Any advice for flying with a handgun?

    Tennessee Jed
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    Any advice for flying with a handgun?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:35 pm

    I am going to fly from Tennessee to Florida at the end of May, on vacation (not Disneyworld or any other amusement park, thank God). The good State of Florida recognizes my Tennessee CCW permit, so I am taking an effective means of self defense with me, in other words, a handgun.

    I've made a flight once before with a handgun, so I do have a little experience. However, no man is an island, so I thought I'd check to see if anyone has any advice or pointers.

    I'll be flying on Delta. Since there's always a chance of theft, I am taking a completely replaceable Glock 23 (instead of a cherished wheelgun that's no longer manufactured). I will use a Pelican 1170 case, locked up with 2 master locks on each latch.

    Inside the Pelican will be my Glock, with the slide off the frame and barrel separated from the slide. An experienced traveller once told me that when TSA xrays the case, their big concern is whether the gun is unloaded, so if you can disassemble your gun, so much the better. Looks a lot better if they see a bunch of parts, instead of a fully assembled gun.

    The Pelican will also hold two empty magazines, and a manufacturer's box of my favorite 40 S&W ammo.

    The outside of the Pelican has, on each side, a taped notice that says, "Please call owner, (my name) at (my cell phone number)". So, if there are any TSA issues or questions, I want them to be able to call me instead of cracking open the locks.

    The Pelican will also contain two additional master locks, in case TSA cuts open the first two and I still need to add locks to the case.

    The master locks will NOT be the TSA approved kind. The powers that be want the locks to be openable by only the owner and no one else.

    I haven't decided yet if I will put the Pelican in my suitcase that has all my clothes, or in a separate hard suitcase. The benefit of the separate suitcase is that if someone steals my suitcase for the gun, I'll still have all my clothes. However, I think there's a reasonable chance that having the gun in my primary suitcase might deter theft of the primary suitcase. Regardless, the applicable suitcase will have a TSA lock on it.

    When I get to the airport, I will very calmly tell the ticker person that I have an unloaded firearm that I need to declare and go through the steps they instruct. I will also wait by the desk until after the suitcase goes through TSA.

    Am I missing anything? Any other pointers or suggestions on flying with a handgun?
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    Re: Any advice for flying with a handgun?

    Post by AChristianMarksman on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:22 pm

    I have done some traveling and the only thing I would question is the ammo in the same locked box as the firearms. The wording can get tricky, but I understand you are better off if you do not put the ammo in with the firearm but keep it separated. I do the same thing with my firearm (take the slide off the frame) and lock it up in a portable safe, then put it in my suitcase and put my ammo in a zippered section. Just food for thought.

    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Any advice for flying with a handgun?

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:03 am

    Good stuff, TJ. I recently flew from California to Missouri with a pistol. Yeah, I was more than a bit nervous - but everything went smoothly.

    1) Review the TSA site:
    2) Review your airlines website on firearms - every airline seems different
    3) Pack the unloaded firearms in a hard sided, lockable carrier. Do NOT use TSA locks. I didn't separate the slide from the frame - but that sounds like a really good idea. The mags go in with the guns. The ammo goes in a separate container. It seems to be a gray area, so I locked my ammo container. You are limited to 11 pounds of ammo by many airlines.
    4) Go to the airline's check in counter. Do NOT loudly announce "I've got a gun!"

    Despite my fears, United was amazingly competent and calm.

    I locked my gun and ammo in the biggest suitcase I had - and cabled the containers to the suitcase. I don't want to have anything that screams GUN. And absolutely certain that I don't want anything easily concealed. It's an ugly secret, but TSA and the baggage throwers are rife with thieves.    

    Safe Flight!
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    Re: Any advice for flying with a handgun?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:22 am

    I fly with a weapon regularly (like 2-3 times per month - even the baggage handlers have gotten to recognize me and know that I have a suitcase with a weapon they need to move).

    Here's the trick. The weapon and parts (mags) need to be in a hard sided case without TSA locks. IF, for some reason the TSA needs to view the weapon, they MUST have you open the case. It is the reason you go with the porter to the x-ray machine, where he declared to the TSA goon that there is a weapon in the suitcase. They view it, sometimes do their usual "inspection" for which they leave you that little note (I have a whole batch of those in my suitcase - I keep them kind of like a keepsake). The porter then transports the case to the place where it goes to the baggage handlers. His name is recorded by the TSA goods, but I always look at his name tag and remember his name.

    The ammunition needs to be in a box appropriate for ammo. That can be the original boxing, or it can be one of those plastic cases for ammo, but it can't be loose in a random container. It should be separate from the weapon case. The box need not be full; you can bring only enough ammo for your needs if you wish (I do).

    I never disassemble my weapon. It sits in the case, with the 2 extra mags, locked (with 2 locks). I twice had an airline person ask to view the weapon, but never the TSA goons (yet). I keep the key for the locks handy so I can unlock it if needed, but they do NOT handle my weapon. One once asked me to show it was unloaded. Since I knew there was a snap cap in it, and didn't figure she knew s... from shinola, I pulled the hammer back and pulled the trigger to make it click (it was a 1911).

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