Explorer Cases is an Italian company specializing in durable polymer hard cases for the transport and storage of all sorts of important items, including firearms. Available in myriad shapes and sizes either empty or with various types of organizer inserts, they’re waterproof, lockable, and TSA approved. The Ultimate 3-Gun Kit, reviewed here, is one hell of a soft bag plus hard case combo designed with the traveling 3-Gunner in mind . . .
Right to the money shot here — inside of the 600D polyester 3-Gun Bag are three separate, padded compartments. Rifle, shotgun, and pistol, of course. There are all sorts of velcro straps in there for securing your guns plus one waterproof utility pouch and two larger, zippered pouches for storing mags and other things. With a velcro patch on the bottom of each, the pouches can be velcro’d in place in various locations inside the bag.
I’m not a 3-Gunner but I’ve had as many as four firearms in this case on range days. One rifle in the rifle location, another rifle or a shotgun in the shotgun spot, a handgun in the handgun area, and . . .
Another rifle on top of the first rifle. There’s a removable shooting mat that folds in half, velcroes in place, and acts as extra padding for the rifle and shotgun, and while I wouldn’t check it on an airplane like this, it provides more than enough padding for drives on rough roads to and from the range.
I’ve also used the “pistol” area to strap in rifle bolts, suppressors, a spotting scope, and other stuff. All of the dividers and padded layers inside the case are velcro’d in and can be removed or, in some cases, reconfigured to change the size and shape of compartments.
Despite what I’d assume was grossly overloading the bag, in nine months of regular use it has held up perfectly. I’ve carried it in and out of the range by the side carry handles, which use a padded velcro grip area to hold them together, as well as by one or both of the backpack straps.
This, actually, is my sole complaint about this entire system. While comfortable and perfectly functional, the bag is about 53″ long and the straps are too high up on it. I’m 6-foot, and I really can’t walk with this bag on my back without the bottom of it pegging me in the back of the knees on every step. I have to take short strides or walk hunched over to keep the bottom of it off my legs. Were the straps attached lower down, thereby raising the bag up, it would alleviate this issue but begin to cause clearance problems in doorways as it extends above my head.
Possibly a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of a scenario — obviously the bag must be long enough to fit a semi-auto shotgun of the type used in 3-Gun — but I’d take possibly ducking under doorways over the ministry of silly walks any day.
The front of the bag sports a large zippered pouch and plenty of “loop” side velcro real estate for your patch collection.
The 3-Gun Bag also features a waterproof, easy-to-clean layer on the bottom so it can be set down on its edge out at the range with less concern over taking too much of the range’s terroir home with you.
Now, while the bag itself is available separately for $165, the real coupe de grâs here is pairing it up with the hard case ($335 for the combo). The “100% Guaranteed Forever” Explorer Case 13513 is every bit as nice as the big-name guys that cost even more.
Same waterproof, dust proof, shockproof, pressure-venting, harsh-temperature-resistant design that you’d expect.
Well-designed little feet all over the bottom and edges so the case will stand quite solidly on all six sides. Folding handles on three sides.
I particularly like the really long handle on the opening side. This is also where the pressure valve and luggage tag — which is inside a clear plastic lens and accessible only with the case open — are. Solid polymer with metal hinges gives everything a stout and secure feel.
Four “jam-free” latches have an interesting dual-pivoting mechanism, lock very solidly, and are nice and wide.
There are six padlockable points with a large enough diameter hole to use much more than just a tiny TSA-style lock. On each end there’s also a slot for a lockbox-style cable so the case can be locked to a solid object (see photo below on the bottom left corner next to the wheel).
Two skateboard-style wheels ride on ball bearings and roll smoothly at a larger range of case angles than many competing cases.
The case itself is also available separately, though not empty as seen above. There are a couple of different gun bag options as well as pick and pluck foam for creating custom-fit designs.
Account for 25 lbs for the case and fully-equipped bag. That gives you room for another 25 lbs of guns and gear before running into the typical airline limit of 50 lbs before they hit you with extra charges. What, nine pounds for an AR with optic, eight for a shotgun, two for a pistol, and you’re left with another six pounds of fudge factor for magazines and whatever else?
For the first few months I mostly kept the soft case inside of the hard case and took the whole shebang to the range with me. It’s nice to throw it in the back of the truck with the ability to stack other crap on top. Since then, though, it’s been primarily just the soft case coming with me as it’s a bit handier to throw around and ditching the shell drops the total package weight by 19 lbs. It’s well-padded anyway.
Overall, I very highly recommend this setup. The quality and utility are top notch, and the price is competitive with other offerings at this level. Explorer Cases are made in Italy, supported via a U.S. office, and have a solid lifetime warranty.
Specifications: Explorer Cases Ultimate 3-Gun Travel Solution Kit
3-Gun Bag Features:
- Padded Soft Case made of durable 600D polyester
- Three separate compartments for a rifle, pistol and shotgun.
- Adjustable Velcro straps help secure guns in position.
- An external padded, zippered pouch on the front
- One waterproof utility pouch
- Two large, zippered pouches for storing AR and pistol magazines.
- Heavy duty lockable zippers
- Carry handles mated with Velcro lined handle
- Internal Dimensions 52.9″L x 13.5″W x 4.0″D
- Adjustable, padded backpack strap
- Padded shooters mat
Explorer Case 13513 Features:
- Made of Copolymer Polypropylene Compound
- Internal Dimensions 53.1″L x 13.8″W x 5.3″D
- Waterproof & Shockproof
- Sand & Dust Proof
- Resistant to harsh temperatures (-33°C/+90°C)
- Four padlockable points
- Large contoured front handle
- Two-man side lift handles
- Jam-Free Latches
- Heavy-Duty Ball-Bearing Wheels
- Optional shoulder strap available
- TSA Approved
- 100% Guaranteed Forever
MSRP for complete kit: $335
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit/Finish/Quality * * * * *
I have cases from a couple of the other, high-end manufacturers and Explorer runs with the best of ’em.
Utility * * * *
Lots of room with some modular configuration options plus a few included bags for storing smaller items and loose bits. Plenty of padding and velcro straps and various ways to carry and roll it all. TSA approved and 3-Gun capable while remaining under 50 lbs total. Really, the only hit here is on the back of my legs due to the placement of the backpack straps.
Overall * * * *
Top quality but, at $335 for the kit, it’s definitely an investment. Everything about it is absolutely great except for the location of the backpack straps on the soft bag.
Bonus feature! Photos I took at the Explorer Cases booth at SHOT Show but never published . . .
Drone case. This is also a soft bag that fits perfectly inside a hard case . . .