Whether you’re on the hunt for the best gun case locks for air travel, inside your home, or other forms of transit, we’ve got you covered. It’s necessary to keep your family, beloved firearms, and yourself as safe as possible by using the proper locks.
In this article, I share with you my top picks for both non-TSA and TSA-approved gun case locks, plus I share one of my favorite gun safes with a built-in lock. Personally, I choose to use a non-TSA lock for air travel, but you may want to choose the TSA option.
#1) Forge TSA Combination Lock w/ Open Alert Indicator
This 4-pack of luggage locks by Forge is a great and affordable choice for those of you who prefer using TSA-approved locks while transporting your firearms through the sky. However, inside your home, you’ll want to get one of the more durable padlocks below, preferably an ABUS.
A useful feature on this lock is the red open alert indicator under the latch. You’ll know for sure before you leave the airport if TSA opened your case. Once a TSA agent uses the special TSA key to open the lock, the red button below the latch pops up to inform you that your case has been accessed.
The lock has a zinc alloy body and a hardened steel shackle. There is also a stainless steel tumbler to protect against rust, unlike inferior luggage locks that have brass tumblers.
- Several gun owners on Amazon reported a positive experience with these locks by Forge. You’ll be able to lock your gun case in four places to protect against prying.
- Another owner reported the ease of use with these locks, and the larger numbers on the dials are great for those of us who can’t read tiny numbers on a luggage lock.
- Forge also has great customer service reviews and backs up its locks with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
#2) ABUS 64TI/40 Titalium Aluminum Alloy Padlock 3-Pack
Here’s a solid pick by ABUS. These locks are great for Pelican cases because they’ll give you a snugger fit with less play. ABUS locks are also much more secure than a standard TSA lock.
In my opinion, gun owners shouldn’t use a TSA lock. If TSA wants to open your case, it’s better to be present to protect against tampering and theft.
The ABUS 64TI works great with a Pelican 1170 case. Gun owners transporting a single-stack gun, one mag, and ammo will do well with the 1170 and ABUS 64 combination.
- The ABUS 3-pack comes with 4 keys, keyed alike
- Nano protect steel shackle
- Lightweight special TITALIUM aluminum alloy body
- Shackle diameter: 1/4″
One gun owner on Amazon confirmed that his case passed through TSA without a problem.
#3) American Lock A1105
Another good choice is the A1105 keyed lock by American Lock. The shorter shackle length (1″) makes for less play, and the 1/4″ diameter shackle should fit all gun cases, including Pelican cases. Like the ABUS lock above, the American Lock works for air travel and is a great lock to use while at home.
The problem you run into with TSA-approved locks is they’re not secure enough to use inside your home or while traveling on the road. A novice lock picker can pop open a TSA lock while they’ll have trouble breaking into an ABUS or American Lock lock.
- Hardened steel shackle
- 5-pin tumbler cylinder with special AM3 keyway (makes for smooth action)
- Double ball locking
- 1-1/2″ lock body with 1″ shackle clearance and 1/4″ diameter shackle
#4) Master Lock Solid Brass Padlock
Master Lock brass padlocks are the old faithful of padlocks. They may not be the most premium locks on the market, but they will undoubtedly get the job done at a low cost.
I prefer these over TSA-approved locks for flying because they provide a snugger fit, cost less, provide a higher level of security, are more reliable, require a key and if something happens to one, oh well, I’ll buy another.
The 1/4″ shackle diameter fits all Pelican gun cases and any other gun case unless you have a case with abnormally small lock holes. The hardened steel shackle is cut-resistant, and the brass body will stand the test of time.
The lock body measures 1-9/16″ wide, and the shackle length is 7/8″. The 4-pack comes with two keys that are compatible with all four locks.
#5) Abus Plus 88 Series Brass Padlock 40mm
Here’s one of my favorite all-around padlocks for gun cases, especially Pelican cases. What’s great about the ABUS 88/40 is the slightly thicker shackle diameter (5/16″).
The standard Pelican case lock hole diameter is just shy of 3/8″. The ABUS 88 fills out the lock hole in your Pelican case more than most standard 1/4″ diameter shackle locks.
This lock does cost more, but if you’re concerned about the lock rattling or just want a more heavy-duty lock, the ABUS 88 is the perfect choice for you. A lot of motorcyclists choose the 5/16″ shackle size to reduce rattling.
The ABUS 88 sports a nickel-plated brass body and a 7-disc cylinder that makes it mighty difficult to pick. Choose this lock with confidence that no one is getting into your gun case.
You may also want to check out the ABUS lock below (Click the image to view it at Amazon):
#6) Nanuk TSA Approved Case Lock
Do you own a Nanuk gun case? If you answered yes, Nanuk makes a great gun case lock that works with both Nanuk and Pelican cases.
However, this lock is not compatible with 100% of Pelican cases, so be sure to check your model number for compatibility. Currently, one common Pelican case that does work with this lock is model 1170.
As for the lock itself, it functions a bit differently than the previous locks. Firstly, it’s important to keep in mind that this is certainly not the most secure gun case lock. Comparatively, it’s not as secure as an ABUS lock, that’s for certain. Having said that, you might prefer the convenience of this lock and the fact that it fits snugly in Nanuk cases.
The advantages of its snug fit are no rattling issues, limited exposed metal to cut, perfect for air travel, and the lock body sits neatly below the lip of the lid rather than sticking out from the side.
Lastly, this lock is built to take a beating and survive baggage carousels like a champ. All in all, if this lock fits your case, it’s undoubtedly worth a look because of its nifty design.
#7) SentrySafe QAP1BE Gun Safe w/ Biometric Lock
Here’s one of my favorite toys with a built-in fingerprint lock that I’m throwing on this list for kicks. This is the perfect bedside gun safe in case of an emergency when you need to access your weapon as quickly and quietly as possible.
The safe comes in two sizes: one-handgun and two-handgun capacity.
- Fingerprint scanner, digital keypad, and optional override key
- Program up to 4 fingerprints
- Gas strut opens door instantly and quietly; allows for one-handed access
- Solid steel construction
- Pry-resistant door
- Soft interior foam lining
- Bolt down kit to attach to a fixed object or wall
- Dimensions: Exterior – 12.1″ W x 9.9″ D x 3.2″ H, Interior – 9.7″ W x 6.7″ D x 2.2″ H
- Weight: 12 lbs
- California DOJ certified
- Requires 4 AA batteries
- 75% five-star reviews on Amazon with currently over 1,500 total reviews
All the locks on this list will get the job done, whether you’re traveling by air, sea, or securing your gun case at home.
As I mentioned, I prefer using non-TSA locks because I can use them everywhere. My favorite lock on the list is the ABUS 88 because of its thicker shackle size that fills out the lock hole in a Pelican case.
It’s important to remember that TSA should not open your gun case without you present. You can also choose to leave them your phone number and flight number so they can contact you before they break out the bolt cutters.
I also recommend TSA’s article on “Transporting Firearms and Ammunition.”
Watch the TSA video guide below:
Always remember, better safe than sorry! Don’t skimp on a gun case lock.
You may also be interested in our related article: Best Locks for a Pelican Case