So you need to fly somewhere and you need to take guns with you. How do you do that without getting arrested? Carefully, but it is not hard.

I'm flying from Sioux Falls to Atlanta and then driving to Talladega, Alabama for the 2021 United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Lo-Cap Nationals. I need to bring two pistols, nine magazines, and a bunch of ammo. And yes, I'm going on a plane.

Step one is to make sure it is legal to bring the shooting equipment to the state and city you plan to go to. Georgia and Alabama don't have any draconian gun laws so all is well on that front. is a great resource for that.

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Then you have to get familiar with TSA guidelines. The big thing is that the firearms have to be in a hard-sided case and need to have key or combination locks. You can use TSA locks, but every website I came across said use key locks that are NOT TSA locks. The airlines also have rules too, but most of them are quite simple and Delta was quite easy for me.

When you arrive at the airport you have to declare the gun or guns to the ticket counter and certify that they are unloaded and cased properly. Then they have to be checked. The hard case can be inside a larger piece of luggage, which mine is, so that helps it to not stand out so much.

The tricky part is the ammunition I need. I will probably shoot somewhere between 500-600 rounds during the three-day match. Extra is better than not enough. But TSA only allows eleven pounds of ammo. I'm taking nine and I shipped the rest.

Overall it's not complicated. Just take your time and follow the rules, and have two or three people check your carry-on for stray bullets.

Diverging Diamond


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