Gun Cerakote: What is It, What Does It Do, and What Colors Can You Choose?

Gun Cerakote is a durable finish that not only protects firearms extremely well, but its wide array of colors lets it turn firearms into custom works of art.

Over time, there have been a number of methods for applying different finishes to the metal parts of firearms to protect them from wear and corrosion.

Back in the day, bluing was the most common, but today there are a number of modern finishes used by major manufacturers.

Then a few years ago, a new finish hit the scene that not only provided a unique look, but can be applied in a wide array of colors. In the hands of a skilled applicator, it can turn a firearm into a work of art.

Cerakote is polymer and ceramic coating that provides excellent abrasion and wear resistance, as well as protection from corrosion and chemicals. It can be applied to metals, plastics, polymers, and wood surfaces—so basically every material that's used in constructing a firearm.

The brand of the same name is the obvious leader in this technology. But alternatives and (essentially) copycats are beginning to emerge, too. As it stands, Cerakote the company is the main point of reference, and they cover plenty more than just firearms. The coating has become popular protection for things like cameras, bike parts, vehicle wheels and rims, plus a whole lot more.

And they are seriously committed to their message.

It's mixed by the Cerakote applicator and applied to a part with a pressurized sprayer, sort of like airbrushing. Stencils and masking tape are used to create patterns with multiple layers of Cerakote. To cure the finish, the part is then baked to a specific temperature and time in an industrial oven.

Cerakote is also hydrophobic, which means that mud and water roll right off. This is also why stickers and decals simply won't adhere to a Cerakote finish.

It does all this while being extremely thin and very heat resistant. It's typically applied as a thin film—as thin as .001 inches, which makes it great for applying to machines with tight tolerances. You know, like firearms.

Plus, thanks to its polymer properties, a Cerakote finish can be applied in pretty much any color on the spectrum. The company offers cerakote mixes in a wide array of colors, but applicators can mix their own custom colors to their hearts content.

Benefits of Cerakote

Today, Cerakoting turns handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, and other gear items into camo works of art—in every sort of camo pattern from Kryptek to Multicam— and diverse designs and color schemes as wild as their owners' imaginations.

Common choices include flat dark earth, desert tan, and dark green. It's worth noting that a Cerakote finish is great on a shotgun used for turkey or waterfowl hunting, both known to involve tough conditions and game animals with keen eyesight. The shine on a glossy gun barrel, as it reflects sunlight, can be a dead giveaway to birds that know better. And if you're ever going to drop a gun in a pond or mud puddle, it's going to be far better off if it's Cerakote-finished.

When combined with laser etching, the custom design potential is ratcheted up a notch. I once saw a Cerakoted Glock 19 pistol that was done up in a Jurassic Park theme, complete with the film's logo and dinosaur claw marks.


Many gunsmiths have become certified in Cerakote application and have added it as a service, and many gun include a Cerakote finish on guns right from the factory. Pricing for this sot of thing varies, but seems to be going down and becoming slightly more commonplace.

There's also an at home, DIY element to the whole thing, meaning if you know the ins and outs of your gun's disassembly and reassembly, you can probably do it yourself without much risk or expertise.

But Cerakote isn't the only one getting in on the custom gun finish game. Other players like Duracoat are also coming up with innovative, customizable, corrosion fighting gun finishes that also offer enhanced lubricity, which is a big plus in firearms.

Cerakote and other coatings like it have turned the gun world into a dizzying cornucopia of colors and patterns only limited by the applicator's skill and creativity—and when combined with laser etching and modern software, texture is also entirely customizable.

It's something to look in to if protection and unique style is tantamount in your firearm preferences.