Custom finishes for AR-15 uppers not only provide aesthetic appeal but can also enhance durability and protection. The choice of finish depends on your preferences, intended use, and the environmental conditions you anticipate. Here are some popular custom finishes for AR-15 uppers:
- Cerakote is a polymer-ceramic composite coating known for its exceptional durability and corrosion resistance.
- It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing for personalized designs.
- Cerakote can be applied to the entire AR-15 Parts receiver or specific components.
- Duracoat is a firearm-specific finish that provides excellent rust prevention and wear resistance.
- It offers numerous color options and customization, including camouflage and stenciled designs.
- Duracoat finishes are easy to touch up if they become scratched or worn.
- Parkerizing is a phosphate-based finish known for its corrosion resistance and ability to hold lubrication.
- It provides a matte gray or black appearance and is suitable for military-style builds.
- While not as customizable as some other finishes, it offers excellent protection.
- Anodizing is an electrochemical process that produces a durable, corrosion-resistant layer on aluminum.
- Type III hardcoat anodizing is commonly used for AR-15 uppers and is available in various colors, with black being the most popular.
- It offers a classic and attractive finish that complements the rifle’s overall design.
5. Hydro-Dipping (Hydrographics):
- Hydro-dipping allows for intricate patterns and designs by immersing the upper receiver in a water-based film.
- It offers a wide range of customization options, including camouflage, woodgrain, and unique designs.
- The finish is durable and resistant to wear, but it may require a clear coat for added protection.
6. Nickel Boron:
- Nickel boron coatings provide a bright, silver-like finish that is both corrosion-resistant and easy to clean.
- It reduces friction and can improve the rifle’s overall reliability.
- Nickel boron is a popular choice for internal components like BCGs but can also be applied to the upper receiver.
7. Stainless Steel:
- If you have a stainless steel upper receiver, you may choose to keep its natural finish. Stainless steel offers corrosion resistance and an attractive silver appearance.
- While not as customizable as other finishes, stainless steel’s sleek look is popular for precision and competition builds.
8. Bare Metal Finish:
- Some shooters prefer the look of a bare metal upper receiver. However, keep in mind that unprotected metal can be susceptible to corrosion.
- Regular maintenance and protective measures, such as oiling or waxing, can help maintain the finish.
When selecting a custom finish for your AR-15 upper, consider the intended use, the level of protection needed, and your personal preferences for aesthetics. Keep in mind that some finishes may have an impact on tolerances, so ensure your upper receiver components fit correctly after the finish is applied. Proper maintenance and care are essential to preserve the appearance and functionality of your custom finish over time.