I found it very interesting the other day that after several years of carrying a certain small, innocuous object in my handbag/carry-on bag, I got stopped at my home airport while going through the TSA airport security line. In fact, several uniformed security guys wandered over to look at the imaging screen. Since I stood on the other side not seeing my bag roll down the conveyor belt, I knew that it was something in my possession that they were examining and discussing.

Airport Security Bag Check

After a few minutes, a gentleman put on blue gloves, grabbed my bag and asked me to come over to a separate table so they could do a more thorough check. I cheerfully went along, since I knew that there was nothing dangerous or unusual in my bag. I had checked — and then double-checked — for any bullets, stray snap caps or even empty brass cases. Sometimes those hitch a ride in my bags or even in my clothes. Confident in my pre-airport bag checks, I figured it must be the small bag of dark chocolate raspberry almonds I had brought with me.

The TSA guy carefully dug through my bag, peering into a few zippered pouches, and finally came across my makeup bag. Curious, I continued to watch as he took out the bag, looked through it and eventually pulled out … my mirror. I have no poker face, so at this point, I was definitely showing an emotional mixture somewhere between confused and amused.

Granted, this mirror is a special compact that I won at the Complete Combatant Women’s Mingle a few years ago. It’s a sparkly silver, double mirror compact with rings of rhinestones and a shiny, metallic, 1.5-inch revolver on the front.

Now, unless the security agents thought I had some snazzy little Derringer or perhaps even a super-tiny mini-revolver from North American Arms, I can’t imagine why they were tripped up by this item! The airport security guard, however, did let me see the image that was captured by the 3D scanner. The outline of the firearm design was very distinct … but it was also ridiculously small, especially compared to the other items right next to it, like my lip gloss and my smartphone. But it was kind of an eye-opening sight.

Reality Check

The TSA security guard would not let me take a picture of the image showing the tiny gun on my tiny mirror, but I assure you it was very clear in detail, even down to the missing rhinestones. And even though I was allowed to keep my compact this time around, he warned me that because it was so detailed on the image (and they were not certain what they were looking at), TSA could’ve easily called in the local police to deal with my bag … and with me! That would have been an embarrassing and time-wasting fiasco.

OK. So lesson learned. Even images of guns can potentially set off alarms nowadays. I guess my fun little compact mirror will have to stay put in my purse and no longer come with me on any domestic (or international) air travel!

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About Beth Alcazar

Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column as well as Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.