Among the most basic of safety protocols when it comes to owning firearms is keeping them well out of reach, unloaded and locked up, particularly away from kids. And when it comes to moving firearms via transport, especially by air, the need for security and safety is even higher. If you do a little background research, though, you’ll find that as long as you are using TSA approved lock-boxes or locks to keep your gun case secure, you’ll be in the clear for hassle-free flying. Dedicated to ensuring individuals and businesses can safely and freely travel via national transport systems, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) diligently examines and approves items to keep your firearms safely locked up during transport. And to help you narrow down the best choices, we’ve shortlisted our top picks.
SnapSafe Lock Box For Handguns and Valuables (XX-Large)
Suited to the TSA’s airline guidelines for transporting firearms, this hardy, steel constructed lock-box can not only serve as a great carry- or storage-case for your firearms but also as an effective, portable safe for your valuables at home, in student dorms and so on. In size XX-Large, the box has dimensions of 11.5” x 8.5” x 2.5”, perfect for holding a handgun, a round of ammunition and magazines, with extra space left over. The steel of this case has a thickness of 18 gauges as well, for maximum durability and protection. The foam-padded interior also offers the contents of the box the adequate cushioning to keep them rattling about or getting scratched up.
Equipped with a pair of keys to effectively store away your firearms, the lock-box also comes with a sturdy steel cable that can be used to strap the box on to a stationary object, such as your car-seat, to prevent it from bumping around when you’re on the go.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Travel Easy Group Luggage Travel Lock
This pair of combination locks comes with a flexible cable of coated steel which can be looped through the zippers of your bags or suitcases, without the rigidity of having to pick tinier metal locks with more solid, less maneuverable shackles. The lock is TSA approved, as airport security possess the master key to pop the lock open should they need to check contents secured in your baggage for safety, without needing to break or cut through the lock itself. Lightweight and with a 3-dial combination pad you can arrange to your preferred sequence, you don’t have to worry about fumbling with keys to keep your firearms and other valuables safe, both at home and during travel.
Premium Tactical Supply Single Pistol Case
This hard plastic carry-case is perfect for snugly fitting in your handgun and magazines, the extra padded interior keeping them safe and preventing bumps or scrapes while holding items in place when the box is closed. At either side of the carry handle are sturdy 0.26 inch hooks to loop your security cable or bicycle lock through once the case’s clamps have been slid into place. The case shuts seamlessly, leaving no space or leverage for being pried open once in the lock position, and is ideal for transporting in cars and approved by the TSA for carrying through airlines.
SnapSafe Lock Box For Handguns and Valuables (X-Large)
A smaller version of the heavy-duty lockbox featured as our Star Pick, this case boasts the same 18-gauge steel structure, a 1500-pound rated cable to secure the case when travelling to prevent it sliding around, and enough space to comfortably fit in a large revolver or a double-stacked magazine semi auto with room for unloaded ammo. Certified by the California DOJ as well as the TSA, this case comes with a snug fit when closed, difficult to wrench open unless you have the keys, with the inner padding holding the contents securely in place, especially important in the likely turbulence one can expect with air travel.
Choosing the Best TSA Approved Locks for Gun Cases
Apart from checking up explicitly on the TSA certification, the next important thing to consider is how secure your lock-box or lock option is for keeping your firearms out of reach where anyone could get their hands on them, especially if you have kids around the house. The best lock-boxes come with seamless, edge-to-edge seals, clicking shut until the opening is barely discernible unless you unlock and slip the box open. Options with keys, or with sturdy clamps you can loop a heavy-duty lock through, are always better at deterring anyone trying to get into your lock-box.
To prevent the eventuality of the case simply breaking open, we also recommend looking into cases made of sturdy stuff which can withstand a couple of shocks and bumps without denting or getting damaged. Steel is a popular robust material, while hard plastic is another option if you’re not looking for anything too fancy or are on a budget. Cases with internal padding around the bottom as well as the sides are an attractive feature to look out for too, since they cushion how well any items stowed inside sit, prevent scrapes and bumps, and hold everything in place once the case is closed so items don’t clatter around when it’s going through check-in.
If you already have a case – ideally one with spacious dimensions to let you fit not only your handguns but also the magazines and a couple of rounds of ammunition, since you are not allowed to carry loaded firearms – you might want to invest in the right lock. If the case is the type which does not come with its own locking mechanism, getting a heavy-duty combination dial lock or sturdy bicycle lock bumps up the security, keeping your lock-box shut nice and tight.