How to Take a Paintball Gun on an Airplane Legally

The TSA Rules and What You Should Know

A black paintball gun
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Paintball guns may be legally taken on an airplane if they are in checked luggage. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) does not consider paintball guns to be firearms and allows them to be in checked baggage with no requirements relating to the type of container they are in. Paintball guns may not be brought on the plane in carry-on luggage.

Learn about how you can safely travel with your paintball gear as a carry-on or checked luggage. Read on to see how you can check in with your airline and jot down what general TSA precautions you can take before flying.

Carry-on and Checked Luggage

Paintball tanks may be taken as carry-on luggage included in checked luggage with the requirement that the valves are first removed. TSA requires a visual inspection of each tank to ensure that it is empty and this requires that the tank has an opening on one side. If you do not know how to or don't feel comfortable removing the valve on your CO2 or compressed air tank, contact your local paintball pro shop and ask for help.

Check With Your Airline

Check the airline you are flying on for the exact rules and guidelines on paintball guns. For example, according to Southwest Airlines, they have the following rules and regulations:

  • Paintball guns are allowed in checked baggage and are not subject to the container requirements of firearms.
  • Customers must declare the paintball gun to the customer service agent at the ticket counter.
  • Compressed gas cylinders are allowed in checked baggage or as a carry-on only if the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e. the cylinder has an open end).
  • TSA security screeners must visibly ensure that the cylinder is completely empty and that there are no prohibited items inside.

General TSA Tips and Tricks:

  • Print out the TSA official regulations from the website for the state and/or country you are traveling from and to. This will help clarify with TSA officials that you are able to travel along with your gear.
  • Write down everything that you are bringing with you as part of your paintball travel gear. Additionally, you can photograph your bag with the materials inside. That way, along with TSA forms, there is no way for you to lose your things. Have multiple copies for both flights.
  • Do not forget to let the person who checks your luggage that you are traveling with paintball gear. This will help them alert TSA to go through the bag quickly if they choose to do so.
  • To let airport officials know it is official paintball gear, you can take precautions by including a picture from a magazine that includes your marker, gear and any other useful information. For example, some may choose to include their business card or luggage tag with their name, phone number, address, and other contact information.