At a Glance: Best AR15 Hard Cases
Comparison of the Top 3 AR-15 Hard Cases
Our Top Pick
|Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR AR Tactical Gun Case||
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Our Top Pick
|Plano AW2 All Weather Tactical Gun Case||
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Our Top Pick
|Plano All Weather Rifle/Shotgun Cases||
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You bought or built an expensive AR-15 and want to take it with you to the range or out hunting. Throwing your rifle in the back of your truck loose is clearly not the best idea. Besides transit, you would like to store your AR-15 properly to keep it away from water, dust, and other debris. All this means you need an AR-15 hard case.
Here are the 8 Best AR-15 Hard Cases on the Market
We have reviewed the best AR-15 rifle cases so that you don’t have to fret over the endless options out there. We checked the quality of the cases and their durability. We also looked at the features, mainly if the case is waterproof, dustproof, crashproof, and airtight. We also tried out the ease of locking, closing, and opening of the case and checked its security. Read on to find the perfect one for you!
Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR AR Tactical Gun Case
This Flambeau hard case is made from strong and durable polypropylene and filled with egg-crate foam. The interior dimensions are 40 inches long x 12 inches wide x 4 inches high. It is available in black only. It has velcro straps inside and it is molded to accept the optional plastic dividers. This hard case is very customizable for a case using egg crate foam.
There are multiple pre-cut openings in the foam for the velcro straps and plastic dividers that go through the foam and attach to the plastic outer shell. The foam is thick enough that it will keep a box of ammo from sliding around in the closed case. The lid will not protrude even if the case is full.
There are plastic dividers with a corrosion inhibitor called Zerust molded into them. Zerust works well in preventing rust. This hard case is tough enough to protect against impacts although it doesn’t have the thickest walls on the market. The fastenings are made from molded plastic which might be a potential failure point. On the other hand, plastic latches keep the weight down. The case is quite large but that also means it has a lot of space for your devices.
- Sturdy and durable
- Velcro straps and customizable dividers
- Zerust in plastic dividers prevent corrosion
- Big storage capacity
- Perfect for storing ammo
- Bulkier than average
- Latches molded from thin plastic might not last long
Plano AW2 All Weather Tactical Gun Case
This hard case is made from a thick polymer. It has egg crate foam on the top and bottom with a perforated foam middle section. The outer dimensions are 42 inches long x 16 inches wide x 7 inches high. It is available in black and includes a waterproof O-ring and pressure relief valve. There are other case sizes available as well. The 42 inche version will be the best if you have an AR-15 with a 20-inch barrel or a fixed stock.
The Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case is not the same quality as some of the more expensive choices in this review. However, it has a lot more features than you would expect for its price.
This case has a waterproof and airtight seal around the entire case, hence the name All Weather. Due to the seal, there is a difference in pressures between the inside and outside of the case, so there is a pressure relief valve to deal with that.
Inside the case, there is egg carton foam on the top and the bottom. In the middle, there is a medium-quality foam piece. It has perforations so you can easily cut out pieces of foam to get specific sizes according to your needs.
All-weather cases are great for protecting your firearms from water and other elements that cause damage. The AW2 line has an upgraded look and improved functionality. This hard case is great for airline travel thanks to its heavy-duty, dual-stage lockable latches and a built-in pressure release valve.
- Sturdy and durable outer shell
- Three pieces of foam
- Customizable middle foam insert
- Pressure equalization valve
- Foam perforation widely spaced out
- Might be too small for some AR-15 rifles
- Higher-end price
Plano All Weather Rifle/Shotgun Cases
The Plano All-Weather is a great AR-15 hard rifle case. Although it is not quite as good as the Pelican reviewed below, Plano cases are the way to go if you are looking for:
- A hard gun case with Premium features and
- A reasonable price
This hard case is completely weatherproof. Your firearm is 100% protected from water and dust inside this hard case. It is made out of thick, sturdy plastic. It does not bend even if you press it down. It’s not Pelican-tough, but sturdy enough for most uses.
You can lock this hard case with 5 latches, 3 latches are in the front and 2 are on the sides. The two latches in the front have locks with keys included. It takes minimal effort to release and close the latches.
This case is airtight. That is why it includes a pressure release valve to even out the pressure inside the case. It is also airline-approved so you can travel with your AR-15. Just remember that for air travel, you’ll need to get yourself TSA-Approved Padlocks. The internal locking system of the case is not good enough to pass airport security.
This Plano case is made in the USA as are all their cases. If you are a patriot you might appreciate that. If not, seek help.
The pluck foam inside the case is fully customizable. You can either pick & pluck the foam or use a knife to cut out a more precise fit. Customizable foam provides for a perfect fit for your gun and any accessories you want to add (e.g., a handgun, extra mags, etc.). That way nothing moves around inside the case while you’re carrying it.
The only downsides are the hinges on the back as they can be destroyed by a thief with tools. Also, the integrated lock on the front can easily be destroyed.
- A lot of features for a reasonable price
- Airtight with a valve
- 5 latches
- Airplane travel approved
- Made in the USA
- Hinges on the back easily destroyed
- Integrated lock on the front can be damaged easily
Pelican 1750 Rifle Case With Foam
This hard case is made from durable copolymer polypropylene with three pieces of dense closed-cell foam that improves durability and reduces weight. It is available in multiple colors including black, olive drab green, and flat dark earth. Its interior dimensions are 50.50 inches long x 13.50 inches wide x 5.25 inches high. Although it is expensive it will last for a long time and might even outlast you.
This hard case is waterproof, crash-proof, and dust-proof. The gasket is so effective that an automatic pressure relief valve is necessary. It evens out the air inside and outside the case for easy opening, without allowing moisture to get in. Pelican cases are kept watertight due to the tongue and groove fit and incorporated polymer o-ring. The easy-to-use latches are of a double-throw style. The great thing about this case is the fact that it has wheels for easy manipulation. So even if you have a heavy AR-15 and a lot of magazines, you won’t suffer when pulling it around.
The high-quality foam keeps your gun and any accessories protected. One downside is the fact that there are no perforations for cutting out the foam. The easiest way is to outline the potential cutouts in chalk before you start cutting to not make a mistake. Pelican also offers engraved nameplates in case you want some personalization.
- Extra-strong hard shell
- Pressure equalization valve
- Strong and easy to use latches
- Waterproof and airtight
- No perforations for cutting the foam
- Higher-end price
Plano Single Scoped or Double Non-Scoped Rifle Case
This Plano case is built from sturdy plastic with a molded-in handle and thick-walled construction and includes a decent amount of padding in the form of egg-crate foam. It is quite durable and will protect your rifle well from dust, crashes, and some water. However, it is not waterproof or airtight.
It has three secure points for locks: one in the handle and one on each of the corners. If you plan to use the case for air travel then you need all three points locked to check-in your firearms. That means you will need three locks to take with you, at least one of which needs to be non-TSA approved, since legally you need to be the only one with access to the key at all times and TSA can open any TSA-approved lock. The best idea is to use three cable locks designed for securing firearm cases.
A couple of improvements are possible. The case does not include any velcro straps to keep the guns in place, however, it would be very useful since there is space for multiple rifles and you do not want them to knock against each other. Also, the latches could be made better, sometimes they don’t line up properly.
- Sturdy and durable
- Good padding
- Can fit two rifles
- Good protection from dust and crashes
- Very affordable
- Latches don’t always line up
- No velcro straps
Pelican 1720 Rifle Case
As mentioned above, Pelican is the staple of quality when it comes to gun cases. Usually, this
is the case that all other hard cases are compared to. If you want to have the best hard case on the market for your AR-15, then choose Pelican.
Pelican cases are made to military specifications. They are waterproof, dust-proof, and crash-proof. There is an automatic pressure equalization valve to even out the pressure outside and inside. The case is TSA-approved for air transport. It has durable stainless-steel latches and it is extremely tough and secure to protect your firearm. You can try it out by standing on it, it won’t break. You would need an industrial saw or a blow-torch to destroy it.
Interior Dimensions are 42 inches long x 13.5 inches wide x 5.25 inches high. The interior volume is 1.72 Cubic ft so you will have a lot of room for your AR-15 as well as for extra handguns, mags, scopes, etc.
The case is well padded and you will have to use a knife as this foam is not pluck and pick. The downside is that the large size makes this hard case heavy to walk around with. The second downside is the price, but you will be getting a case that even your grandkids can use.
- Very high-quality
- Sturdy and durable
- Last forever
- Waterproof, dustproof, airtight
- Equalization valve
- A lot of space inside
- Great padding
- High price
Vault by Pelican – V800 Double Rifle Case
This hard case was built for hard use, high impact, and supreme weather resistance. It is one of the most rugged cases in its class. It is made from sturdy high-impact polymer with ergonomic heavy-duty handles that will withstand tough conditions.
This hard case comes with a decent foam that needs to be cut out. There is no pick and pluck option, so it is recommended to use chalk to measure out the size before cutting the foam. Interior dimensions are 53 inches long x 16 inches wide x 6 inches high. The case is quite heavy, 24.95 lbs. It has wheels for easier movement.
Although this case is Pelican, it does not offer the same high-quality and sturdiness as the Pelican 1750. It is less rugged. It is a cheaper version because the quality is also lower. However, if you want a large hard case that will hold multiple rifles and accessories, has decent latches and foam, and protects your rifles, then this is your choice.
- Good quality
- Can fit two scoped rifles
- Wheels for easy manipulation
- Average price
- Not as high quality as other Pelican cases
Eylar 44 Inch Protective Roller Tactical Rifle Hard Case
The Eylar hard case is a sturdy product molded from reinforced high-pressure polypropylene plastic. This Tactical Rifle Case is suitable for extreme temperatures with a working temperature range of -20° F (-29° C) to 140° F (60° C). It is waterproof and can be submerged fully into 1 meter of water and the rubber gasket lining will protect the contents inside. It is also crush-proof and dust-proof.
The inner dimensions are 42 inches long x 13.5 inches wide x 5.25 inches high. It can fit two rifles or a single rifle with optics and other gear. That means it provides you with a space for customization when it comes to storage.
This hard case comes with three layers of foam. 2 layers are fully customizable pull and pluck foam. One layer is egg-crate foam padding. The advantage is that you can easily exchange and arrange these layers depending on the accessories or the content of your hard case.
This case meets TSA requirements so you can take your AR-15 on a flight with this case. It has 2 padlocks for securing the contents easily. There is also a pressure equalization valve for easy opening. This hard case is resistant to mold, fungus, and corrosion, so it will last for a long time and your AR-15 inside will remain safe as well.
- Customizable interiors
- Waterproof, crash-proof, airtight
- TSA compliant
- Excellent build quality
- Can hold two rifles and accessories
- Latch design could be improved
What is an AR-15 Hard Case?
Your AR-15 may be a tough firearm, but it can still be damaged, especially if you are a little bit rougher with your toys. One or two scratches might not affect its performance, but a drop onto concrete may cause harm to the gun, especially to the optics. An AR-15 hard case is an ultimate protection for your rifle.
- It keeps your AR-15 away from water, dust, and debris.
- It is a great way to store your rifle at home if you do not have a gun safe.
- It comes in handy if you travel with your gun, especially by plane.
- It provides storage for gun accessories, including magazines, scopes, lasers, etc.
Buying a quality hard rifle case will give you peace of mind that your gun is always safe from any damage as well as from any unwanted use. That applies especially if you buy an AR-15 hard case with high-quality locks.
Why you need an AR-15 hard case
There are many reasons why you need an AR-15 hard case.
- An AR-15 hard case will help you protect your AR-15 firearm. A hard case is usually made from an impact-resistant polymer with shock-absorbing foam inside. A good hard case can fall off a mountain without damaging the firearm and scope inside!
- A good hard case will serve you as storage for some gear and accessories for your AR-15 as well. Magazines, a cleaning kit, personal safety equipment, and more can be stored inside a hard case.
- TSA-approved lockable hard case can be used to fly your AR-15 anywhere, so you can start planning your hunting trip in Alaska.
- Last but not least, your AR-15 will be well protected in a lockable hard case from any unwanted use. This is very important as you are responsible for your firearm.
How to choose the right AR-15 hard case
There are all different types and styles of hard cases out there. Buying an AR-15 is an investment that deserves consideration. If you spend a lot of money on your investment, you should also spend enough money on protecting such investment. Buying the cheapest hard case might not provide your AR-15 with the best protection. Bear in mind that the high-end hard cases can be as expensive as some firearms!
Make sure the case is long enough for your AR-15
The size of the case is an extremely important thing to pay attention to. The ends of the case take off about two inches of space from the interior of the case, so please remember that when you are ordering a gun case so that you do not end up with a case that is too small for your rifle.
A lot of hard cases are designed to fit an AR-15 in its shortest layout, with the stock collapsed. In case you have a pinned stock or a fixed stock, you should look for a larger hard case.
The same applies to longer barrel AR-15s and AR-10 rifles.
Measure your rifle from buttstock to the end of the muzzle or muzzle device and add two inches, if you want to make sure that you are buying a properly-sized case. If the measurement of your AR-15 is too close to the measurement of the case, you will need to size up. It is always better to have a case that is too large rather than too small. The larger case provides you with extra room for accessories.
Do you have a large scope on your AR-15?
If you are using a scope with your AR-15, you do not want to remove it and put it back every time you transport your rifle.
So before you buy a hard case for your scoped AR-15, remember to measure the height of the rifle with the scope. Then check the internal dimensions of your case to make sure that your scoped AR-15 will fit inside. The good news is that most cases nowadays are big enough to fit a scoped AR 15 rifle.
Some AR-15 hard cases are big enough to fit two scoped rifles next to each other as well as other accessories. In that case, you need to have velcro or a middle divider which will protect each rifle separately.
Having a waterproof AR-15 hard case will save you a lot of headaches, especially if you hunt around lakes and streams. Because let’s admit this, sometimes it just so happens that you drop your rifle case into the water and that is the exact moment you wish you had a waterproof case.
A lot of hard cases are made waterproof, but they are a little bit more pricey as well. They usually have a rubber gasket lining that seals the case and protects the content. Some cases can be submerged 1 meter into the water. Waterproof hard cases are usually airtight as well and use a valve to equalize the pressure when closing and opening the case.
Having a lockable AR-15 hard case is very handy, especially if you plan to travel with your AR-15. Most hard cases can be locked on the outside with a padlock. On the other hand, some of the cheaper cases only have one or two lockable areas. If there is no proper spacing between the locks, a thief can get into the hard case even when it is locked.
If the locks are spaced too far apart, a thief might be able to bend the plastic, open the case apart enough to reach a slim object inside such as an AR-15, and pull it out. To keep your gun safe, always look for a hard case with multiple padlocks, two lock points might not be enough.
Velcro straps inside the hard case can help prevent theft as well, as the thief may be unable to manipulate the Velcro through a small opening.
Materials and build quality
Most AR-15 hard cases are made from sturdy and durable polymer/plastic. You can stand on the highest quality ones like some Pelican cases and your rifle will be perfectly protected. To carry your rifle to and from the range, you do not need the highest quality material. However, you want the most sturdy and durable case that you can afford, who knows when you’ll need it. The better the quality of the case the higher the price will be.
AR-15 hard cases should be built strong enough so that your rifle is protected even if the case rolls down a mountain by accident. Always check the hinges on the back of the case. If they look flimsy then it will be easy to open the case, and you do not want that. The same applies to the locking latches in the front. Some hard cases have flimsy latches from thin plastic that don’t last very long.
Room for accessories
Compared to soft cases with their internal pockets, hard rifle cases do not always have much internal storage capacity. Yet there are some exceptions. Some hard cases will fit two scoped rifles and accessories as well.
Either way, you should think about what you are planning to keep in your hard case along with your gun.
- Are you planning to bring a sidearm?
- Do you want to fit in a couple of magazines or a lot of magazines?
- Do you have different types of sights and lasers?
Dividers inside the gun hard case will make it easier to bring accessories with you without scratching your AR-15. Also, removing the foam can help maximize the space in a hard case.
Why AR-15 hard cases are better than soft cases
There are multiple reasons why hard cases are better than soft cases for protecting your AR-15 rifle, although they are usually heavier and bulkier.
- When you lock your AR-15 in a hard case, no unauthorized users can access it. Even out of your reach, you can keep your firearm under control. Soft cases are less secure as they can be cut and opened easily. That means you need to keep an eye on them constantly.
- When you travel with your AR-15, your rifle will get thrown around in your truck and can get scratched. This is especially problematic with scoped rifles, as scopes can break easily. Getting a good quality hard case for your AR-15 rifle will remove that risk completely. That does not, unfortunately, apply to soft rifle cases. When you have a scoped rifle in a soft case, you have to make sure you put it down slowly and don’t bang it on walls and doors.
- The hard case can be waterproof, airtight, and have other handy features. You will never achieve that with a soft case. You won’t always need a waterproof and airtight case, but if you go for hunting trips in extreme conditions or fly with your rifle a lot, these features might come useful.
- You can use the hard case to store your rifle at home if you do not have a gun safe. However, you should still use a trigger lock and lock the case as well. You can never use a soft case for rifle storage as it is easy to open or carry away.
To find the best AR-15 hard rifle case for you, you need to first think about what features are the most important for you.
- If you want the highest quality, waterproof, airtight, crashproof hard case and don’t mind paying a premium price for it then go with the Pelican 1750 or the Pelican 1720. These two models are some of the best on the market and their prices confirm that.
- If you are looking for a good quality weatherproof hard case for an affordable price then Plano models or Eylar should be on your list. With Plano and Eylar you are getting a lot of value without paying top price.
- If you are on a budget and need a hard case to take your AR-15 to and from the range then Flambeau should be your choice.
I hope you will find the best hard case for your AR-15. Have fun shooting and stay safe!