Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer’s Guide]

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If you want stress- and hassle-free travel with your firearm, a gun case is essential to keep your weapon secure.

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved gun case, and an understanding of their guidelines, will save you from being hit with a fine: a minimum of $2,050 for an unloaded gun in your carry-on baggage, up to a statutory maximum of $10,250.

While TSA rules allow you to pack an unloaded gun in any checked, lockable baggage, a good gun case is better for anyone who cares about their firearms’ safety.

The best gun cases for travel should provide:

  • A hard outer shell to protect the interior from abuse
  • A foam interior to absorb shock.
  • Lightweight to make travel easier and reduce baggage fees.
  • A waterproof seal to protect against moisture and dust.
  • An equalizer valve to regulate air pressure..
  • A robust and comfortable handle for ergonomics.
  • A locking mechanism or padlock holes.

Air travel and firearms

If you’re looking to travel domestically or abroad, it’s essential to do your homework before arriving at the airport. Knowing airline rules and TSA guidelines ahead of time will prevent costly mistakes.

We’ve already created a guide to flying with a gun, which includes a breakdown of steps to take.

To summarize the key points:

  • Your unloaded firearm should be stored in a case with a padlock or a combination lock.
  • Never bring a loaded firearm into an airport.
  • Never use a TSA approved lock – nobody should be able to open your firearm case except you.
  • It can be a soft or hard case (a hard shell is better) but must always be checked luggage and declared at the counter.
  • Ammunition must be stored in checked baggage, but some places do not allow transport of firearms and ammunition in the same gun case.

2 8b351d23 a168 470e 8abb c25e7f8ba3af Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer's Guide]

The Best TSA approved gun cases

Whether traveling domestically or abroad, by airplane or by vehicle – UWK D-Tap Airtight gun cases are designed specifically for pistols and revolvers.

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The D-Tap range exceeds every TSA requirement and meets the needs of serious gun owners everywhere, whether you’re transporting a single pistol or multiple firearms.

The D-Tap 2 Airtight Handgun Case

d-tap 2 gun case

The D-Tap 2 has foam cutouts for two handguns and two extra magazines. It accommodates most semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths of up to 7.5″. The gun case offers robust, lightweight protection, coming in at just 1.9 lbs/0.1 kg. With a form factor depth of 2.1 inches and a comfortable contoured grip, the D-Tap 2 is perfect for firearm transportation on the go – be it a long-haul flight or a quick drive to the range.

The D-Tap 4 Airtight Handgun Case

d-tap 4 gun case

The perfect range case for safely transporting up to 4 full sized handguns. The shock-absorbing foam insert accommodates a variety of full-sized firearms, eye and hearing protection, and 16 spare magazines. The D-Tap-4 offers four vertical gun slots for easy access and secure storage.

This case has a base depth of 5.0 inches and weighs in at 8.8 lbs/4.0 kg. It accommodates most semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths of up to 8.5″.

The D-Tap-8 Airtight Handgun Case

D-Tap 2 Hard Case for 2 Handguns

The ultimate gun case for firearm instructors – the D-Tap 8 offers eight vertical slots and 16 magazine slots. You’re sure to get a raised eyebrow or a nod of appreciation when declaring this at checked baggage. Luckily, the D-Taps are all TSA approved gun cases.

This case has a base depth of 5.0 inches and weighs in at 8.8 lbs/4.0 kg. It accommodates most semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths of up to 8.5″.

Watch a video review of UWK D-Tap 4 and D-Tap 8 models done by Chad from Green Light Shooting, a 140k Youtube channel about guns and gear.

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The D-Tap-R1 Airtight Handgun Case

D-Tap R1 Hard Case for 1 Handgun

This version of the handgun case provides storage space for one pistol or revolver, three magazines of ammo, and ear and eye protection.

With a 3.8-inch base depth and a weight of 4.5 lbs/2.0 kg, it’s perfect for a trip to the shooting range or flying to a competition. The R1 accommodates most semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths of up to 7.5″.

The D-Tap-R2 Airtight Handgun Case

D-TAP R2 HARD CASE FOR 2 HANDGUNS

The D-Tap R2 is designed for more experienced shooters, accommodating two handguns (vertical slots for easy access), six magazine compartments, two extra ammo slots, and cutouts for eye and ear protection.

This gun case has a depth of 4.7 inches and weighs 6.0 lbs/2.7 kg. It accommodates most semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths of up to 8.5″.

D-Tap Features and Benefits

Our gun case range provides the following standout features:

Padding

If you’ve seen video clips of how baggage is treated by airport staff, you’re going to want a high-quality foam insert to keep your firearms from bouncing around and getting scratched.

Foam Our cases come with three layers of convolute, shock-absorbent foam to keep your firearms and accessories in the position and condition you left them in.

Protection from the Elements

At UWK (Underwater Kinetics), we built our reputation as a market leader by creating products for underwater and industrial use. If we can keep electronics protected from water on the deepest ocean dives, you can bet your ass that our gun cases are as waterproof and airtight as it gets.

UnderwaterKinetics O Ring 590x 25fdbcfb 4e15 48d0 9c29 Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer's Guide] Our silicone o-ring gasket keeps water and dust out, and keeps air in. Unlike many others on the market, we use silicone to ensure the seal holds shape and lasts longer than alternatives. Our patented, double-action latches equalize pressure on demand, negating the potential negative effects of continuous equalization that other gun cases use. The latches are easy to open, but will not open on their own, even if dropped. Speaking of drops, all of our cases are reinforced by high-impact ABS to protect against crushing and sudden impact. doubletap2 latch Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer's Guide]

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Each case also comes with two desiccant cartridges to prevent rust – making your case, not just ideal for air travel, but also long term storage at home.

Secure

Putting your firearms through checked luggage doesn’t have to be a crapshoot.

507624 DoubleTap 2 Lock 590x 55a83f7e cf22 46f2 b4ae Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer's Guide] That’s why our pry-resistant cases have four 1/4 inch padlock holes so nobody but you is getting inside. As an extra, with each case, we provide a CA SB-1382 compliant steel cable tether. Your TSA agent will be impressed. 402676 DoubleTap Best Pistol Case for Airline Travel [Buyer's Guide]

Comfortable

Functionality is important, but so is ease of use. From our easily-opened double clip latches to our comfort grip handles, we’re always thinking of how our customers will carry their cases. Each pistol case is designed to maximize space and minimize size and weight. It has never been easier to transport your guns securely.

Supports Most Semi-automatic Pistols

Including:

  • Baretta APX Compact
  • Baretta PX4 Sub Compact
  • Colt 1911/1911 Commander
  • Glock 26/19/17
  • Heckler and Koch P30
  • SIG P320 Sub Compact
  • SIG P365
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield/2.0

Final Gun Case Thoughts

To stay on the good side of the TSA agents, follow the steps outlined in this article. We highly recommend using a securely locked, hard-sided case designed specifically for transporting firearms and ammo.

It will make your air travel experience that much easier.

Finally, for those looking for a rifle case – stay tuned. An Underwater Kinetics solution is on the way.

Shop pistol cases

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>