Can You Bring Empty Holsters on Planes?

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Empty knife and gun leather and carbon fiber holsters

Carry-on bags


Yes

Checked luggage


Yes

Rules for Flights in the USA

In flights in the United States, holsters are allowed in hand and cargo baggage. TSA doesn’t make any exceptions so generally, waistband, pocket, shoulder, and ankle holsters are permitted onboard. 

If they intend to take them inside the plane, passengers should pack their holsters in the carry-on and shouldn’t be wearing them when going through security, as holsters might trigger a security alarm. 

As a preventive measure, passengers can let TSA agents know that they have empty holsters in their bags, as carrying empty holsters can raise questions about the pairing firearm.

Rules for Flights in Other Countries

On Canadian, European, United Kingdom, Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, and Indian flights, holsters aren’t mentioned specifically but they follow similar rules to the US, and holsters are allowed in hand and cargo baggage. However, empty holsters can generate questions when going through airport security. In countries where civilians can’t own firearms, passengers carrying empty holsters could face additional questioning.

Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.

Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring holsters on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Holsters on Planes

Are all types of holsters allowed on planes (waistband, pocket, shoulder, ankle, etc.)?

Overall, all types of holsters are allowed on planes in the United States. TSA approves empty holsters in hand and cargo baggage without exceptions. So, we can assume waistband, pocket, shoulder, and ankle holsters are all permitted onboard. However, TSA’s website does state security agents at the airport make the final decision to allow empty holsters through security.

Do I need to declare holsters in my luggage?

In theory, you don’t need to declare holsters on your luggage when traveling in the United States. Holsters are allowed in hand and cargo baggage, and by themselves aren’t considered a dangerous good. However, an empty holster usually makes an agent wonder about the location of its firearm and you might be questioned about it. Therefore, it’s better to declare or let the security agent know you’re carrying a holster. If you buy a holster overseas, you must declare it when you return to the United States.

Do I need to take out holsters when going through security?

Generally, you don’t need to take out holsters when going through airport security in the United States. There aren’t any rules that establish it as necessary. However, as a preventive measure, you should let the TSA agent know you’re carrying empty holsters in your carry-on. Also, keep them accessible in case the holsters trigger an alarm and the officer wants to make an inspection.

Is ammunition allowed on planes?

For the most part, ammunition is allowed on planes in the United States with restrictions. The laws vary per state, so there might be some areas where you’re not allowed to travel with ammunition. TSA states ammunition is only allowed in checked baggage, and it should be packed in a hard case suitcase along with the unloaded gun. Small ammunition under .75 and shotgun shells must be stored in a fiber, wood, plastic, or metal case designed to pack ammunition. All cases must have locks or combination locks to make ammunition difficult to access. Ammunition must also travel on its own, not inside a firearm. Cases with guns and ammunition that can be accessed easily won’t be allowed on the plane. All types of ammunition must be declared when traveling.

What are the rules for carrying guns in checked baggage?

Guns and firearms can only be carried in checked baggage in the United States. For carrying guns in checked baggage, passengers must pack them in a “hard with a lock or a combination lock. Guns must be unloaded and if you have any ammunition, it must be packed in the same case. You must declare any firearms in checked baggage when checking them at the counter. If your firearm’s suitcase can be opened easily, it won’t be allowed on the plane. Keep in mind you should also comply with your destination’s law for carrying and transporting a firearm. The laws for traveling with firearms also change per state.

Are batons allowed on planes?

Batons are allowed on planes in the United States with certain restrictions. Batons are considered bludgeon weapons and therefore should travel in checked baggage only. Similar items like nightsticks are also banned from carry-on luggage and should travel in cargo luggage exclusively.

Are bulletproof vests allowed on planes?

In general, bulletproof vests are allowed on planes in the United States. If you’re packing them in hand baggage, your bulletproof vest should comply with the airline’s size and weight requirements for carry-on. TSA does clarify that even though you are allowed to bring bulletproof vests onboard, TSA agents make the final call on whether they are safe enough to be allowed on the plane.

Are combat tourniquets also allowed on planes?

Generally, tourniquets are allowed on planes in the United States. TSA doesn’t mention them specifically, but tourniquets aren’t considered a dangerous good and therefore, are generally allowed in hand and checked baggage. However, the final decision to allow tourniquets through security belongs to the TSA agent at the airport.

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