pelican vs. plano

Pelican or Plano: A Hard Case Debate

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Pelican and Plano both produce a ton of high-quality cases. Which is the best deserves a serious looking over, and the answer is quite as simple as people would like to believe. We’ve compared four cases of similar size in their entirety, in order to bring you the goods and help you figure out which might make the best firearm solution for you.

Pistols: The Pelican 1075 vs. Plano Protector Series Single Pistol Case

Both of these hard cases are remarkably good at what they do but we feel one of them has a clear edge for reasons that’ll soon be apparent.

The Pelican 1075

The Pelican 1075 is a case designed to hold pistols and accessories such as magazines. The case is squared off and has interior dimensions of roughly 11”x8” x 1.5” which makes it large enough to hold most pistols on the market and it weighs 1.54 lbs with the foam contained within.

Of particular note to the majority of users is the Pick’N’Pluck foam. By removing cubes from the foam you can customize the interior to transform things to just hold what you need.

The body is comprised of thick ABS plastic and the latches are tough and lockable. In this instance, you’re also looking at the entire case being crushproof, dustproof, and remarkably watertight. According to the literature, this one is supposed to be able to be under a few feet of water for up to thirty minutes before it gets worrisome.

Overall, it’s a great choice for storing larger pistols or even small and compact guns with a lot of attached accessories.

Plano Protector Series Single Pistol Case

This is a case which measures in at 11.5”x7.5” x 2.75” and has heavy-duty latches and padlock tabs.

The foam is your usual, interlocking affair. Just high-density foam, designed to hold the pistol tight while things are closed up.

The main draw here is undoubtedly the exterior construction. While it’ll hold the pistol in place for sure, and there’s enough room for an extra magazine or two, it’s not super specialized. The locks are sturdy enough to beat most invasive attempts, however, and the case is rather inconspicuous overall.

Verdict: Pelican 1075

Pelican’s Pick’N’Pluck foam and watertight construction clearly puts it ahead in this instance and we think it’s a more trustworthy way to hold your pistols tight.

Scoped Rifles: Pelican Storm 3300 Scoped Rifle Case vs. Plano Pro-Max Single Scope Contoured Rifle Case

When it comes time to find a case for a scoped rifle, you need something a little bit specialized. Shock absorption is the main thing since scopes can be easily upset when force is applied to them.

You’ll also need the extra space for your scope on top of the rifle, but otherwise, any hard case for a rifle should do. Let’s compare these two cases which are specifically designed for scoped rifles.


Pelican Storm 3300 Scoped Rifle Case

This is a six latch Pelican rifle case. It’ll take a bit more work than the Pick’N’Pluck foam options, due to it being solid cut-away foam, but it also allows for you to take a carving knife to it in order to fit your rifle perfectly. A bit of creativity will let you fit some accessories as well.

Locks aren’t included with this case so you’ll have to purchase your own locks. It’s a fairly expensive case so that’s a bit of a bummer but as a whole, this is a high-quality case.

It also has wheels, which makes it an ideal travel case for your rifle and allows it to be moved easily despite its large size on flat surfaces.

Plano Pro-Max Single Scope Contoured Rifle Case

This contoured Plano rifle case is perfect for a single scoped rifle and is available at a low price.

The interlocking foam will hold your rifle steady enough, and the contoured design is lightweight and easy to carry. There’s also a convenient handle which will let you keep your gun with you in the field.

The biggest problem is that it’s not airline-ready and standard padlocks won’t fit, but for those who are looking for a simple hard case for a scoped rifle, this is a great option for the price.

Verdict: Pelican Storm 3300 Scoped Rifle Case

Of the two, the Pelican Storm 3300 is clearly the better case overall, despite the higher expense, it’s airline ready and a much more study and customizable case overall. That said, it’s a little bit cumbersome for day-to-day carry to the range, which is where the Plano Pro-Max shines.

Shotguns: Pelican Storm iM3300 Shotgun Case vs. Plano Mil-Spec Field Locker Double Long Gun Case with Wheels

Shotgun cases come in quite a few different varieties, but hard cases are preferred by many people for the simple reason that they make it a lot easier to carry the accessories which are usually associated with the guns.

Even if you unpack them before hitting the trail, it’s nice to be able to have all of your accessories in one package with your firearm.


Pelican Storm iM3300 Shotgun Case

The main draw of this case is the hard foam which is sized to hold a semi-automatic or pump shotgun and accessories. Keep in mind this isn’t the soft foam which you see in most of Pelican’s cases, and it’ll be much harder to modify if you want it for another use.

Like most of the Storm series of cases, it has six different reinforced latches, with four of them having holes pre-drilled in the hard exterior in order to let you place padlocks and keep your firearm safe.

It also has wheels to allow you to move the case easily when tilted up. The extra pockets for accessories are pretty awesome, allowing you to keep your hunting or skeet-shooting gear along with your firearm and a box or two of shells depending on your tastes.

Plano Mil-Spec Field Locker Double Long Gun Case with Wheels

This Plano hard case is just a little bit bigger than the Storm iM3300 Shotgun Case. It’s a tough, wheeled locker with cut to fit foam for a great amount of customizability. This extra bit of customization takes the case from good to great, by allowing you to size things perfectly for the accessories you want to use.

It’s equipped with four extra-wide latches which are easily locked, as well as an interior gasket to keep out the elements combined with a pressure release.

The only thing to complain about is that the latches simply aren’t as strong as you’d expect within this price range. They’re not bad but they’re not likely to hold up to prying which makes this more of a transportation solution than a truly secure case.

Verdict: Plano Mil-Spec Field Locker Double Long Gun Case with Wheels

We prefer the Plano in this instance. While the Pelican case is higher in quality, the hard foam of the Plano Mil-Spec Field Locker Double Long Gun Case can be cut to fit whatever you might want and for hunters and skeet shooters that gives it quite a bit of edge.

Indeed, you might even be able to fit a sidearm in there as well if you’re careful with how you use the space. In the end, both are truly respectable hard cases for a shotgun, and most people will be more than pleased with either.

Rifles and Accessories: Pelican 1720 Rifle Case vs. Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case

Whether you consider them as hunting or as tactical cases, sometimes you just need plenty of extra room to handle everything you need.

If you want a lot of room in a hard case, then these are some of the best from both brands for comparison.

Pelican 1720 Rifle Case

This is a hard foam case, which you can cut to fit. With interior dimensions of 42” x 13.5” x 5.5” there’s plenty of room to fit whatever you might need and it’s highly customizable. This might just be our favorite Pelican hard case overall.

It comes complete with steel reinforced locks in the already impressive ABS shell. The latches throw open easily and there’s room for padlocks to make sure things are secure, whether at home or in transport.

It’s a bit on the expensive side, but with the room contained within and the highly customizable hard foam it’s perfect to make it a one-stop case for your sidearm, rifle, and any accessories you might want with them

Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case

With internal dimensions of 43”x13”x5” this hard case for rifles is about the same size as its Pelican competitor. It comes with Pick’N’Pluck foam for customizability, but it’s a bit soft and you’ll want to keep the case primarily on its side to keep it from deforming over time.

It has five latches with holes for padlocks built in, but they lack the steel reinforcement seen in more secure cases which is a bit unfortunate as there’s room for a serious amount of gear within.

For a range case or something only carried for certain circumstances it performs well, but the lack of security means that it’s not great for those looking for a long-term storage solution.

Verdict: Pelican 1720 Rifle Case

Of these two cases, the Pelican 1720 comes out ahead by having just a bit more room and the ability to custom fit the foam a bit more than the Pick’N’Pluck Plano. It’s also built quite a bit more securely, with steel reinforcement on the padlock posts so you can use it for storage as well.

Both of these cases are highly recommended, however, and the Pelican scarcely edges ahead in this instance.

Overall Verdict

Pelican has the clear edge when it comes to the durability and customizability of their cases. Their foam is specially made for you to be able to ensure that you can fit whatever you need firmly within them. For more information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Pelican Protector Gun Cases. Pelican makes hard cases for just about any need.

On the other hand, Pelican’s cases also run up a high bill quickly. For long-term storage, airline use, and field carry they’re simply the best, however. They’re also pretty much the only option if you’re looking for dedicated accessory cases such as a rifle scope hard case.

Plano is barely in the same league when it comes to quality, but the cases are functional and cheap for those on tighter budgets. They also tend to be a bit lighter, mostly due to minor sacrifices in the security of their cases.

Essentially, if quality and security are your primary concerns then it’s going to be hard to beat out Pelican cases. They’re recommended by police, the military, and anyone else who is willing to pay for the best hard cases for their arms.

Follow Grandpa Ray:
I’m just some guy who loves hunting and fishing and has a hard time saying no to someone who offers a good deal on a gun. If any of the above describe you, then we probably have a lot more in common.

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