Coat of Arms
DIY CAMO JOB WITH DURACOAT AEROSOL
A Diyers step-by-step guide to affordable custom coatings for your firearm.
One tried and true method for changing up the look of your firearm, or any other piece of gear for that matter, is to go at it with a rattle can. Yes, spray paint can be a simple, cheap and effective way to apply an alternate color or pattern to your gun. But as quick as it is to apply, it also seems to wear off just as fast. There must be an easily applied, lasting pigment that can take the same abuse that your guns and gear endure.
It’s true that there are other more durable coatings that are available and quite popular with gun owners than traditional paint. These urethane, epoxy or ceramic-based coatings tend to be much more tenacious than their enamel or acrylic counterparts, repelling harsh chemicals and proving to be just about scratch and chip-proof. They do, however, oftentimes require much more equipment, time, and preparation to apply than plain old spray paint. For those of us who do not have access to airbrushes, spray booths, or ovens that can fit large gun and equipment parts, there is another way.
A DURABLE COATING
Duracoat by Lauer Custom Weaponry has been a go-to durable coating for firearms customizers for years. It is available in well over 250 colors, with some colors matched to popular camouflage patterns and even firearms accessories. It's a tough, urethane based coating that does not require baking or pre-heating; it can simply be air-cured. Duracoat in its original form does require an airbrush or spray gun to apply, which puts it out of touch for anyone who doesn’t have airbrushing or spray gun equipment and knowledge on how to use one.
Don’t despair, there’s good news for the rest of us non-airbrushing heathens: Duracoat is also available in an aerosol can. Yes, even we who are limited to painting by shaking a can and pressing down on a nozzle are now able to coat our guns in a blanket of ruggedness as well. The Duracoat you get from the spray can is essentially the same stuff that you’d get by hiring a gunsmith to coat your gun, only it’s cheaper because it’s something you can do yourself, minus the work of measuring, mixing and cleaning up its components.
Duracoat Aerosol is available in most of the colors that the original Duracoat is available in. It comes in a unique spray can that, when you shake the can, combines the two-part mixture that forms Duracoat. Following the instructions found on the can’s label, we applied Duracoat via spray can to an AR-15 upper receiver assembly we were working on. To keep it interesting, instead of going with a single color, we decided to go with a camouflage scheme of our own making. Take a look at how we did it and follow along if you want to do it yourself, too.
It’s worth noting that we found Duracoat to be thicker than traditional spray paints, but the application is much the same. The spray can’s tip can get clogged, but each can that we received did come with an extra tip so it never was a problem. The tips are adjustable to spray in both vertical and horizontal fan patterns, which is a nice feature.
Duracoat says that each can lasts up to four weeks after it is mixed with its hardener, but we haven’t been able to verify that because we ended up using up our supply over a span of less than a week. (Yes, we went crazy with the stuff.) We looked up Duracoat’s website and saw that each can sells for about $40, which needless to say is a noticeable premium over the stuff you pick up at the hardware store. Is it worth it? That’s a personal call, but if you consider the other end of the spectrum and know how much a gunsmith charges for coating services, this option becomes a no-brainer.
As you will see, achieving a long-lasting coating that is much more durable than acrylics and enamels is not that much different from using regular spray paints thanks to Duracoat’s aerosols. No spray gun, no airbrush, no problem. If you try coating some of your guns and gear, share your results with us at www.facebook.com/ world of fire power.