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Feel like a man again when flying

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Run&Shoot, Apr 10, 2007.

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  1. Run&Shoot

    Run&Shoot Member

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    OK, I admit, although I am well armed when at home or driving to destinations, I have been flying unarmed since 9/11 due to all the airport security. Before 9/11 I had gotten to where I only flew with a large garment bag and a laptop case or backpack as carry on items so that I never had to go through baggage check and claim. I didn't carry a handgun on board of course but I always had at least a couple of knives.

    After helping my daughters and a son-in-law get set up to fly regularly with their handguns and shotguns I finally relented and started packing a checked bag. so that I could take a handgun with me, too.

    Really nice to arrive at a destination and have a full suite of knives, multi-tools, ammo and handgun. Instead of feeling like some metro-prison-weenie I feel like a free man when traveling.

    Most of you guys know this already, but hear is a recap of my routine for flying with a handgun (mostly Delta, Continental, US Airways, Alaska and Southwest; don't use United or others):

    - Empty all mags and put ammo in plastic ammo boxes that I use for reloading. Paper boxes can get wet and disintegrate on you. Most airlines limit you to 11 pounds of ammo, Alaska only allows 50 pounds :D . I carry two boxes of 50.

    - You can use just about any plastic or metal case that fits the handgun(s) and mags. One of my daughters has a super duty Pelican double handgun case. I use a cheapie one-pistol case.

    - The case must be secured with a lock the TSA cannot open. I find a sturdy brass MasterLock keyed or combination lock shackle just fits around both handles of most pistol cases and leaves virtually no room for someone to open the case with it locked.

    - I field strip the pistol. TSA likes this because if they can determine by X-ray that it is unloaded then they often will not open it up for detailed inspection. Remove the cylinder from a revolver and have it facing vertically so they can see it is empty. or remove the mag, barrel and slide from a semi-auto frame. This came from a friendly TSA guy.

    - The luggage is secured with the biggest TSA-approved lock I can find (none of them are very big). A friendly TSA gal suggested this to me when she saw the dinky little TSA lock I had that came with the luggage. She said those cheap, little TSA locks have a generic key that almost anyone (e.g., baggage gorillas) could unlock with a hairpin, etc. She said the larger TSA locks require a special key that only TSA personnel have (that is, the baggage guys do NOT; hint, wink, hint).

    - I go up to the ticket counter to check my bag and let the agent know that I am declaring that I have an unloaded firearm in a case within the luggage. Agent then has me sign a small tag attesting to the fact the firearm is unloaded and place one copy of it within the pistol case. The agent want to look at the open case to ensure it is unloaded but 90% of the time they could care less 9rightly so as that is the TSA job). Secure all locks back on the pistol case and luggage.

    - At larger airports such as PDX, I am directed to take the luggage to a TSA scanner station and I again let them know I have a declared firearm within it. They have me wait at the other end of the scanner station. IF the X-ray shows enough detail they may just wave me on at that point. Otherwise they take it to a table and open up the luggage, rummage around making sure everything is accounted for, and then have me open the pistol case. The TSA agent visually inspects to make sure it is unloaded, ammo is in a proper box, and then have me lock everything back up and move on.

    - Smaller airports such Ontario and Sacramento don;t have TSA stations, but will send the bag into the back and they may or may not do a hand visual inspection within ten minutes or so.

    - All in all it adds about 15 minutes to check-in to include a firearm. The TSA people have all been very friendly to me and family who check firearms, and offer tips on how to streamline the process or improve security of the weapon. I once forgot to sanitize my backpack on the return leg, and the carry-on TSA screener patiently scanned, removed, and re-scanned about eight times to ferret out all my knives, multi-tools, water bottle, etc. :eek:

    - Once I am in my rental car or hotel I reassemble and load up. On the return trip I wait until I gas up just before returning the rental car to disassemble the ammo and pistol.

    I think airports need a "free-citizen shop" at the car rental building where we could rent a set of knives, tools, handguns, ammo, deodorant, water, nail clippers, etc while we are traveling. And then return them all when we drop the car off. Maybe pick up a set of prison sliippers and hospital gown for the passenger screening...:what:
     
  2. Hemicuda

    Hemicuda member

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    Last few times I flew, there were LOTSA guns... right in the cabin with me... some on my belt, some in packed luggage, and some on other peoples belts...

    Then again, it was in my own plane, and I was the pilot... :evil: :D
     
  3. Hank Zudd

    Hank Zudd Member

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    I transfered

    a gun a few years ago from Kali to Texas (on united). Prior to landing one of the attendants handed me a note written on a napkin asking if I was "LEO or FAM"; had to thinki about the FAM for a few, but told her no, I just checked a gun. Glad they didn't think they needed someone with one, cause they'd-a been SOL.
     
  4. thumper723

    thumper723 Member

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  5. Glockman17366

    Glockman17366 Member

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    "FAM?"

    Federal Air Marshal
     
  6. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Did something change?

    It has been a year since I flew, but you're the only one who is supposed to open your firearm case. Under no circumstances are you supposed to give a key to anybody, or have something such that others can open it unless you are present. This includes the TSA.
     
  7. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Member

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    FAM is Federal Air Marshall.
     
  8. AlaskaErik

    AlaskaErik Member

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    Federal Air Marshal.
     
  9. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    He's using a TSA lock on his outer luggage. The pistol case, inside that first case, is locked with one that only he can open.
     
  10. thumper723

    thumper723 Member

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    Ahh. Thanks for enlightening me on the FAM..

    I still find it annoying that the US Military will trust me with a Gunship (and an M11 on my person in military aircraft), but the FAA and TSA won't allow me to CCW on airplanes..
     
  11. velojym

    velojym Member

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    My routine:

    -Examine pistol for cleanliness and load condition

    -Secure pistol in hip holster (though I may try a shoulder rig at some point)

    -Perform preflight of airplane

    -Board airplane

    -Finish preflight (runup, etc.)

    -Fly

    Actually, if I'm not in an open-carry state, I'll usually have the pistol in a bag on the floorboard behind the right seat.
     
  12. qdemn7

    qdemn7 Member

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    Do you have a link to this type of lock? Thanks.
     
  13. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    I just got done flying with a firearm for the first time - first plane ride in a long time. At one counter, they made me put the paper I signed saying the gun was unloaded in the locked case. That made no sense, since no one but me could read it. On my return, I was told to put the paper next to the case.

    On my flight out, things went smoothly. On my flight home, I was detained for a few minutes by the friendly TSA officer. He asked in an offhand way if I had a .32 or .380 in the box. I responded that it was a .38 special that my daughter had wanted to try before getting her own.

    Him: Yeah, they are real nice. I have been trying to get my wife to shoot my Glock 9mm and carry it. I carry a Kimber myself.

    Me. I have a CZ 9mm myself.

    Him: I hear they are nice guns too! Do you shoot Sigs too? (I had a Sig hat on that day)

    Me: Yeah, I have an SP 2022 at home. It is a lot of fun and makes for a good truck gun.

    Him: I have an AR for my truck.

    Me: I have an AR waiting at home to be assembled when I get there.

    At that point he went into a lengthy description of how he had modified his AR with particular accessories and where I could get them if I was intertested. All in all, it was a very pleasant and somewhat surprising conversation. I don't know what the people in line behind me thought, but hey, you don't want to P.O. the TSA, right? :evil:
     
  14. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    My understanding--admittedly third-hand--is that it goes inside the case, but that it shows up on X-ray. You don't want it outside the case because you don't want the baggage monkeys to find it and decide they'd like a shiny new gun.
     
  15. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Member

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    Actual federal regs for transporting a firearm:

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi...=49&PART=1540&SECTION=111&YEAR=2002&TYPE=TEXT

    Pay particular attention to 1540.111.c.2.IV:

    "The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the
    passenger retains the key or combination."

    I have issues with TSA wanting me to give them my key so THEY could unlock it...uh uh. Have a copy of the regs with you and be ready to speak to a supervisor.
     
  16. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Nevermind

    Didn't read the original post correctly.
     
  17. BigSoundRacing

    BigSoundRacing Member

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    great thread - very informative - thanks
     
  18. Run&Shoot

    Run&Shoot Member

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    The "better" TSA lock I got for my luggage is one from Brookstone (only one available at the airport that day). It comes in a bubble pack with two combination locks for $20. I am going to look on the internet to see if there is anything better, but at least the baggage guys can't jimmy these open.

    At no time has an airport or TSA person ever tried to, or asked to, open my case themselves. They always have me open the locks and case. The one airline agent did not come within two feet of the case, but visually verified it was disassembled and unloaded. Not really what they are supposed to do, but at least he did not touch anything, case nor pistol. TSA always have me open and secure the case and they only handle the weapon, if at all, to the minimum degree to verify it is unloaded and nothing hidden. The more you have the handgun field stripped and laid out for easy X-ray verification then the less likely TSA will even want to open the case.

    The S&W 642 seems to cause the most TSA comments. "Sweet pocket gun." "That's just like my wife's" "I love my 642, too."
     
  19. fiVe

    fiVe Member

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    Well, of course. There is no denying the popularity of the 642.
     
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