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Flying With Your AR 15

Have you ever looked at a firearm training class and thought it’s just too far to drive? Maybe you see an opportunity to train with some of the best like Pat McNamara, Travis Haley, or Chris Costa. Maybe you see a hunting trip you’d love to take, but again, it’s just too far to drive. You want to fly, and you want to bring your AR 15. Can you fly with an AR 15? If so, how? Well, it all starts with a rifle case.

A Good Rifle Case

More specifically, you’ll need a hard-sided locking container. If you want to fly with an AR 15, or really any rifle, you’ll need a rifle case. You can fly with a gun, it’s completely legal. To do so you will need that hard to protect it and keep it secure. By locking it up, we mean you’ll need an actual lock. You’ll retain the key and combo to the lock, unless the TSA requests it.

The TSA requires you to have a container that is not easy to open. So, if your case is substandard you simply won’t be allowed to fly. The Tactical Rifle Case we sell has four locking clasps and is impossible to break into without a power tool, or an axe with a lot of strength and time. Because the clasps lock, there is no additional lock needed.

Tactical Rifle Case

You’ll need to have all firearm components locked in your checked baggage, too. This includes magazines, bolts, ammunition, stocks, basically everything. The only exceptions are optics and glass sights. They’re allowed to be carried on board with you. Different airlines have different restrictions on ammunition so it’s wise to call ahead and figure out their specific requirements. The firearm must be completely unloaded, but legally, ammunition may be carried in the same container as the firearm.

When you arrive at the airport you’ll need to declare you have a firearm at the bag check counter. Here, you may need to open the box and allow a representative from the airport to inspect it. They will then have you lock the weapon’s case and check it as baggage.

Break it Down

For the sake of keeping your AR 15 inconspicuous and non-operational to prying eyes and hands, we strongly recommend disassembling your rifle into its primary parts. That means separating the upper from the lower assembly. With this method you’ll also be able to store your rifle in a more compact fashion, allowing for more room for your rifle’s accessories and components. If you want to really make your rifle look like it’s a simple parts kit, and you want to enjoy a rather cool quick-swap barrel assembly, look at the Dolos QD System. This nifty little barrel system lets you remove and reattach your AR’s barrel in a few seconds without any tools.

Dolos Quick Detach Barrel System w/ 11.5" Keymod Handguard

State Laws

So, depending on where you are flying you may need to consider that state’s laws. Do they prohibit magazines greater than ten rounds? Are they like California and ban the vast majority of AR 15s in traditional build profiles? This is critical to know before you travel to certain states. You may be breaking the law and not even know it.

Flying International

If you are flying internationally and transporting a firearm… Well, you may need more than a rifle case. In these situations, you’ll have to coordinate with Customs from two countries, and it may be easier to simply rent a gun than travel with one.

Flying with a firearm isn’t difficult. Our Tactical Rifle Case is the first step. After that, it’s a matter of exercising a little common sense, following some policy directives, and remembering to grab your luggage on the way out.

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At 80 Lowers, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.


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