[Help] Taking weapon replicas & armour abroad.

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Hey guys!

After seeing some amazing videos from Dragon-con & Comic-con me and my other half decided to work on costumes of our own to eventually take to America and hopefully to Dragon-con & Comic-con. We live in the UK, and it'll be our first convention, so it's a pretty big deal for us. Anyway while toying with the idea of what weapon to include in our builds, a thought popped up, and I haven't been able to un-pop it.

I'm pretty sure the last time I checked, taking replicas of weapons abroad is illegal, for obvious reasons. But I imagine a lot of you guys have to travel by plane to get to conventions too, and was wondering what the laws are on taking weapon replicas in your suitcase?

I mean it will be in my suitcase out of reach, made of foam, and clearly harmless, but I still can't imagine airport security taking it too lightly. Do they even scan suitcases? I haven't travelled abroad in a while, and am unsure of the rules and regulations set in place.

The last thing I want to do is fill my suitcase with £1000 worth of armour and props, get on a plane to america, then realise that my suitcase got separated at the airport due to what looked like a functioning weapon in my suitcase.

Anyone had experience in this area?

Going to make a weapon prop. Don't want to make a realistic weapon in-case airport security don't allow me to take it to America when we go to Comic-con. Do airports have a problem with foam weapon replicas in your suitcase?


Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Generally, think of American airport security as the lowest common denominator. If it looks like a weapon, it's a weapon. If they think it's a weapon, it's a weapon. If they don't know what it is, it's a weapon. Also, along with that, most are idiots who do things that a normal human would scratch their head over.

Case in point: At Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, a Darth Vader costumer found airport security tape on his transport bin. When he opened it up, he found his Helmet dome cracked pretty much in half with a very prominent boot print on the side. Also, his lightsaber had several busted LEDs along the length of the blade (it happens when you hit something too hard) and the cape (wool) had dirt and dust along the bottom edge (like it was worn by someone who was short). Oh, he was also missing a boot.

With that said, I would contact a friend here on the forums and/or the hotel you will be staying at and asking about the shipping policy. I may cost a little more to mail your package to the destination, but it is guaranteed to reach there safely.


New Member
some how i can just see the T.S.A. agents x-raying his luggage and going "OMG TIz the Darth Vader! I must play with it, there for it is contraband for the next 15 minuets." all joking aside though, that blows, to do that much work on something and have it broken in transit.


Well-Known Member
I bought a Desert Eagle in France and flew back to the States with it in a checked suitcase. Don't worry, it was an airsoft. But in France they don't orange cap their airsoft guns, so I guess it could easily have passed for real. Got home with it fine.

Anyways, the rules for flying weapons vary from airline to airline. For instance, AA prohibits Britain explicitly from flying firearms to the States (Paranoia over a second British empire?)

I'd look up your airline's rules. I am under the impression that some airlines will allow you to do an "In person" bag check, where you monitor their agent inspecting your bag, and they then bond it so it doesn't get inspected again, which gives you a chance to explain the prop. One way or another, it's almost always the Airline's own rules, so contact them to find out.


New Member
Hi everyone, I know that I haven't been on the site long but I thought I would at least add my expertise in this discussion. I have extensive history with working inside a busy airport. First off I know more about domestic travel inside the United States than I do internationally. For international questions I would direct you to check out the United States Customs website here.

Domestic travel in the United States does not restrict the transportation of replica firearms i.e. UNSC weapons ;) That being said they are only permitted in a checked bag because you will not have access to it during the flight. You may also verify this with the TSA website http://www.tsa.gov/. The point being that they are permitted as long as you take the corret precautions.

Jason-078 I do take some offense to what you said. Granted that there are some bad apples in this world, I know weird right? Not everyone out there has the same amount of experience with firearms that we have, so depending on the quality of work you put into your props you may have a little explaining to do ;) That is though a shame what happened to your freind's props and I hate hearing of experiences like that. The larger the airport you travel through the more hands touch your checked luggage. I hate saying it but not everyone that loads luggage has the same amount of care or consideration that you put into your props. I've even heard the complaints from the stars on the SyFy show Heros of Cosplay taking jabs at the TSA for breaking things or missing pieces. Up to a dozen different individuals from 3 or more different companies (Airlines, TSA, baggage handlers) could be passing luggage from place to place.

Point being in all of this check the websites, call and ask annonymously if you need to. Personally if I were to find anything like that where I work, I know to take extra care of valuable property. I might even introduce myself and get to know ya!

To answer your original question, yes at least domestically airports will allow your replica weapons in checked luggage only.
Thanks for all of your takes on this guys, you've been a huge help.
What I've heard from you guys combined with what I found online, tells me that weapon props are generally not allowed on planes, unless checked with the airline. So hopefully I shouldn't have a problem, I'll just have my bag checked and explain the props there. Most airports have a "shrinkwrap" machine now, where you can pretty much encase your suitcase in layers of the stuff, I'll be doing this when I take my suit abroad in order to hopefully prevent the issue that Jason-078's friend had, but I'm considering just mailing my weapons, to prevent this happening at all, only downside is that it may not arrive when I need it to, UK to US post can be quite inconsistent.

Once again thanks alot for your help guys.



Executive Officer
Division Staff
Community Staff
Member DIN
I have flown with Armor, Props, and replica weapons several times (over five times and to several different locations in the US), and I have never had a problem with TSA confiscating my items and or breaking them.

The big things are most assuredly anything resembling a weapon should be checked! Then, when you get to the airport, be sure to tell either the Airline gate agent who takes your checked bag, or the TSA agent who takes your checked bag (deveining on your airport's set up) that their are replica props and costumes in the luggage.

At this point, I also always include a letter at the top of my checked luggage that is immediately visible once it is open and I describe what is contained inside the checked item, what it is made out of, and I have pictures of it. For example, when I fly with my Caboose armor the letter states “To whom it may concern: Contained herein is one set of replica armor from the Video Game Series Halo made from Vacuum Formed styrene plastic. Also include is a non function replica of a pistol from the same game, made of molded resin. [Front, Back, Side pictures of armor and pistol.]

Also, I do not pack my armor/props in standard luggage. At this point I have purchased a large “Rubbermaid” tub that still fits within checked bagged luggage. I drilled several holes around the edge and lid and secure the lid with zip ties that run through both holes. This way the TSA or whoever can simply cut the zip tie, open the lid, and place a new zip tie back in their once they are done.


I say play it safe bubble rap the heck out of your weapons and armor and have it shipped out here through FedEx and if you happen to choose to go to San Diego Comic-Con feel free to look me up.
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