What Is Cerakote For Guns? Complete Guide

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I recall the dismay at discovering a fine coating of rust on my favorite carry gun all too well. This happened to me years ago when staying close to the ocean. Try as I may, I could never permanently get rid of the rust problem. Thirty years ago, the only real option was to nickel coat the gun. It took me a long time to get used to the shiny silver finish.

Cerakote is a very thin ceramic-infused coating that has been specially formulated for use on high abrasion surfaces such as guns. The coating is weatherproof, which prevents guns from rusting. The wide variety of finishes and colors enables you to customize your gun magnificently.

The different coatings available for guns to protect the surfaces from moisture causing rust are numerous. Let’s look at the success story of Cerakote and what it is and does exactly.

What Is Cerakote For Guns

What Is Cerakote For Guns?

Cerakote is a based polymer-ceramic compound that is suitable for application to wood, polymers, plastics, and metals and is designed to protect and seal the surface onto which it is applied.

Cerakote exact formulation is understandably a trade secret but can be described as a lacquer infused with ceramic powder. When either air-dried or baked to harden, the coating dries into a rugged scratch-resistant coating ideal for use on guns surfaces.

Multiple colors are available, and application techniques result in stunning finishes. An added advantage of the product is that it is applied in a very thin layer that forms a very slick surface between working parts, resulting in reduced wear and tear and a reduced need for lubricants on the moving parts.

How To Cerakote A Gun

Cerakote is available in four different formulations; these are classified as follows:

  • Cerakote Elite Series (Best protection, oven curing required)
  • Cerakote H Series (Most famous, oven curing required)
  • Cerakote High Temp (Not moisture-proof, effective high heat coating, air drying)
  • Cerakote Gen II NiR (Mostly for military and Law enforcement applications, oven curing required)

Of the above Cerakote products, only the High Temp is air-dried. The Elite Series, H Series, and Gen II NiR are cured by over baking as per the manufacturer’s instructions, usually about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Follow the following eleven steps to Cerakote your gun:

You’ll need the following

  • Latex Gloves, quality masks, and eye protection as Cerakote, like other paints, can be downright nasty stuff to inhale into your lungs and get into your eyes.
  • Acetone
  • Small all-purpose nylon brush
  • Spray painting gun
  • Bead Blaster
  • Oven
  • Wire hooks for hanging the painted parts from while painting and during the baking/curing process.

Caution: As you’ll be aware, the parts are baked at a reasonably high temperature, so do not place rubber or plastic parts into the oven as these can melt and be destroyed. Factor the non-bakeable parts into your painting design to avoid disappointment down the line.

  1. Choose the right Cerakote product for your needs by discussing your expectations with your local Cerakote supplier. Most folks will choose either the Cerakote Elite or H Series products.
  • Strip down the weapon entirely so that only the parts you want to coat are available. Generally, the slide and frame for a pistol minus the sights and cocking mechanism.
  • Now lightly bead blast all the parts to be coated, removing the old bluing or previous coatings. Bead blasting roughens up the surfaces slightly to ensure the Cerakote will adhere properly. Aluminum oxide media is best to use.
  • Degrease the parts using acetone. Leave the parts to soak in the acetone for about 30 minutes. Use the brush to scrub all crevices where oil may be trapped. Remember to wear latex gloves to avoid contaminating the gun parts you’re cleaning with body oils (e.g., touching your face.)
  • Allow the acetone to evaporate and make sure the gun parts are dry.
  • The next step is to apply the Cerakote by spraying an even coat onto the desired parts.
  • Carefully place the painted parts into the oven and allow them to bake as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • After baking, allow the parts to cool by turning the oven off and opening the door allowing the cooling process to happen naturally.
  • Once the parts have cooled, the Cerakote layer will be hard and safe to handle.
  1. Should multiple colors or designs be incorporated into the final design, several layers will be applied to each other. Masking off patterns using vinyl film cut to the desired shape will cover the areas that need to be differentiated to complete the final effect or design. Masking, painting, and baking are required for each color application.
  2. The pistol assembly process can begin once the desired pattern or design is made, and the weapon is ready.

Cerakote Advantages And Disadvantages

Cerakote is a great product but has advantages and disadvantages; these are listed below:

Very durable as it is ceramic basedIt can be tricky to apply, bead blaster, spray gun, and oven required
Applied in a very thin layer, so it doesn’t hamper the movement of parts with tight tolerancesMore expensive than most coatings
It prevents rust as its impervious to moistureHigh Temp Series is not moisture-proof
Abrasion and scratch resistance exceeds all other similar coatings 
A very smooth finish reduces the need to oil moving parts. 
Dirt and grime are less likely to stick to the gun. 
Wide selection of available colors 
It can be applied to various materials. 
Chemical resistant 
The finish lasts for years and can be touched up. 

Does Cerakote Rust / Does Cerakote Prevent Rust?

The Elite Series, H Series, and Gen II NiR Cerakote products are baked onto a surface as part of the curing process. The baking process effectively seals off the surface that the Cerakote is applied to, making it rust-proof.

The Cerakote High Temp coatings are an air-drying product that maintains its color and finish on items such as vehicle exhaust pipes engine parts, and it works well when applied to parts like gun barrels. The downside is that the High Temp finish is not moisture resistant, so the underlying metal parts could potentially rust.

Is Cerakote Permanent?

Cerakote is a permanent coating. All except the High Temp Cerakote products are cured and baked onto the surface onto which it’s applied. The baking process hardens the Cerakote into a very thin and durable coating that will last for many years under normal conditions.

How Durable Is Cerakote Finish?

The Cerakote finish is very durable; the manufacturers claim that Cerakote is the most durable finish on the market today, and I believe them. Many firearm manufacturers have adopted the finish as part of their product line, thus placing their reputations on the line.

Cerakote Elite and H series are products used the most on guns and have built their reputation on the quality of the finish and the durability of the coating, both in terms of wear and tear resistance and color retention.

Is Cerakote The Same As A Ceramic Coating?

The Cerakote coating is durable and smooth due to its high ceramic content. Ceramic is used extensively in homes in the form of plates, bowls, cups, floor and wall tiles, and many more applications that require a high resistance to wear and tear.

The advantage of ceramic is that it can be colored easily, making it practical for many uses, including gun coatings, thanks to Cerakote.

Is Cerakote Bad For Your Gun?

Cerakote is designed to protect your gun’s surfaces from rust, scratches, and wear and tear, which are all good. Because it is hard-wearing and difficult to remove once cured, the only real risk is applying the product to a surface that you may not have wanted to coat.

If you’re going to try your hand at applying the coating yourself, be aware that some parts of the gun may not be heat resistant. Parts like rubber grip panels of some types of illuminated sights cannot be baked as they’re not resistant to the 250 to 300 degree F temperature required to cure the Cerakote.

Does Cerakote Scratch Easily?

Cerakote forms a tough later on gun surfaces and is made to resist scratching and chipping despite being an extremely thin layer. Abrasion resistance is one of the critical qualities of the Cerakote coating, keeping your gun safe from scratches.

Is It Safe To Cerakote A Barrel?

Cerakote is routinely used as a coating on gun barrels. Various types of Cerakote are available for different uses, including the Gen II NiR finish that resists giving off a detectable infra-red signature.

If you go the DIY route when coating your gun’s barrel, make sure that the coating does not end up in the chamber or bore (rifling) as the coating dries into a hard finish and can’t be easily removed after the fact. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s curing instructions to ensure the best possible finish.

Cerakote Alternatives

Alternatives to Cerakote are both many and few, depending on what qualities you’re after in the coating. Cerakote is a premium proprietary product that has built its reputation on being a quality, long-lasting coating.

One of the best-known competitors to Cerakote is Duracote. Others also exist, such as Melonite, Iron Bond, Hard Hat, Birdsong, Robar, or Arctic Kote. Then, of course, you also have other alternatives such as the traditional Blueing or Parkerizing.


Cerakote ceramic-based coatings are a great product designed to protect the surface of your gun from wear while also allowing you to customize how your gun looks entirely. Multiple colors and finishes are available in the Cerakote catalog.

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