Here you go on your travel adventure with your firearm in tow. And you know, when traveling by plane with a firearm, you must store it in a locked, hard-sided case as part of the TSA guidelines. So the only thing you need now is a suitable gun case lock for air travel. But what kind of lock do you use?
There is a lot of talk about TSA approved locks for suitcases, but can you use one on a gun case?
TSA-approved locks allow TSA officers to open the lock if they need to inspect your checked bags further. For example, if you use a padlock with the Travel Sentry red diamond logo, you allow the TSA officer to open the lock with a TSA master key to inspect your luggage further.
However, TSA-approved locks DO NOT apply to gun cases. Therefore, you cannot use TSA-approved locks for the firearm case. We’ll tell you why in a bit.
Quick Overview Of A Gun Case Lock For Air Travel (Updated List)
Why Do You Need Gun Case Lock For Air Travel?
Why do you need a gun case lock for air travel is a great question. The primary reason is to ensure no one has access to your gun.
Another reason is to protect all the passengers on the plane. After all, you don’t want anyone to use your firearm to harm others.
With this in mind, TSA requires a lockable, hard-sided case for an unloaded gun in checked baggage. The gun case must completely secure the rifle. TSA prohibits easily accessible weapon containers. Only you – the passenger, must have the gun case key or lock combination. If requested, you will open the hard-sided gun case for TSA inspection.
Why Not Use A TSA-Approved Gun Case Lock For Air Travel?
You can’t secure the firearm in the gun case if you use a TSA-approved lock. Unauthorized access to the gun is possible with a TSA master key or tool. TSA requires a gun case lock for air travel that will keep the firearm secured in the case. TSA-approved padlocks undermine handgun case security. Therefore, you cannot use a TSA-approved lock for your gun case.
So, it’s clear that when flying with a firearm, you can use ordinary but heavy-duty locks to secure your gun case.
The size of the gun case lock for air travel will depend on the size of the lock ports. The padlocks that usually fit most firearm cases are those with a shackle diameter of less than 9.4 mm (3/8 in).
The Master Lock Magnum® M115XDLF is a reliable heavy-duty padlock featuring a 48mm-wide laminated steel body. In addition, the outer components in stainless steel and zinc make this heavy-duty padlock weather resistant.
It offers a lifetime guarantee against rusting on the lock body with its Rust-Oleum® Certified protection. In addition, the keyway, shackle, and laminated lock body’s seals offer extra protection against the elements.
The Tough-Cut™ boron-carbide padlock shackle is 50% harder than hardened steel, giving it the most resistance to cutting and sawing. In addition, the 4-pin cylinder prevents lock-picking, while the dual ball bearings offer maximum resistance against hammering and prying. With this heavy-duty padlock, you can know that no one can ever get into your locked gun case.
- Use of solid materials like laminated steel and boron-carbide
- Multiple uses as outdoor lock – for storage, self-storage units and lockers, fences, toolboxes, gun cases
- Key lock features – dual armor construction, weather-resistant laminated steel body, and octagonal boron-carbide shackle that is 50% harder than hardened steel and is cut-resistant
- 4-pin tumbler cylinder and double locking ball bearings for maximum hammer, pry and pick resistance
- Weather-resistant covered keyway and shackle.
- Shackle diameter 8mm (5/16 in)
- Shackle is extendable for flexibility of use.
- Master Logo and small white openings on the side are hard plastic.
- The black outer coating is soft rubber.
- The padlock has a rubberized bottom, except for the keyhole.
- The padlock cannot be re-keyed to match existing keys.
- 5-star rating for durability
- The package includes one padlock with two keys.
- The padlock has flaps underneath that could be more solid and sturdy.
The Commando Lock Blackout 1300 Series locks have Solidbody Tek construction and a black zinc coating. They are sturdy with an interlocked and riveted body design.
These locks comply with US Military safety and construction standards, making them suitable for various security requirements. They are particularly suited to gun cases, such as pelican cases.
Blackout locks are designed with rust-resistant zinc coating and dual-hardened stainless steel, providing increased durability. The lock is further protected from fracturing by its specific rivet hole design, while the boron-alloy shackle offers exceptional protection against cutting.
The polypropylene bumpers are UV-resistant and avoid causing scratches or markings on internal contents.
The Commando lock design has a pick and bump-resistant security pin system with up to 10 pins. The key remains in the lock until it is opened to a 180-degree angle or locked completely.
They are made in the USA using both domestic and international components.
- Shackle diameter 8mm (5/16 in)
- 5 pin cylinder
- Solidbody Tek construction
- Black zinc coating
- Interlocked and riveted body design
- Comply with US Military safety and construction standards
- Fit various security requirements
- Well suited for gun cases, such as pelican cases
- Rust-resistant zinc coating
- Dual-hardened stainless steel
- Boron-alloy shackle to protect against cutting
- Pick and bump-resistant security pin system
- Polypropylene bumpers to avoid scratches internally
- The key remains in the lock until it is opened to a 180-degree angle or locked completely.
- Made in the USA
- Both locks are keyed for the same key
- Some say the lock did freeze in sub temperatures
The Master Lock 140D is smaller than the previous two we reviewed. It is a solid padlock with a key for access. The wide solid brass body offers resistance to corrosion with dependable durability.
The hardened steel makes it more difficult to cut, while the four-pin cylinder helps to stop picking. Its features make it a great choice as a gun case lock.
- 0.25-inch diameter brass shackle (6 mm)
- 4 pin cylinder
- Solid padlock with a key for access
- Wide solid brass body
- Resistance to corrosion
- Dependable durability
- Hardened steel
- Great choice as a gun case lock
- Available in 1-4 locks per pack and all are keyed alike
- One reviewer stated they were able to easily pick this lock
What To Look For When Buying Gun Case Lock For Air Travel
When selecting a gun case for air travel, it is important to ensure that the padlocks used to secure it are strong. Weak padlocks can lead to unauthorized access to the firearm and potential misuse.
When this happens, you violate TSA guidelines on transporting firearms and endanger the people around you.
Here are three things to consider when buying a gun case lock for air travel.
Number Of Pins
The tumbler cylinder of each lock has a different number of pins. If the padlock has more than one pin, each pin must reach a certain height for the padlock to open. Therefore, the more pins a padlock has, the harder it is to open with something other than the key.
Lock Body And Shackle Materials
You need a gun case lock for air travel made of solid, sturdy materials to protect a valuable item like a gun. Heavy-duty lock bodies of stainless steel, titanium, solid hardened steel, TPE elastomer, or laminated steel are durable and long-lasting. Hence, they are highly resistant to the harshest conditions.
Materials like boron-carbide steel are perfect for padlock shackles because of their hardenability properties.
Thick shackles are hard to cut, so they are better. But thick locks will not fit into the lock ports or holders on the gun case. Most gun cases have lock holes that are 9.4mm in diameter. So any padlock with a shackle less than 9.4mm in diameter will work for your gun case.
Resistance Against Cutting, Prying, Picking, And Sawing
TSA advises using secure locks for storing firearms – the locks should be difficult to open, unbreakable, and safe from picking or prying.
A gun case lock suitable for air travel should be able to resist and endure forceful attacks without compromising the security of your firearm. A padlock has to hold up against impacts or strikes to protect your weapon.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gun Case Lock For Air Travel
Here are some frequently asked questions about Gun Case Lock For Air Travel.
Do I need TSA locks for gun cases?
No. A TSA-approved lock is not applicable as a gun case lock for air travel. If the padlock can secure the firearm inside the case, you may use any brand or type. If the padlock easily breaks open, you will have much trouble with TSA officers.
What makes a gun case TSA approved?
TSA requires that you check in firearms and ammunition stored in a lockable, hard-sided case. The gun case lock for air travel must be unbreakable and hard to force open, to prevent unauthorized access to the firearm and ammo inside.
How many locks are required on a gun case when flying?
The TSA guidelines require the firearm case to be inaccessible and have at least one lock on each end. However, using four padlocks will provide greater protection if there are four holes.
If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on TSA, here are some additional posts about TSA:
Gun Case Lock For Air Travel – Conclusion
The most important takeaway from this information is that you cannot use a TSA approved lock on a gun case. Every TSA worker has a key that will open a TSA lock. So please use a padlock as reviewed above for the safety of all passengers, your guns, and you.
Remember that you must secure the firearm inside the case at all costs. With a non-TSA approved unbreakable and un-pickable gun case lock, you don’t have to worry about your checked firearms getting into the wrong hands.