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Airline Travel: Transporting Firearms

The stuff we carry and the bags we carry it in!

Moderators: ripjack13, John A.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:29 pm
I flew back home to visit the family a couple weeks back and took a couple of my pistols and a rifle for a range day with my Pop. I've had a few conversations with airport security and TSA officials on the S.O.P. for traveling with a firearm and it's actually a LOT simpler than I thought it would be. Just figured I'd share since I had to go through the process...

There are just a few basic requirements outlined in the following from TSA:

You may only transport firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in your checked baggage. Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts are prohibited from carry-on baggage.

Failure to adhere to the following regulations will preclude passengers from traveling with firearms, ammunitions or firearm parts:

* Travelers must declare all firearms, ammunition, and parts to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.

* The firearm must be unloaded.

* The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.

* The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.

* Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.

* TSA must resolve all alarms on checked luggage. If a locked container carrying a firearm alarms, TSA or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.

* Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging that is specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

* Travelers may not use firearm magazines/clips for packing ammunition unless they completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the exposed portions of the magazine or by securely placing the magazine in a pouch, holder, holster or lanyard).

* Ammunition may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows packing guidelines described above.

* TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black-powder.

These regulations are strictly enforced. Violations can result in criminal prosecution and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Therefore, travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies. Also, please note that other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If you are traveling internationally, please check regulations at your destination about their requirements.

There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 49 CFR ยง 1544.219. Law enforcement officers should read our policies on traveling with guns.


Above info cited from: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... _1666.shtm


Of course before you travel, you should always familiarize yourself with gun carry/transport laws in your destination state. For me, TX recognizes TN handgun carry permits and I've read up on proper transport of rifles according to TX state law so I'm good to go once I hit the ground.
16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:30 pm
Here's the travel case for my handguns...


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Pistol and mags are empty, ammo is in the manufacturer's box, everything is secured in place, and the case locks up nice and tight. Good to go.

I bought mine locally, but here are the specs and info on the pistol case...


Guardforce Classic Model 26C Handgun Gun Case

*Holds one handgun with inside dimensions 12" x 8 1/2" x 4 1/8"
*Strong aluminum alloy frame with impact resistant side panels and steel reinforced corners
*Airline approved
*Pad lock receptacles (padlocks not included)
*Eggcarton foam interior with velcro tie-down straps
*Outside dimensions: 12 5/8" x 9" x 4 1/2"
*Inside dimensions: 12" x 8 1/2" x 4 1/8"
*Actual weight: 3.31 pounds
*Shipping weight: 6 pounds

http://www.exploreproducts.com/guardfor ... n-case.htm

It's a nice little case. Great quality compared to a lot of others I've seen out there. I added a 1/2" thick layer of foam that I cut to fit the pistol and other items inside. It'll help hold everything in place during the trip.
16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:30 pm
OK, here's the case I used to transport the rifle...

Plano Protector Series Pillar-lock model 1511-01

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16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:31 pm
Here's the info on the locks I'm using. Purchased both sets in the hardware section of the Kmart right down the street from me. I've seen the same ones at WalMart as well...


Master Lock TSA-Accepted Combination Lock Model# 4688D

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Product Features:

Allows TSA screeners to inspect and relock baggage without damaging the lock
Unique flexible cable resists abuse from baggage handling equipment
3 dial, set-your-own combination convenience
Easy to set & reset
Matching lock and cable coordinate with popular baggage colors
Bright colors simply baggage identification
1-1/8" (29mm) wide durable metal body
Each package contains one lock

http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_1010 ... ckType=G53


Master Lock TSA-Accepted Mini Fusion Lock Model# 4689T

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Product Features:

Allows TSA screeners to inspect and relock baggage, without damaging the lock
Keyed alike - same key opens both locks
Convenient front access keyway
Bright colors simply baggage identification
1" (25mm) wide durable metal body
Each package contains two locks

http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_1010 ... ckType=G54
16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:49 am
Great info. Thanks for sharing.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:22 am
No problem.

I figured I'd post it up since I had to go through the process.
16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:41 pm
Very through review SNIPER...thanks for posting it !!
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:20 pm
My pleasure,

Always looking to help out and keep our community informed...
16.5" 597 AAC-SD .22lr
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical .223
20" AICS 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD .308

"We live in a society of wolves. You do not fight back by creating more sheep."

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 1:19 pm
I realize that this thread is rather old, but from experience, many counter personnel do not know anything about this. I've had to help them find the forms(SS-161), point out that my copy goes inside the luggage (with nothing on the outside to indicate a firearm), and if your lock uses a combination, open it for TSA, don't just give it to them or you may find the luggage on the carousel wide open. (The gun was still in there, probably because they thought it was a sting...or the handlers were really, really honest.) (Hey, it could happen.)
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:39 pm
May be an old post, Perado, but always pertinent as rules change and the airline folks invariably have different notions as to what's proper/legal. Example: In 2011 I checked a handgun on Delta in Boise ID for transport to Columbus OH. I declared it at the counter, the lady gave me a little square piece of paper and directed me to the TSA a short ways down from the Delta counter. When I got there, the TSA folks asked me to open the case and show them the pistol and ammo. When I offered to show them the weapon was clear and expecting the man to visually inspect it, I was a bit surprised that he wanted nothing to do with it, not wanting to touch it or even peek at the chamber and mag well. Very squeamish about guns I thought. He then wiped the case down with some sort of patch that looked like the old Noxzema face pads. He said it was supposed to detect any chemical threat that might be present in the case. After the all clear, I signed the little paper, they placed it inside, I locked the box and pocketed the keys and away it went in checked baggage. When I arrived in Columbus I was one of the last passengers off the plane and found my case all alone going round and round undisturbed on the baggage carousel.

Fast forward to just a couple weeks ago when I checked a handgun at the Ft. Myers FL airport for transport to Boise ID and went thru an entirely different process. I declared the pistol at the Southwest Air counter and the lady was stumped. She called her supervisor over who handed me the little square piece of paper. I opened the case to show her the pistol but she didn't even want to see it..... period. So I filled out the form with my name and address and placed it in the case. She told me to lock it and keep the keys. When I asked about the TSA inspection she informed me that this was not required and that they'd never involved TSA folks in the firearm transport process. Oh well. I did what the airline folks asked and left it at that. This trip, when we arrived in Boise, the case was nowhere to be found on the carousel. :shock: I saw a SW Air lady there and asked about my case. She asked if I was Ed Jones. Yes I replied, with a bit of surprise, and showed her my baggage claim ticket. She said yes, they had it in the office and took me to pick it up. I thanked them for the security concerns for my firearm, but I sensed by her tone, body language and her comment that it "looked like it might contain a firearm" that she was a bit on the "anti-gun" side of freedom. Maybe it was just me. Anyways, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;)
-Ed-

"If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very, very low crime rate." -- Marion Barry, Former Mayor of Washington, DC

.22LR
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 9:49 pm
Indeed, and they seem to be getting more ignorant of the rules.

My open luggage was a Zero Halliburton case that was packed pretty full when I flew out of Daytona. I guess the TSA guy couldn't be bothered with resecuring it.

Flying out of Dulles once, the TSA guy told me that the lightly crenellated bezel on my old HDS light "could be used as a defensive weapon." After staring at him to see if he was joking, I asked if the flight attendants were really that surly. He let me on.

Back in the late 60s, while transporting an AWOL prisoner back to Ft. Jackson, I carried my loaded .45 onto the plane where I surrendered it to the Captain. He didn't bat an eye.

A lot of people don't realize it, but prior to 9/11, the FAA had no problem with carrying up to a 4 inch folder onto the plane. Too bad more didn't.
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:08 am
Ah yes...back in the day ( before the terrorists ruined all our freedoms !!! )

.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 5:15 pm
All sounds like a pain in the A**.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:11 am
When I PCS'ed to NM, I wanted to bring most my guns, so I loaded them into a couple mil-surplus ammocans. Long guns were wrapped in towels and placed in a mortar can, handguns went into a couple 50-cal cans. Drill and mount an eye-bolt to put a lock over the latch, and it's good to fly.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:44 pm
These posts are always fun, because they fail to account for the variability of TSA's at airport. I travel a LOT with firearms in this area. Every time I approach the counter, it's a crapshoot. Regarding those TSA-approved locks above? They are supposed to have matching master keys, which means they show no regret in cutting off those locks when finding the master key is too hard. I think they just hate to see you lock your luggage anymore. Plus, every counter agent has their own process despite the TSA-approved process for clearing firearms even in checked baggage. Including the gal who had me hold up in full view an M-1 Garand and show her that it was "empty" despite the yellow clear-bore-device. And then let me tell you about the gal who refused my carry-on because I had two boxes of Speer rifle bullets, and traveling with ammo is not allowed in carry-on luggage. "But they're not ammo, they're bullets". Nope. We had a stand-still argument for 15 minutes until another gal came along and explained to Ms.Einstein the difference in ammo and bullets, which she did not believe from me. I get anxiety every time I approach TSA. Oh, and did I mention the time they did the full-body scan and pat-down while I was in uniform as active-duty military? Egads.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:20 am
Scorpion8 wrote:Oh, and did I mention the time they did the full-body scan and pat-down while I was in uniform as active-duty military? Egads.


Lol, I got the hand-swab for explosive residue. In uniform. Coming back from Afghanistan. As a combat engineer...
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:04 am
I'm sorry that you guys have had bad experiences and I really wish people were not stupid.

Yet, these people seem to tend to gravitate toward customer service type jobs. :roll:

engineerpower, those cans are well suited for firearm storage.
When people ignorant of guns make gun laws, you end up with ignorant gun laws.
-Me
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:07 pm
John A. wrote:... and I really wish people were not stupid.


That's like wishing for a garden flower made of jellybeans and MyLittlePony's for traffic/transportation with a rainbow over every house. :mrgreen:
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:34 pm
You're probably right, but I still mean it.
When people ignorant of guns make gun laws, you end up with ignorant gun laws.
-Me

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