How I refinished my P3at

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by jbabbler, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. jbabbler

    jbabbler New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    The finish of my P11 started to fade after 8 years so I reblued it. When I bought the P3at a few weeks ago I couldn't help but notice how thin the bluing was. It showed wear after a few weeks of use and the bluing was uneven at best. I decided to reblue this one as well.

    I used Super Blue by Birchwood Casey. It is much stronger than Cold Blue and held up for 3 years on my P11. I have also used it on rifles and to touch up my XD.

    What you'll need
    • Denatured Alcohol ($6 at Home Depot)
    • Distilled White Vinegar ($1.50 at Walmart)
    • Birchwood Casey Super Blue ($7.95 at gun shop)
    • Paint Brush or cotton balls (you aren't painting you just need it to apply the solution)
    • Steel Wool

    • Field Strip the P3AT
    • Remove the extractor screw and extractor.
    • Remove firing pin and spring.
    • Place the slide in Distilled Vinegar, making sure that it is completely covered. The vinegar will dissolve the finish 100% in about 5-10 minutes.
    • After 10 minutes or so the slide will turn brown.
    • Remove the slide from the vinegar and wipe down with a cloth
    • Wash slide with denatured alcohol making sure to keep finger off of exposed surfaces or they will be contaminated with oil
    • Now would be the time to do any grinding or polishing you may have in mind.
    • Using a paint brush or a cotton ball, apply the Super Blue to the metal. It goes on clear and the metal turns black in a less than a second.
    • Don't forget the inside of the slide as all of the bluing will have been removed there as well.
    • You can wipe it down and apply more or just keep wetting it with the solution.
    • Allow it to sit for a minute or so then rinse with warm water and dry with a towel. If it looks uneven you can sand it and reapply. Use as many coats as you want as it only affects the exposed metal.
    • When finished, wash the slide with water and rinse with alcohol to get rid of any solution/water that may be remaining.
    • Dry with a towel
    • The outside of the barrel can be blued too if you want to get rid of any shine. I did this on my Pf9.
    • Coat the slide with gun oil and let it sit for an hour or so
    • Lightly rub the slide down with the oil soaked steel wool. Don't use much if any pressure as you are simply removing any contamination and lightly polishing the new finish.
    • Clean and lube as normal and reassemble.
    • If it looks too shiny or if you see strange color fluctuations, then the slide was still oily when you started. Easy to fix, just get some 600grit sandpaper and sand the slide down (Vinegar won't remove the new blued finish) enough to roughen it up some, clean with alcohol and repeat the bluing process.

  2. RCACFBilly

    RCACFBilly New Member

    Mar 29, 2008

    What happened to the pictures? Only one is there.


  3. jbabbler

    jbabbler New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Sorry, I moved them in Photobucket and the url changed. Should be there now.
  4. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Looks great! Thanks for sharing the process with us here at KTOG.

    Take care...
  5. 762x39

    762x39 New Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Great Info!! Thanks
  6. Mike_Patton

    Mike_Patton New Member

    Jan 15, 2009
    Great write-up, jbabbler! Thanks for the effort!!!
  7. KelTex78

    KelTex78 Active Member

    Jan 10, 2009
    That looks very nice! I have used Perma-Blue to touch up worn spots and refinish the barrel on an old .22LR revolver that was my Dad's when he was a teenager. I've thought about refinishing the slide on my PF-9 with Duracoat but I use the Fobus paddle holster and I'm afraid that might wear the Duracoat even worse than the bluing.
  8. jbabbler

    jbabbler New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    I don't know about Duracoat. I can tell you that this Super Blue covers well and you could touch it up as it wore and wouldn't even be able to tell.

    RDALMASO1 Guest

    Jul 4, 2007
    Great job, thanks for sharing the process
  10. ctlover

    ctlover Guest

    Nov 9, 2008
    Outstanding job and directions. After reading your post I think I could do this myself and I am far from being a gunsmith. Thanks for taking the time to break it down like you did.
  11. billjohnso20

    billjohnso20 Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    +1 Great writer up, jbabbler. Thanks for the pics. I've never used Super Blue but I might give it a try in the future. Thanks again.
  12. Checker4Tix

    Checker4Tix Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Thanks for this post. I've touched up the bluing on my P3AT a couple of times using super blue. I had no idea that vinegar would remove the old bluing. That will surely save me time and money the next time - which won't be long now.
  13. sprinter1

    sprinter1 New Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    Good post. I'd like to add that you should rinse the vinegar off with Hot running water. It is a mild acid and will continue to acid etch any holes or threads and the firing pin hole if it is not totally removed. And then rinse it with distilled water. Also acetone works better than alcohol as a cleaner degreaser. It's also a good idea to use rubber gloves, the best type is Nitrile gloves, try to avoid latex gloves, they have a coating of powder and outgas that leaves a residue the bluing doesn't like.
  14. Kel007

    Kel007 New Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    [*]Distilled White Vinegar ($1.50 at Walmart)


    Don't know if things have changed since I took my Organic chem class many years ago, but when we tested the acidity in vinegars the best one was Heinz. The other samples were just diluted and never matched the percentage showing on the bottle.

    Thanks for the procedure. Now you know what I'll be doing this wknd.
  15. MasterBlaster

    MasterBlaster Guest

    Feb 11, 2009
    So you say the vinigar will turn the slide brown after 10 minutes? Does that brown just wipe off and leave it silver then? I'm asking because I am considering removing the blueing and just keeping the silver unfinished slide coated in oil to prevent rust.
  16. jbabbler

    jbabbler New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Actually, the old finish kind of turns brown and can easily be wiped away or even rinsed off with warm water. The vinegar completely dissolves the old bluing in a matter of minutes. Mine took less than 5 minutes.
  17. MasterBlaster

    MasterBlaster Guest

    Feb 11, 2009
    Do you think it would be okay to soak the slide and wash off the blueing without taking it appart? If it would do no harm, I think I would rather not try to remove the spring loaded parts. Experiance has taught me that sometimes even simple easy tasks can turn into a real headache! LOL!
  18. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    I have never done it so I am making a WAG here but I bet some of the bluing that was coming off could be gunky and get caught up in the small parts if you left them together?

  19. jbabbler

    jbabbler New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Absolutely not. You will be soaking it in an acid solution then completely rinsing it with water. If you don't pull the firing pin and extractor you will definitely end up with water trapped in the channel. It only takes about 30seconds to remove them and it's a piece of cake. I wish all of my guns were this easy to break down.