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  • Writer's pictureTSG Defense

Apache 9800 Rifle Cases: A Budget Friendly Pelican Replacement?

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

When you need to transport a firearm, there are all sorts of choices. From traditional soft cases to backpacks, slings, guitar cases, hard sided cases, sports bags, or whatever creative way you may carry your rifle.

There are certain times when you may need to have a hard sided, lockable case. One of these reasons are travel requirements from the TSA. You might also want a case that's protective when you're traveling off road, or when expecting a lot of moisture exposure or possible submersion like being in a small boat. Often times the recommended brand of cases is from Pelican.

Pelican is a long time manufacturer of foam filled, hard sided, protective cases. What started in 1976 as a mom and pop brand producing rugged flash lights, and protective cases for scuba divers has become a mogul producing all manner of protective cases, coolers, back packs, drink ware, and lights. The only downside to a Pelican product might just be the price --- a full size Pelican rifle case is $270.

Enter the Apache 9800 from Harbor Freight. On sale this case is priced at $99. It comes with quite a few attractive features, matching the offerings by the premium brand, but can it compete with the Pelican cases at near one third of the price?

Here are some specs from the manufacturer:

  • IP65 Rated- watertight and dustproof

  • Pick-and-pull foam insert for impact-absorbing protection

  • Strong, secure, easy-open latches

  • Adjustable pressure relief valve equalizes pressure for easy opening

  • Pre-drilled for two padlocks (locks sold separately)

  • Super strong reinforced polypropylene construction

  • Interior dimensions: 50-3/8 in. x 13-5/8 in. x 5-1/8 in.

  • Exterior dimensions: 53 in. x 16 in. x 6-1/8 in.

  • Product weight: 22.65lbs.

Apaache 9800 Rifle Case Factory Specifications
Apache 9800 Factory Specs.

Apache 9800 Rifle Case
There is one grab handle in the middle of the case, along with four latches

Apache 9800 rifle case Pad lock points
There are two reinforced places for pad locks on the latch side of the case.

Apache Rifle case Wheels
Side grab handle and Wheels

On either side of the case there are smaller grab handles. One side has two wheels for transport, which are very welcome considering the empty case weights nearly 23lbs.!

Apache Rifle Case Foam
Foam layers; Egg Crate, Pick and Pluck, and Solid

The foam consists of egg crate on the top and pick and pluck foam in the middle. The bottom layer is solid foam.

Apache 9800 pick and pluck
Pick and pluck foam customization

While not being completely custom, the pick and pluck foam does its job in making a good protective cavity for whatever you're carrying.

Apache 9800 Case Gasket
Fully Enclosed Gasket

A heavy duty gasket runs along the outside of the top half giving the case it's presumed water resistance. The IP65 rating says that a fixture is water resistant and will stay dry when faced with "multi-directional, low pressure water jets"; so it technically isn't rated for being submerged. That should be easy to test.

Moisture Indicator

Place a "moisture indicator" inside the case, in this case just a piece of printer paper. We can use this to see if moisture has entered the case.

Apache 9800Rifle Case Submerged
Submerged Test

Then submerge it in a few inches of water for thirty minutes. One positive note is that the case had to be stood on end to have enough weight to submerge any part of it. The empty case is buoyant enough to float on it's own.

Apache 9800 Equalization Valve
Equalization Valve

While we're talking about the case being water tight, it needs to be pointed out that this equalization valve has to be closed tightly for the case to even be water resistant.

After thirty minutes of sitting submerged in a tub, the paper placed inside was completely dry. This is good news, as it will very likely protect your valuables from a quick submerging. It will also keep them dry in a rain storm.

Keep an eye out for a future post about how this case holds up to use.

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