Shipping firearms is a lot different and more strictly regulated than sending regular parcels (as well it should be). On top of restrictions on the process of shipping firearms, laws also govern how you need to pack firearms for shipment. Basically, the main idea is to pack it so that no one can tell that a gun is inside, and to ensure it arrives at is destination safely and undamaged. Here are the steps to properly packing firearms, all laid out for you below.
Use a Strong, Brand New Corrugated Box
First, start by making sure your box is new, sturdy, and has plenty of room for packing material to cushion and protect the firearm. This is the first step, no matter which carrier you choose for shipping firearms. The carriers are strict about this. For example, UPS requires you to use a new, corrugated box that meets their single-wall strength guidelines.
Learn more about UPS’ requirements for packing and labeling firearm shipments.
No Markings on the Box Can Indicate a Gun is Inside
Federal law prohibits any markings on a package that indicate a gun may be inside. Therefore, it’s best to ensure that the exterior of your box is totally blank. In fact, this law is the reason why so many firearm shipments are packaged as a box within a box (kind of like a Russian nesting doll). This prevents drawing any unwarranted attention from criminals such as gun thieves when your package is in transit.
This regulation also applies to printed shipping labels. Any shipping labels on the box must be non-descriptive.
Do Not Include Ammunition
Before you throw bullets into your package, don’t jump the gun! You CANNOT include any ammunition inside the same packaging as your firearm. Since they are considered explosives, bullets and ammunition are categorized as ORM-D materials. Therefore, you’ll need to ship ammunition in its own separate package. This also goes without saying, but FIREARMS CANNOT BE SHIPPED IF THEY ARE LOADED!
Learn more about how to package and ship ammunition.
Pack the Firearm to the Best of Your Ability
Pack, pack, pack! Always use the proper packing material to keep your firearm safely in place and protected during transit. We suggest using plenty of bubble wrap, packing tape, styrofoam, and sturdy packing paper to fill empty space inside the box. Custom-molded foam inserts are the best kind of packing material for shipping firearms, if you can get your hands on some. A good way to test if you’ve packed your firearm properly is to pick up the package and see if you notice any movement or rattling inside. If you do, then we suggest giving your box some extra packing love.
Insure Your Firearm Shipment
We always recommend you protect your package with shipping insurance whenever shipping firearms. That way, you’ll rest easy knowing you are covered in the event that any damage occurs to the firearm during transit. You can purchase additional coverage either from your carrier or through a third-party insurance company. Note that certain third-party insurance companies may not cover firearms, but some companies such as Shipsurance do. In addition, your carrier might not insure your package if it isn’t packaged properly—so don’t make that mistake!
Check With Your Carrier
When you’re ready to ship, always check with your carrier to make sure you packaged everything correctly. They will inspect your parcel and be able to catch things you might have overlooked so that your firearm arrives at its destination promptly and in good condition.