1911 handgun with a red grip and cerakoted american flag finish on the gun slide

How to Pick the Right Finish For Your Firearm

Your firearm is an investment that helps to ensure your personal security and financial future. Guns are prized possessions and as long as they retain a beautiful finish, they’ll retain their resale value far into the future. The finish that you choose for our Master Gunsmith to put on your weapon will depend on your lifestyle and personal styling choices.

Gun Bluing

This is typical with rifles where you’re looking to achieve a clear finish that doesn’t produce distracting glare. During this type of finish, the iron of the gun is changed into black oxide with an electrochemical reaction. This works to protect the steel from corrosion. However, this type of finish requires regular oiling to ensure that rust is kept away. Gun bluing at the gun shop store is one of the cheapest options when it comes to gun finishing.


Also using an electrochemical process, your weapon can have an anodized finish. This is a finish that increases the actual size of the metal and is very strong. In fact, an anodized finish is second only to the hardness of a diamond. This anodized finish creates the perfect surface to get better paint and glue adhesion. The gun shop Harrisburg, PA locals trust uses this finishing process just prior to spray-on painting. This finish will require some adjustments to be made to the weapon to accommodate the increase in dimensional size from the anodized finish.


This is a similar finish to gun bluing but offers more corrosion resistance. Any gun dealer can easily recommend this finish if you’re looking for a cheap option that offers a smooth look. Parkerizing uses a chemical phosphate conversion to provide an anti-reflective coat. This minimally alters the final dimensions of the weapon. The end result with be a gray to a black finish.

Nickel Boron

This finished coating is picked for an abundance of reasons. The most usual being the nickel colored finish that provides a sleek look for any firearm. Since this coating is very low-friction and disperses heat well, it’s highly chosen for the internal firearm components. You’ll notice a more uniform finish than you will with some of the other coatings on the market today.


This is a ceramic-based coating that is commonly utilized as a cheap way to obtain a custom color finish on a weapon. This type of material offers superior lubrication while protecting against dust particles that can cause abrasion to the gun components. You can typically find cerakote finishes in an abundance of different colors. With this material being very resistant to scratches and impacts, it’s one of the best finishes for those who want a low-maintenance and durable gun. This finish also is perfect for withstanding heat up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Quench Polish Quench

Also referred to as QPQ, this finish is desired for its ultimate attributes of water resistance, lubrication of parts, and corrosion resistance. This process uses a salt bath nitrocarburizing cycle twice in order to improve the overall corrosion resistance of the metal. This creates what is known as an iron oxide layer. This coating is more corrosion resistant than your hard chrome finishes and is just less than a diamond on the strength scale.

You can find guns at any of the local retailers in your area. Sometimes you can order in custom guns while other times you’ll simply want to alter the existing look of a gun on the shelf. You may even want to change the final coating on one of your existing weapons to make it more unique to your lifestyle needs.

By better understanding all the coatings that are available above, you can start to decide which one is going to fit your needs the best. A person that is only using their weapon at the gun range is going to have very different needs than a person who uses their weapon for regular outdoor hunting. To ensure that you get a gun finish that meets your needs and desires, you should write down a list of what those needs are.

Once you know what your needs are, it’s time to go through each option and decide whether or not it will meet those needs. Once you have a list narrowed down with the finish options that fit your needs, it’s time to consider your wants. Do you want a custom color or a flat finish? Do you want a finish you don’t have to alter your weapon for? Take these wants into consideration and choose the best finishing option for you.

1 Comment

  1. Blake Morgan

    Is it possible to Blue the slide on a Smith & Wesson sd40ve? I don’t like the black with gray look


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