Question of the Day: How Do You Carry Your Rifle to the Range?

Hazard 4 battle axe courtesy

Given their popularity, shooters seem to love the sound of an AK launching round after round down range. Not to mention the sweet music of an M4gery making steel sing at 250 yards or so. But some people have trouble getting their weapon of war to the range without spooking the gun muggles who occupy their subdivision. Or apartment complex. Toward that end, manufacturers have come up with various ways of camouflaging your long gun so as not to draw any unwanted attention. Hazard 4 makes a very convincing “guitar case” (above) they archly call the ‘battle axe’ that looks to be set up nicely for either AR or AK transport. Then again, if you’re a fan of the classics, you might opt for one of Thug Case’s violin-sized options. Or you may just throw hands in the air like you just don’t care and tote your rifle out to the car au naturale and toss her in the trunk. Which is your preferred carry method?


  1. avatar Jim says:

    Pelican cases all the way! To which I had a bunch of goodies from Dog Fight Ink – It is not subtle at all. Then again, I live in a free country (for now).

    1. avatar g says:

      Nifty decals. Thanks for the link!

      1. avatar Jim says:

        I love the guy’s work. Ordered many for myself.

  2. avatar Texheim says:

    I carry my armament out of the house in nothing and try to scar as many children, helicopter moms and less manly men as possible.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      You must live in TEXAS, Texheim.

      1. avatar Texheim says:

        That’s right padna!

  3. avatar John says:

    I have rifle cases, but the Thompson goes in the Violin case

  4. avatar danelover100 says:

    I took 10 guns to the range yesterday, and they were all in regular cases, to bad for them if they get freaked out seeing them, they are all legal, and so am I.

  5. avatar Swarf says:

    It is a concern of mine. Not because I care if the neighbors know I shoot, but because there is one neighbor in particular that I would prefer not know I have a few thousand dollars worth of easily hockable hardware in my garage.

    I back the truck up as close to the house as I can and make my public time as short as possible.

    If I’m having a long gun day I usually take all of them and a shotgun in case I want to shoot trap so, as cool as that “guitar” case is (and it is), I don’t see myself lugging four of them around… that’d probably get me way more weird looks than the rifle cases.

    Besides, then the sketchy neighbor would just think I had a bunch of even *easier* to hock guitars instead of guns. 😛

    1. avatar Scrimshaw says:


    2. avatar Roscoe says:

      Agreed; the whole point is to maintain a low profile under the radar. You don’t want to advertise ANY valuables – to anyone. You never know who talks to who and who else might be listening in.

  6. avatar Hal says:

    Cradled in my arms, ejection port up as I low crawl.


    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      Grease paint on face?

      1. avatar Hal says:

        You know it baby. Not that pansy, finger applied stuff either; the rock-hard, two-tone stick kind that you have to lick a few times to get it started on a cold morning.

        That came out wrong…

        1. avatar Bob Wall says:

          My dog agrees… :O

        2. Dammit man, you owe me a new keyboard…this one’s toast after that spray of Mountain Dew.

        3. avatar Anon in CT says:

          Try mosquito repellant. Works better than saliva.

        4. avatar jwm says:

          Some things, once said, can never be unsaid.

  7. avatar Swarf says:

    Although, if you are really trying to disguise the fact that you are carrying a gun around, don’t you think Molle-ing out your rig is a tad… un-subtle?

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      Nothing scream incognito like Molle webbing.

    2. avatar Roscoe says:

      Maybe, but most anti’s probably wouldn’t notice or know the difference.

    3. avatar Hal says:

      90% of Americans wouldn’t know what MOLLE or PALS webbing is.

    4. avatar Taylor Tx says:

      What if i just happen to be a tactical guitar player?

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        I see MOLLE bags everywhere including Walmart. I just don’t want my neighbors knowing what I have, I haul my pistol cases to the trunk in a cardboard box, I haven’t taken my rifle to the range in a bit, but when I moved in the AR was broke down in half and carried in a tote. The shotty came in today carried under a ironing board, maybe not tactical but diffinetly practical.

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          What about using a gym bag? they are long and have a lot of space inside.

  8. avatar gmgunsmiths says:

    I generally have my shop van parked out front of my house. It has a broad shop sign on it that reads:

    G & M Gunsmiths
    We Shoot Everything
    “Including Trespassers”
    “Don’t Mess With Texas”

    My neighbors are used to seeing us carrying our guns in the open, however, for AR’s we always carry them in a soft case for its protection from the gun grabbers . “grin”

  9. avatar Roll says:

    I carry it out in a rifle case, usually with all the other crap I take to the range: FAK, snacks, water, ammo cans, target stands and a small table. And IDGAF what some of my antigun neighbors think. I’ve seen a few dirty looks, but the majority of my neighbors come over to argue AR vs AK or FAL vs M14 with me or make fun of my “plastic” pistols. One of my more trusting neighbors actually handed me some ammo and asked me to test his latest find at the gunstore.
    If they got a problem with it, Communist Republik of Califonia is right next door, GTFO and leave my proud state of Arizona alone.

  10. avatar Scrimshaw says:

    About to take my first mosin nagant to the range this weekend, how I am going to get it past my sketchy neighbors, I don’t know.
    Don’t think it will fit “fully” in my rectangle, “covert” case.

    If I were going to use a guitar case (a good idea and not for a mosin nagant 91/30 obviously ), I would buy a really ratty one from a flea market.

    1. avatar gmgunsmiths says:

      Stick it in a long “sleep comfort” pillow case and tie two boots in the end with the bottom of the boots sticking out.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        Coffee spray (almost). THAT’S funny.

      2. avatar Swarf says:

        Or roll it up in an old rug and drag it to the trunk of your car.

        Grunt a little as you heave it up.

    2. avatar Shaun L. says:

      For a 91/30 you may need to switch to a cello case.

  11. avatar Roscoe says:

    I simply use a lockable zippered case in over compliance with CA laws and transfer firearms including long guns directly from safe to vehicle with no or minimum exposure to daylight (and others eyes). I am not embarrassed or ashamed by any means, but also feel no need to show off.

    I also make every effort to avoid making myself or my property a target for thieves/anti’s (the fwd slash because I see them as being one and the same).

  12. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I move mine in rifle cases. I do it quickly and with a minimum of fuss, but I’m not exactly secretive about it.

    At my old apartment in a less nice neighborhood, I would usually wrap the cases in a sheet, and then bear hug them and carry them out vertically, as if I was moving something long and heavy, but not necessarily a gun.

  13. avatar Kyle says:

    I used an actual guitar case made foam inserts cut in the shape of my sig. It was more of a just for fun exercise than actual worry about hiding. Kinda difficult to disguise the surplus .50 can I carry with it for ammo and tools.

  14. avatar miserylovescompany says:

    Probably the only truly covert way to transport long guns would be to have a decent sized garage with enough room to park a vehicle and transfer everything sight unseen. Alas, I have no garage, and no car or truck, just a motorcycle. And I don’t like my neighbors, either.

    I’m looking at a Safariland 4552 or 4556 in 46″ versions. The latter is long enough to hold both an M1A and Mossberg 930 plus various accessories, and capable of being extended just enough to carry a Mosin as well. Ammo under the seat or in saddlebags. Same for handguns. I wear a bright yellow jacket so a black backpack would work reasonably well. Here anyways. In slave states and such, I doubt it.


  15. avatar Cyrano says:

    Plano AirGlide cases for the scoped rifles (the only way to carry them) and a double gun case for others. I don’t carry any of them in brand marked cases like winchester or remington to avoid scaring the little busybodies. I could be a musician for all they know.

  16. Really depends on the gun for me. Some have their own dedicated cases, others get tossed in the trunk.

  17. avatar Lars says:

    I like Pelican hard cases for my scoped rifles and cheap soft cases for everything else, usually Bulldog(made in china) or Eagle(made in USA but 3x more for same quality).

    A buddy of mine who’s garage is detached from his home(who the hell doesn’t have an attached garage these days?) bought a used cello case for 75 and modified it to hold four rifles and numerous handguns. He spend about another 40 in webbing and quality velcro and misc hardware, so 115 total for a custom “musical” case of which would cost 500+ if bought. It has wheels and all. His lease states he cannot bring firearms onto the property he rents so for all his landlord and neighbors know he is a weekly cello player.
    I had another friend years ago use a giant cooler with wheels, he cushioned it and had homemade dividers inside it and would roll that out to the suv and to the range. Worked well. The conceal part wasn’t even a concern, he just didn’t want to spend hundreds on over-priced gun cases and range bags, money better spent on optics and ammo.
    I would think the large luggage on wheels units would work well for rifle concealment to.

  18. avatar jwm says:

    I live in California so the guns have to be covered for transport. I just use hardshell plastic gun cases from walmart. My range box is a tool box. Some cheap padlocks and I’ve got the bases covered.

  19. avatar rosignol says:

    But some people have trouble getting their weapon of war to the range without spooking the gun muggles who occupy their subdivision. Or apartment complex.

    I haven’t had any trouble at all. I dunno if they’re just supporters of the 2nd A or if they think I’m a part-time hitman, but nobody around here so much as blinks at me carrying a rifle case or three to the car.

  20. avatar FionnMacCumhail says:

    I use a baseball bat bag, with part of an old foam pad for padding.

  21. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    I’m blessed to have a private alley. I just carry them in their cases, and smile/wave if any of my neighbors are walking by. Then again, I live in Austin so people are kind of used to “weird” and I’m also regularly taking gun pictures in my backyard. So maybe they’re just immune at this point.

  22. what’s the best soft case for a mid length scoped AR?

    1. I like my bag from Midway USA. It’s their branded tactical rifle case with exterior mag pockets. Nothing special, but fits an scoped AR fine and it was $25 on sale including shipping.

  23. avatar dlj95118 says:

    As JWM mentioned above, open carry of any firearm is now verboten here in Kalifornia, so it’s a $20 Plano rifle case for the 870 and American (sans scope). The 10/22 is in its custom nylon bag. Public viewing to/from the house and vehicle is minimized as to not spook the neighbors. The ammo cans are probably the biggest giveaway.

  24. avatar Jeff says:

    Standard cases for the range.

    I sometimes shoot outside. Several acres of property and ny next door neighbors are Army, Marines, and State Patrol. Nobody cares.

  25. avatar Michael says:

    I live in a subdivision/suburbia, but in Alabama. Since every Bubba and their mother has a shotgun, huntin’ rahful and whatnot, I’ve never thought twice about it.

  26. avatar Jim R says:

    I don’t own a rifle, so that’s not a real concern. The pistol however goes into a small canvas tote bag along with ammo, targets and other supplies.

  27. avatar John L. says:

    To turn it around a little … A rifle case makes a dandy shipping case when you send your motorcycle forks and shocks out for custom work…

  28. avatar Squiggles says:

    Vertically and close to my body. From a distance I’m just walking funny. It’s free and isn’t the normal silhouette of a man carrying a long case. Long cases almost always indicate “valuables” to robbers.

  29. avatar Will says:

    I just pick it up, step outside, and start letting off 🙂

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      I’m pretty jealous of that.

      Someday after I’m done with the city

  30. avatar Don says:

    I put my rifles in any of the many guitar cases I have and my “range bag” is a tool box. I’m not trying to be cute. I live in a condo and walk to my car in a populated lot. I don’t want people to see what I have.

    1. avatar Herb says:

      Excellent ways to transport your 2A stuff. I live in a condo so danger of theft and/or SWATing is somewhat minimized, but I have a couple of loony liberal neighbors who would love to report seeing me standing on my balcony with a scope sighted rifle.

      Using guitar cases for transport is a really neat idea. Will have to score me a couple of old beat up ones. I’ll tell the nosy libs I have taken up folk music, see you at Wolftrap, & people hate Obama just ‘cuz he’s black. That should get the job done.

  31. avatar Evil Oculus says:

    Wow, this is rather timely. I was just trying to find myself a guitar shaped rifle case last night. Be as it may, gentlemen, would one of you be so kind as to recommend a hard guitar case, that actually looks like it would have a guitar inside? I am sure the one linked in this blog post is great, but I want something entirely non-tactical-looking. Perhaps there is a company that can do a conversion for me?

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      Buy a hard-side guitar case from a music shop or thrift store. Then buy foam rubber and cut to fit.

    2. avatar CA.Ben says:

      Buy any hard sided guitar case, then follow this awesome foam cutting guide:

      It’s on my to-do list, but with a pelican case.

  32. avatar Aragorn says:

    I carry my rifles in a standard padded rifle case.

  33. avatar Ralph says:

    I just shove my Mosin down the leg of my trousers and when I get to the car I hop in.

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Is that a Moisin in your pocket or…

    2. avatar Swarf says:

      Isn’t it hard to drive with the clutch pedal mashed to the floor the whole time?

    3. avatar jwm says:

      With or without the bayonet, Ralph?

      1. avatar miserylovescompany says:

        Mosin stilts FTW!


  34. avatar c4v3man says:

    I will say that SKB makes great quality cases at affordable prices. They’re not necessarily pelican cases, but they’re closer to that than a cheapo walmart tote. Good hardware, decent wheels, can take a good amount of abuse. Their quad rifle case for $250 can haul a day’s worth of fun out to the range on the cheap. Worked well for toting a feinwerkbau air rifle and necessary supplies (including the majority of a tripod for resting the rifle between shots/ammo tray).

  35. avatar Skeev says:

    I don’t care about spooking the people afraid of guns, I care about the people that see dollar signs in my bag and want to know how many more I have.

  36. I’m licensed, legal, and prepared. If anyone decides to have an issue with me practicing my natural rights. I am more than willing to provide them with adequate “educational” material to keep them busy. I respect their opinion, but I will not allow them to abuse their opinion to limit my activities. All of my firearms are transported in standard certified firearms containers. If the “neighbors” want to discuss it. I can easily provide them with my Permit To Carry, my Marksmen Qualification Certificates, and a “Pocket U.S. Constitution” (One contained in each of my “transport containers”, and I highly recommend that everyone do the same.), then send them on their nosy little way. I will no longer hide from these ignorant, sudo Americans, and their tyrannical false idols. I am an American. And I am PROUD to be one. If they don’t like our freedoms THEY should leave. I will not cater to their irrational, immature, delicate “sensibilities”. I will admit one thing is true. I am doing nothing wrong, therefore I have nothing to hide. This is just my opinion, but maybe that’s just me.

    1. avatar Rob Eide says:

      Well said

    2. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Your chest-thumping bravado is well noted — I visualized bands playing, flags waving, and military flyovers — but for most of us I think it has far less to do with worrying about offending the sensibilities of others than it has to do with not attracting the attention of sticky fingers.

      1. avatar Skeev says:

        Indeed, that is all I care about when transporting. I have too many sticky fingered people living around me.

    3. avatar Swarf says:

      You sound like a fun guy.

      Multicam at the range, 16 flashlights on your poodle puncher, every zombie video game? Solved.

      Let’s hang out!

    4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Just my humble opinion. But I really like this response.

  37. avatar DrVino says:

    Bought a giant side loading duffel bag so the hugabunny neighbor does not end up fertilizing her squash herself….

  38. avatar mediocrates says:

    I have a Bulldog case for my pistol caliber carbine. She’s a evil black rifle wannabe. Quite frankly, I don’t think my neighbors care if they see me toting her out to the car. Maybe next time I carry her to the range, I’ll go door to door and ask them.

    1. avatar CA.Ben says:


  39. avatar jimmy says:

    Since I don’t want to advertise to my neighbors what I have, in case they don’t know, I carry a dual case. Simply rectangular. It also helps not to have to answer questions if I get stopped.

  40. avatar ST says:

    Given my proximity to a university campus and the attendant proliferation of Marxists ,my AR travels disassembled in a large Macy’s shopping bag.When I get done at the range,the receivers are separated for the trip home.Its as “bystander proof” as it gets.

  41. avatar SD3 says:

    For the price of one of those ‘thug’ cases, you can buy three or four brand-new, actual instrument cases.

    And you’ll look less like an Al Capone wanna-be, to boot.

  42. avatar JoshinGA says:

    I know that some of my neighbors are fellow gunners, even if I havent met them. One day taking out the trash I saw what appeared to be almost a case of (sadly) empty Tula 9mm boxes in the dumpster. I dont advertise that Im a gun owner. Not because I care what people think, but because its bad opsec so to speak. The fewer people that know I own guns, the better.

  43. avatar Kirk says:

    Several of my rifles are just inches too long for most bags — which in California is a real trick.

    Any reason bags are not made, say, 52 inches long?

    On Pelican: Great for air travel (ex Kennedy Int’l, of course). But real space hogs.

  44. avatar Ronaldo Ignacio says:

    Muzzle down, passenger side of truck.

  45. avatar dom says:

    I always make a full tactical withdrawl from my house. Tac vest full, ar uncased, slung, and loaded. I roll twice till i receah the concealment of my trashcan. Scan 360 degrees. Two more rolls will get me to my truck. I crawl under to check for IEDs than pop up on the other side. The i dive in the bed, wait 5 full minutes and pop up for another 360 scan. I muzzle the whole street. If everything is safe, i crawl in the cab through the back window. No stopping i pull out in full convoy mode. No lights of course. Better safe than sorry. This is not just for.going to the range. I use this method daily.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I like the cut of your jib, sir.

    2. avatar JoshinGA says:

      Reminds me of that show “Combat Pawn”. Except I feel confident your post was sarcasm at its finest, and their tactics to open their store are laughably stupid and unnecessary.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I had a visual of Tackleberry from Police Academy.

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          My good sir, I see no reason to mention Tackleberry when discussing wannabe operators\mall ninjas.

          The difference is Tacleberry was(and is, I presume) tactical.

          While mall ninjas are…well….mall ninjas.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      That’s the way I used to sneak out of the house when I was married.

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        That’s the way I sneak in to the house.


        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Ralph, Swarf, you guys owe me an iPad screen protector…

  46. avatar RightYouAreKen says:

    Not really concerned with camouflaging them.

    AR goes in a Midway soft case
    Bolt rifle goes in a Boyt soft case
    Garand goes in CMP hard plastic case

  47. avatar Cameron says:

    Most of my rifles go Ina had case or two,pistol rids in my range bag. I’ve lived in a few complexes (Florida) I have a lock around the chamber and I usually carry that to my car bushman style over the shoulder.

  48. avatar MattG says:

    I picked up a tip from somebody on r/guns, and I use a DeWalt Contractor Bag to carry pistols, ammo, and accessories to the range. After the range when I’m stopped someplace to eat, there isn’t a bag with a tempting-looking GLOCK or H&K logo stamped on it… it just looks like a tool bag.

    1. avatar Ronaldo Ignacio says:

      A tool bag with a tempting DeWalt logo on it that may be filled with tempting tools?

  49. avatar A. Nuran says:

    Let’s just say concealed carry makes me walk funny for a couple days

  50. avatar Ardent says:

    I’m with the group who’s worried about attracting thieves. Even so, long guns generally go out in what ever is practical though I’m fond lately of a ‘Camo Ridge’ case I recently picked up in like new condition for $20. I suspect it was quite a bit more at retail considering it’s construction.

    I’m actually more picky about the handguns and how they travel. To that end I modified a Halliburton ‘Zero’ aluminum locking briefcase with some eggshell foam. Inconspicuous (it’s black not shiny) effective, tough and easy to transport. It’s nearly perfect for moving a ‘set’ such as a holster and belt, light, spare mags/carrier. It was also picked up for a song at a flea market, though I believe those are quite pricey at retail.

  51. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I’ve got it very easy. Very large lots on my street with no houses across the street. So two neighbors to not worry about as we’ve bought and sold from each other. I can load in total seclusion due to hedges. Plenty of room in the crew cab so more than a few don’t bump into each other. Ammo cans go into the bed. Short 2 mile drive to the range which is usually unoccupied.
    I think I have 4 or 5 rifle bags that look like rifle bags.

  52. avatar SouthFork says:

    Subdivison Gun Muggles made me laugh a bit

  53. avatar Jeh says:

    Just casually stroll to my car and put it in the trunk in its standard black case. The old vets wave, the rest stare or ignore it.

  54. avatar Lt Dave says:

    In a cardboard box covered with Obama stickers.

    1. avatar wvumounties8 says:

      Got and use a couple of those…..

  55. avatar wvumounties8 says:

    Hell, I just use standard blackhawk cases and have never had a 2nd gland. Good ol’ West Virginia, takes more than a gun case to scare our 5 libs (out of 1.3 million). T-shirts on the other hand are what they hate and get their panties in a bunch over, and call the po-po on.

  56. avatar Bill says:

    I took great pleasure carrying my guns out in the open, down my 3 flights of stars and out to the parking lot at my apartment. I hope I gave someone a heart attack lol people need to wake up from their ignorance and realize that in most places, no non-nfa gun needs to be properly registered.

  57. avatar MothaLova says:

    Since I live in a slightly-left-of-Lenin neighborhood, I make sure to carry my guns to the car in camo cases that obviously hold guns. No complaints/thefts/lawsuits yet – but that may be only because the people here don’t know that a camo gun case is a camo gun case (especially when it’s carried by a guy wearing a yarmulke).

  58. avatar George says:

    I usually use tennis racquet bags for my PS90s. However, I recently bought a Blackhawk diversion racquet bag and it works well.

  59. avatar CyborgCowboy says:

    Living in California, I usually back my car into the garage to transfer my guns from the safe. From the car to the range they’re simply in a good, old-fashioned gun sock. I don’t have anything AR-like with a massively protruding carry handle or front sight, so it does well enough for me.

  60. avatar FirstShirt says:

    Usually I open the door and hand carry my shooting irons off the front porch, walking around the side of the house.

  61. avatar JB says:

    The 5.11 tactical Covrt M4 bags are very sturdy ans innocuous.

    No one will think you are carrying a rifle

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      At $140, they sure are proud of that bag, aren’t they?

      I will say it is the most discreet of about any bag I’ve ever seen. Even to me as a gunny, it doesn’t scream “gun.”

  62. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I use a hard case that can carry two rifles if necessary. The case has two padlocks and the case is in the back of a station wagon covered by a cargo blind. I prefer to avoid unnecessary complications.

  63. avatar Shane says:

    “gun muggles!” Are we wizards?

  64. avatar WLCE says:

    pelican case.

    In my bug out bag? folding chair bag.

  65. avatar Brad says:

    A travel golf case will hold even my 870 turkey gun ,wheels included.

  66. avatar Ted says:

    Big ass wheelie pelican 1750 case. Holds two big rifles with glass and a couple of pistols in soft cases.

    Even in NJ, all this stuff is legal. The local PD chief is a hunter/gun enthusiast and knows lots of us by name.

    Do my neighbors get freaked out? Probably. Do I care? Not even a little bit.

  67. avatar IdahoPete says:

    I live in Idaho – I carry my guns to the range any damn way I please.

  68. avatar Craig says:

    I generally don’t worry about who sees what at my house. Most of the neighbors know I’m a gunny anyway and will usually engage in gun conversation when we meet.

    I usually will carry the pistols and ammo to the range in a zippered black military tool bag just for convenience. And the long guns in a standard soft rifle case.

    But for overnight trips to hotels or on vacation I will usually carry the long guns to the room incognito inside of a folding chair carry-bag surrounded by foam. Just as a bit of misdirection. The pistols are always ready to go on my person someplace in those situations.

  69. avatar Shaun L. says:

    When I lived in a subdivision(in KY) I’d load up the back of my Trans AM in plain sight and a couple of my neighbors(old VETS) would smile and wave knowing it was a range day. One of them(retired marine) always looked forward to helping me clean everything when I got back but would never go with me for some reason.

    Now I sling them over my shoulder, walk 50 yards from my back door and set them up on my range table…… You guys need to buy some land, or move to a free state…lol.

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