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Best AR-15 Hard Case: Definitive Guide 2022

January 26, 2022 // 22 minute read

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Best AR-15 Hard Case: Definitive Guide 2022

Best AR-15 Hard Case - Bugoutbill.com

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Protect your AR-15 rifles with one of these affordable, durable, and airtight hard cases from the industry’s best!

Let’s face it – your AR-15 needs more love than it’s receiving right now! 

It’s time to trade those soft rifle cases – or no cases at all – with a good hard rifle case that can provide the ultimate protection that your AR-15 deserves.

But how do you know if it’s the best one?

Simple – just scroll down through this article and get a good look at:

  • The seven best AR-15 gun cases on the market;
  • Their specs, pros, cons, and most unique features;
  • How they fared against each other based on security, durability, build quality, features, and value for money;
  • Which one is affordable, most secure, most durable, etc.; and
  • Lots more!

If you’re looking for a case that can prevent water, dust, or any damaging factor from coming upon your firearm – we’ll point you right to it!

Keep your eye on the target…

And fire!

Introduction

No one carries their AR-15 rifles around out in the open, right? So when you’re going from your place to the shooting range or your favorite hunting spot, you’ll need a case.

Transporting your firearm in a soft case might appeal to you because of its lighter weight. But have you ever asked – What does my AR-15 need?

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Most likely…

Your rifle would want to trade your soft cases for more durable, secure, and sturdy ones. They might cost a little more than the soft ones, but you won’t regret a single penny.

That is, of course, if you bought the right one!

That’s why…

We went through the market to find just what our rifles deserve. And we found them! 

This list contains the rifle cases that can provide adequate protection with their soft fabric/foam and solid construction. They may be just the right size for your gun or guns and extra gear too!

Plus…

On this list we have those that are well within budget!

So, there’s no use searching elsewhere. It’s all right here – all you need is to scroll down!

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1 - Best Heavy Duty AR 15 Hard Case- Editor’s Choice Award

Vault by Pelican

Editors Choice - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

10

Durability

10

Security

10

Features

8

Overall Score
94

Bottom Line: This shock-absorbent and weather-proof Pelican rifle case is perfect for two of your guns plus other accessories.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

You can rely on the Vault by Pelican rifle case to get your gun through thick and thin. There’s a pretty good reason why it’s our Editor’s Choice!

Judging by its dimensions, its storage capacity is up to two rifles – or just your rifle, and there’d be more than enough room for other accessories. 

It’s 56 inches long and 19 inches wide. It may be a bit heavy – 24.95 lbs – compared to others, but we managed well with it.

And when the going gets rough…

There’s no doubt about it. The outer material is extremely durable and can withstand impact when you accidentally drop it or when it gets pushed around in transport. Thanks to its open cell core and solid wall design!

That’s why we recommend this gun case for air travel.

And this rifle case can also keep your gun safe from water, heat, and dust – pretty much the most common things that can damage it.

Aside from that…

It got a perfect security score because of its durable interior padding. The foam absorbs shock as much as the exterior can. And it’s customizable too!

You just need to be careful while picking on the foam to get the pocket shapes that you need. It’s hard to peel off, unlike in the other cases we tried. Also, we hoped to find Velcro straps inside like the other hard cases of the same affordable price. 

But your firearm will surely fit snugly inside, so there’s no doubt about this case’s security.

Especially…

Because its latch locks are easy to shut tight; they don’t loosen up quickly.

You may find other rifle cases for lower prices but you won’t regret this one. It’s not the most expensive on the market, but it sure towers over all the others in terms of quality!

2 - Best Budget AR 15 Hard Case- Best Value Award

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

Best Value - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

10

Build Quality

9

Durability

10

Security

8

Features

8

Overall Score
90

Bottom Line: Flambeau proves that the quality that your rifle deserves doesn’t have to be expensive.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Flambeau Outdoors surprised us with its 6489NZ rifle case. It’s because we bought it for about half the price of other hard cases, but for double the quality!

Talk about Best Value!

We didn’t find a retention or carry strap anywhere inside or out. It’s also too big for one rifle yet too small for two. And since you can’t customize the foam to create the exact shape of pockets you need, it may carry your firearm a little loose.

So, this may not be the best rifle case in terms of security and additional features.

But when it comes to durability and build quality…

You won’t find anything like it in the same price range!

The hinges are made of brass, it has four locks that keep the case airtight, and its exterior shell is so sturdy that it can withstand whatever comes its way during transport.

Also…

It doesn’t hurt that it’s lightweight. So we also recommend this if you’re traveling by air.

We’ll definitely pay more for a rifle case like this!

3 - Best Quality AR 15 Hard Case- Top Pick Award

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

Top Pick - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

10

Durability

9

Security

8

Features

9

Overall Score
90

Bottom Line: You can customize this Plano all-weather tactical gun case to fit your AR rifle snugly.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Don’t hesitate to buy this Plano All-Weather case if you have a few more bucks to spare! It’s not our Top Pick just for nothing.

First of all…

You can fit two guns – rifles or shotguns – inside it (but if you’re bringing tactical gear, this can fit only one of those.) And still, it won’t bog you down because it’s lightweight.

And even though it’s not airline approved, you can tell that it’s made for transport because it has wheels. You heard that right! And we didn’t find that feature on other rifle cases we bought.

But the best thing…

The quality of its overall build is very consistent.

You won’t find any loose locks. And both its interior and exterior are durable enough to protect your firearm from any type of weather. So, rain or shine, you can rely on this Plano case!

And don’t forget…

Its foam padding is customizable too! So, feel free to pick on it and design the pocket shapes you want.

4 - Best Lockable AR 15 Hard Case

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

9

Durability

8

Security

9

Features

8

Overall Score
86

Bottom Line: HQ Issue’s tight locks will keep your rifle intact wherever you take it.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Surely, when you’re out looking for hard cases, you’re thinking about how secure your firearm is going to be.

There’s no doubt about that with HQ Issue!

Why so?

This rifle case locks tight like a bank vault. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but basically we’re saying that once you secure the latches, in this case, it’s not going to fly open even if it gets ruggedly passed around during transport.

And if that’s not enough for you, you can use padlocks too. It has holes especially made for that!

So…

Even though we noticed that the interior foam isn’t as thick as we hoped, we still gave it a good security score because it’s customizable. The right pocket shapes should do the trick.

Plus, it’s more affordable than most cases we bought.

Overall…

It’s not for heavy-duty, extreme conditions in terms of durability. 

But this case serves its purpose pretty well. Your firearm will remain in place as you travel with HQ Issue!

5 - Best Waterproof AR 15 Hard Case

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

9

Durability

9

Security

8

Features

8

Overall Score
86

Bottom Line: Whatever the weather is, you can be sure that no dust nor water can get into your rifle with Case Club.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

Here’s another all-weather case that comes highly recommended. If you don’t mind the price, you can treat yourself to a Case Club.

What’s so special about it?

Not all hard cases out there are as airtight as this one! They can be water-resistant, but are they dust-proof? Case Club definitely is!

Plus, it’s made with durable materials that can protect your rifle from impact. From the shell exterior to its padding, you can tell it’s high-quality.

You just need to be careful with the locks. They come loose after a while. It’s easy to find a replacement for them but we hoped they could’ve done better with it.

But overall…

This case will serve your firearm well and it will last long.

6 - Best Anti Corrosion AR 15 Hard Case

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

8

Durability

7

Security

9

Features

9

Overall Score
84

Bottom Line: For an affordable price, you’ll have this lightweight gun case with straps to secure your rifle and mag.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

It may not have all the features of the latest and most expensive hard cases on the market – but Flambeau Outdoors 6500 AR has inside straps!

We particularly love that feature because it adds retention or security for the firearm.

Not to mention…

It’s airtight, which means that anything that may cause rust to develop on your rifle won’t even get in.

And even though the foam isn’t customizable, there’s enough room to fit your rifle snugly – plus your magazine. And again – the straps will keep them in place.

Only…

The exterior is made of heavy-duty plastic, which may be durable enough but not so much compared to others on this list.

And the locks will quickly loosen up if you’re not careful with them.

Still…

We highly recommend this if you’re on a budget. It’s still better than other hard cases that are more expensive.

7 - Best Contoured AR 15 Hard Case

Plano Pro-Max

Value for Money

9

Build Quality

8

Durability

7

Security

8

Features

8

Overall Score
10

Bottom Line: Plano Pro-Max is designed for storage, portability, and affordability.

Pros

Cons

SUMMARY:

The Plano Pro-Max case is unique because of its shape. Its contours make it as portable and easily stored as soft rifle cases.

Carrying all of its 6.6 lbs (plus your rifle’s weight, of course) would feel just like you’re carrying a soft case.

But that’s not all.

It has a good-quality foam that can keep your firearm from light impact. And it’s airtight enough to prevent dust or water from getting to your gun.

Although, compared to others it’s not the most secure case. It has holes for when you want to install padlocks but their sizes are inconsistent.

Still…

For such an affordable price – and we mean super affordable – you won’t regret buying it. It offers more value than what you’ll pay for, so we still recommend it.

Why Trust Us?

When it comes to our guns, we don’t just pick what’s new or popular on the market. The same goes with protecting them. 

Whether it’s a hard or soft case, we’re going to comb through the choices to get the best ones.

Why so?

We believe that you’re only as safe as your gun case is.

Leisure hunting or law enforcement – safety is always first. 

We’ve experienced losing our gear, accidentally dropping them, almost injuring ourselves and others. Nothing serious, don’t worry. But still, a scary thing to see.

So now…

After buying and trying those rifle cases, we finally came up with this article. Each one of us – my colleagues and I – took turns with each AR case and noted our observations.

There were rainy days, dusty terrains, and even air travel involved. We brought our rifles to the gun range and the wild. And most of all, we did what we could to simulate possible unprecedented situations along the road.

And…

We found out which ones stood out!

Collating opinions and giving them scores are almost as fun as the shooting practice itself. So, we hope that this article will help you decide on your next purchase.

Buyer's Guide:
How To Choose The Best AR-15 Hard Case

What are the different types of AR-15 hard cases?

In this article, we came across these two:

  • Single – cases with a storage capacity of one rifle or two small handguns; and
  • Double – cases with a storage capacity of two rifles or shotguns.

Features to look out for:

  • Shoulder straps or backpack straps will give extra portability to cases.
  • There are cases with external pockets for accessories, although these aren’t as secure as internal ones.
  • You may find ultra-compact cases on the market, but they’re usually not as impact-resistant as the regular-sized ones.

AR-15 hard case and specifications explained:

AR-15 hard cases are used for transporting and storing AR-15 rifles, shotguns, or small firearms and their accessories.

  • Material – this will give you a hint about the durability and sturdiness of the case.
  • Size – this shows how much firearm and gear you can fit into the case.
  • Weight – this is a factor in the portability of the case.
  • Dimensions – this shows the exact length of the case, which will tell you what type of gun you can carry in it.

These are things to consider:

  • TSA-approved padlocks are required in firearm transport in the event of a law enforcement inspection.
  • You should check your destination laws first before you can carry any
  • Be sure to follow guidelines and unload the magazines before storing or transporting your firearms.

Jargon buster:

  • Retention – another word for security or how secure the case is to retain its firm hold and keep the gun safe.

AR-15 hard case Top Tips:

  • When customizing the padding, measure your gun first to know the exact shape and size of the pockets.
  • Don’t buy a case that’s exactly the same size as your AR-15 – make sure to consider the extra length needed.
  • Holes for padlocks provide extra security.
  • Internal straps are more secure than customizable padding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Why are hard cases better than soft cases?

A - A soft gun case is lighter and good for portability, but hard cases are generally durable and offer better protection. Aside from a tough exterior, most manufacturers add a foam interior to protect the gun from case damage.

Question 2: Why do you need an AR-15 hard case?

A - Hard cases are necessary for the gun, yours, and others’ protection. Hard cases prevent your gun from being damaged, stolen, or accidentally going off during unwanted times.

Question 3: How to choose the right AR-15 hard case?

A - Aside from the size and weight, you should also consider the price, quality, durability and sturdiness, security or retention, and additional features.

Round-Up

See why we prefer a hard case over a soft case for our AR-15? But as you might’ve noticed by now, not all of them are the same.

To give you a better view…

Keep scrolling for more details about why we chose each metric. This will explain why we gave such scores to the hard cases.

And if there’s a particular metric that you prioritize, the following tables will show you what gun case would work best for you.

Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results

Best AR-15 Hard Case - Bugoutbill.com

Value for Money

With so many rifle cases – soft cases and hard cases alike – running rampant on the market, it’s getting harder to find the best one. But we know that one of the biggest considerations is the budget.

And based on experience…

Not all expensive gun cases have the best quality. So, in this metric, we gave the highest scores to the rifle cases that exceeded our expectations.

If the product got a perfect Value for Money score, it means that we’re willing to pay more for it. That’s the kind of overall quality that we’re looking for.

In this case…

Our Best Value Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ fits the bill!

Value for Money Rating

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

100%

Vault by Pelican

90%

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

90%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

90%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

90%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

90%

Plano Pro-Max

90%

Build Quality

As opposed to the overall quality, the Build Quality metric is particularly about the little things.

Meaning…

Are the stitches tight? Does the glue stick? Are there any inconsistencies regarding the size, shape, and material?

This is also where we factored in the design and style. High scorers in this metric have designs that are both functional and stylish. Looks aren’t that important, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

As you can see…

Our Editor’s Choice Vault by Pelican and our Top Pick Plano All-Weather towered over the others in terms of this metric.

Build Quality Rating

Vault by Pelican

100%

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

100%

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

90%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

90%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

90%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

80%

Plano Pro-Max

80%

Durability

When it comes to a rifle case, a Durability metric must be separated from Build Quality.

Why so?

Your hard case mustn’t break – or even so much as bend – while in use.

That’s mostly affected by two factors – the material used for the hard cases and the craftsmanship. Manufacturers claim that this is a top priority when they design their products. But is it?

For this metric…

As much as we could, we tried to expose the hard cases to possible causes of damage. There were environmental factors, accidents, etc. 

Those that endured got the highest scores.

Namely…

Our Editor’s Choice Vault by Pelican, Best Value Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ, Top Pick Plano All-Weather, and Case Club.

Durability Rating

Vault by Pelican

100%

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

100%

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

90%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

90%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

80%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

70%

Plano Pro-Max

70%

Security

Guns are no joke, especially semi-automatic rifles. A chink in the armor may mean life or death. So, what’s the point of locking your gun in a case if it hangs loose?

Therefore…

For this metric, we considered how the rifle cases’ durability and features work together. Combining those should keep both you and the firearm safe.

While trying them out, we took note of certain things. Can it hold one or two rifles firmly? Do the locks loosen up in time? Are the straps tight enough? Will it open up and spill the gun out if I accidentally drop it?

If this is your priority…

Our Editor’s Choice Vault by Pelican, HQ Issue and Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR might appeal to you.

Security Rating

Vault by Pelican

100%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

90%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

90%

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

80%

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

80%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

80%

Plano Pro-Max

80%

Features

You’ll find many hard cases on the market that are high-quality, durable, and may come at affordable prices.

But only some of them have additional features that don’t only look cool but are also very useful.

We’re talking about…

Velcro straps for additional retention like in Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR, or the customizable foam that you can find in our Editor’s Choice Vault by Pelican, Top Pick Plano All-Weather, and HQ Issue.

Features Rating

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

90%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

90%

Vault by Pelican

80%

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

80%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

80%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

80%

Plano Pro-Max

80%

Our Final Verdict: Best AR -15 Hard Case

Each of these gun cases has its strengths and weaknesses. They excelled in some metrics but not so in others.

But overall…

The Vault by Pelican gun case gave us our best experience. It’s our Editor’s Choice because of its durable shell and foam that kept our rifles secure.

In terms of price, however, our Best Value Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ impressed us. It offers durability for such an affordable price.

Also…

Don’t forget about our Top Pick Plano All-Weather with its high-quality build. It’s designed for any weather condition.

The others on this list have unique features and advantages, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Best AR -15 Hard Case Rating

Vault by Pelican

94%

Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ

90%

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun

90%

HQ ISSUE Tactical Rifle Case Hard

86%

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof

86%

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR

84%

Plano Pro-Max

80%

Conclusion: Best AR -15 Hard Case

Best AR-15 Hard Case - Bugoutbill.com

After giving you the facts, all we can do now is support you in your decision. The choice is always going to be yours.

Is it one of our award winners – Vault by Pelican, Flambeau Outdoors 6489NZ, or Plano All-Weather? They’re the most remarkable ones in terms of durability, security, and overall quality!

But…

If you’re on a budget, you might want either the 6489NZ or 6500AR – both are Flambeau Outdoors masterpieces.

Maybe the Plano Pro-Max, which is one of the least pricey ones.

Whatever the case…

We assure you that our judgment’s right about them. And you won’t regret a dime spent on any of these products!

So what’s it going to be, comrade? Over to you to make your choice…

Similiar Posts

Frequently Asked Questions

A - Aside from the size and weight, you should also consider the price, quality, durability and sturdiness, security or retention, and additional features.

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About Author

Bug Out Bill is an adventurer and survivor through and through. From the time he was just a little boy (Bug Out Willie) running and jumping through the backwoods of the rocky mountains in Colorado, to the man he is today. Backpacking through South America, scaling two 26,000+ ft peaks, sailing across the Mediterranean, surviving a near death 50 foot fall with very little food while waiting 6 days to be rescued in the wilderness, and everything in between. No wonder he wants to Bug Out, hahaha. BO Bill is truly a passionate outdoorsman when it comes to living life to the fullest with no boundaries. The way we were meant to live and survive. He shares that passion here with you in his writing and sharing. We hope you enjoy your stay at the Bug Out Bill website. . Now Bug Out!

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