Gun Coatings Can Give Your Firearm Personality

The Difference Between Gun Coatings

OffHand Gear Kiss My Brass Hand Guard with Custom Cerakote Finish

Gun coatings are a necessity for any firearm, and there are quite a few available for owners today. The options range from Tenifer to Cerakote® (our preferred coating), and they all have their own unique benefits. So, which one should you get? How should you outfit your gun? Honestly, it all depends on your personal preference and the money that you’re willing to spend. In addition to that, you have to consider the quality of the piece that you’re coating, and how much you really want to invest in it. Each one has a different level of protection, for example, the corrosion protection, durability, and even the amount of time that it will last. Let’s take a look at some of the most common gun coatings and their benefits.

Gun Bluing

This goes by several different names including:
·      Steel Bluing
·      Oxidizing
·      Black Passivating
No matter what name it goes by, the ultimate goal is to provide a minimal amount of rust protection to the firearm. This is perfect if you only take your gun to target practice, as opposed to sitting in the field for extended periods of time. There will be no dimensional change with a blue oxide coating, and it is regarded as one of the cheapest coating options available. 
1937 Soviet Nagant hand guard


Along with protecting the surface of your gun from corrosion, Parkerizing will also make your gun more resistant to nicks or scratches. This process can be called by two other names which include bonderizing and phosphating, and requires the steel to be submerged in a phosphoric acid solution. Usually, the key ingredient is zinc, along with copper and chlorates. Heated to about 210 degrees, the conversion process will cause the coating to become either medium-gray or black. The best part about Parkerizing, is that it causes the parts in your gun to become self-lubricating.


SunDevil Manufacturing Anodized Receiver Set At The RangeYour gun already has a natural oxide layer on its surface, and anodizing simply increases the thickness. Anodized aluminum brings increased lubricity to the table along with an improved adhesive surface. This is often referred to as hardcoat anodizing, used in Mil-Spec applications. Note that hardcoat anodizing will be 10x more resistant than conventional anodizing. 


OffHand Gear Skull Vine, Rose Vine and Fleur D Lis AR15 Hand GaurdsThis is our preferred method of coating, and it’s actually one of the simplest available. One of the biggest problems with other gun coatings out there is that they attract dust particles, which, in the long run, may cause abrasions.
One of the reasons we love this particular coating, is the heat reduction properties that it brings to the table. If you’re shooting in the heat of summer, you could experience significant trouble with an uncoated rifle, for example, there are some rifles out there constructed from different types of metals, with one expanding faster than the others, making the rifle nearly impossible to use. A heat resistant coating, like cerakote®, ensures that you can spend more time on the range without possible malfunctions.

Nickel Boron

Mega Arms Lower Receiver Set in Nickel Boron FinishThe perk with nickel boron is the neat chrome finish it can give your rifle or handgun. If you’re looking for some extra flare, this is probably the direction you want to go, especially with the potential for a two-toned appearance on the slide and barrel.  The biggest disadvantage with nickel-baron, is that there will still be a need for occasional lubrication of the firearm.

While all of these are legitimate coating methods, we tend to favor cerakote® for its self-lubrication and the heat reduction. After all, there’s nothing better than being able to spend more time on the range and less time twiddling your thumbs between cool downs. 

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We'd love to hear your thoughts and keep the conversation going in the comments below.  Is your firearm coated, if so tell us which type of coating and what you love about it.

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