To protect your camera equipment, fly with a pistol...

I was in the pub the other day, and got to talking with a camera-man who does seriously high-end video stuff. He travels with a lot of equipment all the time, including some ridiculously expensive high-speed video equipment. Of course, everything he owns is fully insured, but insurance isn't everything: He is on the road around 300 days every year, and if something gets stolen or breaks, you have a big problem: It's extremely hard to get a replacement part for a Phantom Flex if you're standing on a mountain-top in Tibet somewhere.

So, he shared a little secret with me: He found the perfect way of protecting his £140,000 ($210,000) worth of equipment he travels with: He travels with a pistol.

Now, of course, there are lots of flights that won't let you check ammunition, but most will allow you to travel with an unloaded fire-arm. On top of that, a starting pistol costs as little as $50.

So... Why does this work? Well, a starting pistol is classed as a firearm, but it isn't actually illegal anywhere. In addition, since you aren't bringing any ammunition, you're basically just packing a small toy gun that isn't good for anyone. However, the airlines are über-paranoid about losing a firearm: Doing so, would cause tremendous amounts of problems for everybody concerned, and so, any luggage containing a 'firearm' is especially tagged and tracked through the luggage systems.

"Of course", my new-found friend said, sipping from his gin and tonic, "It does take me longer to check my bags, but there's no way they'll take the risk of losing them - and so when I travel to very important jobs, my starter pistol comes with me..."

I've never tried it myself, and I haven't looked into the rules, but it does sound like a pretty elegant (if ridiculously extreme) solution to the fear of losing your camera equipment whilst on the move...

Photo (cc) by Mr Smashy