Your weapon will look after you only as well as you look after it.
A quality gun case will keep your firearm in top condition during transportation and storage. The ideal gun case has two main components - a hard exterior that protects it from outside forces and a softer foam interior. The exterior and the interior protect your gun from transit shock and accidental drops, as well as keeping out moisture that causes rust.
Your firearm and other items (magazine clips, eye protection, etc.) should fit inside the foam snugly, to prevent jostling. Foam can either be cut to spec, or you can purchase a gun case with foam cutouts designed for your make of handgun.
Alternatively you can do it yourself, which isn’t as hard as you’d think.
Follow this step-by-step guide to quickly cut foam for your gun case.
What knife do I need to cut foam for my gun case?
When choosing a knife or tool to cut your foam, the cut must be clean, without serrations causing tears that will wear away at the cut. A sharp blade and a steady hand are key.
The best options for cutting foam are:
- Exacto knife - it’s cheap, easy to find, and precise.
- Japanese saw - used in carpentry, a Japanese saw cuts on the pull (not the push) and has a very thin blade.
- Electric knife - not ideal, due to the serrated edge, but many homes have one, and if you cut slowly and precisely, you can get a good result.
- Hot wire - we’ve seen it done, but we don’t recommend it. If you do, make sure you check the type of foam you’re using, as certain foams will produce toxic fumes when cut with a hot wire.
A step-by-step guide for cutting foam for your gun case
Place your gun where you want to position it on the foam. Make the gun as small as possible (remove harnesses, fold the sights down, collapse your stock, etc.) Arrange all the components and accessories to your preference, taking into account how it would affect the weight balance of the case. Keep at least one inch between your gun and the accessories to prevent them from touching each other.
With a pen or a marker, mark the cutout locations and shape of your weapons and accessories. For neatness, make sure the lines are parallel to the lines of the case. Remember, measure twice, cut once.
When cutting, be careful not to leave cutting marks on the foam. It’s best to start with the smaller accessories because cutting out the larger chunk of foam, where your firearm will fit, will impact on the structural integrity of the foam. This will make it harder to continue with more precise cuts.
Don’t push too hard - if you have to then you’re probably cutting with the wrong knife.
Add finishing touches by carefully trimming excess lines and pieces of foam that you can see and feel along the outlines of your cuts.
What foam is right for my gun case
Traveling, storing or displaying? These are some of the considerations when deciding the type of foam for your gun case. There are three main types of foam we recommend, depending on your needs:
Polyurethane (PU) is a softer charcoal color foam, with a density of between 1.3 and 1.5lb. It provides good shock absorption for high-end optics. Generally, it’s considered one of the better barriers for shock damage if your gun case is dropped or collides with other packages in transit.
Polyethylene (PE) is a firmer and more expensive foam. One of the main benefits is that this kind of foam is not moisture absorbent, so it’s perfect for long-term storage of guns. It’s generally stain-resistant, and the firm cushioning provides more support for heavier guns.
Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate Foam (EVA) is a rigid foam with a smooth finish. It’s a high-end foam that is perfect for displaying your weapons in display cases. It’s the most expensive foam of all three options.
To learn more about the properties of gun case foam - and what foam you definitely need to avoid - we highly recommend our guide to gun case foam.
Where to buy gun case foam
At UWK, we provide pre-cut, professional gun cases covering a wide range of needs - from our lightweight DoubleTap-2 gun case through to our instructor’s DoubleTap-8, which has quickdraw foam slots for eight handguns.
If you already have the perfect case and you want to DIY it, you can also order your foam sets from us.
We offer everything from cross-link polyethylene to pre-diced pick and pluck foam - available in a range of colors.
Experience may be the best teacher, but we hope this guide has helped you get it right the first time.
Making sure that your guns are stored in the correct type of foam, cut to the correct specs will go a long way to protect your weapon’s condition. If you need any advice or guidance on the safe storage and transportation of your guns, the perfect foam for your gun case, and the best storage and transportation practices of your guns, we’re always happy to help.
Just drop us a line.