Gun safes are must-have items for all responsible gun owners, but what defines safes also limits them: they’re large, heavy, and cumbersome. So how are you going to transport your gear when you’re headed to the range?
You’re going to need a portable solution to secure your weapons, keep in compliance with local and state laws for transportation (as applicable to your region), and enable you to efficiently and effectively port all your favorite gear at once.
Of course, unless you’re on an episode of The Walking Dead you’re not just going to throw your guns into a duffel bag. You need a solution that provides protection, structure and enables you to carry more than one type of firearm.
Rick Grimes extracting his rifle from Neagon's duffle bag
It should also provide space for extra magazines and other range gear. There are even very high-end cases that will outlast you — your kids will fight over them (along with your heirloom firearm) when you’re gone.
Best Long Gun Case:
- Pelican cases are kept watertight through the use of a tongue and groove fit and a polymer o-ring.
- Pelican cases come standard with an Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve which releases built up...
- 3-Piece Foam Set.Lid Depth: 1.75 inch (4.4 cm) Bottom depth: 3.50 inch (8.9 cm) Total depth: 5.25...
No list of quality rifle cases would be complete without at least one of Pelican’s tactical rifle and AR cases. The Pelican 1700 case is an exceptional example.
The Pelican is capital “HD” Heavy Duty and designed to keep sensitive gear – like photography and scientific equipment – safe and field-ready. If scientists and photo pros trust them with their massively expensive gear, you can too.
We love the waterproof o-ring seal and stainless hardware on these hard rifle cases, and the “Pick N Pluck” foam enables you to customize the interior to get exactly the right fit for your gear.
The integrated Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve releases built-up air pressure from within the case while preventing water from entering. Talk about over-engineered!
We do wish Pelican would make better provisions for carrying straps: not all of us have a cargo plane in which to haul our gear. With that said, this case does have wheels and is likely the toughest case on the market.
What We Liked
- Built like a tank and will likely outlive you
- Water-resistant and have pressure equalization technology
- Stainless steel, lockable hardware
- Doesn’t look like a rifle case, which can be a plus
- Customizable foam interior
What We Didn't Like
- Won’t win any beauty contests.
- Heavy and would benefit from a carry strap
This bag by VooDoo Tactical is our runner up because it takes the concept of a basic soft rifle bag and checks all the boxes that matter.
The sides of the case are semi-rigid and the internal divider enables you to carry multiple rifles, shotguns, or carbines without damage. Oversize exterior pockets have plenty of space for ammunition, tools, and other peripherals. The exterior MOLLE webbing makes room for a first aid kit or additional storage – as they say – better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
The thick straps keep everything in place when it comes to the rifles, but the internal pockets & separator don’t offer the same level of fit and finish as the exterior. You can certainly fit two rifles in the Deluxe, but if both have optics mounted you may find optics rubbing up against one another due to the soft case construction and height of the separator.
Other than that, we think this is a quality range case.
What We Liked:
- Accommodates two long guns and plenty of magazines
- MOLLE webbing to attach even more pouches if needed
- Sturdy strap and handle
- Available in a variety of colors
What We Didn't Like:
- Internal pockets are flimsy
- Rated for multiple rifles but lacks support
- Shoulder strap loops are too close together making for an awkward carry
Best Shotgun Case:
- The 2SKB-SC3409 Break-down Shotgun Soft Case design combines the protection of rigid foam with the...
- The plush lined EPS interior will accommodate barrels up to 33.75 inch and offers the same...
- The same plush lined EPS insert cradling stock and barrel as found in SKB's hardshell break-down...
The double-barreled shotgun is a special kind of firearm – one that recalls the days of hunting on horseback through soggy, dreary forests. A big, tactical, plastic case just looks out of place when you’re knocking down sporting clays.
This plush-lined case by SKB can accommodate one shotgun with up to a 33.75-inch barrel, cleaning supplies, a variety of chokes, and your ear/eye protection. No other tactical doodads or webbing to be found here. Its semi-rigid construction provides hard-case protection in a lightweight, easy-to-carry package.
This is an understated case that would fit nicely with a day of trap shooting or waterfowl hunting.
While it’s plenty durable, there are a few nitpicky things that are worth mentioning. First the case closure mechanism is a full length zipper, but the handle only uses Velcro, which seems like a missed opportunity to add either a locking strap or padlock hoops.
Also the lid straps aren’t long enough to allow the top to prop and stay open – so you’ll be using both hands to put your shotgun into the case, which some folks find an annoyance.
What We Liked:
- Specialized padding for double-barreled shotguns
- Simple, understated design
- Offers the right amount of storage
- High-quality interior lining preserves your shotgun’s finish
What We Didn't Like:
- We do wish the external pockets were bigger.
- It’s only held shut by a hook and loop enclosure.
Best Double Rifle Case:
- [ULTRA DURABLE] - Constructed With Heavy Duty Industrial 600D PVC Nylon
- [ULTRA SPACIOUS] - Holds 2 Rifles & 2 Pistols w/ Additional Pocket Compartments
- [ULTRA SAFE] - Lockable Zipper Sliders On Both Firearm Compartments
Savior Equipment has been in the gun case game for years and the American Classic is another example of their quality work. This soft case is sturdy, well built, and nicely portable. It has room enough for multiple rifles as well as handguns, magazines, and the backpack-style straps allow you to lug all your gear around in relative comfort.
Plus, both ends of the case have large patches of MOLLE/Alice-compatible grids that give you plenty of space for further customization.
With that said, some shortcomings of this case are the Velcro tie-downs & placement of the backpack straps. The case straps are Velcro and unless situated exactly right can allow the firearm more movement than we’d like. While the backpack straps are nicely padded they’re secured in a way that can dig into your hips while carrying it – making it less than comfortable with heavier loads.
All-in-all the American Classic is an incredible value and quality case.
What We Liked:
- Built to last for years.
- Lockable zippers on the compartments
- Backpack straps make for easy carry
- Well-sealed and UV resistant
- Lots of color options
- Expandable MOLLE grid
What We Didn't Like:
- Difficult to secure shorter rifles
- Reports of some stitching coming loose
Best Pistol Case:
- Holds 5 pistols, 20 magazines (+5 more in the magwells) & comes standard with a specially designed...
- Case has a lifetime warranty, is 100% Waterproof (IP67) & Dustproof with a built-in pressure release...
- Accommodates full size, compact & subcompact pistols with under-barrel attachments and small reflex...
What We Liked:
- Slots for five handguns and 20 magazines
- Lockable so you can ship it and travel with it
- Removable foam section
- Pistols are easy to retrieve from the case
What We Didn't Like:
- We would have preferred pick and pluck foam
- Strap hooks would have also been a nice touch
Rounding out our list, it’s only appropriate to show some love to the pistol side of the world. This heavy-duty case, by Case Club, is a great way to haul up to five pistols and more than 20 magazines in discreet protection.
When in the case, your pistols are oriented in a quickdraw position (barrel down, grip up), ensuring they’re easy to retrieve safely. The foam slots are just the right size to accommodate handguns of various dimensions and configurations. Full size, compact & subcompact pistols with under-barrel attachments and small reflex sights can all fit snugly in the Case Club.
It’s also customizable – you can remove one of the pistol modules and configure it for 4 pistols plus more ammo or safety gear. Throw in the fact it’s waterproof, dustproof and comes with a lifetime warranty and you can see what it made the list.
We would have liked more foam customization options, but any way you cut it the Case Club Pistol Case is a great way to ship, travel with, or carry your pistol collection safely.
Why bother with a gun case?
There are a few good reasons to consider a quality firearms case. First and foremost is safety. All of the cases we’ve chosen can lock, which cuts down on the chances of anyone gaining unauthorized access to your firearm.
Second, they protect the firearm itself. In general, cases that have foam padding are great all-around choices. All of the cases we recommend are heavy-duty and should more than stand up to light drops and some mild abuse at your hands — or, if you’re flying, those of the TSA. (And, yes, you can fly with a checked firearm as long as you follow some relevant rules.)
What kind of case do I need?
The answer depends entirely on your use case and needs. In terms of rifle, carbine, or AR cases, there are a ton of varieties out there, most of which work well for rifles and other kinds of long guns. There are two main types: hard cases and soft cases.
Hard cases are generally a little more durable and often look like the typical tactical rifle case that you’ll see professionals using. These are sometimes water-resistant, which is worth keeping in mind if you’re working in adverse conditions.
Soft cases, sometimes known as rifle bags, are slightly less durable than their hard-shelled counterparts, but come with the benefits of often being lighter weight and offer accessory pockets for things like magazines, boxes of ammo, and smaller objects.
Both types vary in terms of capacity, size, and weight, so it’s up to you to get one, or a few — as is the case with our experts — that gives you the functionality you need for your planned activities. Some people will want something as simple as a single rifle case, while others might want a case that accommodates scoped rifles.
Similar can be said about pistol cases – they come in a lot of varieties. Here, we’re focusing on hard cases and tactical pistol cases that can be used for storage as well as for transport, making sure you get the most bang for your buck (literally).
Any specific features that I should look for?
First and foremost, keep an eye on quality: good cases will usually come with some kind of warranty or, at the very least, a company that has an actual customer service line you can call. No-name cases are often no-name for a reason.
Second, depending on your security needs, either an integrated lock or means of attaching exterior padlocks are often must-haves – and can be used to meet the requirements for flying with your firearm.
Then we start thinking about things like weight. If you anticipate a need for long treks with the case a lighter material paired with shoulder or backpack straps will have your back and arms thanking you.
Finally, some extra durability is always a plus, so we look for things like water resistance, high-quality (preferably customizable) interior foam padding, and some level of rigidity to stand up to the conditions we’re likely to encounter at the range or traveling with firearms.
So there it is – our list of gun case recommendations.
For many people, the idea of shelling out for something beyond a factory case seems unnecessary, but for our money, investing in the right level of protection and something that’s discreet (to avoid advertising that you’re carrying an armload of guns) is more than worth it.
Plus, when it comes to shipping or traveling with guns – or protecting expensive accessories – you’ll likely need the kind of protection and features our above recommendations can provide. Good luck finding the perfect case!
- UPS, How to Ship Firearms or Ammunition
- FedEx, How to Ship Firearms
- TSA, Transporting Firearms and Ammunition
- handgunlaw.us, Carrying Firearms in your Car or RV W/O a Permit/License, 9/1/20
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