Hard Chrome still the ultimate finish?


November 21, 2010, 08:21 PM
Is Hard Chrome still the most durable finish for a pistol? What company do you advise to treat ones handgun with the ultimate finish? Who to avoid? Do they finish everything including barrel inside and out? Springs too? Is $300 about common price? thanks

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November 21, 2010, 08:34 PM
Hard chrome is a tough finish but Titaniuim nitride is actually tougher. It is the same stuff they coat on some drill bits to make them last longer. Unfortunately it is a goldish color. But its supposed to be very tough. As far as what you would get chromed, Usually only the frame and outside of the barrel are done. Not sure about springs, but probably not. Can't tell you what company to use but am sure others here will.

November 22, 2010, 12:40 AM
so who does titanium nitrate?

November 22, 2010, 04:28 AM
so who does titanium nitrate?

Titanium Nitride.

Drug cartels, Saddam and associates...

Do you really want a gold gun?

Buck Snort
November 22, 2010, 04:52 AM
"Do you really want a gold gun."

Hey, I'd like to show it off to the homies!!

November 22, 2010, 05:38 AM
What about Robar's NP3 treatment? Supposed to be pretty tough too.

Al Thompson
November 22, 2010, 06:38 AM
Spring, Bob Cogan is a great refinisher:


November 22, 2010, 10:03 AM
Black IonBond DLC i do believe may be one of the best finishes.
Several places do this finish or they send them all the the same place im not sure as it seems to be a complex procedure.
Click on finishes on the left hand side:

IonBond DLC
IonBond DLC (stands for Diamond Like Carbon) is a hard black finish that is fairly new to the firearms market. It is a is a physical vapor deposition coating that has a 3-6 micron build up per surface (that's less than .005"). DLC can be applied to carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, over polished surfaces as well as matte surfaces. When bone-dry it is a dark charcoal color. With a little oil on it, it's black. It's hardness runs 70+ on the Rockwell "C" scale. I think it's the best all around option for a black firearms finish. It appears to be the equal to hard chrome in the durability and rust resistance departments. Black-T might be a better choice if rust resistance is the main criteria, like working in a salt water environment with no care given to wiping down every day or so, but in a less hostile climate or one with more care given, rust is a non-issue. There are a couple of peculiarites with DLC. It requires that the part be able to conduct an electrical charge, creating a problem in coating anodized aluminum. Anodizing is an insulator. If the aluminum is bare, it can be successfully coated with DLC. Type III hard coat anodizing might be a better choice for your aluminum frame than DLC in this respect: DLC (and hard chrome, too) is a little like an unpeeled hard-boiled egg. The exterior is fairly hard and tough, but because of the relative softness of the interior, that coating (or shell) is also a little bit brittle. Should an aluminum-framed pistol coated in such a manner be dropped and dented, the coating's adhesion with the substrate may be compromised. I don't consider that to be a huge deal. I understand that I've already made a compromise by selecting an aluminum frame to start with. I understand that aluminum is easier to dent than steel and I accept the risk. Anodizing penetrates the surface of the aluminum as well as building up the exterior. I'd recommend finishing your Lightweight Commander, for example, with Type III anodizing on the aluminum parts and DLC on the steel ones, getting the best of both worlds.

Another unique feature to know about DLC is that the shape of the part can have an impact on how the PVD process coats the part. For example, the shape of beavertail grip safeties can sometimes cause a faint, narrow "stripe" to be seen on the back side of the safety, where your hand goes. It changes appearance somewhat, due to light and the presence of oil. It is an anomaly that the IonBond people are trying to solve, but still shows up from time to time. I mention this because some guys after learning about DLC, get the idea that DLC is the modern day replacement for bluing and is superior is all regards. Well, it's not.

Bluing is a process where the parts are submerged in the salt bath and all surfaces are equally coated. The process for applying IonBond DLC requires that each part be tied to a wire that is hung from a fixturing tree after which a vacuum is drawn in the chamber and the atomized molecules are transferred through the vacuum to the negatively charged part being finished. It’s possible for a tiny speck of gray dust to land on a part at just the wrong time and a tiny white spot can occur. It’s something that IonBond works hard to avoid, but has been known to happen. If it does, the only thing that can be done is to abrasive blast the part until the finish is entirely stripped (which leaves the metal in a rough matte texture), then sand any polished surfaces back to whatever level they are supposed to be and send it back to IonBond to be recoated. IonBond will recoat the part at no charge. Were this a blued part, it could just be dipped a second time in many cases with no additional prep work. I will charge for any prep work involving sanding and any additional roll mark restoration needed. For this reason, I really recommend only doing matte IonBond finishes.

While DLC comes close to matching the appearance of bluing, it's not quite the equal in it's ability to have a consistent, uniform color, regardless of the shape of the part or the direction of the light. It also doesn't reflect light the same as bluing. It always looks a little hazy, just because it doesn’t reflect light the same way. If you're selecting a finish for your family heirloom, presentation grade pistol, where appearance is the chief concern, bluing is still the King. If you want a best of breed, black finish that excels in many areas and when durability is really important, DLC is the good stuff

November 22, 2010, 10:22 AM
Here's one of Bob Cogan's jobs, done through Alpha Precision. It's an extremely durable, hard, tough and slick finish. Yes, all the internal parts should be done, except the springs.


November 22, 2010, 11:08 AM
Nice Ruger Craig.

I just buy em stainless to begin with.....

Buck Snort
November 22, 2010, 11:30 AM
I had my Vaquero hard chromed. I'm wish'n I'd had the cylinder ceracoated in black.

November 22, 2010, 11:56 AM
It's a ceramic coating that is available in various colors. I just had a Colt 1991A1 commander done in black and it's beautiful.

It appears to be very wear resistant, but I can't testify to that as the coating is only a week old.

I had mine done at Liberty Coating in CT. It wasn't the fastest turnaround, but he did an excellent job.


November 22, 2010, 12:31 PM
Robar had specials going on over the end of summer by knocking 20% off the price. Got my grade A P7 PSP done with all internal parts & (1) mag (springs don't get plated). Costs with shipping there & back came to $387. Limited Lifetime warrantee. Did a great job. Looks like it's Titanium. After 250 rounds they say you do not have to lube it anymore. Looks great with wood grips. This is my carry piece for when I head to the city. It took 5 weeks to get my gun back. I would reccomend Robar.

November 22, 2010, 02:19 PM
dirtyharry, thats what I seek to get my 1980 PSP P7 finished. Did they know how to take it apart or is that task on us? Does he do the barrel inside and out or just outside?

November 22, 2010, 08:04 PM
You know what Patton said about chrome pistols?

November 22, 2010, 08:16 PM
I just buy em stainless to begin with.....
Hard Chrome is more scratch resistant than the stainless steel used in most handguns

What about Robar's NP3 treatment
NP3 isn't Hard Chrome, it is electroless nickle with a teflon component...it is easier to apply, but isn't has hard

You know what Patton said about chrome pistols?
Are you referring to his famous quote when asked about his pearl handled pistols?...they were ivory handled

November 22, 2010, 08:56 PM
You know what Patton said about chrome pistols?
What exactly did Patton say about chrome pistols?

He did carry a silver plated SAA after all, and shiney silver doesn't look all that different from chrome...

November 22, 2010, 09:01 PM
Patton carried a NICKLE plated pistol. He said "only a pimp from a New Orleans whore house," would carry a chrome pistol.

November 22, 2010, 09:28 PM
I dont care what anyone says about durabilty. Its usually their own justification in what they have. I wanna finish that endures hardship:D.

November 22, 2010, 09:37 PM
Patton carried a NICKLE plated pistol. He said "only a pimp from a New Orleans whore house," would carry a chrome pistol.
That quote was referring to a reporter asking him if his guns had pearl handles when they were infact ivory, not about chrome or nickle or anything about the guns finish.

Secondly, I'm almost certain his SAA was silver plated.

November 22, 2010, 10:11 PM
According to the General George Patton Museum (http://www.generalpatton.org/Patton_Saber/PattonSaber_Spring08.htm#3), Patton's Colt Model 1873 revolver was silver plated.

November 22, 2010, 10:36 PM
Patton would have embraced hard chrome as he was tough as nails.

Full Metal Jacket
November 22, 2010, 10:45 PM
Is Hard Chrome still the most durable finish for a pistol?


that's why you don't see bores being lined with anything else. ;)

John Wayne
November 22, 2010, 11:16 PM
Patton said "only a pimp from a New Orleans whorehouse would carry a PEARL-HANDLED pistol." Not chrome, nickel, stainless steel or any other shiny finish.

The quote most associated with shiny guns is "get rid of that nickel-plated sissy pistol and get yourself a Glock."

Now, back on topic...

I don't know how Durable it is, but DuraCoat gets good reviews and you can do it yourself.

November 22, 2010, 11:21 PM
Patton's comment was about pearl grips, nothing to do with chrome.

Industrial hard chrome is not to be confused with decorative automotive chrome. The difference is night and day. It is a 100% viable finish for quality firearms and is no more "pimp" than nickel or stainless steel. Some folks just need to get their facts straight.

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