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Soft Rifle Case vs Hard Rifle Case – Which One is Better? [Airsoft Guide]

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You are looking for a case to protect your airsoft replica when in transportation or storage, and rightly so! However, in the current market there are so many options and variants available, simply choosing one can be a difficult task. The first question that often comes to mind is whether you should choose a hard rifle case or a soft rifle case. Well, that depends on your specific needs. In this purchase guide, we will go over the features of both to help you decide what’s more suitable for you. So let’s delve in! 

First of all, let’s identify the differences between the two types of cases: 

Soft Rifle Case – a soft material case which is often made from heavy-duty fabrics. Easy to carry and takes up less space than hard cases. However, they don’t provide the same amount of protection due to less internal padding.

Hard Rifle Case – hard cases often made from durable plastics and metals. Harder to carry and take up more space, but definitely provide a lot more protection and are necessary for flights. The insides also have much better padding made of foam – wave foam and pick n’ pluck foam designs.

Rather than nitpicking at the details of each case and having a huge dilemma, you’re better off first having a think and identifying what you actually need it for first. As we go through the features and pros and cons of each type, we will try to provide potential scenarios in which each are superior to help you out!

Read More: not sure what rifle to pack in your newly bought case? Here’s a couple of suggestions for our Top 5 starter replicas!

Soft Rifle Case Overview

Pros

  • Easier to carry and store 
  • Lightweight
  • Provides sufficient protection if you’re careful with your replica
  • Nylon or ripstop fabrics for durability
  • Integrated tie-down straps to secure the replica
  • Some are designed to float 
  • Quiet to open up and close – useful when playing at milsim event

Cons

  • Less protection than hard case 
  • Both internal and external straps can rip
  • Not as secure and certainly not as impact resistant as hard cases
  • Replicas can move around inside during transport 
  • Not fully waterproofed

Hard Rifle Case Overview

Pros

  • Waterproof 
  • Layered foam inserts with two types – wave/egg foam and pick n’ pluck 
  • Replica will not move around the case
  • Can meet RIF transport legalities as it includes locking mechanism – a must for flying
  • Wheels for easy transport
  • Sturdy – made of ABS plastic or metal
  • Very secure as it’s padlock ready
  • Impact  and crush resistant

Cons

  • Bulkier and heavier – takes more space in car boot and storage
  • Significantly more expensive
  • Louder operation

External Protection and Safety

As the name suggests, you can imagine that the hard case will provide more sturdy protection for your replica. It is often made out of ABS plastic or metal which provides a long lasting product. It offers great protection against accidental bumps, drops and it’s fully waterproof. In case you are worried about your kids, or anyone else for that matter, getting their hands on your replica; the hard case is your best bet as it provides multiple padlock placements around the body. No one is getting into these without a pin or a key.

In regards to the soft case, the amount of protection for your replica is slightly limited in comparison. These cases are usually produced with heavy duty fabrics which are generally water resistant, but in case of a cheaper product, dropping it in a puddle or leaving it out in the rain – the material will eventually soak through.

Furthermore, these are not resistant to knocks and bangs as the impact will go directly through the fabric and affect the replica inside. Finally, you can put padlocks on the zips to ensure no one access the replica; however, if one is adamant to get it open, they could potentially cut through it with a heavy fabric blade.

Read More: find out if a waterproof case is absolutely necessary for Airsoft by reading our guide to “Airsoft in the Rain – Is it bad to get your AEG wet?”

Internal Protection

The internal protection of these two types also greatly differ. The hard cases are produced with an option of two different foams – wave/egg foam and pick n’ pluck.

Wave Foam

Pick n' Pluck

The wave/egg foam is great for transporting your replicas when you fancy playing with a different one every week – as it’s not customisable, it covers any shape and size. Although it might provide a little less protection as some replicas might be able to move around inside the case, it is still a great option when you need versatility.

The pick n’ pluck is incredibly handy when you only own one or two replicas and you love having everything organised. It also provides extra protection as each piece, when fitted, is completely covered by foam. You can also make a fit for any accessories such as: optics, mags or other equipment. I personally recommend pick n’ pluck over the wave foam as it’s easier managed and keeps everything in one place.

On the other hand, soft cases are usually fitted with tie down straps in order to further secure the replica and limit its movements.

As seen on pictures, there is no foam or extra layers of thick padding inside the bag; the layers which separate the compartments offer little protection. However, as previously mentioned, most bags will come with straps which will allow you to tie your replicas down to decrease any potential movement during transportation. Generally, a soft case offers enough protection for Airsoft rifles – however, we still recommend being careful, especially when carrying optics inside the bag.

Recommended Products

The below products are recommended due to their reliable reputation and the quality of each item. Nuprol is known for producing fantastic quality hard cases, they come in different sizes and shapes catered to your specific needs – best of all, they come without breaking the bank! The soft case – Luvodi, I have used personally and can thoroughly recommend it’s quality!

Nuprol Large Hard Case

Luvodi Soft Case

Transport

In regards to standard transportation, using your car or public transport, the soft rifle case wins hands down. It is easier to carry, much lighter, and takes a lot less space – this is essential when travelling with your Airsoft buddies. Taking your hard case on a bus or a train can prove quite difficult, especially when trying to locate enough space to store it for the duration of the journey.

Flights

If you are ever to fly your Airsoft replica, the hard case becomes a necessity. Make sure you always contact the airline before your travel and ask them for specific requirements for transporting a realistic firearm replica. Some will allow for your to transport it disassembled inside the luggage, but some might ask specifically for a separate hard case with a padlock included.

Final Words

Choosing your perfect replica case can be quite difficult, but it all comes down to your circumstances and specific needs. Generally, I believe that a soft case offers enough protection to transport your replica from A to B as long as you are being careful on the way. Make sure to keep it out of the rain and you’re good to go! 

If you are looking for extra protection and safety for more expensive gear, then the hard case is the clear winner – try not to cut the costs too much and get yourself a decent case that will last you for years! 

I hope you have found this article useful; feel free to comment any suggestions or recommended products below!

Written by Kamil Turecki

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