Break-down or leave assembled when flying

This is a discussion on Break-down or leave assembled when flying within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I will be flying soon and wanted to ask those familar more with flying if there would be any benefit to breaking-down a handgun while ...

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Thread: Break-down or leave assembled when flying

  1. #1
    Member Array rwojcik's Avatar
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    Break-down or leave assembled when flying

    I will be flying soon and wanted to ask those familar more with flying if there would be any benefit to breaking-down a handgun while in checked luggage or just leave assembled.

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  3. #2
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    Leave it assembled with the slide locked open in the case. It's easier on you and when they open the case to view the guns you won't have to worry about parts falling out (or worse yet, getting stolen).

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I've flown a few times with a S&W revolver, though not since the 9/11 incidents. I just packed it with a bright orange "lock" over the housing, leaving the cylinder open and exposed, inside of a bright orange gun case (locked). The firearms tag got filled out and placed on the container, and it got put back into my luggage.

    Short answer: call the airline or TSA for guidance. One thing you'll need to do (in the USA at least) is have TSA approved locks on your locked items, if you want them opened without damage to your gear.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Last time we flew with guns was October of '06. I called the Airline. The Airline told me to call the TSA. The TSA told me to call the Airline which told me to call the TSA. The TSA said that as long as the Airline was within the TSA's standard that they don't care, but it's really up to the Airlines discretion; the Airline must abide by the TSA standards, but they can also add more rules if they would like.

    In short. Look at the TSA's website and definitely be prepared for that, at least. Start here with the TSA's air travel with firearms and ammunition.

    After you read that (and print it out to reference it). Call the airline you are going to be flying with and wrestle with them until you actually get someone who knows what they are talking about. If possible see if they can't fax or send you some kind of statement verifying what they have just told you.

    You will not need to disassemble your weapons. As long as you declare them and make everything on the up and up, you will be fine!

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    Member Array rwojcik's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input. Limatunes; I will be landing in your town about 4 tomorrow for business for the week. Any ranges in town that allow out-or towners?

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    New Member Array Douglas401's Avatar
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    Careful around O'Hare. Two bag handlers at United stealing pistols destined for Iraq with troops. FBI knows who they are but can't get enough evidence for an arrest. They spoke to them and now it has supposedly stopped but they are still there at the airport. Bag Tags are coded for firearms. Like a "Steal Me" sign. I have checked without the declaration and with. Same difference. Make sure there is a TSA lock on the inner case. You may loose an undeclared weapon or a declared weapon; it is a crap shoot either way. Good luck in Philly. I'm driving there next month. .45 in the speed box.

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    Last trip I made up to Michigan I brough four pistols. Each in its own case. I think we had flown American and were told by the airline (checked prior to going) that I could take as many as I wanted as long as they were unloaded, no mags were loaded and that I could bring up to 11 lbs. of ammo as long as it was in a box and not loose. I had thrown the hollow points out of my carry mag into a box and they took them as they considered them "loose". The only problem I encountered was at the check-in counter at Grand Rapids when they wanted me to handle the weapons at the counter and show "clear". Not my idea of fun. I asked that the airport security be present for that since I didn't want anyone thinking I was holding up the place.

    Pretty trouble free, actually..........

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by age_ranger View Post
    The only problem I encountered was at the check-in counter at Grand Rapids when they wanted me to handle the weapons at the counter and show "clear". Not my idea of fun. I asked that the airport security be present for that since I didn't want anyone thinking I was holding up the place.
    That would make me kinda nervous. I think I would have also requested a private area if they insisted I demonstrate that it is unloaded. Every time I've flown, a simple declaration is enough. My pistol breaks down into two components very easily - slide/barrel/spring/takedown pin and grip assembly. Both are large and will not fall apart on their own, so I have reservations about leaving it apart when I fly.

    The only problem with this is that when I head to the bathroom to rearm after landing, I feel a bit like a hitman assembling, function checking, and loading my pistol.

  10. #9
    Member Array rwojcik's Avatar
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    Thanks all for input and here is how it went.
    Check in Grand Rapids and declared item. I opened luggage w/ opening facing counter agent to lift lid and open lockbox. Quick visual inspection and no handling with a couple boxes of JHP (I locked slide open for ease of visual confirmation).
    She had me sign the necessary paperwork then off to security to scan luggage. - No issues
    Upon reaching destination (hours later & cancelled connecting flight) picked up luggage, made quick check for contents - all seemed in order.
    Hours later after driving for additional couple hours to reach Philly from another connect flight and finally getting to hotel - opened luggage to find that the TSA had (randomly selected?) my luggage and contents to be selected for their routine inspection and general dissarray procedure. They just left a friendly reminder (TSA Notice of Baggage Inspection) that they picked mine for a physical inspection. Coincidence or luck... Hard telling.
    But in all - it went without much issue or inconveinences now I can't say that about the flights! Anyone else been picked at random for physcal inspection on first declared flight out? They say to protect you and your fellow passengers.

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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    Did they check the bag that had the firearm ? or another bag ?

    TSA is *NOT* allowed to touch a firearm, but that's a secret. You can put any locks on a guncase if it is in a suitcase and only need TSA locks on the outside.

    Every time I've flown post 9/11, all of the TSA dudes huddle around the X-ray screen, stare and point, then let it roll through.

    As to the ammo, no loose rounds, no loaded mags. Loaded mags in a mag carrier are okay.

    I always fly "assembled" and immediately find a restroom stall as close as possible to baggage claim. Boy that slide slamming home sure sounds loud in a quiet restroom!

  12. #11
    Member Array rwojcik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    Did they check the bag that had the firearm ? or another bag ?

    TSA is *NOT* allowed to touch a firearm, but that's a secret. You can put any locks on a guncase if it is in a suitcase and only need TSA locks on the outside.

    Every time I've flown post 9/11, all of the TSA dudes huddle around the X-ray screen, stare and point, then let it roll through.

    As to the ammo, no loose rounds, no loaded mags. Loaded mags in a mag carrier are okay.

    I always fly "assembled" and immediately find a restroom stall as close as possible to baggage claim. Boy that slide slamming home sure sounds loud in a quiet restroom!
    Yes it was my only checked bag. No outside locks only the hard case inside luggage had lock. I opted not to reload with party standing idle, may have drawn attention lugging all that to restroom when travel party is waiting.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    Hmn, did they monkey with the gun at all? or just ruffle through ? Or stop when they saw the case ?

    Interesting. Hope the travel party is okay with not dropping the bags curbside for the trip back :-)

  14. #13
    Member Array rwojcik's Avatar
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    it appears everything was just rifled through but case was locked and I with only key. They did this without my presence.

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    Senior Member Array gregarat's Avatar
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    They rifled through the bag with my shooting equipment, last fall. Both departing, and return flights. I didnt get ticked off. Nothing was missing.
    Last summer, at GNV (My local Airport) I had to phisicaly show the TSA employee that my chamber was empty. I also had to explain what an empty magazine looked like.

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