How To Choose The Best Rifle Case

Whether you are going to war, hunting or taking a trip to the shooting range, you need to choose best rifle case to have a way to carry your rifle. In most countries, you are required to keep your rifle in a locked case when transporting it. A rifle case will protect your rifle and make it easier to transport. So, to choose your most suitable rifle case, there are several questions you need to ask yourself to decide which is the best rifle case for you & what you need to look for in a rifle case.

Some of the common factors you need to consider are the materials used int he construction of the rifle case or rifle bag, the type of firearm space needed depending on the size & number of weapons you’ll be carrying and the security of your rifle when placed in the rifle case. Due to the fact that there are a large number of firearm enthusiasts in the United States and around the world, there is a huge selection of rifle cases to choose from. You might think this is a good thing until you decide to purchase a rifle bag & have to spend hour after hour researching the endless options available without know how to choose the best rifle case. This article is meant to help you evaluate different rifle bags or cases so that you can choose the best rifle bag for your purposes. Take a look at our article on the Best Rifle Bags where we review the best rifle bags & cases available in the market.

Do I Need A Rifle Case?

If you are a gun owner then a rifle case or bag is an essential tool for you. You will need a rifle case to transport, handle and keep your gun safe. Without a rifle case, you risk having your rifle damaged or stolen. Your weapon is more than just an investment, a tool used in sport or a means to defend yourself. It’s a big part of who you are as a person and so you want to protect it & keep it safe when you need to transport it. This is why the answer to the question “Do I need a rifle case?” is an emphatic YES!!

Types of Rifle Cases

There are different types of rifle cases & the type of case you purchase will depend on the intended purpose of the case. As we know, you want your rifle case to protect your gun from damage and theft while you’re transporting it, but transporting your rifle from home to the shooting range is a very different matter compared to transporting it on an airplane or bus for instance. Environmental conditions such as exposure to the elements such as rain or snow can also influence the type of rifle case you choose for your weapon. If you have a AR 15 rifle take a look at our article on Choosing the Best AR 15 Rifle Case. The type of rifle bag therefore has to suit your unique needs. Here are the different types of rifle cases to consider:

Hard Rifle Case  

The hard case is one of the oldest and most common rifle cases available. It has been the rifle case of choice for many over the past few decades. In the earlier days, the first hard shell rifle cases were made of wood. This was the principal material used in the manufacture of various items. However, it was crafted to fit only a very specific type of gun.

A wooden rifle case therefore could not be adjusted, so if you made one for a particular type of rifle, you could not use it for a gun with different dimensions. With the advancement in technology,  metal and plastic materials have been incorporated into the making of the hard-shell rifle case.

The metal used in making these cases is generally aluminum due to it’s durable properties and the fact that it’s extremely lightweight. Durable plastics also makes great lightweight cases & offer top-notch protection. The plastic hard shell rifle cases are also more affordable than the metal cases. The foam padding inside a hard rifle case also ensures that your rifle is secure and won’t move about during transport.


The biggest advantage of a hard rifle case is the protection from damage it gives your rifle. The fact that the hard shell case will protect your weapon from impact or environmental forces makes it ideal for transporting your rifle on aeroplanes, buses & other forms of transport where there is a likelihood that your rifle case might be dropped, bumped or exposed to elements outside your control. Most of the top quality hard rifle cases are waterproof & dustproof which is ideal to prevent damage caused by the elements of mother nature. Please note that if you are planning on using a hard case when you’re flying with your firearms, you will need a TSA-approved hard case.


The biggest disadvantage of hard rifle cases are the fact that they tend to be more expensive than soft rifle cases and are bulkier & heavier which can make them a bit more challenging to handle or fit into spaces when traveling.

Hard Rifle Case

Soft Rifle Case

If you are looking for the lightest rifle case to transport your rifles or other weapons to the shooting range or while on a hunting trip, then a soft rifle case is the best option. Many of the best soft rifle cases are easier to carry when on hunting trips because they have padded straps so that they can be carried like a backpack. This is a big advantage when on a hunt which requires hiking or camping which could last days. A good quality soft rifle case is also waterproof which is obviously a necessity because rain or snow is a definite possibility when out on a hunt. Soft rifle bags also have straps to secure your weapon, so that it doesn’t move around during transport. Pockets also allow you to store ammo & any other accessories you might need. We have written a lengthy article with information & reviews of the Best Rifle Bags


The fact that soft rift cases are lightweight & easy to carry make them ideal to transport your rifle to the shooting range or on a hunting trip. Padded straps on some higher quality rifle bags mean that carrying them as a backpack takes the strain off your arms, which is ideal when a steady aim is required on a hunt. 

Pockets for storage of ammunition & other accessories are also a major advantage and the fact that most soft rifle bags are waterproof makes them the ideal way to transport your rifle when on a hunting trip.


The biggest disadvantage of a soft rifle case over their hard counterparts is the fact that they are more likely to cause damage to your rifle when thrown about. The other disadvantage is that they are not as secure as hard cases in terms of protection from theft or tampering. Some higher quality soft rifle bags do have lockable zippers, but these are much less secure when comparing them to hard rifle cases which can be securely locked.

Soft Rifle Case

Key Features To Consider When Choosing A Rifle Case

Rifle Case Weight                

The weight of a rifle case determines its portability and how easy it is for the user to carry it. The lighter a case is, the easier it is to carry but this could also mean that it might not offer optimum protection. On the other hand, heavier rifle cases are usually more durable, and usually ensures the security of your firearm. Therefore, you need to look at what you require from a rifle case. If portability for you is the biggest issue, then get a soft and lighter case. If you are looking for a secure and robust rifle case, then a hardshell case is best for you.

Rifle Case Dimensions

The interior and exterior dimensions of a rifle case are essential when determining what it can hold & whether it will serve the purposes of the gun owner.

The gun needs to fit inside the case perfectly so that the weapon doesn’t move around during transport. The size of the rifle case & any pockets that are part of the case also determines whether it can hold  ammunition & other accessories needed by the user. The exterior dimensions of the rifle case also determines how & where it is stored during transport or when not in use. These are important factors that need to be considered when choosing a rifle case.

Type of Rifles You’re Transporting

The type of rifle is a big deciding factor when considering what type of rifle case to choose. There is no way you can use a rifle case meant for an AK 47 for a pistol. So, it would be best if you choose a case that matches your firearm.

You need to take the exact measurements of the rifle or weapon which you plan to store in the rifle case and ensure that the rifle case is large enough to accommodate you weapon and have a good fit. The type of ammunition & accessories needed for the rifle or weapon also plays a part in determining what case to choose.

How Many Rifles You’re Transporting

The number of rifles which you will be transporting in your rifle case is an important factor to consider when choosing a rifle case. There are soft rifle cases which can hold 2 or even 3 rifles, while most hard cases hold only 1 rifle. If you need more than 1 rifle to be held in your rifle case then this is an important feature which needs to be looked at first before narrowing down your choice.

Security Of The Rifle Case

The security of a rifle case is of paramount importance for a number of reasons. Firstly, you don’t want a thief to steal your firearm or use it against you. Secondly, you don’t want children or other individuals who might hurt people or themselves to have access to your firearm. Thirdly, you don’t want someone to have access to your firearm without your permission & then damage it. This is why securing your rifle is a very important feature to consider when choosing a rifle case. Owning a firearm is a big responsibility & ensuring that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is vitally important. Hard rifle cases are generally more secure because they have secure locks as part of their design in most cases. Certain soft rifle cases do provide a lower level of security because they have lockable zippers. If securing your firearm while transporting it is a requirement then make sure that you only consider rifle cases that offer the level of security that you’re comfortable with.

Transportation Security Administration Approved Rifle Case

If you’re planning on flying to your hunting destination or you’re a keen marksman who takes part in national shooting competitions & need to bring your trusted rifles along for the trip, then your rifle case needs to meet certain requirements. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that your rifle must be placed in a locked hard-sided container which must be checked luggage. A TSA-approved hard rifle case has to secure your unloaded firearm which prevents it from being accessed. You need to lock the case with a combination or key that only you have access to. This is an important feature if you’re flying with your firearm.

Rifle Case Extras

Many soft rifle cases come with extra storage spaces or pockets for you to store your rifle accessories & ammunition. Depending on how much space you need for your firearms it is good to look at a rifle case with enough side pouches or pockets, so you are assured all your belongings are safe and secure in the case. You should also consider features such as the strength of the handles or straps as well as other features like the shoulder straps which allow you to carry your soft rifle bag like a backpack. Wheels which allow you to pull your hard rifle case on wheels like a suitcase are also an attractive feature if you will be transporting your firearms over long distances. These extra rifle case features are designed to to make your life easier when transporting your rifles &  your needs will determine whether you want to pay the additional cost to have these extras.

Is A Hard Or Soft Rifle Case Better?

The question of which is better, a hard rifle case or a soft rifle case, depends on the requirements of the user. I’ve outlined the features and the pros & cons of both types of cases above and these need to be used to decide which is better for you. For instance, if you’re taking your rifle on a flight, then a TSA approved hard rifle case is required. But you might be going on a hunting trip where it makes sense carrying your rifles, ammunition & accessories in a light weight soft rifle case because it’s easier to carry. The best way to decide what type of rifle bag or case you need is to look at the pros & cons of each & see which suits your needs best. You might realize that you actually need a hard rifle case as well as a soft rifle case. 


As a gun owner a rifle case is a very important purchase, so deciding on the best one to suit your needs is crucial. The great thing is that now you know the features & plus points of each type of rifle case which means that you can make an informed decision on which type of case suits your needs.

Let me know if this article was helpful & please let me know if there is any other information which you’d like me to share with you.

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About the Author Steve

I'm Steve & I've been handling firearms and hunting most of my life. I'm passionate about sharing what I've learnt with anyone who is interested, from beginners to seasoned marksmen and hunters. Riflescopely helps me do just that!