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The best paint to use when refinishing pistol slide and frame etc??

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I am looking to refinish some of my older "well used but not abused" pistols that still function fine but are looking kind of ratty. I don't mind a worn look, bit some of these pistols have paint chips, scratches (some deep, some not) and some have spots of discoloration.

I know how to strip and ready the surface for painting (various grades of steel wool and I have a bead blaster etc), but I'm looking for a good paint (and primer?) that can take a lot of use for metal slides and frames (mostly 1911's, Glock slides and Sigs) but also some plastic TM frames and slides that have become really "plastic looking". I'm going for a "satin" finish.

I'd like not to have to order on-line something exotic (like Duracote) as I have major hardware stores in my area and I'd like to keep the cost reasonable as we are on "shut-down" for the obvious reason.

Thanks and hope you are doing well.

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$240.00 per pistol to send it out to get done in Ceracote and my wife has said "no way" regarding the use of our new stove (6 months old) for doing anything even remotely like this at home using the "air dry" method. The Queen has spoken (I've been married 40 years..I kind of like her).

Going to have to find a durable enamel paint (maybe automotive engine paint?) and have to live with it.

Edited by Wingman
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The metal in these things just oxidize too quickly to hold up to much handling and only part I leave in "the white" are outer barrels and that is after serious work with emery cloth and various levels of stainless steel wool.

However, I do bead blast all surfaces before I do spray paint.  I've done a PPQ slide that I first removed all the "white warning labeling junk" that appears on the versions sold in the USA. It came out quite good and the semi-mat black paint has held up pretty well ( I did 3 light coats over 3 days). I am starting to wear marks on some edges, but not on the larger flatter and rounder surfaces.

Naturally the parts that drive me crazy the most, are the thumb safety, grip safety, main spring housing and slide release/slide stop of 1911's. Naturally these are the parts that I just cant get to hold a finish for any significant period of time. I suppose I could bead blast some stainless parts, but I'm not big on stainless parts on blue/black slides and frames. Silver barrel and trigger is just fine though (its a "me" thing I guess).

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I bought a compact compressor for the cost of about $85.00. A bag of bead material cost about $30.00. The spray gun cost $12.00. You will also need work gloves, goggles and filter mask for safety. All the materials were readily available at a hardware store. They are very easy to use and have other uses around the house and for arts and crafts.

Have had it for 2 years and still have more than half of the bead blasting material left (it doesnt take much). I currently dont have space for a cabinet at this time, so I do all the work outside, on top of a 10X10 tarp to catch the blasting material.

All in all a small investment for a tool that has lots of uses (thats why my Wife didnt have an issue with it when I bought "another tool").

Get some old pipe and other metal pieces (like old cans and rusted stuff) to practice on and you learn how to use it very easily (if I can do it, anyone can). There are lots of videos on Youtube on how to get started.

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