In the summer of 2012, I picked up my first Ruger LCP (I have three now, the first step is admitting you have a problem) and, afraid of the prospects for rust due to how I carry, got it coated. Now on the three-year anniversary, I have an update.
So I carry a back-up gun from time to time in my line of work. Occasionally in street clothes as a normal CCW practitioner, I also sometimes cannot carry a full-sized handgun comfortably without printing, especially in summer. This leaves me with one of the best compact .380s of the past few years, the Ruger LCP, as my go-to BUG or CCW choice.
(My factory new LCP, three years ago)
However, one slight issue with the pistol is the common complaint that the LCP's slide can often turn to a rusty mess over time. The fact that I live in a near-tropical environment on the Gulf Coast where shorts and flip-flops are common Christmas attire, and the LCP lives in ankle, pocket and IWB holsters can only add to this problem. With this in mind, I decided to rustproof my LCP permanently.
I got with a buddy of mine, Dan Harvala and we decided on DuraCoat.
Long story short, DuraCoat is a two part chemical coating that is sprayed on by airbrush, conventional spray gun, or HVLP spray gun, depending on the user's preference. The company says that the coating, like fine wine, gets better with age. LCW states simply that, "DuraCoat wears in, not out."
Most important to me, LCW proudly states that properly DuraCoat'ed firearms will not rust in a salt environment. "One of DuraCoat's attributes is its extreme ability to resist salt corrosion. A firearm coated with DuraCoat simply will not rust...EVER!"
With that in mind, I went for a DuraCoated LCP. Dan quoted the slide as $25 to get done since it was so small but when I arrived, we came to an agreement for $50 for the whole gun, frame, and all and I covered the results at the time in an article on our sister forum, Firearms Talk (Ruger Talk was still unborn at the time).
Freshly Duracoated, late August 2012
I dug it and started carrying it as a BUG and, when attending low-key events where a very compact gun was all I could get away due to the heat and wardrobe choices, my main carry piece.
Now, three years to the week later, let us look.
+36 months on
Overall, I have to admit, I am impressed. I was thinking the gun would need to be redone in a year or two of near everyday carry. However, that's not the case.
In the past ~1100 days or so, I have carried this particular LCP usually about 4-5 days a week, either in a Desantis gunhide summer heat holster as an IWB in the small of the back, or in pocket carry in a Bianchi nylon or Bianchi 152 Pocket Piece.
That translates into something on the order of ~700 days carry, arguably most of the time in the pocket mode, which protects the gun rather well from the elements (except for swamp gas). Its gone hiking a number of times, camping, and fishing all in a saltwater environment.
Shooting wise, I've qualified with this particular little LCP every quarter in addition to by regular sidearm, shotgun et. al, putting 50 rounds through it, which at this point adds up to something like 600 rounds.
My now fawn-colored LCP on my very well-worn fifty-year-old copy of William Manchester's 400,000-word epic, The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968
The only wear I can find is a few nicks around the front end of the gun and overall the finish has gotten visibly darker. When it first was coated, it was almost a light sand color and now is closer to the fawn of deer hide.
I've had to darken the front sight reference hump 3-4 times with a sharpie in the same period, and it looks like it needs it again. One of these days I'm gonna get night sites added. One of these days...
I've used Ballistol and military-grade CLP as a cleaner-lubricant-protectant exclusively during that time and haven't had any issues with either eating the coating away.
As far as handling, I have to admit, the LCP needed a good going over with sandpaper on the rails and contact points after I got it back from Dan as the coating gummed up and jammed the pistol after the first round. However, after a little love it's all good. Curiously, it only started doing this after about 100 rounds. I guess it had to get dirty enough (or hot enough?) to let the finish cause issues.
As for Dan, I'd love to get him to coat some more stuff, but he got out of the biz and moved to Wisconsin to work for a defense contractor.
Such is life.
At least I don't need him to touch anything up though...