If you are not certain that you want a soft rifle case, you might want to check our general AR-15 case review article instead which reviews and compares both soft and hard cases for AR-15.
Every gun needs some sort of case.
The purpose of a gun case is to protect the firearm from physical damage, keep it safe from the rain or moisture, keep it out of the hands of thieves, and to make it easy to carry.
A good soft case will also have extra storage you can use to carry spare magazines, safety equipment, cleaning supplies, or other shooting gear.
Tactical AR-15 cases are also rugged and lightweight enough to go almost anywhere.
Not all soft gun cases are worth the money, though. Here are the best options for a variety of budgets and uses.
The 5 Top AR-15 Soft Cases of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for soft cases of 2021:
- Bulldog Cases Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case
- Condor Single Rifle Case
- Lancer Tactical Double Carbine Soft Case
- NcSTAR VISM Deluxe Padded Rifle Case
- Savior Equipment American Classic Tactical Gun Bag
*Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Material||Ballistic nylon||Ballistic nylon||600D Polyester|
|Storage||A divided internal compartment, Two magazine pockets||Central compartment, Side compartment, Three MOLLE side pockets||Large central compartment, Side compartment, Three large side pockets, Two small flush pockets|
|Available Sizes||Only in one size 29″ long x 9″ wide x 2″ high||36″ and 42″||36″ and 42″|
|Available Colors||Black and navy blue||Black, Olive drab, and Tan||Black, coyote brown, disruptive gray, olive drab green, and tan|
|Accessories||Place-anywhere straps||Shoulder strap and pistol pockets||Two removable shoulder straps, ID pocket, Removable padding that doubles as a shooting mat|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Bulldog Cases Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case
Material: Ballistic nylon
Storage: A divided internal compartment and two magazine pockets
Dimensions: 29″ long x 9″ wide x 2″ high
Available Colors: Black and navy blue
Accessories: Place-anywhere straps
When you need to transport an AR-15 without looking like you’re transporting an AR-15, look no further than the Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case by Bulldog Cases.
This soft-sided gun case is very simple. It is a zip-open ballistic nylon shell with an interior divider. The carrying handles wrap around the bottom of the case.
Velcro straps, which attach to the inside walls, let you position your AR-15’s upper receiver on one side and the lower receiver on the other side. There are also pockets which can hold two 30 round magazines.
You can even fit an M16A2 upper with a 20″ barrel in one of the halves!
Unfortunately, that’s the extent of the storage. There is room to add a few more magazines or other gear, but it will not be secured to anything.
The Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case is small enough to fit inside a backpack or duffle bag, adding to the stealth potential of this case!
- Fits practically any AR-15 upper and lower
- The stealthiest choice for transporting an AR-15
- Has almost no extra storage
- You have to take down your AR-15 to use this case
If you are trying to be discreet, there is no AR-15 case better than the Bulldog Cases Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case.
Bulldog Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case is also available at:
2. Condor Single Rifle Case
Material: Ballistic nylon
Storage: Central compartment, side compartment, and three MOLLE side pockets
Available Sizes: 36″ and 42″
Available Colors: Black, olive drab, and tan
Accessories: Shoulder strap and pistol pockets
Condor makes military-grade gear, including plate carriers. The Condor Single Rifle Case is just as rugged as their plate carriers. It can literally survive a war zone.
This case is available in two sizes: 36″ and 42″. Everything except for length is the same between the two sizes.
All of the straps and seams are reinforced and the carrying handles wrap under the case for added strength. The zippers are oversized and lockable.
There is a removable shoulder strap which is just as tough as the case itself. Unfortunately, it is a single strap, straight down the middle of the case, which can make it awkward to wear. Two shoulder straps would have been more comfortable to use.
The side of the case is covered in MOLLE webbing. The included side pockets are attached to the MOLLE webbing, so you can move them around or take them off to remove bulk.
There are also two internal pockets which can each hold a handgun. There is also space for magazines.
- Accepts ALICE and MOLLE attachments
- The external pockets are MOLLE attachments and can be moved around or left off
- The most rugged soft case on this list
- The single shoulder strap can be awkward to use
The Condor Single Rifle Case is the most rugged and dependable soft case you can buy. Period.
3. Lancer Tactical Double Carbine Soft Case
Material: 600D Polyester
Storage: Large central compartment with side compartment, three large side pockets, and two small flush pockets
Available Sizes: 36″ and 42″
Available Colors: Black, coyote brown, disruptive gray, olive drab green, and tan
Accessories: Two removable shoulder straps, ID pocket, and removable padding that doubles as a shooting mat
The Lancer Tactical Double Carbine Soft Case is a versatile soft case. It can carry two AR-15s in its large central compartment, separated by thick padding. Each rifle has two straps to hold it in place, along with a sleeve for the muzzle and a sleeve for the buttstock. The side interior compartment can hold a pistol or even a small SBR.
There are a total of five pockets on the outside of the case, though two are small pockets flush with the case’s sides. There is some MOLLE webbing next to the larger pockets if you want to add your own pouches.
The padding between the rifles is removable, and it’s thick enough to be a comfortable shooting mat, whether you are shooting prone or off of a bench.
- Ample storage space
- Room for two AR-15s and a pistol
- Two shoulder straps
- The internal divider doubles as a shooting mat
- MOLLE webbing
- Not all seams and straps are reinforced
The Lancer Tactical Double Carbine Soft Case is good for when you want to carry two AR-15s and more than enough shooting equipment to the range.
4. NcSTAR VISM Deluxe Padded Rifle Case
Material: 600D Polyester
Storage: Internal compartment and five magazine pockets
Available Sizes: 22.75″, 23″, 24″, 30″, 36″, 38″, 40″, 42″, 46″, and 52″
Available Colors: ACU digital camo, black, blue, green digital camo, green, tan, urban gray, and woodland camo
Accessories: ID card pocket and shoulder strap
The NcSTAR VISM Deluxe Padded Rifle Case does not have much fluff to it. It is a simple case, designed to hold an AR-15 and five magazines.
You can find this case in a large variety of sizes, from 22.75″ to 52″. Regardless of your AR-15’s configuration, you’ll find a size that fits.
It also comes in a variety of colors, but you cannot get all colors in all sizes, however.
Storage on this case is minimalistic. There is the central compartment for the rifle and five magazine pouches on the side. A flap closes over the top of the inserted magazines.
If you want to, you can could potentially squeeze a second magazine in each pouch. You’ll risk damaging the seams, though, as this soft case is not as rugged as some of the other offerings are.
- Large variety of sizes and colors, though not all colors are available in all sizes
- Form-fitting design
- Using the shoulder strap turns the case upside down
- The flap over the magazine pouches is of questionable utility
- Not rugged enough for more than light range work
If you need an inexpensive carrying case for your AR-15, the NcSTAR VISM Deluxe Padded Rifle Case will get it and five magazines safely to the range.
5. Savior Equipment American Classic Tactical Gun Bag
Material: 600D Nylon
Storage: Central compartment, side compartment, and three side pockets
Available Sizes: 36″, 42″, 46″, and 55″
Available Colors: Ash gray, flat dark earth tan, obsidian black, and olive drab green
Accessories: Removable shoulder straps and MOLLE webbing
The Savior Equipment American Classic Tactical Double Long Rifle Gun Bag has double the capacity as shown in its name. In fact, you can fit four guns in the bag, though two have to be pistols.
You can find it in four different colors. There are also four sizes, from 36″ all the way to a whopping 55″. Whether you have an AR-15 with a 14.5″ barrel or a monstrosity of an AR-10, you can find a bag that will fit your gun.
A padded divider keeps your guns from scratching each other, and Velcro straps combined with muzzle/buttstock sleeves keep them from moving around.
There’s even an exterior compartment for two pistols. In addition, there are three external pockets. If that’s not enough for you, MOLLE webbing allows you to easily add more storage.
- Can carry four guns: two rifles and two pistols
- Dual removable shoulder straps
- Extra padding along the edges
- MOLLE webbing
- The shoulder straps are closely spaced and may be uncomfortable for people with broad chests
- The shoulder straps could use more reinforcement and may be a point of failure
The Savior Equipment American Classic Tactical Double Rifle Bag is a good choice when you want to go to the range with one bag and still bring a variety of firearms.
Benefits of Soft Cases Compared to Hard Cases
The biggest choice when choosing a case for your AR-15 is whether you want a hard case or a soft case.
Hard cases are more resilient and can even be waterproof. But are they always the best choice?
Nopes. Soft cases are better than hard cases for many people.
For one thing, hard cases can be extremely expensive. A cheap hard case is still as expensive as a good soft case.
Most people do not need the added resilience of a hard case. Sure, the impact resistance is nice, but it comes at some serious handicaps.
Hard cases are bulky and heavy. An unloaded hard case can weigh more than a loaded soft case while taking up twice the amount of space.
This bulk can make a hard case hide to conceal in a vehicle. It can also make them more awkward to handle, and no hard case has shoulder straps!
Toting around a heavy-duty hard case can wear you down. Soft cases are inherently lighter and less fatiguing. Some soft gun carrying cases come with shoulder straps, which relieves your arms of the weight.
Despite their larger size, hard cases do not have as much storage space as soft cases. Soft cases can have a multitude of compartments and pockets.
Plus, by using MOLLE attachments or even sewing them on, you can add more pockets to soft sided cases!
Also, soft cases are repairable while most hard cases are not. When plastic is broken, you cannot fix it—but a torn seam or hole in a soft case can be resewn or patched up.
The last advantage of soft-sided gun cases is that they take up a negligible amount of space when you are not using them.
Hard cases are always the same size, and even with nothing inside, they take up a lot of space. Soft cases, however, can be squished down when there is no gun inside. This lets you store them much more easily.
You can also fold or roll up a soft gun case. Try that with a hard case and you’ll quickly come to tears!
How to Choose an AR-15 Soft Case?
There are many different styles of soft cases out there. How do you go about picking the best one?
Here are several questions you can answer, along with what that answer means regarding soft gun cases.
Do you want to carry one or two AR-15s?
This is a simple one. If you only want to carry one gun, then a smaller soft gun case will save you money and space.
However, if you want to carry two carbines at once, you will need a double gun case. This only adds a little bit of weight and you can still use the case for carrying one gun if you want to later.
Also, the backpack-style straps mostly appear on double gun cases. So if you want those, you have to get the larger style of gun case.
Where will you use the carrying case?
If you only ever go from home to the range and back with your gun, you do not need an expensive, rugged case. Save some money and use it for more ammunition.
However, if you plan on traveling into the wild with your firearm, then you should get as rugged a case as possible.
While it is possible to repair soft cases in the field with a simple sewing kit, buying higher-quality products will save you from having to do so.
What do you want to carry in your case?
Some AR-15 carrying cases have enough storage to lug around everything you need for shooting, including a shooting mat.
However, if you do not carry much gear with you to the range, or you already use a range bag, why spend the money for storage space you will not use? All of those extra pockets do take up space, even when empty.
How well do you want to conceal your AR-15?
A giant tactical gun bag may be able to store lots of gear and four guns, but it will also draw all sorts of attention.
While soft gun cases are easier to hide in your vehicle than are hard gun cases, the big ones all but say “THIS IS A GUN” on the side.
Smaller gun cases, especially ones with less external storage, are more discreet.
The Bulldog Cases Ultra-Compact AR-15 Discreet Rifle Case is small enough to be tossed into another bag. Talk about stealthy!
Do you want to travel using commercial airlines?
If you want to fly with your gun, the TSA requires that it be placed in a hard case.
This does not mean the death of the soft case. You can still put the gun in a soft case then put that into the hard case.
This will let you use your preferred soft-sided gun case at your destination, while keeping you legal with the TSA.
Good hard cases can be expensive, but for this purpose, you can get away with a small, cheap hard case. After all, your soft case will be inside, granting additional padding and protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you secure your AR-15 in a soft case?
Soft cases, unlike hard cases, do not have the pressure of foam holding the gun in place, so your AR-15 will have to be secured to the soft case.
The majority of soft cases have one or two methods of securing the AR-15. The most common method is the use of Velcro straps.
All you have to do then is position your gun and strap it tightly into the case.
Some cases also have two sleeves to help secure your AR-15. These are like half pockets. The gun’s muzzle goes in one sleeve and the buttstock goes into the other sleeve.
If your soft case does not have either of these options, then you can put the AR-15 into a gun sock and put it inside the case. This will help further protect the gun.
In a pinch, you can always wrap the gun in a scarf or shemagh to help keep it from bouncing around inside the case.
You can also sew in your own Velcro straps to upgrade the gun case!
2. What size soft case should you buy for a 36″ AR-15?
The general recommendation is to add two inches to your gun’s measurement and use that to figure out what size case you need.
Often, cases are designed to store the AR-15 in its most compact form. Collapse the stock and remove the suppressor, if you have one.
So, if your AR-15 measures 36″ from butt pad to the end of the muzzle device, you need a gun case that is at least 38″. Sometimes you can find a case that long, but you may have to go up to the more commonly found 42″ length.