Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flying With Guns

Since I'll be flying U.S. air to Phoenix from Philly I thought I'd ask about proper casing of your firearm, magazines and ammo for the flight.

This is how I plan to pack the P6. In a standard Sig blue case and I'll use 2 locks, one for each hole in the slideable plastic "clamps" on the case. It says ammo must be in original manufacturer packaging. I am assuming I'll be OK putting Federal HST's in that Hornady XTP box? Reading US Air's policies and the TSA guidelines it looks like I can secure the case as is and send it away as checked baggage. Should I instead also put the locked case inside my suitcase and check the suitcase?

Anyone have any other tips / advice for flying with a firearm.? I've never done it. Hell, I haven't flown since 2003.


Bitter said...

Abso-freakin'-lutely put that case into your suitcase. In fact, TSA will allow you (and quietly encourages you) to use non-TSA locks on your suitcase if you check a gun.

The little orange tag should also go inside the suitcase and check it. Do not let them put it on your suitcase, it goes inside. If they want to put it on the outside, that's a big warning sign. If you just check the gun case without putting it in a suitcase, you probably won't have it on the other end, sadly.

I'll ask Sebastian to comment on this thread since he has actually flown out of Philly with a gun. I've only flown out of DC with a gun.

mike's spot said...

Insure the crap outta it. I heard the stickers go inside as well- get managers involved if you need.

Also I think some airlines have a poundage limit on ammo- not sure but worth checking.

USCitizen said...

Bitter's correct,

Locked (with airline firearm declaration form inside) case INSIDE your checked suitcase / travel bag.

You declare the UNLOADED firearm at the counter to get the declaration form before you check the bags.

This will probably trigger a walk to the 'special' let us check to be sure it is unloaded line with TSA.

I've racked the slide at the counter to unload one from the chamber, but would never recommend others doing so. Everywhere ain't Texas!

Anonymous said...

About the case - you want to make absolutely sure it abides by the TSA restrictions, which basically amount to the case being unable to open even a fraction of a centimeter without being unlocked. Basically, if the box is closed, latched, and locked, and you can force the sides to separate even a few mm, it fails for the TSA.

Definitely, definitely put the case in your checked luggage, though, and use non-TSA locks for both the case and the luggage.

And, of course, ensure that your traveller's insurance is up-to-date and covers firearms (your credit card may cover the insurance angle, if you used it to buy the tickets).

chris said...

keep in mind... it is illegal for the key or combination of the lock to be given to anyone other than you... the TSA agents are not legally allowed to take possession of either...

most of them will try to tell you otherwise... it is up to you whether or not you want to let them do it and be on your way or if you wish to prevent them and yourself from breaking federal law and risk missing your flight...

DO NOT use the TSA locks, the TSA has keys to those and can open them without your consent, which would be illegal...


that actually says that you should provide the key to the screener, that is illegal... here is the appropriate info


"Federal law prohibits the carrying of any firearm, concealed or unconcealed, on or about the person or in carry-on baggage while aboard a commercial aircraft. Firearms are permitted as baggage, however the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established specific requirements for transporting firearms and ammunition:

* The firearm must be checked with the air carrier as luggage. Firearms are prohibited from carry-on baggage.
* The firearm must be declared orally or in writing in accordance with the air carriers' procedures (contact your air carrier for their specific procedures).
* The firearm must be unloaded.
* The firearm must be carried in a hard-sided container. The container must be locked and only the passenger may retain the key or combination.

All checked baggage is subject to inspection. If during the inspection process it is necessary to open the container, air carriers are required to locate the passenger and the passenger must unlock the container for further inspection. The firearm may not be transported if the passenger can not be located to unlock the container. If you are traveling with a firearm, pay close attention to airport pages and announcements. If requested, provide the cooperation necessary to inspect your firearm."

Unknown said...

I just bought a Secure-It box. It includes a steel cable that allows for the Secure-It box to be locked to the suitcase as well.


Anyone heard anything about the suitcase needing to be a "hard case" as opposed to a soft suitcase?

kaveman said...

You'll make there OK, I'll see you there.

Roberta X said...

What Bitter said! --And show up plenty early at the airport.

I sure wish I was goin'.

sekanblogger said...

Hello Mike W
A post for you here

Unknown said...


What Chris said is true: if TSA can't get ahold of you to open the container than your gun won't fly. The reason they often use to open the container is that the TSA agent scanning the luggage may not be satisfied that the gun is unoaded.

I recommend running a cable lock through the slide, or, as I do, take the slide off the gun. They never call me for an inspection.

Also, the ammo is fine as long as it's in a factory box. I wouldn't worry about putting Hornady rounds in a Winchester box - the brand doesn't matter - but I absolutely recommend putting a rubber band around the box to make sure the flaps don't open.

Mike W. said...

"Healthy Debate" didn't last long did it Sekan?.... "Reasoned Discourse" at it's finest I suppose. Can't say I'm surprised.

Roberta - Sorry to hear you're not going.

CTone - Thanks for the pointers. I think I'll put a band around the ammo and remove the slide.

Unknown said...

I fly with my sidearm all the time and I have never had trouble. Obviously it needs to be in a locked, hard case, but I also lock the slide back and put a cable lock through the mag well. Even dim-witted TSA employees have a hard time wondering if it is loaded.

As far as ammo. No one has ever looked at the specific bullets. I normally carry my reloads in a 20-pack box of some other manufactured ammo. If the box is worn, absolutely use a rubberband or tape.