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  1. #1
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    $130 handgun case vs $30 Harbor Freight case

    I have had a decent quality 4 handgun plus 16 magazine hard, watertight, crush proof case for a few years now. It is sold by 2A Armor/Case Cruiser here: http://www.2a-armor.com/hard-gun-cas...ol-case-4.html









    It has held up great and serves almost every function I need it to. But after a short while of going to the range a couple times a week, I was left not wanting to take my full "range bag" with me plus the case, plus ammo. Majority of my handguns days at the range really only require the guns, mags, ammo, and then eye and ear protection, plus my shooting log. So I started looking into another case that offered about the same capacity, but also a spot for the few extra items I need out of my range bag. I kept finding other $100+ cases and really didn't want to spend the money if I didn't have to.

    Then I found these on sale at good old Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/3800-W...fQ%3D%3D%0D%0A

    The cases are decent (great for the $ if they hold up) and the reviews I have read actually stated that they could take most abuse thrown at them. They come with complete customizable foam inserts. Biggest complaint is the latches. I choose the largest size as I wanted to be able to store my firearms vertically instead of horizontally, to achieve the maximum usable space. Here is a look at the case as it comes:







    And then how I customized the interior. I went with a 3 handgun, 15 magazine, plus spare storage compartment.





    Seems to work well as long as it is completely filled. I have yet to glue the foam together, and that should add some rigidity that it is missing when any of the compartments are not filled.

    I will update this as time goes on to see how it holds up. But so far, with an hour's worth of work, plus the $30 knockoff box, it is looking like a win.

  2. #2
    Looks good! If you want custom foam I suggest MyCaseBuilder.com I got a custom cutout for the Bestop drawer in my jeep using their design software (online) that was super reasonably priced.
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  3. #3
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaz4x4 View Post
    Looks good! If you want custom foam I suggest MyCaseBuilder.com I got a custom cutout for the Bestop drawer in my jeep using their design software (online) that was super reasonably priced.
    Thanks!

  4. #4
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Glued the foam into place and it is a lot better at keeping it's rigidity. Took a couple different attempts on some of the scrap foam to figure out which adhesive to use. After a lot of research, I was left with 4 options that all sounded they should work well. But after trying and failing with the 3M spray adhesive, I figured I should try them all and see what worked best.

    First, 3m spray glue was supposed to be the best option. This one was the worst option in my opinion. Never really suck anything together for long.

    Second, clear gorilla glue, works great but has a slow dry time.

    Third, rubber cement, has the best coverage but was still tacky after 6 hours of dry time. After 24 hours, it seemed to work pretty well, but you could still pry the glued pieces apart.

    The best option, IMHO, has to be Super Glue Gel. Set up in minutes, and has awesome holing power. It does turn the foam it comes into contact with, hard. Though all of them did to some extend.

    Here is a couple photos of the modified P&P foam:





    Bottom doesn't look the best as I used it for some R&D, but it is all held together with glue. Time will tell how it holds up.
    Last edited by Aaron; February 19th, 2018 at 01:36 PM.

  5. #5
    cheftyler's Avatar
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    Aaron, we used 3M exclusively when gluing foam for our cases at my last job. I’ll have to look at which one (there are several types), but the trick was to spray both pieces, let the glue start to cure in the air a bit. Then tap them together a couple times, when they get tacky, stick them together and they’ll hold forever.
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  6. #6
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheftyler View Post
    Aaron, we used 3M exclusively when gluing foam for our cases at my last job. I’ll have to look at which one (there are several types), but the trick was to spray both pieces, let the glue start to cure in the air a bit. Then tap them together a couple times, when they get tacky, stick them together and they’ll hold forever.
    Thanks Tyler! I have used 3m spray adhesive products a bunch with much success. That is why I chose to try it first. But this time not so much. I am almost thinking that the can I was using was too old or something. Should be more than a year old. Or maybe I just got a bad batch...

  7. #7
    cheftyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Thanks Tyler! I have used 3m spray adhesive products a bunch with much success. That is why I chose to try it first. But this time not so much. I am almost thinking that the can I was using was too old or something. Should be more than a year old. Or maybe I just got a bad batch...

  8. #8
    Doesn't look like they are much better priced, but they are technically "on sale" during the parking lot sales.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/3800-w...-in-63927.html
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  9. #9
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant H. View Post
    Doesn't look like they are much better priced, but they are technically "on sale" during the parking lot sales.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/3800-w...-in-63927.html
    Yup, best price I have been able to find is their $30 sale.

    I believe I learned the secret to pull n pluck foam though! When I have more time I will post up what I did that will make the foam last quite a bit longer. Basically just using spray plasti dip over the P&P which makes it act like a kind of closed cell foam when dried. Holds up fairly well and keeps the P&P from coming apart with use.

  10. #10
    I will have to pick one of these up next time I'm at HF. Wish they had clones of the larger pelican cases too
    break, fix, repeat

  11. #11
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    As I mentioned earlier, I found that if you spray plasti dip over the P&P foam, it turns in from an open cell to a sort of closed cell foam. Bonds the pieces together to keep from coming apart and adds a layer of protection from the material breaking down over time and use. I tried this out after seeing a couple different youtube videos about doing so.

    I guess if I changed anything, I would keep the foam in the case and mask off the case and spray it while in place. I ended up spraying all surfaces inside and out and it seemed to shrink a hair. But once the foam was inserted back into the case and filled up, I don't notice any shrinkage.

    First I pulled the foam out of the case. Notice the color and how porous the material is.



    Each video I watched gave the advice to use heavy coats. Which I did, and it still took 4 THICK coats to accomplish what I did. Here is after the first coat:



    2 coats:



    3 coats:



    And the forth and final coat I sprayed the top of the foam the most to fill in all the pores.





    And here is the final product. Notice the pores are now filled and the top looks like a continuous piece. It is still flexible and pliable, and won't easily scratch anything:





    I forgot to take any photos of the box filled back up. I will get one taken and post at a later time.

  12. #12
    newracer's Avatar
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    Interesting. I have several boxes, not all gun boxes, where the foam has come apart from years of use. This is a good fix.
    Have you ever seen a man eat so much fish?

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Getting better at building cases. Finishing up my second one this weekend between work. This one is turning out kinda awesome. A flaw I have with both of my other cases is not being able to easily carry handguns with more than a 5" barrel. So this new case will support 4 guns with barrel lengths up to 6.75" and up to 12 magazines. And the plasti-dip trick is legit and freaking awesome.

    So I will let the photos do the talking:















    As the glue was drying I left the foam in the case and masked off everything except the foam. You will notice I placed some left over foam pieces into the longer sections to keep them from moving at all. I will move these around before each coat in order to be able to coat everything well.







    And the final coat while still drying:


  15. #15
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    And final cost break down:



    Total of $90.40 with under 3 hours of labor for two custom, water tight, crush proof cases. So $45.20 each before labor. Not bad considering you could make 3 for the price of one case cruiser.

  16. #16
    Damn, those turned out good.

    Both of the Denver HF locations are shitty for me to get to so I might just have some shipped if they do flat rate 😂😭🙃

  17. #17
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Second case is finally dry. I think it turned out well. Much better than the first case. Funny how that is usually how it goes. Though my only complaint on the first case was the small amount of shrinking that occurred.

    The finished result of the second case:





    And with it loaded up with gear:




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