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This is one area that can be incredibly simple or complex, depending on how much digging you want to do into the various testing methods. You can, for instance, look up what an ASTM D3359 rating of 5B means, which Cerakote earns proudly, or you can see that a 180 degree bend over a quarter-inch mandrel didn’t involve the coating coming loose or flaking off. Ball bearing impact tests are also done to apply 160 inch-pounds of impact force without cracking, or any sign that the coating is coming loose at all.
Wear cycles are applied with a buffing wheel coated with abrasive material. Due to the lower coefficient of friction and the ceramic-polymer makeup of the coating, it’s been determined that Cerakote finishes can hold up well to over 5,000 wear cycles for every mil of thickness. Some series are even stronger. Think about how many bullets it takes on a stock slide before you start to see metal under the stock finish. Nuff said? Moving on.
Cerekote finishes are tested with a salt solution. This is very much alike one of those glock torture tests you see on you-tube and facebook, but with a very specific and scientific metric applied. There are generally two ways to perform this test. Either the part is hung and put under a constant spray a saltwater, which most coatings will tolerate on the order of thousands of hours, or they are dropped into a vat of the salt solution and left to soak. Let’s face it, you don’t want to drop your custom glock in a salt bath, so these folks have done the testing for you. In this kind of full immersion test, the coating will hold up against rust for hundreds of hours. Try that with a blued slide, the difference in the results is obvious.
One scientific test, the ASTM D3363, rates Cerakote coatings with a pencil hardness of 9H. It also rates them at a scratch resistance of 6H. While you wouldn’t want to run a nail across it under extreme force, these are actually some of the best test results you will see, on any coating.