Airline Travel with Handgun

I plan on taking a trip this summer within the US that involves flying (United) and Amtrak train travel. I have CCW permits/reciprocity that cover each state I will be on the entire trip. I was planning on packing the unloaded handgun in a snapsafe case:

along with the loaded magazine covered with this ammo armor:

Does anyone have any experience with a similar packaging method while dealing with TSA?


Holes drilled in a small pelican, cable wrapped around frame of suit case(from the inside) and ends locked in case. Cable lock through frame and barrel of pistol around main cable. Lock pelican closed with ammo in factory boxes inside.

I know and you know magazines are designed to hold ammo but, explain that to a ticket agent or tsa.

I know it seems redundant but, my thought would be dragging a pelican case around the tarmack would draw attention when it’s attached to a full blown checked bag.

I’m taking a trip to the USCCA expo. Was just thinking of getting a vaultek lifepod 2.0 and use that.


The case looks good, but I believe all ammunition needs to be in a box. No loaded magazines.

1 Like

I just got a lifepod myself and I love it. Seems like a great option for travel.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Expo!

1 Like
1 Like

Oh I’ll be there. I already have my flight, hotel, and money saved up for the rental car. Just need to bring gas money, fees, and extra money for food which is around $600 more to save but I got till November! I’ve got those 3 things ready within 3 months.


TSA can be capricious, as can your carrier. Call the airline counter at your departure airports (out/return), explain what you want to know (transporting x firearms and y ammo from - to & return) and write down what they tell you to do. Repeat two more times over a 2 - 3 day period. Do the same with TSA (at the airports). When you are done compare the likely six different instructions. Now that you have all of this info take a trip to your departure airport and speak to the check-in desk supervisor (don’t go close to any scheduled departures, if possible) and a TSA supervisor and try to get consistent direction. Generally, the governing rules for your departure will be honored for your return flights. AND, be aware that the rules could change on your departure date. Go to the airport prepared for anything. Note…firearms and ammo cannot be in the same checked bag. Carry-on a no-no also.

1 Like

I have flown a lot with a handgun. A lot. It’s not a big deal.

Handgun in locked hardsided container to which only you hold the key/combination. Declare with airline employee where you check bag. Sign the thing. TSA checks it and gives you a thumbs up. Off you go. More or less.

I have checked a handgun in the following airports
Chicago O’Hare (probably 15 times)
Chicago Midway (probably 15 times)
Atlanta (40 times?)
Lihue (Hawaii)
Las Vegas
Des Moines
Idaho Falls
Indianapolis (6+ times)
Minneapolis (multiple times)

More or less the same thing at each one. I’ve never called ahead, talked to a supervisor, wrote down what people said, etc.

BUT, it isn’t a bad idea to go online and print out your airline’s policy and the TSA policy and take those printouts with you, just in case. So far, I haven’t needed anything

This ought to cover it


FWIW I have checked the unloaded gun in a locked hardsided case, with a loaded magazine also in the case, probably about 25 times now.

My reading of the TSA regulations is that a magazine, being designed to hold ammunition, should be acceptable. I realize there is a chance somebody might object to that, so I do bring a small box of ammo and an unloaded magazine or two separate from the locked box, but, I’ve probably done that at like 8 airports a total of 25 or so times so far without anyone batting an eye



Looks like you did your homework. Just no loaded gun as ng magazine. All others, a matter of preference.

I thought Dicks went woke and abandoned gun owners.

Until the TSA returns the Gerber dimes they took from me, I don’t trust that they won’t steal my pistol.

I have to admit, I like mine.


Contact the transport providers, check out their web sites, and look up similar topics posted here before.

Someone once mentioned, keeping all mags empty, packing ammo in a completely different case than from the firearm, keep all ammo in their original box it was sold in, never toss out the little cardboard or box in which the ammo was sold in, until you expand all that ammo at the range.

Safe and enjoyable trip.

Thanks for the tips! Very useful.

I contacted Amtrak today and they said I could not check a firearm. The 2 stations I’m using accept firearms, but only Monday thru Thursday. I did my research, but this particular discrepancy only came up with a direct phone call.

I will be shipping with an FFL to my destination rather than chancing the rails.


Friend, if I ever get a chance to lobby for more user friendly rules for travelers, I shall. Thanks for bringing this to light.


Didn’t realize it was a dicks sporting goods site.

1 Like