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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I'm a seasoned traveler, both domestically and internationally, but obviously completely new to CC. My state has reciprocity with a lot of others with regard to CCP.

As a seasoned traveler, I generally, as a rule, don't check unless it's 100% unavoidable. I can get everything I need into a hiking bag for several days worth of 1st world living. My question is, is it safe/ok to only check a pistol case, instead of placing it inside a larger bag that might not get lost?

Like I said, I'm totally ignorant on how airlines handle claimed handguns in checked luggage, so please enlighten me. :smile:

Chris
 

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That's a good question. My guess is you will have to pay the checked baggage fee even if it is only one small bag, and you will have to recover the bag when you arrive at your destination, so why not check a big bag while you are at it?

Technically it is probably fine as long as you follow TSA and the airlines rules, but I would be uncomfortable with the risk of theft. If doing this at least make it a bag that does not scream "I have a gun inside me". Maybe a lockable pelican case or something.
 

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I have never done it, but the last time I was at the TSA station checking a bag that had a firearm in it the guy behind me in line was checking just a gun case. So I know it can be done.
 

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I would not check just a pistol case. I always put mine in my suit case and check the suit case. I always lock things up, gun case and suit case. Ammo I put in another locked case with my gun case in the suit case.
 

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Yes you can check just a handgun case. Depending on the airline you'll have a baggage fee.

My suggestion, get another small suitcase and put the handgun case inside that. Those smaller transport cases can easily be swiped.

Since you've never flown with a firearm before...several things:

#1 The case must be HARD sided. Not those cheap plastic ones. The requirement is you can't pry open the case with it locked. "Pelican" style or metal ones are the best.

#2 The case must be locked with a NON-TSA lock. I'm talking just the firearm case. Trust me on this one...DO NOT use a TSA lock on the firearm case. The TSA website even suggests this. Use either a combination lock (Only you have the combo) or a keyed lock in which only you hold the key.

#3 the firearm MUST be UNLOADED. Ammo can be inside the firearm case, but it must be either in its original container, or an ammunition specific container. NO ammunition in the magazines.

#4 When you get to the check in counter ask for a firearm declaration form. Don't blurt out "I have a gun". The attendant will hand you a form which you will fill out and sign. They will verify the information and give it back to you.

#5 You will do one of two things with that form. If you check JUST the firearm case, the form will go INSIDE. If you check the firearm case inside a suitcase you will tape the form to the outside of the firearm case then place it inside the suitcase.

It's really not a big deal checking firearms. It just adds a few extra steps.

Last suggestion, when you get to your destination...find a secluded corner after picking up your bag and check the contents making sure nothing is missing...especially not your firearm!

Wait until you're out of the terminal building before you load and arm yourself. Lots of "laws" are ambiguous with the wording in regards to airport carry. Better to be safe than sorry.
 

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I just traveled with pistol for the first time, NY to Texas in fact. I would not bring it unless it was in another bag, too obvious, I prefer to have as few people as possible know I am armed.

Excellent advice from Strmwatch, one of the guy's here also recommended I lock pistol case to suitcase, I did, so as soon as I saw suitcase and glimpsed cable lock I knew I was OK.
 

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It depends on the airline. United Airlines' website says it must be in a locked hard-sided container within your luggage.

The easiest way to be sure you don't run into problems is to call the airport. Ask to speak with the ticket counter of the airline you will be flying on.
 

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I think I'd be leery checking only a pistol case. It just seems like your advertising to all the baggage handlers what it is. Plus it's small and has a value of more than probably a few hundred dollars. It just seems too easy to steal due to its size. I'd think I'd feel better if it was in a regular suitcase with other stuff.

I've heard of photographers that won't put their stuff in those fancy Pelican equipment cases because it just screams "Expensive stuff in here!" Instead they'll pack it in plastic trash cans with foam and duct taped shut, labeled softball equipment in black marker. Baggage handlers just don't have a good rep.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks folks! Great advice. Thanks especially to Strmwatch, great run down! By the way, I'm a Tampa Bay/Sarasota Bay area native. Born and raised and lived for 23 years.
 

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I recently first-timed. I have a soft bag with a gun-vault inside, the wire was looped around the metal frame for the bag's tow handle to prevent easy removal from the bag. No problems. I would have done so with nothing else in the bag, as camoflauge
 

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A close friend was the head of ground operations for a major airline at a large airport, he told me to never check just a pistol case. Baggage was within his area of responsibility. I take his word as gospel on the issue.
 
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I just traveled with pistol for the first time, NY to Texas in fact. I would not bring it unless it was in another bag, too obvious, I prefer to have as few people as possible know I am armed.

Excellent advice from Strmwatch, one of the guy's here also recommended I lock pistol case to suitcase, I did, so as soon as I saw suitcase and glimpsed cable lock I knew I was OK.
You have a pistol in NY?
 

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I think I'd be leery checking only a pistol case. It just seems like your advertising to all the baggage handlers what it is. Plus it's small and has a value of more than probably a few hundred dollars. It just seems too easy to steal due to its size. I'd think I'd feel better if it was in a regular suitcase with other stuff.

I've heard of photographers that won't put their stuff in those fancy Pelican equipment cases because it just screams "Expensive stuff in here!" Instead they'll pack it in plastic trash cans with foam and duct taped shut, labeled softball equipment in black marker. Baggage handlers just don't have a good rep.




I haven't flown with a pistol but have several times with a shot gun. and kinda like the camera suggestion I have always gone to the check in station and had them check the gun to make sure it was unloaded and everything else. then when TSA checks out the case and put the TSA tape over my locks i slide it in a carboard box and tape it up. most of my flying is in the south and i have hockey sticks written in sharpie on the cardboard box. before i started doing that the airline people at my destination would always pull it aside and put it in luggage claim and i had to show ID to get it. Now with the box it just comes out with everybody elses luggage on the carasale.
 

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Wait until you're out of the terminal building before you load and arm yourself. Lots of "laws" are ambiguous with the wording in regards to airport carry. Better to be safe than sorry.
Great advice on everything. ON this last one, just an FYI for flying into Arizona, you can carry a firearm in the airport as long you are outside the secured area.
 

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My question is, is it safe/ok to only check a pistol case, instead of placing it inside a larger bag that might not get lost?
As a "seasoned" citizen, you should realize that anyone seeing a "stray" pistol case isn't likely to be so nonchalant as seeing a "larger bag" winging by on the baggage handling conveyors. I'd bet that you're far more likely to have a "lost" pistol case than a lost bag. Human nature is what it is. A "larger bag" and the traditional mode of checking such baggage helps keep it from casual prying eyes that would otherwise "game" the system. And even then, you get the occasional few who do so anyway.

My preference: check it in standard baggage, even if that bag is only carrying the cased/locked gun.
 

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Airlines are different, check their websites.

US Airways is supposed to be good, I will find out in a couple of days. Southwest IS good, know this from experience.

Recently flew to and from TN on Southwest with no issues. Hard case inside a bigger suitcase. After filling out the form the agent taped it to the top of the gun case, I locked it and no further interaction. I asked them if TSA needed to do any additional screening that I would have to open the case for and they told me that my cell # was on the tag and if they needed me they would call. No call, guns arrived safe both ways.

You can also take 11 lbs of ammo with you. For anyone that's interested that is 3 boxes of 9mm and two of .45.

Stove Jr packs like his dad and so he also had 11 lbs in his suitcase.
 

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A buddy of mine checks his pistols in a rifle case. His reasoning is that a rifle case is a lot harder to steal than a pistol case.
 

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Lucky you.....
 
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