Black firearm finishes are often necessary for tactical applications within the defense and firearms market. There are numerous options for attaining black firearm finishes on steel components, including black oxide and Melonite processes. However, black electroless nickel offers several marked improvements over other available black finishes as follows:
Corrosion Resistance: Electroless nickel can be applied in either a high phosphorus or medium phosphorus variety. The deposit selection and thickness can be engineered to meet as high as 1000-hr salt spray performance if required.
Consistent Black Regardless of Substrate Material: Often a consistent black finish is desired between dissimilar materials on a firearm. For example, a firearm upper may be machined from 7000-series aluminum whereas a hammer may be MIM (metal injection molded) made from 4140 steel. With traditional black coatings such as anodize or black oxide, there would be no way to attain a near match in color between the two components of dissimilar materials.
Black on Stainless Steels: electroless nickel can be applied to most metallic substrates found within the firearm market including stainless steels and MIM stainless steels. Common materials coated include stainless steels, tool steels, aluminum and brass alloys. The durability of the black is acceptable for most applications but cut-through of the black can occur in aggressive metal-on-metal wear applications.
Enhanced Lubricity: electroless nickel, like traditional electroless nickel, is a co-deposit of nickel and phosphorous. The phosphorus in the deposit provides enhanced lubricity over traditional nickel plating processes, making it an excellent choice where deposit lubricity is a key design characteristic.
Tight Tolerances and Coverage Within Tubulars: Since Tacti-black® electroless nickel is an “electroless” deposit, it is free from the nonuniformity common in electrolytic plating processes. Tacti-black® electroless nickel plating can be applied to tubular products and will achieve full deposit thickness within the ID of the tubular. Deposit thickness standard deviations of less than 0.00003” are common, making it an excellent choice for extremely tight tolerance applications.
Ease of Cleaning: electroless nickel firearms finishes are extremely easy to clean and wipe off with just a standard rag in most applications. Fingerprinting of the deposit is minimal in all but the highest of luster applications, such as when deposited on a polished surface.