Nano Vault 300
If you’re not lucky enough to enjoy a “flying armed” status as some of our contributors do, then you have been faced with having to check your sidearm, should you choose to carry, at your destination – even if you don’t plan on carrying when you visit Aunt Ethel in Des Moines. Maybe you’re just wanting to bring back the .44 Magnum you lent her last year so she could hunt wild boar. Whatever the need you find to fly with a pistol in your checked baggage, you’re going to have to play by the TSA’s rules.
Right or wrong, I got away with travelling with my sidearm in a manufacturers hard sided case, secured with a padlock. The case wouldn’t open and there was no chance of getting the pistol out without taking a sledgehammer to the case. Then leaving Chicago (always satisfying…) I was made aware by the TSA supervisor that my case, which I had been using for years, was not satisfactory in the eyes of the screeners. He told me how you could get a screwdriver and pry the case open more than a quarter of an inch. He was nice enough to let me continue on my way but asked that next time I fly, to have a more tamper-proof case for my gun.
Now I’m not going to debate any points about TSA or the merits of having a gun in checked baggage – I will gladly play by the rules. Once I returned to the bright Southwest the hunt was on for a new pistol case. What my loving better half found was the NanoVault 300, made by Gun Vault. You have probably seen their locker that has the four finger detents, with keypads in the fingertips for quick access. They make a hardened, tamper resistant locker that is TSA approved to fly with and it’s a quality product.
The Nano Vault 300 is 1¾” x 6½” x 9½” on the outside and 1½” x 6¼” x 9¼” on the inside. As you can see by the picture this is big enough to handle a full sized 1911 and an “original cardboard box” of ammunition. The case is made out of hardened 18 gauge steel. The interior is lined with a sturdy foam to protect your valuables.
The case opens on a hinge to the rear of the locker that splits the case in half. There are lips that are received in the opposite half that helps keep anyone from prying the case open. The NanoVault 300 has a 3 digit combination lock that I appreciate since I usually check my keys in my luggage. It wouldn’t do to have the key to your gun’s locker in the same bag should some miscreant baggage handler want to pilfer your hand cannon.
The case also comes with a steel cable that can be made to secure the case, through a very small cutout in the side, to any immovable object. I have never used the cable as it is intended for vehicle of home use, but I can see the value in this feature.
Since my wife (thanks again my love) got me the NanoVault I haven’t had any second looks when I’ve checked my pistol. The TSA approved tag does help prevent conversations with our friends in blue.
If I have a gripe, and it’s a small one, it would be the lock in the interior of the case needs to have a clear path to engage the raised metal flange on the opposite half of the case. It’s quite apparent when you have the case open. But I’ll jigsaw puzzle a pistol, two mags, a box of ammo and a knife in there. When I go to close it, the lock won’t engage. Muffled grunts and angry squeaks are emitted until I realize what I’ve done and I clear the spot for the lock to rotate around.
The price on this locker is reasonable with an M.S.R.P. of $44.99. With a little shopping you can find it cheaper. GunVault also makes two smaller NanoVaults that a secured with a key lock. If you’re looking for a good gun locker to travel with or just want a secure lockbox for your car I encourage you to look into the NanoVault line from GunVault. Here is a link to their Facebook Page.