John Farnam’s Observations On Coatings And Acidic Sweat

If you don’t subscribe to Farnam’s Quips then you are missing out on a lot of good information and astute observations.

Today’s edition is no exception. In it John talks about the second day of the gun writer’s conference being held at Gunsite. The day, from what I can tell, was devoted to coatings and metal treatments for firearms among other things.

I’ll let John tell what he learned about coatings and metal treatments:


All metal treatments, even high-tech ones, have “side-effects.” Nothing
is perfect!

For external guns surfaces, polymer is a good choice. Robar’s version is
Roguard or Poly-T-Two. Both are very acceptable, and can be an any color.

Also suitable for external surfaces is QPQ, otherwise known as Tennifer or
Melonite. Very hard. Also very suitable for rifle bores. However, it is
so hard that subsequent machining is nearly impossible!

For internal parts, NP3 is the way to go. NP3 has integral teflon, which
gives it natural lubricity. However, it is slick and thus not the best
choice for slides. And, it has a silver/grey color. Other colors are not

“Hard chrome” plating is obsolete. There are superior choices for
surface treatment today. Hard-chrome barrels are notoriously inaccurate, because
of inherent unevenness of the plating.

Nickel plating is also mostly obsolete. It is of interest only by those
who want “shiny” guns.

Ceramic coating (Cerakoat) has excellent high-heat tolerance and are thus
suitable for some parts of full-auto guns. However, ceramic has no
inherent lubricity.

Smoking and coffee-drinking lowers blood PH, making bodily fluids,
particularly sweat, acidic and thus corrosive to pistols worn close to the skin.
Smokers and coffee-drinkers typically have to deal with rusty guns, even in
dry climates! They will particularly benefit from modern, high-tech metal

While I don’t smoke and never have I do drink coffee. I didn’t realize that coffee drinking would make sweat acidic. Actually, I never thought about it one way or another but it make sense that acidic sweat is more corrosive to handguns.

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