The disadvantages of traditional firearm storage
There are a few major inconveniences when dealing with small or minimal space. A personal concern of mine is safely storing firearms while still making them reasonably accessible. I’m not worried about someone forcing their way into my home. Mostly because I live in an urban environment. Having taken precautions to prevent someone from forcing their way into my home while occupied the worry becomes someone breaking into my home when I’m not present.
One of the problems I find with modern gun storage solutions is how evident they are. Having a safe or cabinet in the middle of your living room means only one of two things to visitors: you have something valuable to hide and/or you don’t trust people allowed into your home. While there are many options to solve the issues, I have personally found great solutions with using Plano’s cases. In a minute I’ll explain how.
Plano Molding manufactures a wide range of gun storage and transport solutions. They offer a wide range of storage solutions for firearms, ammunition, fishing, and archery bows/arrows in both soft cover and hard-cover options. Plano Molding came into existence in 1952, born out of the shadow of Frabill. They are part of a much large company named Plano Synergy. Plano Synergy owns powerhouse brands like Barnett, Ameristep, Caboodles, Frabill, and Creative Options guaranteeing a product for each member of the family.
Plano Solutions to Storage.
What is convenient about Plano is their ability to be used in multiple configurations, options and areas. I recently received a few storage options from them to try and assess. While I personally do not like the idea of a storage locker or safe taking precious space away from living areas I have found that most individuals who need a travel case end up losing additional space when used in addition to a safe or lockable cabinet. This may be an excellent option for those who travel with firearms often or need an airline case.
Field Lockers in the Home
One of my favorite products from Plano is their Field Lockers. It is a durable, waterproof, hard case lined with customizable interior foam. The foam can be cut away to fit specific rifles and their attachments. Their mil-spec tactical cases are large enough to comfortably carry two AR15s without their optics attached. They do make a double case with easily will fit 2 AR15 rifles with optics attached.
There are a few major benefits to a field locker as storage inside the home. While it can’t be affixed to a wall, it is the perfect height to easily slide underneath a bed. Steel reinforced grommets allow for a padlock. You can fit up to 4 locks on at the same time. Since the lid is plastic, there is the possibility of using a crowbar to open the case and break the seal. However, with the addition of multiple locks and the numerous hinges it becomes extremely difficult to pop open a flexible plastic lid.
To give you an idea, under a single queen-sized bed, an individual user, could fit three to four Field Lockers. This means they have the ability to store up to 6-8 rifles, depending on optic attachments. Compared to a typical safe that weighs a significant number of pounds in a fairly conspicuous place, the field lockers add the benefit of remaining hidden and relatively secure.
Field Lockers outside the Home
While it makes a great storage solution inside the home, Field Lockers are generally meant to be used outside of the home. These cases have an added benefit of being fitted with a set of wheels on one side for easy transport. They also fall within FAA guidelines for transporting a firearm via aircraft. Check your local laws for proper firearm transportation.
Personally, my favorite aspect is the water-resistant seal that each Field Locker and pressure release valve. The lockers are in essence, mini boats. Moisture, rain, flooding, etc. are some of the most damaging elements to guns. These field lockers have removed the need to worry about each small drop of water when the firearms are safely enclosed. Put it on the back of a pickup covered in rain or snow and your firearms will still be safely protected.
Despite being water resistant, Field Lockers are not water-PROOF. For that, Plano has made the ‘All-Weather’ line of firearm cases that closely resemble the Field Locker. These cases are specifically designed to be used in a variety weather while still offering the same benefits as the Field Locker.
For the Tactical aficionado Plano has also designed, fabricated, and is selling a Molle specific Tactical Case. This case does not have a customizable foam similar to the Field Lockers, but still allows for customization in the placement of objects both inside and outside the case. There are several tabs that allow a lock to be placed on the case in multiple areas. All of the Tactical Cases are made from a thinner material than the Field Locker and do not offer a gasket. It isn’t advisable to travel with this case in areas of high moisture or on an aircraft.
How the Molle system words is fairly straight forward. Plano provides a Molle attachment system which Velcros to the case in multiple points. Once attached, the exterior can be fitted with multiple attachments ranging from pouches, magazine holders, cleaning kits, medical bags or a multitude of accessories.
On the inside Plano provides several straps which are run through the foam material and attached together using Velcro. This means someone could position their rifle in a specific area and add a few accessories or optics to be held in place with the same system.
Without any exterior additions added to the Molle attachment, the Tactical Cases are slightly thinner and significantly lighter than the Field and All-Weather cases. Sure, they don’t add as many options or as much safety, but they are a great choice for the cost and take up slightly less space.
Ammunition Storage Solutions
There are several live ammunition storage solutions that house rounds outside of the factory boxes. These are perfect for reloaded ammunition or to condense extra rounds after heading to the range. While they are perfect for a small number of rounds, they do not keep them safe from visitors or children.
In the Tactical theme, Plano has introduced a Tactical Ammo Crate. Lightweight and stackable, it can accommodate up to 86 lbs of gear and ammunition. The interior can be divided into two or four sections allowing a user to separate their rifle from pistol ammunition, reloading supplies, or small optics. There is a handle on each side and a flip up, water resistant lid.
The Tactical Ammo Crate may not be the first option people may run to, but with the addition of a lock it makes transporting and storing ammunition a breeze. We were able to fit about 600 rounds of boxed 9mm and 300 rounds of unboxed 5.56 ammunition without any worry. A standard firearms user would probably be able to store enough ammunition in one or two Ammo Crates, depending on their need. For others who keep thousands of rounds on hand the stackable feature means in small spaces you can safely store up instead of out.
There are many more options in Plano’s lineup, and I hope to be able to see and use many of these alternatives. Nearly anyone, from re-loaders, 3-gun marksman, firearm collectors, builders, to stay at home parents will be able to find a solution in Plano’s lineup.
Their quality tends to go up significantly when there is a case designed for travel or use outdoors. The customizable foam in the Field Lockers and All-Weather cases make for an easy fit of specific rifles and pistols, which the Tactical Series does not provide. When weight is a factor, the Tactical series pulls far ahead of the Field Locker and All-Weather options.
Regardless of the ease of use and storage capabilities, you are utilizing more space to store firearms than a safe or cabinet with the capacity to match. A cabinet will provide minimal protection and fit in smaller areas, but will never truly be as effective as a floor safe. A floor vault will take up necessary room in a small office, apartment, or condo but does not offer the discretion that Plano’s products offer.
For the individual who has few firearms or travels often and isn’t concerned about someone walking away with a weapons case, Plano is one of the best options. Transportable, effective protection with multiple functions makes this a cost-efficient option for discreet and concealable firearms storage.