boxes and provide separation for cartridges
You are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with all Federal, State or local laws regarding the possession and transportation of firearms. For more information about this regulation you can visit the TSA website.
If you are transporting a firearm to the United Kingdom, a permit from the United Kingdom is specifically required. You must contact the United Kingdom for more information about securing this permit
Until further advised, passengers departing Brussels, Belgium are not allowed to check weapons including, antique, sporting, hunting or toy rifles in their checked baggage
You must be 18 years of age or older
All firearms checked as baggage must be picked up at the Baggage Service Office upon arrival at your final destination. ID will be required to claim your checked firearm
The following types of ammunition are not accepted:
Gun powder; such as Pyrodex or Black Powder
Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles
Ammunition, including case, exceeding 11 pounds (5 kg) gross weight per passenger
Pistols and accessories must be included in one case and contain:
- Pistol telescopes
- Noise suppressors
- A small pistol tool case
- No more than 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition, including case
Rifles and shotguns must be packaged as follows:
- One hard sided case containing up to four rifles, shotguns, shooting materials, tools
- The case must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. All areas designed to be locked must be locked.
- Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.
- One hard sided case containing up to five handguns, one scope, tools
- One bow and quiver of arrows and maintenance kit enclosed in a case or container strong enough to protect the bow and quiver from accidental damage
- No more than 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition, including case
An excess baggage fee will apply if checking more than one gun case
Delta Airlines allows small arms ammunition, in quantities not exceeding 11 lbs. (5 kg) per person, as checked-baggage only. The weapon must be securely boxed and intended for that person’s own use. More than one passenger may not combine quantities into one package. See more details/guidelines under shooting equipment.
You are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with all Federal, State or local laws regarding the possession and transportation of firearms. For more information about this regulation you can visit the TSA website, opens in a new window.
Note: Gunpowder (e.g., Pyrodex, black powder, mace, pepper spray and tear gas) is never permitted.
AMMUNITION – SOUTH AFRICA
Weapons and ammunition departing from South Africa must be packed in a small box or case. That box or case must be locked and place inside checked baggage. Ammunition cannot be stored in the same case as the weapon. These guidelines must be met in addition to packing and declaring firearms guidelines required on Delta Air Lines.
AMMUNITION AND FIREARMS - SOUTH KOREA
When traveling to and through South Korea, all firearms and ammunition in checked baggage must be declared at the time of check-in/baggage drop off.
Failure to declare firearms and ammunition may result in confiscation of the firearms/ammunition in South Korea, refused entry to South Korea or continued travel, and possible fines. Customers must declare exact quantity and type of firearms (serial number of available) and exact quantity of ammunition.
Please read important information regarding packaging and presenting/declaring firearms at check-in.
AMMUNITION – UNITED KINGDOM
Weapons and ammunition departing from the United Kingdom must be packed in a small box or case. That box or case must be locked and place inside checked baggage. Ammunition cannot be stored in the same case as the weapon. These guidelines must be met in addition to packing and declaring firearms guidelines required on Delta Air Lines.
FIREWORKS OR EXPLOSIVES
Don’t even think about it. Firecrackers, signal flares, Christmas crackers or sparklers are not allowed anytime, as a carry-on or checked baggage. If in doubt about an item that could be explosive, leave it at home. These items are not allowed on any Delta Air Lines flights.
FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS OR SOLIDS
Flammable liquids are rarely allowed on Delta flights. Guidelines for carrying flammable liquids are as follows:
A fuel lighter is permitted in your pocket or in carry-on baggage only
Up to two lighters are allowed in your checked baggage if they are properly enclosed in a U.S. Department of Transportation approved case
Lighters without fuel are allowed as checked or carry-on baggage
Lighter refills, fuels (such as gasoline or Sterno cans), paints, stains, lubricants, and “strike-anywhere” matches are not allowed
One regular matchbook is permitted in your pocket as long as it isn’t the “strike anywhere” matches
Torch or blue flame lighters are strictly prohibited
Lithium battery powered lighters without a safety cap or means of protection against unintentional activation are prohibited in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, and as when carried on one’s person.
United Airlines Firearm & Ammo Policy
Dangerous items United Airlines does not allow on board
Federal laws don’t allow you to pack hazardous materials in your checked or carry-on bags. Some common examples include:
- Bags that are self-balancing or self-riding
- Camping equipment that contains fuel
- Defense sprays like mace, pepper sprays and tear gas
- Explosives like fireworks, gunpowder, flares, flare guns and novelty items
- Ready-to-eat meals (MREs) with a flameless heater
- Shock absorbers
- Smart bags with nonremovable batteries
They will accept shooting equipment as checked bags in hard-sided, securely locked firearms cases or containers. Locked cases that can easily be opened aren’t permitted. All firearms cases must meet the following safety criteria in order to be accepted for travel:
- Firearms will be accepted only from a customer who is 18 years of age or older.
- The regulations below refer to all firearms (or items that may resemble a firearm), including airsoft guns, BB guns, paintball guns, and any antique trophy guns or weapons.
If you’re traveling with a firearm, you must check in to your flight at the airport counter. You won’t be able to check-in through the United app, united.com, or an airport kiosk. Curbside check-in of a firearm is also not permitted.
- International firearm regulations and laws vary by destination and transiting country. Contact appropriate consulates or embassies to obtain specific entry requirements applicable to destination(s). United is not liable for any assistance or information relating to such regulations or compliance with such laws provided by any United employee or agent to any customers, or for the consequences to any customer resulting from his or her failure to comply with such regulations or laws.
- Firearms are not accepted to and from Bahrain, Cuba, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Palau, Philippines, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
- Customers traveling to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) with checked firearms and/or ammunition must be in possession of a gun import license or a temporary transportation permit, which must be certified and validated by a Guatemalan Consulate. Customers traveling with checked firearms and/or ammunition through Guatemala City do not require a permit as long as their bag does not leave the airport-controlled area. Customers must ensure they have all the necessary documents required at their final destination.
- Customers traveling to or through Milan, Italy (MXP) or Rome, Italy (FCO) with checked firearms/ammunition are subject to police clearance at their first point of entry into Italy. Security staff will take the firearms/ammunition to the police office for inspection. Firearms and ammunition must be packed in separate containers.
- Customers traveling to or through Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) with checked firearms/ammunition must obtain permission from the Netherlands Consulate/Embassy in their country of origin prior to departure. Weapons are subject to confiscation in Amsterdam unless the owner can show all required permits. Customers traveling on military orders with checked firearms may do so without prior consent from Dutch Customs. Checked military ammunition is forbidden.
- For travel to and from the United Kingdom, pistols, rifles, and shotguns must be packed in a hard-sided rifle case. Customers must have the appropriate license or certificate in addition to a British Visitor’s Permit (BVP). A Great Britain resident will need to act as a sponsor and submit a BVP application to their local firearms licensing department on your behalf.
- Firearms must be packed in a hard-sided container with a lock. The container must be locked at the time of acceptance by United Airlines and the key or combination must remain in the customer’s possession. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can easily be opened will not be accepted for travel. Using a TSA-approved lock can help speed up the security screening process for firearms.
- Handguns must be packed in a hard-sided container with a lock. The container must be locked at the time of acceptance by United Airlines and the key or combination must remain in the customer’s possession. The locked hard-sized container holding the handgun may be placed inside an unlocked soft-sided piece of luggage. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can easily be opened will not be accepted for travel.
- Customers may only pack up to five firearms in any case or bag. However, there is no limit on the number of cases or bags they are permitted to check.
- The firearm will be transported in a section of the aircraft that is inaccessible to the customer. Proof of registration is not required.
- Firearms carried in addition to the free baggage allowance will be assessed at the current excess baggage charge.
- No more than 11 pounds of ammunition may be carried.
- The ammunition may be packed in the same container as the firearm or in a separate container.
- The ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer’s original package or securely packed in fiber, wood, or metal containers.
- The ammunition inside the container must be protected against shock and secured against movement.
- Loaded ammunition magazines or clips must be removed from the firearm, and must be securely packed in boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition and must fit over any exposed ends of the magazine or clip.
- Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectile will not be accepted.
- Black powder, for black powder arms, is considered hazardous material and will not be accepted as checked baggage.
First or second checked bag service charges may apply.
Note: You must sign and date a Firearm Declaration Tag declaring the firearm is not loaded.
The TSA allows stun guns only in checked bags if the power source is removed.
They will accept one item of archery equipment per customer as a checked bag. An item of archery equipment consists of:
- One bow case containing bows
- One quiver with arrows
- One maintenance kit of sufficient strength to protect items from accidental damage
All of these items must be properly encased in a suitable container.
Service charges for first or second checked bags may apply. Archery equipment carried in addition to the bag allowance will be assessed at the current charge for excess bags.
They are not liable for damage to archery equipment that’s not contained in a hard-sided case.
Paint Ball Equipment
Paintball guns aren’t allowed as carry-on bags.
However, we do accept one bag containing equipment used in the paintball sport as a checked bag. A paintball gun may be checked in an unlocked soft or hard-sided case.
Service charges for first or second checked bags may apply.
Paintball equipment in addition to the bag allowance will be assessed at the current charge for excess bags.
Paintball ammunition must be packed in the manufacturer’s original package or securely packed in a container that will protect the paint balls from breaking.
Compressed gas cylinders must be empty and have the regulator removed to allow for a visual inspection by a TSA agent.
Unopened paintball air canisters in original plastic packaging are sold empty, so customers don’t need to demonstrate that the canisters are empty.
They are not liable for damage to paintball equipment.