The park finish is more traditional MilSpec finish that looks great when new and also looks great worn, in my opinion. The park finish will show holster wear in time however will wear somewhat better than the Blued finish.
The Blued finish is beatiful when new, looks okay worn but wears quickly due to holster carry and handling. I like a nice blued finish but, in my opinion, mars easily.
Stainless, is a great looking finish, rust "resistant" and wears well. Should this finish mar, scratch or wear, it can be buffed out, back to the original looking finish with little effort. In my opinion, stainless is, by far, the beast finish (material) for a pistol, especially if you use it, holster it or shoot often.
Other here may have different views, but this is my 2 cents !!
Not very durable. Next to nothing, in terms of rust protection. But it looks great.
Fairly durable. Parkerizing itself is not protection; the porous surface absorbs and holds oil, and that provides the protection.
Stainless can be mirror-bright, or as dull as parkerizing, depending if you want bling or function. It can be very resistant to rust, but I treat my stainless gun like a blued or parkerized one; keep it clean and oiled. Of course, stainless is a material, rather than a finish, so it's not really like bluing or other surface treatments.
Parkerized is a very durable finish if you keep it well oiled. That's why the military chose it. I also find it attractive in a brutish (insert Tim Allen grunts) sort of way. One of my 1911s is parkerized and my only complaint is that there are no parkerized accessories. Your choices are hang a stainless beavertail (for example), or a blued beavertail from it, and/or get either the part or the whole pistol refinished. Other than that it's dandy with me.
I have blued pistols as well and they can be purdy, but bluing does almost nothing to prevent rust.
My favorite is stainless. A little elbow grease will hide about any damage and idiot scratches that you're likely to inflict. Just don't get too careless. Stainless does not mean rust proof. It's low maintenance but you still need to keep it cleaned and well oiled.
On my new Custom 1911 (that was delivered in the white) I decided to go with a high gloss rust blue. Rust blue is quite durable. All that I've seen have been satin. However my Gunsmith assures me that Brownell's sells a rust blue that is high gloss blue/black. I'll let you know shortly. The pistol is all carbon steel. I personally don't care for stainless and prefer even regular bluing. I actually find
honest wear attractive on a pistol.
Stainless is the easiest to work with for repairs since it can be worked on, polished and no need for refinishing. I like it! Hard Chrome is very nice and one of the most durable if you like a silver finish. A nice deep bluing is one of the prettiest finishes but not the most durable. For a black finish that is probably as durable as hard chrome, Diamond Black (Nighthawk) aka boron carbide is the way to go. Not shiny or terribly aestheitic, but if durability is your concern it is one of the best black finishes and I think better than parkerizing. I am also partial to the looks of case hardened steel. Not sure how durable it is, but it can be very pretty on a gun.
I just bought a used 1911 with a blued slide and stainless frame. Fortunately the frame had all the scratches, while the slide was mostly fine. A little time taking the frame completely apart, then polishing out the flats with emery did the trick to remove all the scratches. It now looks like a new pistol again. Had it been the blued slide with all the scratches there would've been little I could do about it.
I've got an Officer's finished in Rogard over NP3. I also own a Commander completely finished in NP3. I've had it for a long time and it shows NO wear. At this time it's being heavily customized and will require complete refinishing. The frame and internals will be in NP3 but I'm not sure about the slide. I want black but I want the absolute best wearing coating I can find. From the forums I 'm strongly thinking of Birdsong Black T. I've got a Wilson Sentinal about due for delivery and I'll pretty soon know how the Armortuff finish wears. My little Kimber's Kimpro is showing quite a bit of wear and My Rogard is showing wear.
Robar says send the Rogard plated slide back and they'll re-do it. Pretty darned good warranty!
I've got a couple of Chris Reeve's knives which are coated with Gun-Kote. He gives a 100% guarantee with that finish. He told me that if I ever deface the coating regardless of what I'm doing he'll recoat free of charge. Seems like a knife would get more hard use than a hand gun. I guess that's another possibility.
I'll let you know about the Armortuff in a couple of months.
Blued Finish is what people have when they complain about 'holster wear'. Stainless is what people have who don't know what 'holster wear' is. Robar, Chrome, Nickel, NP3 (and other after market finishes) are what people have who once had blued guns, complained about holster wear (or rust), and decided they never want that problem again.