handgun coating

Cerakote Finish Is A Type Of Durable Gun Coating


Cerakote is a type of gun coating and finish, sort of like a paint and sealant at the same time much in the same way that lacquer serves as a finish and sealant for wood. Granted, Cerakote isn't made of shellac, so it's not exactly the same thing but it does serve a similar role.


It's also become quite popular, along with similar gun finish compounds like DuraCoat and so on.


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.


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.


How To Cerakote Guns


cerakoting a gun

There are two ways to Cerakote guns: do it yourself or have professionals do it for you. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages to each. Doing it yourself is cheaper and more expedient, but having professionals do it is more likely to result in a professional-caliber (see what we did there?) coating.


Cerakote, you see, requires total disassembly of the firearm and then sandblasting the frame so the coating will adhere to it. This isn't to say that you aren't handy enough to do it yourself. The procedure is far from rocket science; it's not like there's some sort of secret handshake you need to learn so the wise Monks Of The Temple Of Cerakote will teach you their ways, grasshopper.


It's more that professionals do it all the time, so they are less likely to miss a detail here, a nook or cranny there. These things, after all, do happen.


Cerakote also has a list of officially affiliated shops that do the work, so there may be one in your area.


However, should you decide to do the work yourself, there are two formulas of Cerakote: oven-cured and air cured. The former requires baking in an oven, the latter cures in the air.


That said, the air-cure formulas (such as Cerakote C) are intended for high-temperature parts and applications such as barrels. The oven-cure formulas (such as Cerakote H) are better suited to the frame, the slide and so on.


If you decide to apply the finish yourself, it is highly recommended that you DO NOT use your kitchen oven. The fumes can linger and you do not want it anywhere near your food. A best practice would be to pick up a used oven on the cheap, put it in your garage or shop and use it to bake the coating.


What Does Cerakote Do?


cerakote effects

Cerakote offers some distinct advantages over other finishes. First, the material has a good degree of lubricity, acting as a lubricant once the finish has been applied. A lot of users have found they need to use far less lubricant (if any) once their gun has been coated. Compared to other lubricants, Cerakote attracts far less in terms of dirt, dust and other particles, keeping the gun cleaner and ensuring better operation.


Cerakote is also a more effective barrier against oxidation and corrosion than bluing. This is advantageous for firearms that are carried in a marine environment (live on the coast?) or may be exposed to a lot of sweat (carry gun during hot summer months) or exceedingly hot and dusty (or the desert?) environments as well.


It can also look cool. While you can get a black coating that doesn't look a whole heck of a lot different than black steel or polymer to begin with, plenty of other finishes are available too. Into Flat Dark Earth? They got it.


What Are Some Cerakote Guns I Can Get In A Gun Store?


worth getting a gun cerakoted

Wondering what Cerakote guns are available in stores? It certainly makes a certain amount of sense; why not get the finish from the factory and not worry about applying it yourself or having it done?


Granted, buying a gun on the basis of the finish alone is ludicrous and certainly is not smart gun shopping. However, if it's a possible feature that one looks for, there are some guns out there with Cerakote finishes from the factory. Some finishes are only offered on specific models, others as factory upgrades and others as standards. Below are a list of some factory guns with a Cerakote finish:


  • Lionheart Industries pistols (all models)
  • FNH FDE models or via custom order
  • Colt, select models of Mustang and 1911 pistols
  • Beretta M9A3
  • Magnum Research Desert Eagle - select models
  • Canik CZ Clones through Tri-Star Sporting Arms

And others besides - a good number of AR-pattern rifle companies also use Cerakote.


Whether it's worth it or not...well, some people have reported being incredibly satisfied and others have had the exact opposite experience. It seems to come down to the quality of the application and care by the user.




 

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