Adventures with the four pistol case from Cedar Mill Fine Firearms
I had the opportunity to test out the four pistol case from Cedar Mill Fine Firearms. In this article, I will talk about my experience with this case and give a scored review. If you would like to see the video of the testing, visit our Waterproof 4 pistol case by Cedar Mill Fine Firearms video.
My testing criteria was could I replace my current case that I have owned for over 20 years with this case. After all, my current case has safely carried my pistols through the airline system several times over the years and has seen its fair share of abuse.
Since I will not be traveling in the airline system soon, I needed to abuse the product a little to replicate things that I have seen my case go through. And this is where the adventure begins.
Looking at the case, I was a little skeptical as to if it would actually hold four pistols. I decided to pull four Sig’s out of my safe and see. This case easily held my P220 full size, my P320 X5 full size, my P320 compact and my P320 carry. All four pistols fit in the case and still had plenty of room so that they were not going to rub against each other or the sides of the case. I decided to lay the guns in the case instead of using the pick and pluck to fit them. This gives me the most freedom in testing but arguably the least amount of protection.
Next, I was curious about how much weight it could withstand. I am six foot two inches tall and 280 lbs, so naturally, I stood on the case. I first stood on the corners, which are the strongest part of a box or case, and it had no problem holding me. If the corners are the strongest part of a box or case, the weakest part is naturally the middle. Next, I stood in the middle of the case with one foot. The top flexed a little but no creaks or cracks, but once again, it held me with no problem. Being ever more curious, I bounced on the case a little (not jumping) and there were no signs of failure.
By the way, I stood on the case for over ten minutes as I was writing and no signs of failure. However, when I did open the case, it was under a little bit of a vacuum.
I’ve never had a desire to stand on my old case, but for the sake of curiosity, I decided to try it. It creaked and flexed a bit, making me not want to stand on it long.
Moving on from the minor abuse of the case, I decided to start looking at the features of the case.
The first thing that I noticed when I first opened the case were the latches. The latches in my present case have always annoyed me as they can be a pain to open or close. Even more so when you load up the case with a few guns. There are times that I have had to put a knee to my existing case just to latch it.
On the Cedar Mill case, I found that the two-part system they have is relatively easy to open and close, even when I loaded the case with four pistols. I had no problems getting this case to close and latch, as well as, unlatch.
Waterproof Case Testing
I decided to do a very unscientific test for water tightness.
I removed a layer of foam and placed an unopened box of 165 grain 40 caliber projectiles. This box contained 500 bullets and weighed just over 11.78 pounds and I figured this should be enough to sink the case. I tied some rope to the handle and threw it in a lake near my house. To my surprise, the case floated. I pulled the case in and added about 5 pounds of rocks and tried again. Once again, the case floated. I finally got the case to sink when I added a total of 10 pounds 4.6 ounces of rocks to the 11.78 pounds of bullets.
I let this case sink in about two feet of water and sit there for just over thirty minutes. After a few minutes, I started to see bubbles coming up to the surface, which gave me a bad feeling that water was leaking into the case. When I got the case home, I dumped the water into a measuring cup and wrung out the foam. It was just over four cups of water that entered into the case. Initially, I thought that this kind of kills the water rating of the case that I received. However, I quickly realized that four pistols were not going to weigh 22 pounds and the case was designed to float. The four pistols that I put in the case have a combined weight of just over seven pounds (7lbs 0.1oz to be exact).
My water testing was not a scientific study and rating a product is done under ideal and controlled conditions. While underwater and with twenty-two pounds of weight added to it, the case still tried to float as it was upright underwater.
I have a theory on the failure in the water. The case did hit bottom and rolled slightly onto the lid. The impact and lack of foam to secure the weight inside could have caused the weight to shift and slightly pry the case open on the side enough to lose its seal. The case was not flooded with water; it just leaked. I am going to say that this failure was really the overloading of the case and not a design flaw.
After letting the case dry out for a couple of days, I decided to return to the lake. This time, I loaded the case with my four pistols. I figured that if there were any failures to the seal, this would be a good test. I threw the case in the lake several more times, including once upside down. The case returned with the pistols completely dry.
Shockproof Case Testing
Returning from the lake, I moved onto drop testing. All drop testing was completed in my garage and with my four pistols in the case. All drops were conducted from a height of eight feet onto concrete.
I dropped the case on the hinges, handle, sides, top, bottom and corners. The pistols did move inside the case and once the P220’s hammer chipped the inside of the case. I simply placed the pistols in the case and sandwiched them in the foam. If I had sized the foam, the handguns would have been secured inside the case and not have moved. I decided not to do the pick and peal on the foam to give me the maximum configurations possible for testing.
When I dropped the case on the handle, the cover on the pressure release valve did pop off. I picked it up and it snapped back into place and it stayed there for the rest of the testing; including another drop on the handle.
When I dropped the case on its lid, the hinges opened and spilled my pistols out onto the concrete. Initially, this concerned me. However, I would have locks on the case when traveling in the airline system that would prevent the contents from coming out. I put a lock on the case (my second lock is too small for this case) and repeated the drop. Once again, the latches came open, but this time the lock kept the contents in the case.
I began to wonder if this was a design problem. I pulled out the case that I have trusted for over twenty years and repeated the test with the same pistols and both locks in place and had the same result. This proved to me that there was not a design failure of the product. However, I would like to see the latches upgraded to the Iron Clasp Cam Latch system.
Here is my configuration of the Cedar Mill Fine Firearms four pistol case using the pick and pluck foam. I have three Sig P320’s in the compact configuration and a P229 (which is a compact pistol). The lid closes fine and all four pistols are held securely into place. There is about an inch and a half of foam between each pistols so there is no chance that they will rub against each other or the side of the case.
I chose this configuration as I can do slides down or mag well down. Also, I never transport my full size pistols in the airline system. Remember to keep your foam after you pluck it as you can put it back into place and reconfigure the case. Going through the airline system, I only transport one pistol at a time. Putting the foam back into the open slots gives me the chance to fill the gaps slightly so that I can place my magazines for the gun I am transporting into the case as well.
Let us take a look at how I rate the product and see if, in fact, this case would replace the case that I have trusted for over twenty years.
Gun Case Impressions and Ratings
Look and feel – 4.75 out of 5
This is a solid product and you can feel it in its weight.
The handle is sturdy and is attached by a large pin holding it into the case. There is no binding in the action of the handle, which makes it swing freely.
The hinges also show no sign of binding and hold the case open at 90 degrees. This allows the user to be able to load the case in tight situations where there is not a lot of table space.
The pins holding the hinges together are knurled to keep them from slipping out and drop testing shows that they are in the case tight.
I am taking a quarter-point off for the label on the case. I realize that the company’s name is Cedar Mill Fine Firearms. However, I think a redesign of the label should take the Fine Firearms off. This may be a little picky. However, I do not like to advertise that there may be a firearm in a case. I realize that the case can be used for other things than firearms, but I also like to leave some doubt about what may be inside the case.
Although this case is designed for four pistols. I am having a hard time visualizing how the pick and pluck would work for anything larger than compact or carry model pistols.
I placed three P320’s (compact and carry) and a P229 (which is a compact) into the case and can quickly see how they would fit in the pick and pluck foam.
I cannot visualize my larger P220 and P320 X5 fitting in any other method than laying them down flat. But with two layers of foam, you could get four large pistols in the frame, but you will not have the advantage of the pick and pluck.
For larger pistols, I would recommend the larger six pistol case.
Features – 5.0 out of 5
The latches are a two-part system that aids in the unlatching of the case. The latches are easy to manipulate on both their opening and closing.
Even though the handle is plastic, it is also rubberized in the area that you grip it. This aids the user in keeping a firm grip on the case even in damp and wet environments.
The area where you would place a lock is thick, giving a less chance of failure should the case be dropped on a lock. Don’t plan on the standard cheap TSA locks on this case as they do not fit with the added material. Also, being built up with extra material should deter theft should the attacker attack the case instead of the lock.
The case does have a pressure release system. However, when I stood on the case, the air escaped and the case was under a slight vacuum. I realize that this is not a real world test and further testing would be needed to really comment on this feature.
Ergonomics, reliability and accuracy – 5.0 out of 5
There are no real ergonomics or accuracy to be measured in the product. However, reliability is essential as the product is supposed to keep the contents safe.
There were no signs of failure during the testing phases with the product. If I configured the foam correctly, the protection of my pistols would have been significantly increased.
Affordability – 4.5 out of 5
For $125, I think that the case is slightly overpriced and am going to take a half-point off for that. For this price, I would expect a better latching system and metal inserts around the holes where the locks go.
Overall, I don’t think that the price is excessive. After all, there is a lot of material in this case. The case alone (without foam) weighs in at just over four pounds
This is a well-built case that took a bunch of punishment during the testing period. It repeatedly took drops from eight feet in the air onto concrete with a full load of pistols and showed no signs of stress or cracking.
Even though this is marketed as a pistol case, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be used for other items as well. This case would be perfect for cameras and electronics that you would need to transport as well. What you can transport in this case is limited to its size and your imagination.
I do think you need to consider what pistols you are going to place in the case if you plan on loading it up with four. For compact pistols you should be fine. If you want to take advantage of the pick and pluck foam with full size pistols, you may want to consider going with the Six Pistol & PDW Weapons case for about $25 more.
Would I trust this case with my pistols? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, I completed testing with just over $2000 of my own personal firearms.
After all the testing was completed, I can honestly say that I would recommend that you purchase this case to protect your gear as well. I trust the safety of my personal pistols to this case and feel that is would be an excellent replacement for my old case that has served me well for over 20 years.
I tested this case for a little over a month and will follow up in the future with how it is holding up.
I do not believe that I have a bias in this article. Realize that I put my own personal firearms in harms way to prove that the product is reliable. However, you must understand that I was supplied this product for free to evaluate and test.
After testing was completed, I made the decision to join Cedar Mill Fine Firearms’ Affiliate Program. This article contains affiliate links to their respective products on Cedar Mill’s website.
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