By David Higginbotham
Organization is not my strong suit. Every time I leave for the range, I pack up random bags and backpacks. I do my best to remember what I’m putting where, but it is futile. Thankfully, there are companies like Seahorse that have my best interests in mind. Seahorse makes its cases here in America; they’re built to withstand any punishment you can dish out, and the cases cost less than most range bags.
The Seahorse SE-710, ideal for EDC
The Seahorse SE-710 is a very useful size. It is roughly as deep as a traditional briefcase, and roughly the same size. It is small enough to fit behind a car seat, or on a floorboard, or tucked under a desk.
The SE-710 has an automatic pressure purge system that keeps pressures inside the case equal. The molded padlock holes fit standard size Masterlocks, which makes the cases good for airline travel (and also adds a measure of extra protection for those who carry firearms). The cases are sold with multilayer cubed matrix “Accuform” foam, or you can get an empty case if you intend to build your own. The latches on the case are available in two configurations: one with keyed metal locks and one with plastic locks.
The case’s inside dimensions are 18.38″ x 13.28″ x 4.07″. The outside dimensions are 19.75″ x 15.53″ x 5.41″. The cases are available in black, gunmetal gray, safety yellow and don’t-shoot-me orange. The empty case has an MSRP of $45.53.
For me, this case represented the perfect size for a single gun case. I was looking for something in which I could store a bunch of gear and at least one gun, a GLOCK 19. The goal is a compact case that I could take with me wherever I go; one that wouldn’t look too conspicuous, but one that will protect the content from all of the elements. The SE-710 is big enough to hold all of my SHTF gear: gun, holster, mags, ammo, lights, back-up batteries, a knife and some basic tools.
I keep it all organized and protected with foam I designed at MyCaseBuilder.com. In the end, I have everything I need in one well-built case, and a case that I can slide in beside my desk or obscure completely in a large messenger bag.
The only thing I’d like to see on the case that’s not here is a bombproof way to lock it up. The locks are functional. The holes for padlocks offer the type of protection that will keep things reasonably safe. I have a seven-year-old whom I don’t want playing around with what’s inside the case. A padlock keeps him out, for now. Still, when the case isn’t by my side, I keep it in my safe. If I didn’t work at home, I’d want a secure storage spot in my office, or in my van, where I could lock it down even more.
The SE-630: more guns, more room
If you want something a bit larger, I’d suggest the Seahorse SE-630. The SE-630 is 17.54″ x 14.24″ x 7.50″. The inside dimensions are 16.02″ x 11.60″ x 6.22″. This is deep enough to stack pistols vertically. With some creativity, you could easily get six pistols in side by side, more of they’re thin. If you really want padding and protection, four is a good number. Seahorse even makes a pre-fab foam kit that’s ideal. The slots are cut so that four pistols (or revolvers) can slide in grip down. The foam has cut outs, too, for magazines. Twelve in total. In the middle is a larger well that can hold ammo, hearing and eye protection, whatever you would want. The combination makes the SE-630 perfect for a trip to the range.
The case, when fully loaded with guns and ammo, is heavy, but not so much that you can’t pick it up with one hand. The empty SE-630 has an MSRP of $51.24. The extra foam is extra money. I’m having trouble finding an exact number, but retailers are asking closer to $30.
Torture testing the Seahorses
I’ve had the SE-710 now for several months. I’ve been more protective of it, as I really intend to evaluate it over its natural lifespan. In the interest of writing a solid review, I’ve put the SE-630 into more challenging situations. Over the last ten months or more, I’ve left the case outside. I’ve set it in the sun for days on end. I’ve allowed it to remain in the elements through rainstorms, snows and multiple freeze and thaw cycles.
I’ve done this with other cases, too, with mixed results. Some stand up to the torture. Others get brittle. The first things that seems to go are the thin ribs that reinforce the case and the loops that support the locks. That last one doesn’t inspire any confidence, especially if you are at the ticketing counter in the airport, checking a handgun, and the plastic snaps as you are locking the case back up. It happened to me, but not with a Seahorse.
I’ve flown with the SE-630 twice now. There’s nothing brittle about the plastic, even after months of abuse. I can load it full, toss it in the lake, and the seals still hold. The SE-630 has an overlapping lid that keeps it structurally intact. Inside, the replaceable O-ring seals it completely. The claw clasps draw the lid down securely.
For me, it is a no-brainer. A good case protects from sun, rain, dust and mud. The Seahorse cases stand up to it all. The cases are crushproof. The hinges, which are always a point of concern in cases that are exposed to corrosive environments, are built without metal. Most cases have steel pins, which rust (and then the rust begins to eat away at the hinge every time it is opened and closed until it is too loose to stay in place). The Seahorse hinges are made of acetyl resin. These hinges, like the rest of the case, can withstand extremes of heat and cold without losing their integrity. How long will they last? That remains to be seen.
Honestly, I don’t know how much more you can ask for from a plastic box. I’ll continue to punish the SE-630. I want to know under what reasonable conditions the case fails. When I find out, I will pass on an update.