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Today, I’m flying from the Washington, DC area out to Phoenix, Arizona to participate in the Gunsite event I referenced in the prologue portion of the Crimson Chronicles. My journey began this morning, checking through security with my “special items.”

First off; Delta Airlines, what the hell guys? “TSA Locks are NOT approved for securing special items such as firearms.” Really?

Back on topic – I’m checking two special items, both of my “bags.” The  first, my actual bag, has a T&E model of SIG’s P250 2SUM. The second, and much more interesting, is a Pelican 1750 on loan to me from Foghorn. In that little puppy I’m carrying a 9mm suppressed AR, KRISS’ Vector CRB / SO, and my trusty 1911.

I say, I feel like Nick Cage in Lord of War. A regular traveling arsenal.

Second gripe – Delta, WTF is with making me OPEN the case in the middle of the concourse. You freaked the living crap out of those around me. Thanks. Now everybody knows I’m packing heat.

Enough with the griping and on to pertinent topics – TSA. I get escorted over to the “special items” section and my bags are scanned. I’m rocking two rifles and three-ish pistols. The rifles spark particular interest in the three TSA agents manning the post. What does TSA do? Single me out for more screening? Cavity search? Verify my gender? Nah, nothing that incendiary. Instead they’re now chatting me up, asking about TTAG, and in general being pretty dang cool! We’ve obtained three new readers – welcome to the ranks of the Armed Intelligentsia gentlemen, we’re glad to have you aboard.

We’re boarding .. time to shut down .. Stay tuned!


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  1. Opening up the case containing your firearms is SOP in every airport I’ve ever traveled out of. From Fargo to Philly to Phoenix, they’re all about the same.

    • I was traveling from Detroit to Alaska and the ticket agent in Detroit insisted that I not only open my gun case but take the gun out and show her it was empty. That made me nervous, I asked her twice to repeat the command and freaked out the German national that was checking in for his flight next to me.

      In Alaska no one asked me to open anything, they just wanted me to confrim that they were unloaded.

      Safe Travels.

  2. Everything sounds standard to me. TSA locks aren’t allowed, due to federal law (only you can have the key or combo). And every airline will ask you to open the cases to put in the declaration. I’ve even had them request to have me verify that they are unloaded, with a chamber check. Opening the case shouldn’t make you (or anyone else freak out), they are only tools. Treat them as tools, they aren’t anything to be ashamed to let other see.

  3. I’ve made a few trips “avec gun.” And, what’s amazing / interesting is that not once have I had the same experience. It’s been different at every airport.

    One thing that makes no sense to me is that they put the declaration form INSIDE the LOCKED gun case (where nobody will ever see it), instead of inside the luggage containing the case. I had one ticket agent stick it on the outside of the gun case with tape, which made the most sense.

    I put my field-stripped EDC G27 in a pelican case, which is double-padlocked and then cable-locked to the frame inside my suitcase. When I open the case for the ticket agent, it’s barely recognizable as a gun… the sheeple won’t freak out.

      • OK. Fair enough. But, what’s the point of putting it on the inside? The only person that will see it after the ticket agent watches me lock the case… is me, when I arrive at my destination. It would make more sense to me, if the declaration form had a special radiopaque (shows on x-ray) marker that would show up when TSA scans it later.

    • The way the guns are secured does vary from agent to agent. One says a lock on the suitcase is enough. Another wants a lock on the inside pistol case. The best was two locks on the inside case because, “somebody could pry open the case if it’s only locked with one lock”. Plus, he also wanted a 3rd lock on the suitcase itself. Luckily I was in a small airport and a gift shop that sold approved locks was only about 50 feet away.

      I have a pretty good story about traveling with my .45 that ends with me following my samsonite case on the baggage claim belt scooping up hollow point rounds that are dribbling out of it. In the Philly airport.

  4. Have arrived and checked in to the hotel. All toys arrived safely. Further posts coming.

    What struck me about the bag-check encounter was they had me move the case back on to the floor, in front of the line of people standing behind me. In previous instances, I’ve been taken to a screened area, or the bag’s been opened on the bag-scale-thinger – not sitting on the floor splayed open for all to see. That bugged me.

    • Agree. Showing everyone in the area…you now become a target after leaving the Airport at your destination.


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