Duracoat Firearms Finish Finally Finished So You Can Finish Your Firearm

Paul Markel [via ammoland.com] writes:

It seems a bit ironic that a product that is soon to take over the custom gun finishing world would bear such a simple, if not benign, moniker. The name “DuraCoat Aerosol Can” doesn’t exactly make you jump out of your chair and sprint to your nearest gun dealer. Nonetheless, the brand new DuraCoat Aerosol spray can is an idea that is going to set the gun and accessory refinishing world on fire in the very near future. For those unfamiliar with the DuraCoat product, let me quote from their website . . .

“DuraCoat is a two part chemical coating. Unlike other firearm finishes, DuraCoat was created specifically for firearms. Other firearm finishes are “spin-off’s” from other industries. Also, DuraCoat is permanent. With normal use, a firearm finished with DuraCoat will last several lifetimes.”

The Idea

My first introduction to the idea came during the NRA Annual Meeting in the spring of 2013. The show had just opened and the foot traffic was low. I was standing with my friend, Steve Lauer, President of Lauer Custom Weaponry, the owner of DuraCoat Firearms Finishes. We were discussing the success of the Shake N Spray” kit that Steve had released a couple years earlier. Steve looked left and then right like he was about to share a closely guarded secret. “We have something coming that is going to be even better than the kits.” Steve told me in a hushed voice. I was most definitely intrigued.

Steve went on to explain that during a recent trip to Europe he was introduced to the “can in a can” technology. Not having an actual unit with him, he mimed what it was all about. “You have what looks like a standard spray paint can on the outside, but on the inside is a separate, smaller can. Both cans are pressurized but the contents of each can are separated until you depress a small button at the bottom of the can. He continued with a gleam in his eye like a kid who had just just found the Christmas presents his parents had been hiding.

“What we are going to do is put the hardener in the small can and the color in the outer can. When the user is ready, they just push the button on the bottom of the can. Shake it well until it’s all mixed together and then apply it.”

Promises Kept

After Steve explained the can in can concept to me I was pretty excited about it myself. Before I left the DuraCoat booth I made him promise to keep me in the loop and let me know when the final product was available. A couple of weeks ago that promise came true as the UPS driver delivered a medium sized box with three cans of DuraCoat Aerosol in MagPul Flat Dark Earth color.

Duracoat aerosol (courtesy ammoland.com)

My first project was easy. I had recently assembled a Red Jacket Firearms ZK22 (Ruger 10/22 action with RJF aftermarket stock). This space-age looking stock is made from flat black polymer. I knew from the outset I wanted to color it somehow. With the two stock halves supported by thin metal hangers, I read the directions on the can thoroughly and began. The DuraCoat Aerosol cans are the Cadillac of spray cans. The applicator nozzle can be adjusted from vertical to horizontal and it produces a fine, flat spray pattern. From the first spray to the very last one the can provides a consistent pattern with no splatter.

At press time DuraCoat had nine colors listed for their DuraCoat Aerosol cans. These colors include: Matte Black, Parker, White, OD Green, Woodland Green, Pink Lady, Combat Gray, MagPul Flat Dark Earth, and Blackhawk Coyote Tan. DuraCoat finish can be applied to any material; wood, steel, aluminum and polymer. Just be sure that every last bit of gun oil or lubricant has been stripped from the gun. You want the surface clean, dry and oil free. Each aerosol can holds four ounces of DuraCoat color, enough to completely refinish a large shotgun or rifle.

End Results

While the ZK22 was my very first project, I must say it turned out very well, despite my freshman efforts. No, you don’t need to bake the coating on. Simply let it hang in a dry environment for a day. I left mine hanging over night and reassembled the gun the next day. DuraCoat does recommend that you allow the coat to “cure” for a week or two before hard field use.

I was so excited after my first project that I ordered a can of OD green and their “#6 Parker”. The next project was an AAC Micro 7 rifle chambered in .300 Blackout. Like the ZK22, the AAC rifle was completely black with black polymer stock. I new that a little bit of color and contrast would really make the rifle look good. If I do say so myself, the new project turned out better than the first. My spray technique and level of patience had improved.

The Miracle

What Steve Lauer has done is to provide every gun owner in America the opportunity to apply a custom color and refinish their guns in the privacy of their home shop or garage. Think about it, how many times have you seen a custom finished gun in a magazine and thought, “Man, I’d like to do that” but then you talk yourself out of it because you don’t want to ship the gun off to someone or you didn’t want to spend one to two hundred dollars for the job. You might be like a lot of folks and thought, I’m not a pro, I couldn’t do it myself.

Friends, if I can do it in my shop and not screw it up, so can you.

The DuraCoat Aerosol cans will allow every gun owner with a $200 shotgun or $300 rifle to add a custom color finish that is tough as nails. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot. As the ink dries on this page you can click here to buy DuraCoat Aerosol. Happy gun coating!

Paul Markel has been a firearms industry writer for twenty years and is the author of the new book “Student of the Gun; A beginner once, a student for life.”  Paul hosts and produces “Student of the Gun” a show dedicated to education, experience, and enjoyment of firearms.

comments

  1. avatar Totenglocke says:

    Well, I know what I’m doing this winter…

  2. avatar Howdy says:

    What color is “Parker”?

    1. avatar JeffCville says:

      Like Parkerized finish on some M-1 carbines.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Charcoal grey.

  3. avatar Roll says:

    Damnit, there goes more of my money…off to the store now

  4. avatar mlopilato says:

    Since he mentioned it, I might just have to Duracoat my bicycle.

    1. avatar Felix says:

      I wonder how much it would cost to DuraCoat my old pickup. The deck sealant is wearing off.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Well…

        35 bucks a can… However many cans you need to do it…

        Likely well into the thousands.

  5. avatar Michael B. says:

    This would be great for my old beater Remington 870 Express with its crappy finish.

  6. avatar Max says:

    I’ve done a couple of guns with the Shake N Spray kits and it has been hit and miss. Those kits are pretty finicky about the exact mix of hardner to color and while my M&P 9mm frame came out perfect, my complete AR rifle needs to be blasted and redone. This product should solve the mixing issues I have run into. I may blast my AR clean and try it.

  7. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I am very intrigued. Maybe RF will buy me a can to test.

  8. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Duracoat is a lifetime finish, but is it removable, if you want to? Is there a solvent that will take it off?

    1. I would like to know this as well. I’d like to be able to change up a camo pattern if the need arose.

    2. avatar Damocles says:

      Yup, Citristrip will peel it right off. It may take a couple of applications and some scrubbing with hot water and a toothbrush. Other over the counter strippers would probably work too. I’ve airbrushed a lot of Duracoat on some of my rifles, it is quite durable, but not life-lasting. Tougher than regular paint but not quite the same durability as an anodized finish or Melonite.

      1. Awesome, thanks for the tip.

  9. avatar UrbanFuturistic says:

    I want purple! Why is there no purple!?!?! Is purple on the horizon?

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I second this motion. My girlfriend has been bugging me for a purple gun since… well, since I convinced her she liked guns. The market on purple guns is very scarce.

      I NEED THIS, DURACOAT! PLEASE!

      1. avatar SSG Medzyk says:

        Regular kits of Duracoat have many shades of purple.

        My first DC job was Electric Lavender on a Savage BVSS, using just the paint and hardener with my own airbrush. This was 8 years ago, and the finish is basically unchanged despite a lot of hard use. The only weird thing, is a little discoloring at the pistol grip from dirty, oily hands.

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          I know regular DC comes in purple, but I lack the prowess and knowledge to correctly apply the normal stuff. I need the canned stuff, man! I need it BAADD!!

  10. avatar Not Jimbo says:

    For $35, this looks interesting – a lot less than a $200 Cerakote treatment, even if it’s not quite as DURAble.

  11. avatar Paul B says:

    I think my AR will not be black anymore. Looks good to me.

  12. avatar g says:

    Hmmm, maybe I’ll buy a can to test on some old Cold Steel knives I have first before a beloved firearm… but I think the cost and convenience are definitely attractive.

  13. avatar Griffin says:

    Love the Brian Regan quote.

  14. avatar Billy says:

    Hmmm… I’ve wanted a 2-tone AR. I think my Sig P220 with wood grips would look awful purdy in 2-tone… I know what I want for Christmas.

    1. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

      I pine for a Sig1911 Reverse Two-Tone

  15. avatar Swarf says:

    Can I finish my Finnish with this finish?

  16. avatar pc_load_letter says:

    I would love to see a comparative review of this Duracoat aerosol product versus the Brownells Aluma-Hyde product, which I have been told by some local shops is a simple and effective home painting product for firearms…

    http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/metal-prep-coloring/paint-finishes/air-cure-aerosol-paints/aluma-hyde-reg-ii-prod1117.aspx

  17. avatar Hawk says:

    I love Duracoat. I used one of their shake and spray kits, and it turned out awesome. I’ll definitely be buying a few of these spray kits. I can finally make my two tone pistols all black!!!!!!!!!! No more rust!!!!!!!!

  18. avatar lolinski says:

    Do they intend on making a clear version? I would like to keep the nice color of a blued gun with the DURAbility of Duracoat.

  19. avatar BDub says:

    So it looks like each can is a one use. Once you pop the hardener and mix it in, what is the life of the can – hours, days, what?

    Also how well would it work over a mask?

    Thanks.

    1. avatar freakshowSMVM says:

      Hardener is in a can inside the color can mixes at the nozzle, multi use.

    2. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Didn’t watch the video, did you? And freakshowSMVM is also wrong.

      The can has a 1.5 year shelf life unused, and a 48 hour pot life once it’s mixed. It does not mix at the nozzle, it’s mixed inside (you shake for two minutes after you pop the seal on the bottom), but the curing reaction is significantly slowed until it’s exposed to air.

  20. avatar Jay says:

    Here’s hoping they make enough colors available for my dream Skittle Glock.

  21. avatar Dave says:

    I see multiple projects developing. I wached the video, but can’t listen to the audio (at work). My quesion is, would spraying the interior of a gun mess with the tolerances and fit? Could you just tape things off?

    1. avatar Andrew says:

      Oh god – don’t spray the internals.

      Your thought process should be “what do I see on the outside of the gun?”

      The thickness of the coating will wreak havoc on your firearms workings. Not to mention it might potentially gum up as it’s exposed to the heat from firing.

      A little bit of blue painters tape will be your life-long friend here – mask off the action (or remove it if you can) and make sure all the working surfaces are safe from evil overspray.

      Plenty of great you-tube videos on this process.

  22. avatar Glenn says:

    Wow, now I can have my Dark Earth Glock w/o buying another gun! (I know, who wouldn’t want to just buy another gun?!)

  23. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    This looks really cool. Can’t wait to try it. My old beater shotty first.

  24. avatar Lars says:

    Duracoat is such a great application, simple yet solid. The regular guy and gal can do a professional job the first time and only get better over time. I practiced on ar magazines before I did my first full firearm duracoat and my first project was as perfect as my last one. Hardest one was a exotic ak variant and the issue was with the pattern stencil residue remaining behind after removal.
    Love the guys over at Lauer Weaponry in Chippewa Falls. Especially Greg who has done trigger jobs on many of my firearms.

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m waiting for the infomercial by Phil Swift.

  26. avatar JasonM says:

    Sounds interesting. Is there a way to remove the current coating easily in the comfort of my own garage? If not, having to ship the gun off to get stripped so I can coat it without having to ship it off seems silly.

  27. avatar ensitue says:

    For all those who invested in the Dura Coat Franchise:
    Sucks to be you.
    As to me, I get the same results from Krylon or Brownelles with far less fuss

    1. avatar Andrew says:

      .. really?

      That awesome can O’ Krylon is just blowing this stuff away?

      Do you understand anything about 2 part catalytic paints versus a solvent-based nylon sh*t-job?

  28. avatar BWG81 says:

    Lauer / DuraCoat is sponsoring our “DuraBuggy” project. Basically our street legal dune buggy is being DuraCoated. (desert color)

    Krylon or any other standard spray paint would fail without question long before DuraCoat when exposed 24/7 to the elements.

    If DuraCoat can stand up on an on-road / off-road machine it is safe to bet your firearms will hold out just as nicely.

    People who like to compare DuraCoat to over the counter stuff are generally blowing smoke out the rear, or tried DuraCoat and became frustrated after being unable to master it.

    We apply with an HVLP spray gun or airbrush (Depending on the size) – so I can’t comment on their new product. I can however comment on the product in the can.

  29. avatar lagbolt1138 says:

    I REALLY wanted to use DuraCoat on more than one project…until I read the MSDS. They contain highly toxic chemicals. A call to the mfgr did not assuage my concerns. Even with a spray booth, the rifles would be off-gassing in my safe, in my house, in my breathing space.

    No thanks.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      That is something that should be pointed out to people. For many of the high-end paint finishes on the market, you absolutely must wear a respirator. I don’t care whether it’s DuraCoat on a gun or Imron on a tractor or airplane… Once you get into toluene, xylene, MEK, etc… you need a ventilator, respirator and safety glasses.

      Oh, and you really want to not be doing this in a room that has sources of combustion. Going up in flames could be bad, m’kay?

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Yeah, he was painting in front of a fume hood, which most of us don’t have access to at home.

        1. avatar lagbolt1138 says:

          And I believe some of the finishes require baking. Where were you planning on doing that? In your kitchen?

        2. avatar Matt in FL says:

          Did you watch the video? Spray it on, flash it off with a hair dryer. Repeat 4x. Hang to fully cure, 24 hours. No oven required.

        3. avatar lagbolt1138 says:

          I should have been clearer since we’re talking DuraCoat. SOME finishes…other than DC. A general paint safety statement.

  30. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

    I think I might have to two tone my 92A1

  31. avatar Rich Grise says:

    So, what distinguishes this from any ol’ hi-temp epoxy spray paint?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      The catalyzed polyurethane coatings often use Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) to “kick off” the reaction.

      It is toxic stuff.

  32. avatar paultmccain says:

    So, how does this product compare to Cerakote?

  33. avatar Andrew says:

    I couldn’t make it to the end of the video before laughing my ass off. Reminded me of the episode of family guy with the lipsy reporter.

  34. avatar Cameron B says:

    can’t wait to snag someones F’d up 700 or AR this is going to give a new resurgence to “bubba” guns at show and shops.

  35. avatar Wrex Allen says:

    I still prefer Cerekote and disregarding marketing hype, Durakote is way less durable than they claim.

    Cheap HVLP sprayer and 4oz of Cerekote C costs about the same, lasts longer/more durable and you will have more to coat more. More color choices, as well.

    My opinion. I’m sure others will hate it. Lol.

  36. avatar Steve Bergstrom says:

    This sounds like it’s just what I need for my ole PPK that has some rust that I need to wire brush and buff off

  37. avatar Ron Burris says:

    I have seen many people screw up decent guns that just have surface wear and scratches by painting them at home with everything from Krylon to high-tech (toxic) coatings. As people have noted, breathing this stuff when applying is very bad for you, and unless you have the proper respirator cartridges in a good mask you will breath it.

    Some people just can’t help themselves and take the value of a $300 used gun to a $75 POS that they can’t get a pawn shop to take. Leave well enough alone if the gun is original and just cosmetically worn. It doesn’t NEED to be Flat Dark Earth, Coyote Brown, or Pink Spider Webby. And don’t paint the mechanism parts or your are going to have a mess. If it has ANY collector value now (or in the future) it is gone after painting with this stuff.

    A gunsmith can re-blue a gun easily and cheaply for you. Even home-applied cold blue is better than paint on steel! And my God, don’t paint stainless steel. Scratched or lightly worn anodized aluminum doesn’t rust, so don’t worry about it or take it to a gunsmith or metal specialist to have it blasted and re-finished professionally any number of ways.

    To go hunting or defend the country our grandfathers didn’t need to paint their wood/blue guns all sorts of colors and put camo on everything (includind themselves). They would have laughed at all the waste-of-time nonsense products that show up at the gun trade shows these days and the tacticool magazines that push the products.

  38. avatar Richard Davidson says:

    Be aware of the safety cautions with coatings like this. This is NOT like spraying Rustoleum on a folding chair or Krylon Fusion on a plastic stock in your backyard. It is not paint.

    Duracoat is similar to the two-part high-tech automotive and industrial coatings sold by PPG, Sherwin-Williams, and other big paint/coating companies. As another poster cautioned, the MSDS (material safety data sheet) indicates that this is so. READ IT on the manufacturer’s site or at Brownell’s. Professional painters only apply these coatings in ventilated spray booths, with complete-coverage safety suits and commercial fresh-air respirators (industrial personal protection equipment – PPE). Doing it outside with a hardware store organic vapors mask and safety glasses will not cut it. For this reason, Sherwin Williams and PPG don’t sell their similar coatings to consumers, only to industrial customers.

  39. There are so many projects I could use this for, but I think the first one would be the chair rail for my daughter’s bedroom.

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