The popularity of AR 15 rifles has made finishing them a major industry. Finishing an AR 15 lower can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. After you finish your 80 lower receiver you may decide you want a unique finish. Luckily you have options.
Kameleon Kamo is one of the newer and most unique firearms finishes. The name Kameleon is used for good reason. Kameleon Kamo is designed to adapt slightly to its environment. This pattern uses a holographic pigment to help reflect the area around you. This allows your firearms to blend in with their surrounding better than traditional camo patterns. The paint isn’t changing color as much as it is redirecting color based on its surroundings. Painting your 80 lower receiver with this pattern is sure to give you one of the most unique rifles on the range.
Duracoat is one of the simpler and more affordable custom firearm finishes. DuraCoat can best be called spray paint for guns. I don’t want to undersell it, because Duracoat is a lot tougher than spray paint. Duracoat is interesting because it’s simple and easy to apply. You can do it at home without any special equipment. You can make any pattern you want, as long as you are a capable artist. You can also pay for more specialized coatings from real professionals if you choose.
One of the best things about Duracoat is that if it is chipped or marred it can be easily fixed. It could be done quickly, and the chipped or scuffed area would absolutely disappear.
Cerakote and Duracoat often get compared to each other, but this isn’t a fair comparison. Cerakote is a ceramic based gun finish that is incredibly durable, and extremely hard. Cerakote can be applied to nearly material. Cerakote can be used like duracoat to make all sorts of custom finishes if the user goes that route. Cerakote is trickier to apply and requires more specialized equipment to do it just right. Cerakote is super durable, and one of my personal favorite options.
Cerakote is the most popular option and a skilled artist can create some fascinating designs. My personal favorite being custom ‘Nerf’ blasters and even a Boba Fett Star Wars inspired rifle.
Hydro dipping is one of the most affordable ways to completely customize your 80 lower receiver build. This process uses water to transfer custom patterns onto a gun. Hydro dipping can be used for lower receivers, magazines, furniture, and more. Hydro dipping does require tanks large enough to dip your rifle, and is best done by a professional.
Hydro dipping isn’t as tough or as durable as cerakote or even duracoat, but for most users it works well enough. It’s not strong enough to go to war, but for a fun gun or a hunting rifle it is perfect.
If you really want the toughest finish anodizing is the way to go. This is the chosen method of the United States military. Anodizing is a complicated process that is electrochemical in nature. Its great at resisting rust, resisting damage, and protecting your 80 lower receiver. You are generally limited on colors, but it’s the toughest option. It’s smooth to the touch, and option can be had in gloss or matte colors. Patterns aren’t really possible, so you are generally stuck with solid colors.
Finishing your 80 lower receiver is a process you get to really choose for your rifle You can go as practical or as artful as you desire. There is no reason to settle for a boring black rifle...unless that is what you really want.DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY AR-15 building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. We are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.