By Frank Winn, Guns & Gear Editor
Robar Companies Inc.
A major hazard of being fond of a particular firearm is wear and tear. This is especially true when “fond” is code for “shooting the be-jeepers out of it.” Internally, modern design, materials and manufacturing precision can cut worries way down. Supplemented by some pretty fabulous lubricants and cleaners, firearm life can easily reach hundreds of thousands of rounds, and especially if you don’t try, say, to make a 9 mm do a 10 mm’s job.
The outsides of a gun may be quite a different story. If you start with modest looks, two possibilities predominate. If modest is actually read “functional,” then all may be well. We like the oxide rubbed down to the metal on our “A” competitive gun—it’s businesslike, if nothing else.
Option two is less pleasing: Some firearms don’t wear their cosmetic downgrades as well, or they happen so quickly that you sensibly start to worry what a days’ shooting in the rain (like two of our trips to USPSA Nationals) might start what you, as the saying goes, “can’t finish”—corrosion.
Several years ago, we tested a 1911 from RIA. We practiced through the spring, and completed our test with a (undistinguished) transit of Single Stack Nationals at PASA Park in Barry, Ill. The pistol performed well, but there’s no way to put a good face on what we did to the admittedly modest, original finish. “Massacre” is probably fair. And if it weren’t such a nice shootin’ pistol, it might not have mattered—but by the time we were done, it looked bedraggled enough to hint at unsafe.
This particular dragon, however, doesn’t stand a chance when you enlist a St. George like Robar. We said, “Fix it,” and they said, “OK.”
Robar has a selection of finishes that they recommend by application, but the RIA got their gunmetal grey POLY T2 outside, and NP3 inside. The former is a colorable (six options available) PTFE-based epoxy corrosion protection and lubricity coating that passes 1,000-hour salt spray tests. The latter is perhaps Robar’s best-known claim to fame: an electroless nickel process that “co-deposits” PTFE (Teflon). Jargon-meter pegged? Very well, moving on.
But the results really require no explanation—just take a look at our main image above. Our admittedly out-of-date notion of refinishing does indeed seem quaint, but whether it’s a full cosmetic rejuvenation or actual rebirth, we leave it to you to decide.
Unfortunately, it also gets us to the only downside: The action of this pistol is now so smooth that we occasionally find ourselves struggling slightly with far more expensive guns that just don’t compare.
You can see for yourself that it looks incomparably better.
Contact The Robar Companies Inc. at robarguns.com or (623) 581-2648.
First published at NRA America’s 1st Freedom