• Welcome to SVTPerformance!

Flying with a firearm

Discussion in 'Road Side Pub' started by Shifty Powers, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Shifty Powers

    Shifty Powers The Shifty Mobile Established Member

    Messages:
    4,279
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hey guys,
    Next week will be the first time I will be flying with a firearm. It is only a handgun. I have the case, locks, etc etc and know what I am in store for when I get to the airport. I am going from PHL to MCI via American Airlines.
    The one area I seem to not be able to get a great answer about is wether the magazines in my case can be loaded or not. Also that a box of ammo cannot be by itself in my checked baggage but needs to be in a locked case as well.

    Anyone travel with their firearm that can shed any light on this?

    Or does anyone have some crappy/funny stories from doing this?

    Thanks in advace! :D
     
    jmsa540 likes this.
  2. Silverstrike

    Silverstrike It's to big to move FAST! Established Member

    Messages:
    6,298
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2002
    Location:
    Here/there/some other silly place
    No I wouldn't load the magazines just to avoid that potential headache down the road with TSA. And if you have a carry on or two suitcases I suggest the ammo in the most secured one that locks.
     
  3. mysticsvt

    mysticsvt southernmustangandford Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    5,321
    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    It's been a while since I flew with mine but I had the rifle locked and they checked it. I don't know if you can have ammo anywhere with you, understandably why. I would leave it and buy some at your destination.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  4. MG0h3

    MG0h3 Well-Known Member Established Member

    Messages:
    8,123
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    You can probably look on the TSA site and find requirements.

    I’d also suggest going on the carrier/airline site. I suspect they have a link and may have their own requirements.


    Sent from my iPhone using svtperformance.com
     
    03Sssnake and Lambeau like this.
  5. VENOM1

    VENOM1 6.0MAN Established Member

    Messages:
    572
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The last time I flew, no ammunition was allowed in the same “area” as the firearm was. I also know that this can be different at each and every airport. Your best bet would be to reach out to the airports you’ll be visiting for their policy.
     
    jmsa540 likes this.
  6. Klaus

    Klaus Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    4,367
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Location:
    minnesota
    You can leave the mags loaded just take them out of the weapon. Ammo can be in your bag, it does not need to be under lock and key but does need to be checked.

    Not too funny but a few weeks ago I traveled with a glock and forgot that I left the gun loaded. I thought I was going to be in deep shit but the TSA agent just asked me to take the round out of the chamber. He was really chill about it.
     
    lilcoop03, nofire, 03Sssnake and 2 others like this.
  7. MFE

    MFE Well-Known Member Established Member

    Messages:
    1,965
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Surprisingly, it depends on the airline, so check their policy, but generally, it must be unloaded and the ammunition kept separate, but it can be in the same locked case. edit: The case the gun came in is not TSA approved. If they can pry an edge up far enough to cause a gap even though it's locked, they'll reject it. It's best to get one of those little book-sized lockbox "safes".

    So, nothing in the chamber and the magazine removed. So drop the mag and lock the slide back. In most cases, the magazine can remain loaded, but in some cases, they'll want the rounds either in the original box they came in or some other box that holds them secure so they can't rattle around. That box CAN be locked inside the lockbox with the gun. It's best to do it that way just to be on the safe side.

    Go to the check-in counter and tell them you need to declare a firearm. They'll give you a card to fill out, which will be taped to the outside of the locking box containing your goods. They generally no longer want you to open the case for inspection at the check-in counter.

    They will likely call a porter over to escort you and your baggage to the TSA inspector. They'll want you to stay there until they run your luggage through inspection. Once the TSA is happy, you're on your way.

    It's worked for me lots of times with absolutely zero friction, other than having to plan extra time for going to the actual counter and waiting on TSA inspection. Only once have I been shaken down for packing a gun, at Minneapolis on my way back from a canoe trip. The dyke TSA agent took me in a back room and made me unpack my very carefully loaded backpack so she could inspect every damn thing. She left my lockbox open on the counter in the back room, with my XD45 sitting there with the mag next to it plain as day. The counter agent had to be there with us and she was clearly very uncomfortable. And the crazy thing is, if I wanted to wreak havoc, I could have had that gun operational in under 5 seconds while Dykey McDykeDyke wasted all our time going through all my shit with a fine tooth comb. There was not a damned thing preventative safe about it. Just introducing an inconvenience because she could. My buddy went through security right in front of me, with his own gun packed in his own luggage, and they didn't give two shits.
     
    Shifty Powers and Blown 89 like this.
  8. svtfocus2cobra

    svtfocus2cobra Opprimere, Velocitas, Violentia Operandi Established Member

    Messages:
    21,612
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    I flew to Vegas with my gun in its holster loose in my checked bag with the mag separated and I got no issues at check in when I declared it. I told my friend it needed to be in a locked box and he said not to worry and that he does it all the time with no issues. He was partially right. Got no issues that way but coming back from Vegas they made it an issue and made us miss our flight. It was more so that we didn't get there soon enough and they were being picky about it so they wouldn't let us go with the way we were traveling with them because we didn't get them there early enough to check them in. I will say I expected them to be more strict but they surprisingly weren't.

    Having said that, I would put it in a locked box and just put the ammo in the mags separated. Just to avoid any and all hassle as all airports and airlines are going to be different. I was surprised how little they seemed to care though so I wouldn't stress too much about it. Just follow the posted rules.
     
    03Sssnake likes this.
  9. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member Established Member Single Barrel Sirs

    Messages:
    93,621
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Location:
    Cheshire, CT
    Interesting and informative thread. So noted!
     
    Shifty Powers likes this.
  10. runsonboost

    runsonboost Member Established Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Location:
    Martinsville IN
    Flying with a firearm can be a pain in the ass. Follow the airlines directions for packaging and arrive early to check in. Once you have completed check-in, your bag will be screened by TSA, the airline should give you a declaration paper that you will have to show to TSA. If TSA finds an issue with packaging they will let you know, but airline standards meet, if not exceed TSA standards. I deal with alot of people that try fly out of my airport only to have the packaging they used to get here rejected. American agents in Vegas may have a different interpretation of the policy than say LAX. There is nothing you can do about it. Airlines are a private business and if the ticket agent says you don't fly, well, you don't fly. If they give you a hard time at check-in about the packaging just try and work with them. Loaded mags are typically not acceptable, the original box with the plastic divider is usually fine. Speaking off, I'm off to a call for an improperly packaged firearm. Good luck.

    Source: I am a police officer at an international airport.
     
  11. Blk04L

    Blk04L . . . Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    9,591
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    I usually carry it in my pocket and when the metal detector goes off I pull it out real fast and start screaming arabic.

    Everybody finds it hilarious. And I get a free physical.
     
    svtfocus2cobra and 03Sssnake like this.
  12. Klaus

    Klaus Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    4,367
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
    Location:
    minnesota
    ? Last time I flew I threw a padlock around the handle of my glock case. No problems at all.

    I have never had a gate agent even view the case. Its the TSA that inspects the item. The gate agent walks me down to the TSA room and never even sees the encased firearm.
     
  13. hilaegis

    hilaegis New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2019
    Location:
    Maryland
    I have done it many times. As people say each airline is different and each airport as well. Actually each agent is different. I have some not look at all and other want to get the gun out and look at it while at the check in. Plan on extra time. The last time I flew there was a mandatory waiting period to see if TSA wanted to ask me questions. I always use a TSA approved little case that is padded for the gun. I carry ammo in the original box in the same suitcase but not same gun case. I have never had an issue. Just remember not everyone likes guns so some can be difficult. Be nice and follow airline rules and you will be fine.
     
    svtfocus2cobra and 03Sssnake like this.
  14. GNBRETT

    GNBRETT Premium Member Premium Member Established Member Beer Money Bros.

    Messages:
    3,349
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    Ultimately its up to the Captain of the plane to decide and no one else.
     
  15. Corbic

    Corbic Well-Known Member Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    6,131
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Location:
    Desert Oasis
    Had a horror story from a friend about 5 years ago. He had a layover and flight change in Newark.

    Long story short his high-cap Glock violated local laws and security seized it.

    He went on his way but but ended up needing a layer, spent $5k in legal fees (to stay out of jail) and never got the gun back.
     
  16. nofire

    nofire Sooner#65 Premium Member Established Member

    Messages:
    2,143
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    So it was 7 years ago that I flew with a pistol. Keep in mind that this was in Oklahoma City, but I walked in and checked my bags en route to Ontario, CA. I asked the desk clerk there what the procedures were and they told me that yes, I did have to check it and that it couldn't be loaded. So I took it out of the bag and took out the mag and racked the slide to get the one out of the chamber right there in front of everyone. The agent checked it (no case required at the time) and put it back in the bag. No one around me (it was fairly crowded at the time) even blinked an eye, except for the one guy at the desk next to me who saw it and went "nice". lol.

    I'm positive if I'd have been that stupid today I'd still be in jail somewhere over it.
     
  17. RickyBobby51

    RickyBobby51 Member Established Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Location:
    Earth
  18. Shifty Powers

    Shifty Powers The Shifty Mobile Established Member

    Messages:
    4,279
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Yea everything I have so far will be fine, was most curious on the magazine part. But I will probably unload them to be sure this time.

    Sounds like she was a blast to deal with and a little naive. Not sure why they wouldnt bring in someone a bit better trained at that point.

    Thanks for the response! The case I have is a new pelican. Gun will be unloaded with the empty chamber flag in it. Since this is my first time doing it ill unload the magazines but keep the box of ammo in the same case as the handgun and 2 empty mags. It will have 2 locks on it and then just for the sake of it I will have tsa lock on my suitcase. So that should work.

    Good luck with the people you deal with. Hopefully most are easy to deal with too and not asshats.
     
  19. M91196

    M91196 Well-Known Member Established Member

    Messages:
    698
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Location:
    New England
    I shoot USPSA matches all over the country and live in unfriendly gun state.

    My advice mirrors most.

    This is how I travel with 2 comp. pistols and a dozen fancy magazines.

    Locked pelican case with my locks, inside are all my unloaded mags and 2 pistols.

    Large Label on pelican case with my mobile number

    Firearms declaration is inside a giant clear packing list sleeve stuck to pelican case.

    Case is inside a traditional suitcase with a TSA lock.

    Inside traditional suitcase I have an eyebolt in that I run a cable thru both so the pelican case can’t “fly out on the tarmac” and disappear.

    Know the law, I carry a copy. Many gate agents have no clue.

    I ship ammo since I always exceed the weight allowance although I know they rarely enforce that.

    Ammo needs to be in original style containers per the law, to fly,they don’t want it loose.
     
    Corbic likes this.
  20. Shifty Powers

    Shifty Powers The Shifty Mobile Established Member

    Messages:
    4,279
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks for the advice. Everything I am doing sounds the same as you up to the eyebolt. May be able to run a cable through something inside my suitcase. Not a bad idea.
    The phone # on the case may not be bad either as it makes it easy for them.

    I thought the declaration you fill out at the counter goes inside the case?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020

Share This Page