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I know I'm beating a dead horse with this question, but I'd like to get as much feedback and input as possible before making a decision.

I am having a 1911 (Para-Ord frame, Caspian slide) currently being smithed by Don Williams of Action Works, and I plan to use it primarily for tactical drills/IDPA competition. I have a Safariland 6004 Kydex holster for it, and so my primary concern for a finish is how well it will stand up to holster wear, with its lubricity and slickness being a secondary concern. I also want the pistol to have a matte or dull black finish also. I have been considering Virgil Tripp's Cobra Coat for the finish, but I wouldn't mind getting more advice before I sign any checks. This is pretty much what I have gathered about gun finishes so far from the forum:

1) All "wonderfinishes" (i.e., teflon, polymer, etc.) will all wear over time,
2) More teflon=more slickness, more polymer=harder finish,
3) Hard chrome is probably the best finish for a duty/carry gun, but it just doesn't come in black (black chrome is nothing like hard chrome),
4) Although the "wonderfinishes" eventually wear off over time, their anti-corrision properties remain embedded in the surface metal.

I've heard the sales pitches for parkerizing and chroming, but I'm really looking at a teflon or polymer type finish. Thanks a lot for any help, I look forward to posting pictures of the finished gun as soon as I get it back.

------------------
GO ARMY!!!
BEAT NAVY!!!
 

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Can't help you with your personal choice of finish..but most of the wear that you get with a Kydex holster, isnt the Kydex holster....its dust and grit that gets in and rubs between the pistol and holster. Just make sure that you keep the holster clean as thats more than half of your battle. (I wash my kydex holsters in the sink and dry them every few days of carry.) Oil on the inside of the holster makes things worse..it allows the grit to stick.
 

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You said you have a Safariland 6004 rig, the inside of the 6004 is lined with suede, so it does help to slow down the finish wear a bit, it's not as hard on the finish as naked kydex. I'm not sure I understood you but you said you wanted to wanted to use the gun in drills and IDPA. If you want to shoot IDPA, you can't use the Safariland 6004, you need a belt mounted holster that's on the approved list found at IDPA website. Of course, you can use your 6004 in practice drills.

As for finish wear, sooner or later any of the teflon/polymer finish will wear at certain places on the gun, especially toward the muzzle end of the slide. It's unavoidable. What is your most important criteria? Do you want rust/corrosion protection? If so, the BlackT/Bearcoat/Armor Tuff finishes are for you. My pistolsmith parkerized the pistol prior to painting it with the teflon stuff, and it offer longer protection against wear. I believe the Wilson folks also park the pistol before applying the Armor Tuff.
You can also hard chrome and then apply teflon over the chrome.

Good luck.
 

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Not to sound pessimistic, but there is not black finish that will be resistant to wear. If you cannot tolerate the silver finish of hard chrome, my advice would be to get used to holster wear.
 

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How do the brownells spray and bake finishes compare to the commercially applied polymer finishes that Tripp, Wilson, Robar, etc. do? On durability and looks. I can live with holster wear, anything will wear better that the stock Kimber finish, and i don't care for silver guns, so hard chrome is out.

Thanks,
Jason
 

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The fact is that grit embedded in kydex will scratch ANY finish-paint, T, Tuff, even chrome! Sand is harder then them all! you know, like sandpaper is :)

Keep your kydex clean and use a good thermally cured finish like Armor-Tuff or GunKote (maybe same thing :) or a good plated finish like Metaloy or Tripp.

The again it is a Para, so you might as well use Krylon!
 

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Blue Wonder is also a easy touch up for holster wear.
 

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I've heard good things about Titanium Aluminum Nitride. I haven't handled any guns so coated, but the TiAlN is supposed to be every bit as tough as the gold-colored TiN you see on drill bits, just black in color.

Of course, I've forgotten whose doing the TiAlN coatings.

Best bet, and probably the cheapest, is to have Virgil Tripp chrome your pistol and then cover the chrome with a lubricating polymer finish in black.

Sure wish BodyCote didn't sink as that Boron Carbide finish looked very promising.
 

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Kydex better than leather?

p99guy said:
Can't help you with your personal choice of finish..but most of the wear that you get with a Kydex holster, isnt the Kydex holster....its dust and grit that gets in and rubs between the pistol and holster. Just make sure that you keep the holster clean as thats more than half of your battle. (I wash my kydex holsters in the sink and dry them every few days of carry.) Oil on the inside of the holster makes things worse..it allows the grit to stick.
My gun dealer tells me that Kydex will wear the finish much faster than leather. I understand your point that grit in the holster will wear the finish much faster. But, how do you equate clean leather versus clean Kydex for wear? Of course, by buddy says that a gun is only a tool, and if one wants it to look pretty, one should not carry it at all.
 

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Only chrome will meaningfully resist wear.
If you're not worried about corrosion just get it blued so it's easy & cheap to re-do as necessary.
 

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I've had real decent luck with the Matte Black Baking Lacquer from Brownells. It wears, maybe a little more than the higher-end baked finishes, but has two nice features for the do-it-yourselfer: (1) you don't need to sand-blast the gun before spraying it (like you do with Gun-Kote, etc.), and (2) you can scuff it with sandpaper and re-coat and re-bake it anytime you want, and it comes out of the oven looking great.

My Caspian single-stack has this finish, and so does the Smith Model 10 my 11-year-old kid shoots IPSC with. We use these guns hard.

Mike
 

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About ten years ago, my company (which among many other things makes alloy baseball and softball bats) came out with the first cold-drawn titanium bat (which was promptly decreed illegal, too much of a performance advantage).

One of the processing steps we developed while working on this was to coat the steel draw dies with a monocrystalline thin diamond coating. This is applied with a laser in a special carbon atmosphere. I always wondered how well this would work on a pistol slide, but the process is far too spendy for that sort of thing.

I imagine some day this type of finish will be the ultimate firearms finish- but it will be a while.
 

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Suede can be as wearing as anything since the grit that you will pick up in using the holster will trap itself in the texture of the suede. Any time you have two surfaces rubbing together, you will get some wear. The more times the gun goes in and out, the more wear.

If you want it pretty, either don't use a holster or never take it out. But then, why carry it in the first place.

Some times the wear you will see adds to the beauty of the gun.
 

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I like it simple; parkerized. Its a lot cheaper to fix when you want to refinish the gun, and you dont feel so bad about beating the finish up.
 

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In our shop we send out guns for hard chrome and Black-T a lot. Both are great finishes but Black-T is very soft and wears very quickly against the Krydex holsters, the hard chrome just gets a bit shiner over time and I have not seen one wear through the finish as opposed to Black-T.
 
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