Best Hard Pistol Cases

Date Updated: February 1st 2019
7 min read

When looking at hard gun cases, there are a few different things people are looking for. Some may be looking for something for travel, a budget hard case or just a quality case to go to the range. We will be going over the best options for just about anyone who is looking for the best hard pistol case to take home. If you are looking for soft pistol cases check those out here.

For The Travelers

When traveling there are a few things you have to check off the list when purchasing a hard gun case, and no there is no such thing as a case being “TSA approved” but it does have to meet certain criteria to be taken on an airline, such as, it has to be a hard case, durable, and cannot be easily pried open. As for the lock you may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case.

So the next question is what is a good case for when I travel?

Pelican 1170 Case

Pelican 1170 Case

Pelican cases have gained superiority in the world of hard cases and for good reason. Pelican offers a high-quality product that is regularly used for traveling. Pelican cases offer double latches, and double lock holes, which you need for a case to pass a typical TSA check. They are equipped with an automatic Pressure Equalization Valve which balances interior pressure and keeps water out. Pelican is a good option due to its price and quality, being near the top in rearguards to price, Pelican doesn't skimp on any aspect of their cases. And for most applications, Pelican cases are a great option, from airline travel to a casual range visit, and best of all they have been made in USA since 1976. The only downside of this particular model is the size, it can fit one full size pistol but not much more, Pelican offers many other cases for just about anyone. If you are traveling I would argue pelican makes the best pistol case for airline travel, and has an option for just about anyone.



Pelican cases can be on the pricy side, but Plano cases definitely gives them a run for their money when it comes to quality. Plano offers a high-quality hard pistol case, and for the money you can't beat it. The Plano cases don’t break the bank and definitely give you the most bang for your buck, which is the most appealing aspect of the case. It does not come with the pressure relief valve, and is not 100% water proof, but is water-resistant. Typically, you only need the pressure relief valve, however if you are putting the case in tremendous amounts of pressure, there is a chance the seal could break. With that said you can still use the case for airline travel and of course normal range visits. With the great balance of quality and price, this USA made case deserves to hold the title for the best pistol hard case for the money.

MTM 2 Pistol Hard Handgun Case

MTM 2 Pistol Hard Handgun Case

If you are on a budget and want a hard shell pistol case, the MTM pistol case is a good option. It can carry up to 2 8.5-Inch pistols, or 1 pistol and a decent amount of ammo. The pistol case has a double snap latch to keep your firearm secure. The case is made in the US, which is surprising since it’s difficult to find budget anything made in the US. The MTM is one of the best budget hard gun case, you won't be getting the quality other cases offer but it is durable and will last.

Plano Tactical Series Hard Pistol Case

Plano Tactical Series Hard Pistol Case

The MTM case is the cheapest option but if you can spare an extra $15 (in my opinion worth it over and over) you can get a case that is a higher quality product. The Plano Tactical Series is also just about the same size as the MTM. The Plano Tactical Series has quality latches, external utility strapping points for a lock, and foam you do not need to cut. This case can also be used for airline travel since it does have the external lock points. This sturdy case holds up to two pistols plus accessories. If you can spare the extra cash, this is definitely the best budget hard pistol case.

V200 Vault Medium Pistol Case

V200 Vault Medium Pistol Case

If you have some top dollar guns and really want to make sure nothing happens to them, you are in luck. Pelican offers a line called the “Vault Series”. The "Vault Series" is their most durable line, and surprisingly inexpensive. The case has a high impact polymer shell, stainless steel lock hasps, push button latches, and quality durable handles. Just like Pelican's other cases, this case is Crush-proof, dust-proof, and weather resistant. Listed is The V200 model, Pelican makes many other models in the same series if you need a case in a different size. The V200 is perfect for 2 full sized pistols, and 4 mags. One thing to note about this case is, you will have to cut the foam yourself, it does not have the pluck blocks, so you will need something to cut the foam with.

Now that you have your case picked out, the last part you may need is the lock.

There are many locks available for travel but they do have to meet certain criteria. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, it can be a key lock or a combo lock. I prefer the combo locks because you won't have a chance to lose the key, this tends to be easier when traveling. I tend to stay away from these at all cost. If the lock is a “TSA lock”, that means TSA can open the lock with there OWN key. You do not want anyone to have physical access to your firearm, as a matter of fact TSA is not even allowed to touch your firearm.


There you have it, our take on the best hard pistol cases on the market. If you have found a quality product we didn't list, leave a comment below.

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