Best AR-15 Hard Cases of 2020 – Rated & Reviewed

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Are you looking for the best AR-15 hard cases? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Finding the right case to protect your AR-15 from collecting dust and environmental damage is essential. But a hard case has been proven to be as tough as it gets.

Most are so hard that if they fall from taller heights, they still keep the rifle intact. Not to mention, the rifle will still fire as if nothing happened. That’s how impressive these hard cases are.

To get you started in finding one for your own, we’ve put together a list of six of the best AR-15 hard cases currently on the market. Before we get to our list, we’ll discuss why you need something like this and what the characteristics are of some of our favorite cases. 

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Hard Cases

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 54 inches in length.
  • Best overall AR-15 hard case.
  • Made from high-quality polymer for extra protection.
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  • Inner padding absorbs shock to further protect your rifle.
  • Outer shell made from polypropylene for superior durability.
  • Neoprene sponge O-Ring designed to keep the case airtight and prevents water from gaining inside access.
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  • Best AR-15 hard case for the money.
  • Made from rugged polymer construction.
  • Integrated handle for easier carrying and transport.
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  • Extra compartments included for pistols, optics, accessories, etc.
  • Comes with a reusable silica gel container to eliminate moisture.
  • Made from high-quality polymer to withstand abuse and damage.
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  • TSA-approved case for air travel.
  • Measured at 44 inches in length.
  • Wheels included for easy transport.
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  • Wheels included for easy transportation.
  • Polyethylene shell for superior outside protection.
  • O-Ring sealed to keep out water and other elements from gaining access to the case.
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Why Would You Want a Hard Case?

There are two types of cases made for AR-15 rifles: soft shell cases and hard shell cases. Obviously, our focus is on the latter. Between the two, hard cases blow the soft shell competition away in so many categories. Here are a few advantages that may implore you to get a hard case for your AR-15 rifle:

Super Durable

These products are made from high-quality materials proven to take on a ton of abuse. Most are made from polymer. This will be hard to break, scratch, or scuff up.

Not to mention, they can take all kinds of impact. Meaning, if you were to throw a case with an AR-15 inside of it, you wouldn't damage the rifle at all. Because the material will be just enough to absorb the shock so it never penetrates deeper into the case.

Waterproof

There are cases that are water-resistant, meaning they won’t easily damage the case. That means you can easily clean them if they ever get dirty. However, there are some cases that are waterproof to the point where no water will leak into the inside even when submerged in water.

In fact, a handful of these hard cases are so airtight that if you submerge them in deep fresh water, the rifle and all the other contents contained inside will stay dry. It won’t get damaged when a natural disaster like a flood strikes your home (assuming you’ve stored your rifle in a ground level closet).

Extra Security

A hard case will provide extra layers of security. That is something a soft shell case won’t provide, whether you use a padlock or not. With hard cases, the latches and additional locks will guarantee that no one else but you has access to your AR-15 rifle and other accessories.

This will prevent not only unauthorized access, but will prevent any accidental injuries or death due to accidental discharge of a firearm (although we recommend you unload your rifle before packing it away anyhow).

Characteristics of our Favorite Models

We chose these six hard cases based on some characteristics that stuck out. You should also consider using this list as you’re looking for one of your own to use. As a first-time buyer, you’ll need to distinguish which is better than others that might be considered low-quality and ineffective in their use. Here’s a brief list of what you’ll need to look for:

Material

Of course, we look at the material as a sign of whether or not the quality will be great or not. As mentioned before, one material that is popular among these hard cases is polymer. Most variations of polymer are near indestructible and are found in various gun accessories other than cases. Some cases (while not all of them) are made from other high-quality materials, like aluminum.

Brownells 52" Hard Rifle Case

Security Features

If you hold security to a high standard, it’s important to look at the features that will allow for better security to ensure that no one other than yourself gains access to your AR-15. While latches are standard in these hard cases, check whether there are any additional locks included. Alternatively, find cases that have the ability to include padlocks to allow for added security so it stays closed until you’re ready to unlock it with a key.

Additional Space

Most cases will have additional space for the added benefit of storing any extra accessories or sidearms, like pistols. Most accessories that tend to get stored away include your magazines, scopes, optics, flashlights, and many others. Some of the inner padding will have compartments cut out and measured to fit these accessories.

Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Hard Cases

Review of the Best AR-15 Hard Cases

Below is a list of six of the best AR-15 hard cases currently on the market as of this writing. It is important that you take a closer look at each one so you know about the features and functions that might stick out as interesting to you. You might have a list handy of all the features you’re looking for in a case.

If one of these six checks off the boxes on your list, then you know that you might have a winner. Let’s dive into our list beginning with the “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • TSA-Compliant, So You Can Travel By Air
  • Extra Secure Thanks to the Latches and Padlocks Included
  • Interior Padding Protects the Rifle and Additional Contents Quite Well

Cons

  • A Little Heavier in Weight, So Carrying Might Be Difficult

First up, we’ll be taking a look at the Brownells Hard Rifle Case. This is measured at 52 inches and will fit all kinds of AR-15 rifles. The case is so long, it might even fit a rifle with a variety of accessories like scopes or optics already attached to it.

If you’re looking for something that’s heavy-duty and built to last, the Brownells' product will live up to its performance. This has built-in pressure valves to ensure that your case is secure and airtight. It won’t come loose at all and your rifle won’t somehow roll out and hit the floor.

If you have dealt with something like that in the past, rest assured it won’t happen again. This will not only take on continuous bumping and banging, but it is also approved by the TSA for suitable air travel. So if you’re looking for something that is travel-friendly, this case won’t cause you any legal headaches because it meets all regulations and is fully compliant.

Bottom Line

The Brownells' product stands out as the best overall choice for all the right reasons. It’s tough enough to take on beatings and the bumps and bangs of regular transport. Plus, everything is nice and secure inside.

The foam protects your rifle and accessories so they don’t move around while you’re taking the case from point A to point B. So once you open it, everything is still intact. If you’re looking for a reliable case that will protect your rifle from the inside out, get the Brownells Hard Case.

Pros

  • TSA-Approved for Air Travel
  • Construction is Solid and Rugged
  • Contents Stay Dry Even After a Long Period of Water Submersion

Cons

  • Might Be a Little Heavy, So Carrying Might Be a Little Challenging

Now, we’ll be taking a look at the Pelican Protector Gun Case. This product is designed to protect you from just about anything that could harm a rifle, including water, shock, and even dust. The shell is made from a polypropylene structural resin.

Inside is a polyurethane foam designed to stop all kinds of shock from affecting the rifle itself. So inside and out, this puppy is indestructible and does its best to protect your rifle. We can go so far as to say that this is the Fort Knox of hard cases.  

In fact, it’s so airtight that no water will ever get into the case itself. Try submerging this in deep water for a while. Once you resurface it, open it up and all the contents will still be dry. That’s the kind of case you’re dealing with.

For added security, this product has molded loops you can use to add on additional padlocks. This means that you and only you will open the case, so long as you have a key. If you’re looking for a case that stands out as the total package in terms of giving you damage-proof storage and extra security, this Protector Case by Pelican might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

You can probably expect the Brownells and the Pelican to fight it out for the top spot between now and next year. Don’t be shocked if you still see both of them continue to claim the top spots. The Pelican is quite tough from the inside and out.

It’s easy to clean, so dust doesn’t stand a chance. No amount of shock will ever penetrate the case and no water will gain access. Of course, no unauthorized access will be allowed thanks to the additional security features. This might be second to none for a lot of AR-15 users.

If these features and functions are impressive enough, then you know you’ve found a winner in the Pelican hard case.

Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR AR Tactical Gun Case with ZERUST - 40 x 12 x 4 in. Hard Gun Case with Zerust Magazine Pockets and Straps for Ammunition, Firearm Storage Accessory

Pros

  • Fits Most AR-15 Rifles Without Any Issue
  • Nylon Straps Included for More Comfortable Carrying
  • Not Too Bulky in Size, So It’s Easy to Store and Save Space

Cons

  • One User Suggested There Should Be More Positions for the Carrying Straps
  • Latches May Pinch Your Fingers While Snapping Them Shut

If you’re looking for a hard case for your AR-15 but would rather stick to a certain price range, the Flambeau Outdoors Tactical AR Case is a great choice at the right price. This is our choice for “best for the money”. In translation, it’s best for those on a budget. The outer shell is made from a polypropylene material that protects the case from dust and all kinds of impact and abuse.

This product will also be resistant to corrosive elements. It fits all kinds of AR-15 rifles since it’s measured at 40 inches in length. Inside, you’ll have velcro straps included for the storage of any handguns and additional magazines.

For easier carrying, this includes an integrated handle that will allow you to carry it easily from point A to point B. If you’re taking to the skies, you’ll be confident in knowing this case is also TSA-approved. So it takes out the guesswork of whether or not if it fits the compliance requirements of air travel.

Bottom Line

For a budget hard case, this exceeds a lot of expectations. It’s tough all over and will do a great job protecting your rifle from the bumps and bangs. Unlike some cases that might be considered a little heavy and uncomfortable for transport, the Flambeau got it right when they included additional straps to make the carrying a little easier for users.

On top of that, it’s not too bulky and doesn’t take up a whole lot of room. If you’re someone who likes to save some space for storage, this is probably the best news you’ve heard in a while.

Case Club AR-15 Pre-Cut Waterproof Rifle Case with Included Silica Gel to Help Prevent Gun Rust & Small Waterproof Accessory Box (Gen 2)

Pros

  • Super Strong Construction
  • Abundant Space for Accessory Storage
  • Inner Foam is Very Sturdy and Doesn’t Allow for Any Movement

Cons

  • Might Be a Little Heavier in Weight
  • Lid May Not Flex When You Press Your Finger Down on it
  • Might Be a Little Flimsy in Quality According to Some Users

Up next, we’ll be taking a look at the Case Club Pre-Made AR-15 Waterproof Rifle Case. This includes storage space for not only the rifle itself, but will also make way for additional storage space for your sidearms, magazines, and other accessories. Once shut in place, they won’t move around and rattle while you’re moving it from place to place.

The exterior is made from a high-quality polymer designed to take on the normal abuse and bumps from the usual carrying. Inside is a polyethylene padding designed to protect your rifle from all kinds of shock and damage. The padding is also easy to clean.

This also comes with silica gel designed to eliminate any moisture that might get locked into the case itself. You don’t have to worry about it mildewing or having some mold growing inside. The gel will be used time and time again to suck out the moisture.And it can be re-used for as long as possible. 

So if you’re looking for inside protection that goes above and beyond the call of duty, this will probably be your best solution. This also might be your go-to case if you’re looking for something that’s compact and doesn’t take up too much space. On top of all this, you get an accessory box that allows for storage of any cleaning chemicals or small tools.

Bottom Line

The fact that this has a silica gel feature for the sake of eliminating moisture from staying inside the case is something that impressed us the most. You’d be surprised how much damage can be done to a rifle with just enough of it. The Case Club manufacturers made smart moves when designing and making these cases.

When you get this product, you’re getting something that will literally give your rifle protection from the inside out. If you want something that is not only impervious to water or impact but also something that moisture is no match for, this just might be right up your alley.

Pros

  • Locks Nice and Secure so Only You Can Access it
  • Wheels Make Transportation a Lot Easier
  • Padding is Nice and Thick to Keep the Rifle and Accessories in Place

Cons

  • None

The Plano Hard Case is our next product for review. If you’re looking for something that’s as close to a tactical-style rifle case as you’re going to get, you may want to give this product a closer look. This product is designed to give you an extra layer of security for your high-powered rifles, including your AR-15s.

You can also  store away extra handguns if you plan on having an extended day at the range. The outer shell is made from high-quality synthetic materials designed to withstand the hits and bangs that come standard with transporting your rifle from one place to the next. If you want easier transportation, then you’ll love the fact that this comes with a set of wheels.

Yes, it has wheels (unlike some of the other products we’ve reviewed so far). This has a heavy-duty gasket that comes equipped to ensure that the elements stay out so it won’t cause any damage to your AR-15 rifle.

No water will gain access to the case since is so airtight. Even underwater, everything inside the case stays dry. If you’re looking for a case that’s completely waterproof, you may have found a winner in the Plano Hard Case.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for something that will be spacious enough to fit your AR-15 rifle and your extra accessories or pistols, then this case from Plano will serve as your best friend for a long day at the range. Even better, you can wheel it around as you go from place to place.

This definitely saves you from the inconvenience of having to carry it from one place to the next using a standard handle. Aside from that, it does what an AR-15 hard case should do. It’s protective of what you put inside. Plus, it keeps water out and everything else dry on the inside. What more can you ask for in a case like this?

Pros

  • TSA-Approved for Air Travel
  • Latches are Convenient for Extra Security
  • Easy Transportation No Matter Where You Take it

Cons

  • A Little Heavier in Weight
  • Might Be Slightly Bulky for Storage

For our final review, we’ll be taking a look at the SKB Double Rifle Case. If you’re looking for something that’s a little longer, this might be something that’s right up your alley. Not to mention, this might be something you’ll enjoy having if you hate the idea of using a handle to carry your rifle around.

That’s because it has wheels you can use for easy transporting from one point to the next. One of the things we’ve noticed with this case is that it has a dual design that will not only be large enough to fit one rifle, but you can also fit two of them, as well. Think of this like a bunk bed for your AR-15s.

Plus, it's large enough to fit both of them. So if you want a storage case that is discreet and big enough for your rifles, you would be hard-pressed to find any other product quite like this. The outer shell is a molded polyethylene shell that provides superior protection, along with four keyed latches for extra security.

Plus, the case itself is O-ring sealed so it keeps the elements out and prevents leakage from getting in. Inside is your protective form that is designed to not only hold the rifles in place but protect it from the shock produced from impacts.

Bottom Line

The SKB Gun Case is quite impressive for its ability to accommodate two rifles at a time. If you own two AR-15 rifles and want to save money rather than buying two separate cases, you’d be insane to pass up the opportunity to give this product a closer look. Aside from that, this is another wheeled case that will definitely take away the frustration of having to lug around a heavy case.

So, if you hate having to carry around a rifle case and risking the chance of bumping into anything or anyone (accidentally of course), this might be worth the investment.

Pros and Cons of AR-15 Hard Cases

While there are advantages to having a hard case for your AR-15 rifle, it does come with its share of disadvantages as well. Here’s what you’ll expect should you choose to go with a hard case for your rifle:

PROS

Here are the main pros:

  • Better Protection

Hard cases are made from high-quality materials that will be impervious to all kinds of damage. But they don't stop there. The padding that houses the rifle and even additional accessories also provides more protection from elements like water and shock. Your AR-15 rifle will always work properly even if it is submerged in ten feet of water or endures a ten-foot fall.

  • Better Security

The latches and added features for padlocks will pave the way for better security. A hard shell case will make it look like a Fort Knox or Supermax of some kind for your AR-15 rifle. And only you will have access to your rifle since you’ll have a key on hand that will allow you to unlock the padlocks.

  • Most are TSA-Approved

If you’re planning on traveling by air, there is always the question of whether or not any firearms or accessories are approved for flying. The good news is, you can travel with firearms. But they have to be checked luggage and cannot be carried onto a flight. Most hard cases have security features in place so they won’t easily be opened and cause any safety issues. This alone has allowed TSA to approve these kinds of cases for air transport.

CONS

Now for a few drawbacks:

  • Heavy In Weight

Let’s face it, it’s not fun to carry around a case when it’s heavy, especially if it doesn’t even have the rifle itself inside. Some of these hard cases weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds without any rifles or accessories loaded inside. At times, it may make carrying and transportation a little less comfortable.

  • A Little Pricey

Compared to soft shell cases, hard cases might be a little pricey. But luckily for those on a budget, there are many options to buy one that is affordable in price and still solid in quality. This also might be due to the fact that these cases are pretty much indestructible. So the better the quality, the more valuable they are and therefore are higher in price.

Conclusion

Your next AR-15 hard case is out there. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have a product that is reliable and will stand up to all kinds of abuse. Plus, it will do the best job in preventing the contents of your case from getting damaged due to water, dust, and other environmental factors.

Plus, you have more guaranteed security that you’re the only one that can access the case. Your rifle is very important to you and it must be taken care of properly. So find an AR-15 hard case that will last you so long, it might be the only one you’ll ever rely on in your lifetime.

People Also Ask

The following are some frequently asked questions you can use as an additional guide to help you choose the right AR-15 hard case for you. The following are questions asked by first-time buyers:

What Are Gun Cases Made Of?

It depends on the type of gun case you’re looking for. Hard shell gun cases are made mostly from synthetic materials. Outer shells may be made from materials like polymer or similar materials like polyethylene. The interior will also be made from various synthetics.

Can You Wash a Gun Case?

The short answer: yes. To better explain it, you can wash a hard case with just regular soap and water. The outer shell of hard cases will always be resistant to water. Even just wiping it down with a regular dry cloth can be enough to wipe off all kinds of dust and dirt. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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