P-3AT Finish for daily carry

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by Bilbo, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Bilbo

    Bilbo Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    My first real post.  I have been reading and searching for recommendations but I have not been able to get a good answer to this question.

    Which finish to get?  

    I am about to purchase this fine machine for my daily carry.  This will likely be carried in a pocket holster, but not sure if it will be leather or another option there.  I figure I should plan worst case for wear since I will find comfort before concern for the finish.  I do not want to include initial or final price here as driving option, longevity of the gun in the end is most important to me.  I do plan to maintain the gun and finish weekly, but I don't want it to need daily cleaning.

    Here is what I have so far.

    Blued- Lowest initial cost but ...  In a couple years if needed, just get a Duracoat or nickel finish.  This gun is for carry and NOT for show. This one is my current best option.

    Parkerized- Good option. Last longer than Blued but not as easy to refinish if/when needed in a few years.  Q: How long will a Park last in everyday carry vs the blued/refinished?  Anything else I should take into account?  If Park will last more that 5 years this may be my new favorite.

    HC-  Don't want.  Even my truck is black.  ;)

    I am really looking out 5 to 10 years so personal experience is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for all recommendations.

  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    I have Kel-tecs in all 3 finishes.  Hard chrome is by far the superior finish and it is not a shiny chrome finish like a car bumper.  It is a matt, non-reflective surface.  It is the hardest, most corrosion resistant and durable finish of the 3, and IMO, it feels a bit slicker than the others which increases functionality.  Parkerized is 2nd best in terms of durability and corrosion resistance but it does have a little texture that may or may not add some un-needed friction.  It really soaks up lubricant.  Kel-tec blueing is not an exceptionally high quality finish, although some guns come out better (and worse) than others.

  3. Bilbo

    Bilbo Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    WOW!  Looks like I am thinking exactly backwards here TxCajun.  I think I understand what you are saying on all three options but the part that Parkerized "soaks up lubricant."  Is that a good thing or not? (relatively speaking).  Perhaps I need to stand on my head for awhile and see if it is me or experience that is upside down.  ;)

    Thanks for pointing out that the HC is not a shiny finish.  I have not seen this finish and a chrome shine was my misconception.  The only examples I have seen in real life are all blue/black.

    Is it likely that the HC will last 5+ years in your experience?  Please explain the "increases functionality" statement.  Just this statement has me thinking HC will be my selection.

    Thanks again,
  4. bro61

    bro61 New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Unless you are in a particularly humid environment a once a week quick cleaning and re-lube will be sufficient to keep the factory blueing in good shape. Don't neglect it though, I have some rust on the lower front inside end of the slide on my P-3AT. I now clean and re-lube religiously.
  5. orangehole

    orangehole Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    I went with the low cost blue. It was just too ugly for a new gun. I had it Duracoted by Don at Golden Loki for $35. Looks great now. Sure we dont buy guns for looks but it just too much fun coloring the P3AT
  6. Flight_Chief

    Flight_Chief New Member

    Nov 26, 2010
    I live in central Florida on the Space Coast which is one of the worst areas for rust in the US. Several weeks ago I handled a blue p-3at that was carried in a gentleman's rear pocket for several years and was fine. There was a a very slight patina on the barrel hood but nothing else. Carried inside a pocket holster and wiped with a silicon cloth every couple of days and re-lubed every couple of weeks a blue gun will do just fine. It is really easy to clean rust off blue by using #0000 steel wool and plenty of gun oil. It will clean off surface rust and not damage the bluing.

    Parkerized finish is really a little better since it holds oil and is my favorite. The thing about blue and parkerized guns is that the surface contact points will wear a little and mate together as the gun breaks in.

    I have two hard chrome guns and they work fine, but they are not going to wear since the surface is so hard. Never-the-less the chrome is slick but works no better than my parkerized gun. One really nice thing about the HC is that it is easy to spot the shooting residue and carbon for better cleaning. The HC is also more protection for corrosion if you think you need it.
  7. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    I've got both a blued and a hard chrome P3AT. The only rust issue I've had was with the hammer spring pin and that only because I'd often forget to use CLP on that particular part. I'd like to have that pin be stainless steel. :)

    Bill K.
  8. jpaul

    jpaul Member

    Apr 23, 2008
  9. Flight_Chief

    Flight_Chief New Member

    Nov 26, 2010
    This is probably the ultimate best finish once a machine has worn in after a few hundred rounds. It really makes sense on a service or outdoor protection peace that gets carried in a lot of weather. Kel Tec is quite innovative by offering choice of hard chrome or parkerizing for a few dollars more. I think it is a matter of choice since all are viable finishes. I am so impressed with the P-3AT that I own one in HC and one in Parkerzed finish. My favorite is parkerized finish even though my dealer offers hard chrome for only $15.00 more. Matter of preference rather than cost.
  10. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Well, I'm honestly not sure, actually - just an observation.  I have one slide and barrel that is parkerized.  It is a unique one in caliber 32NAA, a convesion that fits a 1st generation P3AT.  It is mostly a safe queen.  I just noticed with the parked slide that you can coat it in oil and it seems to soak right in - then apply another coat and it soaks in, etc.

    It's a common misconception as we often think of chrome as being shiny.  It is a matt finish and is not highly reflective.  I'll post a pic below.

    Oh yes, and then some.  It should last much longer.  I have a hard chrome P11 that is more than 10 years old.  I don't carry it any more but did for years.  It looks great.  

    My perception is that the hard chrome finsih is slicker, smoother, and seems to have some lubricant quality to it.  It's hard to explain but I think those parts suffer less friction than blued or parkerized.  While I can't prove it, my general feeling from reading this forum for years is that there are less problems with hard chrome guns.

    Here's a pair of hard chrome guns:

    This one is parkerized:

    And blued:

    Bad pic - hard chome 1st gen P3AT and blued 1st gen P32.

    Hard chrome P11 with blued P40 slide also in pic + hard chrome 40 cal & 357sig cal barrels:

    Another bad pic - hard chrome over navy PF9 and P3AT - slides are blurred and lighting makes them look way shinier than they are.
  11. Bilbo

    Bilbo Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Well Thanks everyone. This is all great information. It looks like I have a little more thinking to do. I will report back in a couple weeks after I make my purchase.
  12. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Try to see some different finishes up close and personal.
  13. onadraw

    onadraw New Member

    Dec 18, 2005
    Mine is a Parkerized Gen 1 and It looks great even after years of carrying.
  14. Bilbo

    Bilbo Member

    Feb 16, 2011

    Thanks again everyone.  I decided to invest in the HC up front.  Only an extra $30 above the blued version.  Now for a little clean, lube and a little F&B and off to the range.  :D
  15. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Good choice! I don't think you'll regret it.
  16. gmoney35c

    gmoney35c New Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Definitely a good choice on hard chrome. I have had mine for close to 4 years and and buddy of mine has one that is blued for less than 2years. I carry mine almost daily. My buddy has several areas that have rusted.
  17. redjacket

    redjacket New Member

    Nov 23, 2007
    I dunno.. I live in VA and I carry my blue steel P3AT every day. Usually, I throw it in a jacket pocket, or in the summer, a 5.11 covert shirt. I've carried it for about 6 years, and there is no rust on it. I lube the internals about every 6 weeks or so and rarely wipe it down. Had it at the range just yesterday and ran about 50 rounds through it flawlessly. The blue is worn on the edges to the metal, and its a lot lighter than it was when it was new.. but I kinda dig it that way. It has character. The bluing is just fine for most of us.
  18. liltoy

    liltoy New Member

    Apr 24, 2011
    Good choice!  I don't think you'll regret it.  

    I agree. I wish I would have gotten the HC. I have only had my gun for about a week but I look at my taurus and wish this little guy looked the same.
  19. rebootit

    rebootit Active Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    St. Petersburg FL
    I have the HC and it has held up great in my sweaty central FL. pocket. My business partners blued finish had some very light rust after just a month. He had it duracoated but not real happy about how it looks like plastic. My LCP had some spots where the coating I assume was blue but seemed like something else was flaking off so I took it to the grinder and reshaped it to look more like the Kimber SOLO. Then I shot it with molly resin and have decided it is the best gun coating on the market. At least in hot sweaty humid Fl. You just can't scratch the stuff. Even after running 100 rounds through it the internals are still coated and slick. Duracoat for plastic, moly for metal.
  20. burley

    burley Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Which moly coat did you use?