Pelican’s V550 Vault Equipment Case is ideal for transporting multiple pistols. I’ve got a six-pack of custom rimfire pistols that we take on most range outings. They’re a great way to introduce new shooters to the sport. Nothing “tactical” looking, they’re more competition-oriented. Most have optics, and lots of flashy anodized parts. Not the sort of stuff you want banging around in range bag. Of course, our “range” consists of public land best accessed via a 4WD. Which means I usually take the roughest, bumpiest path, and then do a little hooning on the trails after. Expensive firearms do not fare well in this environment, unless they are in a secure case. Which is exactly where the Pelican V550 Vault Equipment Case comes in.
Pelican V550 Vault Equipment Case specs
This high-impact polymer case is one of the larger ones in the Vault line. External measurements are 22.4 x 17.5 x 9.2 inches. Inside, it’s a roomy 19 x 14 x 8.5 inches. That’s plenty of room for six pistols, plus magazines and even a suppressor. I got the model with the foam, which brings the total weight to 10.73 pounds. Five layers of foam make it easy to set it up just right for whatever you want to carry. For photo or video gear, they offer it with the padded Velcro dividers too.
Durable polyethylene makes up the body of the case, with easy-to-use ABS latches. Its purge valve is also ABS. Keeping dirt and water out is a polymer O-ring. Sturdy hinges feature stainless steel pins, providing strength where it’s needed. Its large handle is easy to grasp, stands out enough that I don’t bash my knuckles, and folds down when not in use. And the V550 Vault is rated for a typical day in Utah – from zero degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees. Maximum security is provided via multiple reinforced padlock points. Overall, this a really tough case that’s also reasonably priced, carrying a $129.95 MSRP.
Cutting the foam
Pelican recommends outlining your gear in chalk, and using an electric knife or a very sharp blade. Lacking an electric knife, I opted to use a very sharp pocket knife. After a bit of measuring, I figured that I would just jump in and start cutting. It was a matter of determining the correct width and length for each pistol. Then I went back and made some extra cuts to accommodate things like thumb rests and oversize grips. I cut through the top layer of foam for the barrels, and then made a deep but angled cutout in the layer below, for grips.
When I was done, it looked less than stellar without any pistols in it. Some of the cuts could have been straighter. But once it’s loaded up, any flaws in my handiwork are not as apparent. All the pistols fit in their designated slots snugly, and sit low enough for the lid to close. That’s pretty much all I could ask for. For anyone wanting their foam custom cut to very specific tolerances, Pelican has that option too. Check it out at Pelicanfoam.com.
Range days with the Pelican Vault V550
When it’s time to take my pistols shooting, the Pelican Vault V550 gets loaded up. Each pistol is checked first to make sure it’s unloaded, then placed in its specific slot. For anyone wondering, they include a couple of Mark IVs, two Buck Marks, and a pair of SW22 Victorys. For now, the magazines and my suppressor travel in a separate bag with my ear pro, as I haven’t decided how I want to cut the foam for them. All this gets loaded into the back of my FJ Cruiser with the rest of our gear, which includes steel targets, a dueling tree, a timer, and more.
Once we arrive on site, I can just set the case on our folding table, and pop it open. Shooters get to choose which pistol(s) they want to try, and we usually take turns on the dueling tree. When not in use, the pistols are left in the Vault V550 with the action open. This is much better than the slick table top, as I’ve had more than one firearm slide right off. At the end of the range session, each pistol is again cleared, magazine removed, and the optic (if equipped) is checked to make sure it’s off. At this point, we either do a little exploring on the trails, or head to a local Mexican restaurant.
Some final thoughts
Reviewing a Pelican case is more difficult than I thought it might be. Most firearms enthusiasts are aware of the brand. And really, I’m not doing anything terribly risky or adventurous with it. So I can’t brag about dropping it from a helicopter, having it slide down a mountain, or float down a river. Instead, I’ll just point out the very obvious. Custom rimfire pistols can get expensive. Optics, laminated grips, and anodized parts are pretty durable, but no one wants them banging against each other. There also aren’t that many range bags that can accommodate six pistols, and provide this level of protection.
Over twenty years ago, I was a professional photographer. I dragged a lot of expensive photo gear around in a Pelican case. And I think about how many times that case was dropped, tumbled out of the back of my old Landcruiser, or was used as a platform to stand on. Yet it never let me down. The Pelican Vault V550 is the same, in that it allows me to travel with these pistols, and gives me the peace of mind that they’ll arrive safely. Consider it cheap insurance for expensive gear. Check it out, along with a case for just about anything else you might want to protect, at Pelican.com.
I’d like to thank Pelican for providing their Vault V550 for review and evaluation. Their support ensures that I have one less thing to worry about when sharing this sport with new enthusiasts.