Cerakote vs Duracoat– Which Is Better? (ANSWERED)

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So why get a Duracote or Cerakote finish? Because black or stainless steel is kind of boring. Seriously, we’ve gone hundreds of years of guns that are black or stainless steel with little variety. Remember when Ford used to only have black as an option? How long did that last?

The gun industry is changing. People want highly customized firearms that are truly theirs. Personalizing a firearm with a new finish is one excellent way to customize your firearm the way you want it. Custom firearm finishes Duracoat and Cerakote have had a vicious little war, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s take a look at both of them, and you can make the final winner in a battle of Duracoate vs Cerakote:

Cerakote vs DuracoatRound 1: What Are They?!

Cerakote’s name is what hides its base. Cerakote is a ceramic based finish that’s designed to protect, as well as let you customize your firearm. A ceramic base is a very hard and very strong finish that can be applied to metal, wood, and polymers.

Cerakote is extremely strong, and the end user can customize their firearm with different custom finishes. Cerakote is manufactured by NIC industries and is well reputed for its durability and the massive amount of color options.

Duracoat, on the other hand, is a chemical based finish that requires two parts to finish. The first coating being the color or finish you choose and the second being a clear coat. This is a permanent coating that comes in a massive amount of colors and the end user can customize their firearm in almost anyway they want.

Duracoat is available in a variety of different strengths and different convenience type designs. Duracoat is a two part chemical coating, but it can be applied via one can. Standard Duracoat can withstand temperatures up to 600 degree, but DuraHeat can withstand temperatures up to 1,800 degrees.

What Are They For?

Both coatings can be used for firearms of course. These coatings in general are excellent for any outdoor tool. This includes knives, axes, tree stands, and even equipment used for fishing. These coatings allow you to customize your gun, but also help protect your tools finish and design.

Both system can utilize stencils for patterns and different designs. You can get really deep into gun customization if you are artistically inclined. It’s truly impressive what you can do to customize your firearm.

Cerakote H-Series & Elite Training Video

Duracoat vs Cerakote Round 2: Price

So we are all sitting on a particular budget. When considering budget you have to look at both products, and at the ounces per dollar you are paying. We’ll ignore equipment requirements for now, but we’ll talk on that later.

Duracoat is the cheaper of the two. Duracoat can be found for around 35 dollars for 12 ounces. Twelve ounces of Duracoat will coat 2 to 4 firearms depending on the guns’ sizes as well. Let’s face it: four Glock 19’s are a lot different than one Barrett .50 cal. What you also have to consider is most of the more bright and light colors require a white base to properly apply.

Cerakote, in contrast, is quite a bit more expensive. The reason being is of course ceramic is expensive. A 4 ounce can of cerakote will cost around 40 bucks or so. This is enough to coat one gun. Obviously, it may not coat that Barrett .50 cal, but it’s likely enough to coat your AR 15.

Duracoat vs Cerakote Round 3: Durability

A firearms finish should always protect the gun. This is the most important thing a firearm finish does. Of the two main firearm finishes which offers the most protection? Duracoat does offer some rust and corrosion protection and generally are easier to clean. However, Duracoat does not offer much chemical resistance or impact resistance. It scratches fairly easy.

Cerakote’s ceramic base, though, is extremely strong. It not only protects your firearm from rust but from just about everything (you dropping your 1911 into a volcano doesn’t count). It’s impact-resistant, chemical-resistant, and can take a savage beating and just keep going. Cerakote will last for years of hard use.

Cerakote vs Duracoat Round 4: Application Requirements

Another big thing for the potential DIY gunsmith is all the requirements for applying either system. Both will need a good degreaser and the ability to strip the old finish from the gun. So degreaser, sandpaper/sandblaster, work bench, tape, and proper PPE are all needed for both systems.

That’s basically all you need for Duracoat. Duracoat is pretty simple to apply and is done almost like spray paint. Duracoat is dry in 1 hour, can be handled in 24 hours, but won’t fully set in for 4 to 6 weeks.

Cerakote is a whole other beast. It requires an oven for curing the parts. You’ll also need a paint gun, and air compressor to apply the coating. This does raise the requirements significantly. That being said there are some Cerakote finishes that no longer require an oven, but they do require 5 days to fully cure.

Cerakote can also ruin a gun if you don’t know what you are doing. If Cerakote gets into certain crevices it can ruin the gun. For example if it gets into the firing pin channel of a Glock you are gonna have a bad time. Cerakote is a difficult at-home application, and is really better left to professionals.

Cerakote’s parent company even offers training courses to make you a pro at Cerakote. These are real classroom settings and the class sets you up to operate a business.

Duracoat is a much better at home application for DIY designers. Cerakote will last forever, but is much harder to apply. The risk versus reward is all on you. Both offer expansive amount of different colors and they give you colors, colors, colors.

DuraCoat® Aerosol! It's finally here!

Cerakote vs Duracoat Round 5 – Conclusion

Being able to customize guns, gear, and more is one of the best parts about this industry. Being able to change the color of your gun is one small change, but ultimately a large change. It won’t change how the gun is handled or how it will run, but it will change how it looks. Both Duracoat and Cerakote are proven finishes that can really spice things up. Weigh the pros and cons above, talk to a knowledgeable friend or gunsmith, and take your pick!

  • Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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3 responses

  1. Thank you kindly for the education. Nothing quite compares to going in forewarned!

  2. I got my order for DURACOAT Blue/Black coating that I plan to apply to a CZ this Winter chambered for the 100+ Yr. OLD Swedish 6.5 x 55 (Take THAT Creedmore, the Ole Swede steps on your ballistics) It is my favorite long range cartridge. After some other work on the CZ, mostly barrel & throat, I plan to coat it with the DURACOAT. My point is, I GOT my order but also got notice that “Houts” makers or packagers of DURACOAT are closing their doors after 17 years. I truly HATE to hear that. I’ve used a good bit of it and like it. I’m told there is some Sherwin Williams that is the same thing but have no experience with it at all. I just wish DURACOAT wasn’t leaving us.

  3. I’m a master gunsmith in PA and I am a certified Duracoat finisher. I have been coating and bluing firearms for several years and I can testify that Duracoat is as strong or stronger then Cerakote. In addition, Duracoat is much easier to apply, to prep, to clean up, and to touch up then Cerakote. It holsters much better then Cerakote, and can be touched up easily if scratched. If Cerakote is scratched or chipped, you would have to completely strip and sandblast the firearm and start over. Not the case with Duracoat. It can easily be touched up. Duracoat does not require baking, but can be if desired. Because Duracoat is lacquer based and not ceramic, it is a much softer coating; however once fully cured, is extremely strong. Duracoat will protect your firearm a lifetime. In my professional opinion, Duracoat is a much better coating then Cerakote, hands down!

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