7 Best Hard Pistol Cases in 2021 to Take Your Gun on a Flight
Hard pistol cases are a preference for some, but they can be a necessity in certain situations. For example, you may start shopping for the best hard pistol case once you realize you need to take your gun on a flight.
Before we get to our reviews of the top 7 hard pistol cases on the market today, we’re going to provide a buying guide so you can identify the best case for your needs.
Then you can identify the right hard pistol case for your application, whether you want to take one handgun while camping or three out to the range.
Top 3 Best Hard Pistol Cases From 7 Choices
- Lockable latches
- 2 layers of storage
- Airline approved
- TSA Approved
- Dual-Lock System
- Multiple Layers
- Lifetime warranty
What are the Best Hard Pistol Cases?
Hard pistol cases are by definition hard. They may be plastic, metal or something else, but they will be crush resistant. Most hard pistol cases have shock-absorbing foam to protect the gun and its finish.
Hard pistol cases vary in size. Some will hold a small pistol, while others will let you transport five or more guns.
How to Choose the Best Hard Pistol Case?
How can you choose between the many different hard pistol cases on the market? A good starting point is taking an inventory of your guns. How large are they? You obviously can’t use a case that won’t hold your gun.
Always read the interior dimensions to know if it will fit your gun. If you plan on carrying more than one gun at once, then a gun case for a single gun obviously isn’t an option.
Does the case cradles and shelters the gun?
Do you want a gun case that cradles and shelters the gun? Then you may want one with a carved out area that holds the gun, though this is only an option if it fits the gun’s contours.
In other cases, the gun case will mold itself around the gun. This may not be as secure as the previously mentioned design, but it will fit any gun. And it may let you store ammo or accessories as well as the gun in the case.
Hunters and shooters may want to get cases that offer supreme weather resistance as well as impact resistance. Don’t assume that a case will protect the gun from a puddle; verify that the gun case is water-proof before you take it out into the field.
How large the case is?
Another factor to consider is how large the case is. How big is it, and how does that compare to any other luggage you have? A big case may not be easily checked as luggage or won’t fit in your car’s storage compartment.
A large, heavy case may be hard to transport, too, if you’re carrying it. That’s one reason why soft pistol cases are so popular. Security may be a primary concern.
This is certainly an issue if the gun case will double as a de facto gun safe. For example, you may live in a jurisdiction that requires guns be stored in a secure case if you’re driving between your home and the range.
Our Top 7 Best Hard Pistol Cases Full Reviews
01. Pelican Model 1200 Black Case
This case is 10.6 inches by 4.9 inches by 9.7 inches. It weighs roughly 1.3 kilos or 2.9 pounds when empty. We’re recommending the black case, though it is available in colors like tan, yellow, red and grey.
The interior dimensions of this case are 9.25 inches by 7.125 inches by 4.125 inches. The interior dimensions determine the largest possible gun a case can hold.
This model is unusual for having pick and place foam, so you can swap out foam interiors. That allows you to put in the foam that cradles the gun closely.
On the other hand, that means you may only be able to hold a gun up to 8 inches by 7 inches by 3 inches. The o-ring and tight fitting plastic grooves create a water-tight seal.
It goes one step further by having an air pressure equalization valve. If it goes underwater, it will release extra pressure to avoid collapsing on the gun.
Yet it is unlikely to go underwater. It will remain buoyant if the filled case weighs less than 12 pounds or 5.5 kilograms. This is the best waterproof hard case for pistol owners, hands down.
Sometimes the latches don’t line up because of issues with the hinges. If this occurs, you don’t have either a water-proof seal or a theft-proof case.
We mentioned the customizable foam inserts. It can be hard to get replacement or alternate foam inserts. That’s especially problematic if they ship the unit without foam inserts by mistake.
- Protects guns from the water every which way
- Customizable interior
- Hinge problems
- Hard to find replacement foam inserts
02. DS3TeK Handgun Case with Dual-Lock
This is the best hard pistol case for airline travel on our list. That is because this hard gun pistol case is compliant with standards set by the TSA.
And there are features that make it a contender for the title of best hard multi pistol gun case, though it won’t hold more than one gun.
This is a rugged, military-grade case. It will survive normal use and heavy abuse. At 12 inches by 8 inches by 3.5 inches (exterior dimensions) it has room for large revolvers. It can hold guns under six inches.
This means it can hold most SIGS, Springfield XDs, UPS, smaller Rugers, Glocks, 1911s, and all pistols. It comes with several interchangeable foam pieces so you can use the insert that fits your gun relatively snuggly.
Do you have to meet advanced security standards because of strict gun laws in your city? Do you simply need to get your guns through security in a secure case?
The DS3TeK fits the bill. Furthermore, their cases are stackable and interlocking. That makes it possible to carry several cases together.
It is water-resistant but not water-proof. It is made to float in the water if you drop it in the lake, but that won’t prevent water from seeping in, since there is no o-ring to prevent this.
Instead, the seal just keeps out dust. It does have excellent impact protection.
The hinges and hinge rods are plastic. This is a weak point for the pistol case. While that makes it barely TSA compliant, this will eventually damage the foam. And it isn’t easy to get replacement foam.
We mention that it is TSA compliant, because it is not TSA approved, though it is advertised as such. That means you may still have to go through security and verify the locking mechanisms.
- TSA compliant
- Impact resistance
- Not really water-proof
- Weak hinges
03. MTM Two Pistol Handgun Case
This handgun case is made to hold up to two revolvers or handguns. It can hold two guns with barrels up to eight inches.
You could also hold a single handgun and several magazines inside of it. This might be the best hard multi pistol gun case for those on a budget, give its low cost.
The external dimensions of the case are 15.5 inches by 12.2 inches by 3.6 inches. The interior dimensions are 14 inches by 10 inches by 3 inches. It will hold Colts and 9 mm handguns without any problem, including one of each at the same time.
A Ruger Single Six will barely fit. It has thick, flexible foam that will hold a wide variety of guns and do so in almost any position.
And it is almost as good as a case with custom-made foam to fit the gun’s outlines. The foam has a mild chemical smell, but that isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things.
It has padlock holes on it, though there is no lock on it. You have to supply the lock. However, that’s not unique to this case.
It has a somewhat thin plastic shell. The locking loops are near the center. This means that it could be pried open or outright broken into.
- Can hold two pistols or handguns
- Can hold a wide variety of pistols and handguns
- Not durable
04. MTM Single Handgun Case
The third review on our list is for a multi-gun case. This is a single handgun case by the same manufacturer, MTM. Its outside dimensions are 13.1 inches by 9.7 inches by 3.2 inches.
The inside dimensions are 12.5 inches by 8.1 inches by 3 inches. This is large enough for most automatics and scoped rivals with barrels of up to 6 inches.
That may give you room for an extra magazine or two, depending on the size of the gun. For smaller guns, you may be able to fit in two magazines and a speed loader.
This is a budget handgun case. It is good enough to let you legally transport a single six inch revolver from point A to point B.
It has double padlock tabs, and that’s enough to make it legal for transporting guns that must be locked in a case while the gun is in your car or bag. It is not TSA compliant.
The case had a decent carrying handle. It is lightweight. The egg-shell foam will hold almost any gun relatively securely in place.
When we say it is a basic hard pistol case, we mean it. It is made from thin plastic. It isn’t going to keep the gun dry if dropped in a puddle.
It isn’t even impact resistant per se, beyond the protection offered by the padding and case around the gun. It will prevent a child from accessing the gun, but criminals can break open the purely plastic hinge in a few minutes.
- Often has room for accessories in addition to a small gun
- Very basic protection for the gun
- Not TSA compliant
05. Eylar Brand Tactical Hard Gun Case
This Eylar brand tactical hard gun case has exterior dimensions of 11.6 inches by 8.3 inches by 3.8 inches. It is available in almost a dozen colors, but we’re recommending the classic grey case. It is made for just one gun.
It is water-proof! It has a thick rubber gasket that will prevent water from getting into the case if it is submerged in up to a meter (3 feet) of water.
It goes one step farther than a water-tight o-ring due to its pressure equalization valve. It won’t get crushed by water pressure if it is in deeper water, and it is less likely to be damaged by major pressure changes.
This Eylar brand hard gun case is TSA approved. It has two padlock adaptable fittings to secure the gun. You can use any TSA approved travel luggage locks, though you’ll have to buy those separately.
The case weighs two and a half pounds empty. That is a little heavier than average, but it reflects how durable the case is.
The case looks crush-proof and is crush-proof. You won’t hurt it if you accidentally or intentionally sit on it.
The problem with the lattice design and off-balance center of mass is that it is prone to falling over. If you open it, it won’t sit upright then, either.
The foam padding is in the form of pre-cut squares. This often allows the guns inside to slide around. Egg-shell foam does a better job of keeping the guns securely in place.
- TSA approved
- Doesn’t stay open or upright
- Issues with the foam
06. Plano Brand All Weather Pistol Case
This pistol case has exterior dimensions of 19.75 inches by 14.5 inches by 9 inches. It has interior dimensions of 17 inches by 12 inches by 7.25 inches.
It is a large, high-capacity pistol case. It has a large, removable foam piece, and you can add additional foam pieces.
This is the best 4 pistol hard case on our list, since it has room for four pistols and can protect all of them. Or you can use it to hold larger guns like a Desert Eagle 50AE or CZ Scorpion along with accessories.
This “all weather” case is made to survive the elements. It is water tight and air tight. It will protect your guns from moisture if sitting in the garage and from water if it is dropped in a puddle.
It has dual-stage lockable latches. That will slow down potential thieves. The rugged case isn’t going to be easily broken into, either.
The gun case has keyed locks on the front two latches. You can add additional locks in the available loops, too. This case is made in the United States.
There are customers who bought it for the locks and received it without the keys. A few reported that they received the case without the foam inserts. A more serious issue is that the foam doesn’t necessarily hold the guns in place.
Even if the foam has cut-outs, it isn’t tightly fitted to the edges of the case. This means it may move around as well as the guns themselves sliding around in the case. That can damage your gun’s finish.
The case will not stay open on its own. This is a minor issue but can be an inconvenience if you’re assembling or displaying the guns.
- Large capacity
- May ship without essential parts
- Guns are not held securely in one place inside the case
07. Casematix Brand Hard Gun Case for Pistols
The interior dimensions of this gun case are 9 inches by 5 inches by 2.75 inches.
It is large enough for pistols and compact 9 mm guns. It is designed to securely hold the gun in place along with one large accessory. That could be a scope or a magazine. The shock-absorbing foam will protect the guns if you drop it, too.
It is water-proof, and the seal will keep out the moisture in the ambient air, too. It is shock-proof. It is crush-proof. That’s a major point in its favor if your goal is to protect the guns both in storage and when traveling.
It is lightweight given how durable it is. The handles are ergonomic, so it is easy to carry. Furthermore, the handle folds against the top of the case like a briefcase handle, so it is as small as possible when you’re transporting it.
It has padlock rings but no padlocks. That’s not a strike against this product, since so few hard pistol cases come with padlocks.
It is a compact case, but the interior foam design means it can be a tight fit for getting certain guns inside of the foam cutout, too. For example, it may be a tight fit for a Remington RP45.
- Easy to carry
- Can be a tight fit for the guns it is supposed to carry
The best hard pistol case will be designed to work for your intended application, whether you’re taking four pistols to the range for the team to practice with or an FAA compliant gun case for getting your pistol past the TSA and onto the plane. Use our buying guide and product reviews to find the best one for you.