Released in 2016, the line of Air cases is one of the latest in a series of hard cases by Pelican that is up to 40% lighter than the original hard case. The 1626 is specifically designed for mid-sized or smaller tactical rifles, but can accommodate a variety of other items to fit within it. The Air series of cases continues to provide Pelican’s leading protective cases to consumers, but at an affordable price point and lighter weight to the consumer.
As with all Pelican cases, the 1626 Air Case is made from Super-light proprietary HPX²™ Polymer with features taken from the Protector series to deliver a lightweight, watertight, crushproof, and dustproof case that offers a significant amount of protection.
With an overall exterior dimension of 31.12” (L) x 13.33” (H) x 17.05” (W), the 1626’s exterior is comprised of Pelican’s Super-light proprietary HPX²™ Polymer for a lightweight shell that maintains maximum strength and impact resistance.
The 1626 includes six newly redesigned Press and Pull™ latches made from an ABS polymer that secure the lid to the bottom. In addition, there are three heavy-duty, ergonomic and foldable handles on either end to aid in picking up.
Several protective features built into the 1626 are its two stainless-steel padlock protectors, and its single automatic purge valve made with hi-flow Gore-Tex with a 3 micron, hydrophobic non-woven material.
The 1626 has two quiet-rolling wheels with stainless-steel bearings that, combined with the collapsible trolley handle, aid in rolling and transport of the case and its fully packed weight. On the exterior is a single, clear plastic business card colder for an identification placard. This card holder is only accessible with the lid open and thus prevents tampering.
With an interior space of 28.14” (L) x 11.72” (H) x 14.00” (W), the 1626 has an overall internal storage capacity of 2.69 ft³.
A one-piece, rubberized EPDM O-ring provides a watertight seal to the interior storage space.
The 1626 comes with optional three layers of open-cell, pick-and-pluck foam that is customizable to meet storage needs.
- Foam Layer 1 (Lid)……..1.95″ (6.4 cm) – Convolute
- Foam Layer 2 (Base)……2.68″ (5.6 cm) – Pick N Pluck
- Foam Layer 3 (Base)……2.68″ (5.6 cm) – Pick N Pluck
- Foam Layer 4 (Base)……2.68″ (1.3 cm) – Pick N Pluck
- Foam Layer 5 (Base)……1.44” – Pad
- Minimum Temperature…-60° F (-51 ° C)
- Maximum Temperature…160° F (71 ° C)
The 1626 Air Long Case is only available in Black (featured).
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): At an MSRP of $336.95 the 1626 Air Case can be found on third-party retail stores for as little as $278. Care should be taken when ordering from non-direct vendors however as the condition and legitimacy of such products can sometimes prove dubious. As a whole, the 1626 is part of the overall ‘Air’ line and made from Pelican’s proprietary HPX²™ Polymer. This new material provides for consistent strength and impact resistance over its more traditional products, yet is still lighter. Comparable market alternatives would be the Nanuk 970 ($332) or the 3026-15 iSeries Case by SKB ($355.99). Given the available price point of the 1626 Air Case on the market as $278, it places the Pelican case at a good cost among its competitors.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, while the 1626 is one of the moderate-sized cases in the Air lineup, and in comparison, the case was surprisingly lighter than expected. This was attributed to the HPX²™ Polymer which allowed the case’s shell to be up to 40% lighter than other polymer cases of similar size. The 31” overall length easily accommodated multiple rifles, handguns, and equipment while the foldable middle handle on the side made maneuvering a fully loaded case easier than alternative cases without that mid-handle. The three collapsible handles felt very comfortable in the hand and did not dig or pinch in the hand. The push-button latches were a notable improvement over more traditional C-type clamps, and provided an improved level of security against accidental opening (despite several attempts at trying to force it open from the bottom of the latch). One aspect of the 1626 that is shared with the Protector series are the locking cleats across the lid and bottom. These cleats provided added strength and allowed for potential stacking of multiple cases if needed. The rolling wheels moved easily and quietly while rolling the case between shooting venues. Perhaps the only negative aspect from a comfort aspect was that because of its overall bulk, the 1626 was a bit unwieldy when carried, vice rolled and the latter would be the recommended transport method whenever possible.
- Durability – Good (4/5): From a durability aspect, Pelican cases generally are thought of as the apex in hard cases. And the new Air line of cases continued that reputation by basically being left unsecure in the back of a pickup truck bed, and driven around on and off road (with other items to include several steel ammo cans). Rough handling was not held back. The shock and impact resistance held up excellent, with nary any effect to the weapons contained inside. The pick-and-pluck foam was not customized for the weapons used during this review (instead one base layer was simply removed), however between the lid and remaining base layers they held enough retention to keep the weapons secured. Despite some surface marring to the exterior shell (superficial scratches, gouges, dents, etc.), neither moisture nor dust penetrated the interior at any time.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): The 1626 is similar to other Pelican hard cases in that it was designed to be a protective box for ground and/or air transport. While the 1626 Air Case has an improved polymer blend and new push-button latches, the Air series as a whole had a low-profile appearance and was designed more for the avid traveler (such as trainers or instructors) in mind, not members of the military. Features like the rolling wheels and the pressurization valve were essential as part of the design for long-term use or carrying. The stainless-steel protectors (in conjunction with TSA-approved locks – not included) and hinge pins likewise fill an essential aspect of design as it ensured forced entry (shy of cutting) wasn’t possible. The pick-and-pluck foam was of the typical thickness and appropriately perforated to allow customization. As noted above, the 1626 did share some rigidity aspects of the Protector series with the locking cleats that aided in added reinforcement. Since the 1626 is intended as an equipment case, there are options for it to come without foam, or with compartmentalized inserts.
- Weight – Excellent (5/5): At 18.10 lbs. (with foam), the 1626 Air Case has an appropriate (or average) amount of weight for a case of this size and intended to hold multiple firearms or equipment. As such, once fully loaded, the 1626 was somewhat heavy and bulky to maneuver by carrying it from the two side handles. Truthfully the best method in transporting the fully loaded 1626 was rolling it around via the trolley handle provided it was a smooth, improved surface. The rolling wheels did not facilitate rolling over loose rock, thus necessitated the carry method. In comparison; the Nanuk 970 (26 pounds) or the 3026-15 iSeries Case by SKB (40.99 pounds) were all over the weight of the 1626 Air Gun Case despite similarities in overall dimensions and design. This validated the benefit of the proprietary HPX²™ Polymer in the 1745 and gave it an excellent scoring.
Overall Rating – Good (21/25)
Product Link: https://www.pelican.com/us/en/product/cases/air/1626
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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