handgun coating

What Is This Cerakote I Keep Reading About?

Some people might have noticed a bunch of guns advertised as having Cerakote and wondered just what that is. It wasn't that long ago that you could choose blued steel or stainless and that was it. Now there are a bunch of different gun finishes.

In short, it's a durable coating that should help protect the surface from harm. It's a good thing to have, if you can get it - sort of like a good quality gun belt.

A Newer Choice Of Gun Coating

gun finishes

Cerakote is a type of gun coating as well as a finish, so it's kind of like a lacquer for your gun. Granted, Cerakote isn't made out of shellac, so it's not the same thing. However, they both do roughly the same job, creating both an appearance as well as a protective coating.

It's a very popular but relatively new form of gun coating. Cerakote is just one; other finishing compounds like DuraCoat are available as well.

Up until the past couple decades, guns could be had (mostly) in blued steel or stainless, both of which hold up reasonably well against the elements and rust.

Bluing is a process of treating iron (or steel, an alloy of iron and carbon) to with a catalyst that creates a layer of magnetite - or black iron oxide - on the surface of the metal. It isn't moisture proof, as blued steel needs a coat of water-repellant oil (such as a good gun lube or oil) to keep water out and rust from forming. Furthermore, it's relatively easy and cheap compared to other finishes.

Blued steel, though, does have to be periodically re-blued. Gunsmiths commonly do it, but some people do it at home.

Stainless steel is an alloy of steel and - usually - chromium, which keeps oxygen out by forming a thin layer of chromium oxide on the surface, which is chemically passive - meaning it generally doesn't react with anything else, especially air and water.

Obviously, passivity is a prized quality in gun finishes, as keeping rust at bay is the goal. Cerakote, and other finishes, helps in this regard.

What Is Cerakote?

protective gun coating

Cerakote is a proprietary finish, made by a company called Cerakote. The name is a portmanteau with the word "coat" changed to "kote," because misspelling things is cool. (Though some cynical miscreants disagree on that point.)

Anyway, the finish employs ceramic (hence "cera") particles as part of the solution. This creates a hard surface that resists scratching and other abrasion, such as if the pistol is dropped or otherwise impacted by something.

The purchaser can either get Cerakote guns from manufacturers - many of whom apply the finish at the factory - or apply it at home (or have a gunsmith do it) as an aftermarket upgrade. Manufacturers typically offer Cerakote finishes in some sort of tactical tan or green color, though many more finishes are available. Pick the finish you want; you can even use it to match your gun with other items.

That way, you could have a car in British Racing Green and then Cerakote a car gun finished to match - which would be classy.

The drawback is that most Cerakote finishes (Cerakote H is most common) require an oven cure rather than merely just air drying, which is all that many other gun finishes need. It isn't recommended to use one's kitchen oven to do the deed. Not that it won't work, but the fumes can linger and you really don't want them in your food.

Granted, used ovens are relatively cheap, if one wanted to get one for one's workshop. You also have the burners to make lunch in the shop, if so desired.

There are air-cured Cerakote finishes (the Cerakote C range) available, but they are more for high-temperature applications (such as barrels, rather than slides) and optics rather than other firearm surfaces, such as the frame.

Are Cerakote Guns Worth Picking Up?

worth getting a gun cerakoted

Plenty of people out there are making their own Cerakote guns by having the finish applied or buying them from the manufacture, so there is something to it. There aren't too many finishes that protect as well against abrasion or moisture, which is certainly something to consider when it comes to a gun you're going to carry every day.

Investing in a firearm for protection is investing in something that may have to save your life. There's something to be said about protecting it so that it can protect you.

Besides, you can also use it to make your gun look really cool.


About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

purchase gun belt