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Discussion Starter #1
I tried to search for info regarding what cases you can use to check in your Walther when flying. Some say the factory case will suffice since it is lockable, other information I've found say that it's entirely up to the airport/airline/TSA.

What I've gathered so far is:
  • Print out the guidelines from the Airline's website and the TSA website.
  • Use a "hard-sided", lockable case.
  • Good idea to take pics of everything, serial #'s, etc.

I contacted the airline I will be flying with and they said I could lock the pistol in the pistol case and then put it in my regular (soft-sided) luggage. When I asked them what is an accepted "hard-sided" case, they said I should call TSA to make sure. So I called TSA and asked the same question. They said it could be metal or plastic as long as it was "hard-sided". I asked if the factory pistol case was good enough, they just repeated, "As long as it's hard-sided".

So to the frequent flyers out there, I have an MTM case that has 2 locks by the handle. Can it be opened through the side? It's plastic, I'm sure with any amount of effort it can be pried open. Should I look into getting another case or will this type do?

I have the MTM 807 case:



Thanks for your help!
 

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https://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_10051_189851_-1

When it comes to flying with your weapon, I wouldn't go cheap for the simple reason of durability. Throughout my career, Pelican cases have been the ONLY solution that could (and still does) withstand a beating. This particular model is VERY affordable by Pelican standards and should work perfectly for you. No one is prying open the side of a Pelican case.
 

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As a person working in shipping, I'm fond of SKB cases. I recently found out they make gun cases also. If I were buying a travel case, I'd look into an SKB case. The original cases Walther uses are good enough though, and the one you showed looks decent judging only from pictures.
 

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I use a small Storm case for my pistol and pack it in my bag.

Depending on which airport you are flying out of, I would print out a set of the airlines guidelines. I have had to educate a few airline employees on their own rules over the years. Other airline employees seem like they handle it all the time.

Thanks,

Hoover
 

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I use a pelican storm case, two-three pistols, ammo, and mags.
I ran a cable through the luggage's supports, attached it to the case padlocks, and had no hassle flying (I've done the "flying with boomsticks" thing twice)

Clear the gun, stick in a chamber flag, have the mags empty and ammo in sturdy boxes. Lock the case so it can't be forced open without tools.

Lots of good info on deviant ollam's website under "packing the friendly skies", he even has a one page printout with all the TSA regs, print that on one side and your airline's on the other.



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Since I have read on another forum that a handgun has been stolen while under TSA authority, I use a steelcord to lock the gun to the case.

A handgun is too easy to hide on a person.
 

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I was actually waiting for this to be brought up... I know people in New Orleans, and traveling home for them is a huge concern with a weapon. Apparently the TSA agents there have a habit of walking off with all kinds of items... firearms, computers, etc.
 

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I have flown several times with my Red Head case. It is wood paneled and all corners are metal. It is kinda heavy, but it doesn't open unless I want it to. No picture of it at the moment, but it will fit two pistol grip rifles/shotguns (one with optics, one without) and three pistols plus at least two mags for each. I have never traveled with ammo, so I don't know the procedures.

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the great info everyone.

I'm familiar with Pelican and SKB cases but didn't even think to look them up for a better pistol case. I got the MTM case as a cheapie alternative to the factory case. And really, for $10 it's a great case. I can fit my pistol holstered in a Comp-Tac MTAC and I'm good to go.

As far as flying the friendly skies, I'll be traveling from Florida to Virginia and back. If I do pack the pistol into my check-in suitcase I'll see if I can secure it to the frame of the suitcase using a cable lock. So it'll be 2 locks on a better pistol case, cable locked to the frame of the suitcase (hopefully), which will also have zipper locks. I mean really, if someone wants it bad enough they'll have bolt cutters at that point.

Or I could just ship it via FFLs on both sides right? But then again that might be a hassle because I have to go prior to my departure to send it, fly, and then schedule time to go pick it up on the receiving end. I'm sure that adds up too.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update

Just wanted to give you an update on this thread.

I just flew with my PPQ for the first time and as long as you follow the rules and regulations, it's pretty straight forward. I went from Florida to Virginia and the whole process was quicker than I imagined. But I did learn one very important lesson on the return flight, I'll get to that at the end.

Here's my experience flying with United. The case I ended up using was similar to this NanoVault:

It had the spot to attach the cable and I simply unzipped the liner inside my soft luggage and looped it around the frame. Obviously this is where I put the PPQ with both empty mags, one inserted in the gun. I did not transport any ammo with me. I also used the MTM case, unlocked (pictured in the first post), where I put my holster and mag loader in.

So upon check in, I approached the counter and told the United agent, "I'm transporting an unloaded firearm that I'd like to declare". They had me open my luggage right there on the weigh scales, I unlocked the lockbox, they literally glanced at it, and I put the orange firearm declaration form inside the lockbox. I secured everything, put a non-TSA padlock and zip tie on the zippers, and had a TSA luggage/ID strap. Off I went to the gate.

When I arrived in Virginia I noticed the TSA luggage/ID strap had been accessed and the zip tie was gone. It was a cheesy padlock on the zippers so I'm sure they open that easily, (at least they didn't cut it off). Upon inspecting the contents, everything was there and a note from the TSA saying they opened the bag to check the contents.

Enjoyed the 4th of July with family and friends in DC and got some self defense/tactical training/range time in. :D

The return flight:
So I went through the same procedure at check in, although it took 15-20 minutes to get the process started. Again, opened my luggage at the weigh scales. The United ticketing agent then had me follow them to the side where the TSA screeners were. They took my bag behind the partitions out of my view and then a TSA agent asked me for the key to unlock the zipper. *Without thinking, I handed him the whole keyring which also had the key to the lockbox*. 5-10 minutes go by and I ask the United agent, "Shouldn't I be able to see what they're doing?". She replied, "No, there are other witnesses over there, this is how they do it at Dulles".

A few moments later the TSA guy comes back and says, "OK, you're all good", handed me the keys and they put it on the conveyor belt. Thinking about it now, I should have asked to double check all the locks were in place, but more importantly I should have never given them access the lockbox out of my view. As I was sitting at my gate I was thinking, "Did they open the lockbox? What if they left the lockbox unlocked? Was the bag even locked back up?". I had no way to confirm. And yes I was being paranoid because this is the first time I've transported a firearm.

When I finally arrived back in Florida, after I pulled my bag off the carousel and I headed right to the Untied Baggage Office. I told the agent there that I was concerned about how TSA had checked in my bag and I wanted to make sure everything was there, I just wanted him as a witness. Of course before I open the bag he said if anything was missing it would have to be taken up with TSA and not United, etc., etc. I opened it up and right there on top I see the same form from TSA saying they searched my bag.

In the end everything went smoothly, I learned my lesson to not let anyone else have the key to the lockbox in which your firearm is in, and just allow yourself some extra time to get through it. It was a bit stressful not having done it before, but I also think of how many flights there are daily, and how many other people are transporting their firearms.

Sorry for the long winded update, but I just wanted to share my account as a first timer. By the way, I checked and double checked to make sure nothing was written or tags added to indicate there was a firearm in my luggage. Although I did get an addendum stapled to my boarding pass from FL to VA that stated "firearm in checked in baggage".
 
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