Years ago, I wrote a couple of guidebooks on fishing in Arizona. You’re probably scratching your head about now, but some of the state’s lakes and rivers are on the desert floor, while others are high-mountain destinations at 9,000 feet. That means weather never closes the “season,” if you’re an avid angler smart enough to change destinations.
I visited many different waterways while researching the books, but one thing was always the same-a Plano tackle box was at my side. It doesn’t look new any more, but 20 years later, it still works perfectly, cleans easily and remains reliably simple. I don’t expect anything less from the company’s new line of shooting cases.
The Field Locker Mil-Spec Case series was unveiled yesterday morning at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show. There are five versions, varying in size from 56.38x18 x17.5 inches (with wheels) to a petite 17.876x10.920x6.882 inches (to protect a handgun), with each created using Plano’s innovative molding process that creates a reinforced shell. All are waterproof and dustproof and have a pressure-release valve. This is serious gear from a name outdoorsmen have grown to trust. MSRPs range from $94.99 to $249.99.
The introduction caught some by surprise, but Plano has been involved in the firearm market for a while. For the past year, my ARs have ridden to the range in the company’s Soft Sided Tactical AR 15 Case. It’s not fancy, but it performs with that renowned Plano grace.
There aren’t many details on the website, but there’s a lot to like about this case. For example, it comes with a detachable, padded shoulder strap (1.5-inch-wide nylon) that frees your hands for ammo, chronographs or lunch. The attachment points on the case are anchored extremely well and the fasteners are metal, not polymer. So far this one hasn’t shown any signs of wear.
If you prefer to hand carry, nylon-webbing handles (1.5 inches wide) on both sides of the case can affix to one another with a hook-and-loop system to reduce palm strain if your bench is football fields away. The material used for the handles feels like it’s hollow and tubular, although a seam below the entire length leads me to believe it’s really doubled over and stitched. Either way, it’s much more comfortable with a heavy rifle than the flat nylon often found on other rifle cases.
The handles attach at the top of the case, but their nylon continues along the side (with stitching) until they meet a stippled and textured polymer coating that covers the bottom 2 inches of the bag. That’s where the bag will wear most as you drag it across the ground, drop it at the bench, or slide it out of the back of your pickup. The extra protection helps ensure longevity, and in true Plano style it doesn’t get much play on the website. The same “armoring” is found fore and aft on the bag.
Interior padding is generous and I’ve yet to knock optics off zero. There’s a faux quilting in the interior nylon, perhaps a touch to minimize the chance of tears spreading rapidly. I haven’t had any problems, that’s for sure.
The rifle case measures 42.5 inches long, 3.5 inches thick and 13.5 tall, so it holds most ARs.
I do have, however, two complaints. The label that reads, “Made in China” is on the exterior. Ignoring the debate in regard to overseas products, let me just say it’s dumb to have a white-and-gaudy label protruding from a pretty cool, tactical-looking rifle case. Luckily, and unlike mattress labels, it doesn’t indicate I’ll go to jail if I remove it, so it’s gone.
My other nitpicky concern has to do with details on the website. A zippered, side-storage compartment (that measures 17.25x9.5 inches) holds five magazines securely in pockets with hook-and-loop closures. That’s magazines, not the website’s claim of “clips.”
No, it’s not as sexy as the rest of our SHOT Show coverage, but it is interesting to note the number of well-known companies that have seen the light and are now producing serious firearms-related gear-even if they don’t get all the terms correct.