Plain Vanilla Innocuous Flying with Guns


Eagle Creek Travel Gear Luggage No Matter What Flashpoint Rolling Duffel XL
Eagle Creek Travel Gear Luggage No Matter What Flashpoint Rolling Duffel XL

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos.” ~ Jordan Peterson

I flew (SWA) from PDX (Portland, OR) to DEN recently, with my usual complement of gear.

In my Eagle Creek roller-duffel, I have my copy of the FS 7.62×51 (POF Revolution, enhanced to my specification by Robar of Phoenix, AZ). My rifle has a co-axial flashlight (Powertac 900 lumen) and Vortex 1×8 Strike Eagle Optic.

I have the upper and lower separated, as both fit fairly flat in a hard case (Beretta CX4 case), and the whole thing fits inside my Eagle Creek roller-duffel.

Also in my duffel is an innocuous, soft carry case I can use for low-profile transport after I arrive, put my rifle back together, and am away from the airport.

Fully-charged magazines are within a padded case inside of a separate piece of unpretentious luggage.

TSA requires “hard” cases for firearms transport in checked baggage, but I don’t like flying with gun cases that look like gun cases! All my airline luggage is “plain vanilla.”

When I fly out of DEN, TSA x-rays the duffel and sends me on my way. Only once in the last twelve flights have they actually looked inside it. However, at PDX, they don’t have the necessary x-ray apparatus, so they physically examine every bag containing declared guns.

The TSA agent smiled and asked me what kind of rifle it was, and of course, I told him. After a brief conversation about rifle calibers, I was on my way. My bag arrived in DEN, as expected, and as it has many times before.

To be sure, not all airports and airlines are as pleasant and pro-customer as are PDX and SWA. Flying out of any airport in NY or CA is not recommended [ever]. American and Delta are not recommended.

United is okay. SWA is the best. I don’t have experience with most of the others.

The important thing is that I have necessary equipment with me, no matter where I go, and no matter how I get there.

We find a way.


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

  • 15 thoughts on “Plain Vanilla Innocuous Flying with Guns

    1. I traveled from San Antonio to Atlanta by SWA with my daily carry pistol and 3 loaded mags in a locked hard case inside my soft duffel. Had no problems at all with anyone because of the pistol.
      My wife, the disabled 72 year-old white terrorist grandma, on the other hand, got held up and strip searched by TSA idiots in the Atlanta airport because she walks with a cane and has a full-length plastic and metal brace on one leg. Now I understand why they REALLY don’t want you to have access to your guns enroute. They’re just trying to protect the more arrogant and ignorant members of the TSA gang.

    2. I had a totally different (bad) experience at PDX. I have a TSA approved hard case for my AR 10 with three lock points on it. The “I***T TSA goon grabbed my case and tried to pry it open. He managed to get one finger up to his first knuckle, He claimed my case was not secure and would not be allowed on the aircraft. Finally I found a way to secure it with a strap that has a combination fastener on it. When I returned to the TSA check point the other agent had left. The new guy looked at my strap and asked me why it was secured like that. He looked at the case and three locks and told me there is nothing wrong with the case. Needless to say, I was P***D, actually I still am and that was two years ago!

    3. Do you really believe the guy didn’t read the article but is spending so much effort to complain about the first paragraph. Give me a break. He is just looking for attention.

    4. Soooo, how is TSA theater and SWA allowing the firearm in a soft case? I am puzzled. One of the first times I flew with a handgun, I had a locked soft case in my bag and I had to buy a hard case from the airline. (It was too long ago so I don’t remember the company.)

      1. The TSA requires the gun to be in a hard case. In the article, he says he uses a Beretta CX-4 case. That is a hard case. The hard case can be inside a soft case, no problem.

        Delta has taken to wrapping the bag in giant zip ties that are a bitch to cut. You have to go to the baggage office to get your bag, too. Of course the EDC knife is in the checked bag,. It’s Delta’s knee jerk reaction to the guy who geared up in the bathroom by baggage claim and came out shooting. They don’t care if you get to your destination and have to go to your car unarmed. They are idiots.

        I had the conversation with a county cop in the Ft. Lauderdale airport where the shooting happened (I think that was whee, I travel a bunch). She said it was a good idea! I told her it’s not a good idea for a law abiding citizen to have to navigate to their car in a dark parking garage. She had no reply. Ignorance is bliss!

        Southwest is good, American was OK and so is Allegiant but the level of hassle is very dependent on the airport. Orlando, Atlanta, others require you to get you and your bag escorted to the TSA office and they open and inspect.

        Al in all, you can fly with your guns, just be aware of local laws. Stay the hell away form NY and CA, too.

      2. The article clearly described the firearm in a hard case. It says that he also carries a soft case that he uses AFTER arriving.

        I was more surprised that he doesn’t have trouble over the loaded magazines. I know a magazine fits the description of a rigid box meant to hold ammunition, but my experience a few years ago was that TSA thought that meant an original ammo box or a box specifically for ammo, but NOT a magazine.

      3. Did you even bother to read the article? Oh wait, you answered my question with your initial reply, sorry. Reading comprehension classes will begin tomorrow, credit cards not accepted.

      1. Please explain what you find to be fraudulent about Jordan Peterson. That would be so much more useful than just whinging. Unless, OFC, you have no reasons for anything you think or do. That would explain the whinging quite well.

        1. Please refrain from attempting to inject emotion into a factual based debate. I am not “whining”.

          Jordan Peterson has been exposed as a con man who, until recently, has been successfully presenting himself as an intellectual. The links and articles to the numerous take downs of him are easily searched on the internet. I will try to post a few links for reference.

          Note: I have assign no personal opinion to anyone who “believes” what Jordan Peterson espouses. It just provides me with the catalyst to move away from them.

          Etc, etc .

          1. Do you know the difference between fact and ad hominem attacks? I looked at one of the links you provided and that’s all it was, an ad hominem attack with no substantiation.

            1. All of them are that way. Mud slinging and name calling is all the left knows how to do. Then, when one asks them what the guy actually said that they object to, they have no answer. How could they? They’ve never listened to a word the guy they hate ever said. They just take CNNs word for it.
              That is the trap of being told by the Media what to think. Whenever they get asked a question, the only answer they have is: “look at all of these insults!!!”. And then they wonder why people with a little knowledge think they’re idiots.
              And then they make themselves look even more ridiculous by accusing the side asking for facts of “attempting to inject emotion”. What foolish idiocy. I can’t comprehend the terrible depths of such diseased minds.
              I won’t even mention the pathetic attempt at correction by a grammar nazi who doesn’t know what “whinging” is.
              OK, I guess I will:

        1. Like a certain one above who shall remain unnamed? Let’s just call him clayman, and we can refer to me as “Sluggo”. Yes, I’m old enough to remember Mr. Bill, Jane the ignorant slut, etc. 🙂
          I haven’t thought about that in years. SNL WAS good, once upon a time. I used to make it a point to stay in until it was over and then go out. Now I haven’t even had a TV since 2012. Even before that, the last time I ever made it point to watch a show, It was ST TNG. So somewhere in the ’90s. When my last TV died, it took a month to even notice. I figured that anything so useless it takes more than a month to notice it’s gone, isn’t anything I need in the first place.

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