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Recommendations on IonBond vs DLC, and Vendors


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Looking to have a new build finished and would prefer DLC, but what's really the difference between the two? Is one harder than the other? Is one more prone to wear?

The forum seems to have a lot of information from those that are either rah-rah DLC, or rah-rah IonBond...but no actual comparison between the two from a middle-of-the-road standpoint.

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

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So here's what I've found out so far...

Calico Coatings

Looks like they do great work, but to have a single gun and not a large batch done in DLC, it'd be about $ 1,200!!

Northeast Coatings

Called yesterday and left a message with the gentleman in charge of firearms coatings...still have yet to hear back from him...

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I cannot give you a recommendation either way, because I've never had DLC. I will say the the Ion Bond coating on my custom Sig 1911 (Sig calls it Nitron) certainly has an affinity for crud, and the crud really sticks. It is a lot harder to remove powder residue than it is on blued or SS pistols.

As far as wear goes, the externals look like brand new, even after three years. However, if two surfaces are closely mated, the finish will wear off. For instance, there is not an iota of the coating left on the frame tangs at the mating part of the grip safety. Same for frame rails where contact occurs.

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That seems to me like its more related to the texture of the metal. Nothing sticks to the polished areas of my hard chrome Tanfoglio, but the matte areas seem to be a lot more difficult to clean. I know you can get Ionbond DLC in matte or satin, and I would assume the satin would be easier to keep clean. Can you post a pic zzt?

Thanks for the info


The matte looks kind of rough:


Edited by Nealio
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SU_OG, I was told it was not. If you are correct just vice versa Ion Bond and DLC in my comments. I do not think you are correct, because DLC is supposed to be very hard. If it is DLC on my Sig, I definitely do not want it on the new pistols I'm building.

Nealio, I cannot just now. My 1911 was just completely disassembled, cleaned and lubed. However, picture this. The frame and slide rails on my custom Sig were gunsmith fit. They are very smooth and there are no tool marks. The whole inside got a good polish job, so all the underlying metal is smooth. Everything is Nitron coated.

So, consider this. The powder residue on the top of the front frame rails, the barrel bed, the trigger area and the top of the mag area seem to get welded on. It will not come off with a nylon bristle brush, but the gunk on the polished feed ramp ( not coated) will. Anything stuck to the Nitron requires solvent and a lot of rubbing. Finally you end up scraping it off with a brass blade

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So I posted above that Ion Bond is the name of the company that does the PVD coating of with DLC is their primary coating. And it is ok if you doubt me but it does not change the fact that Nitron is DLC.


Here are their brand names and the associated PVD coating process and yes they also use their Trade name as a process trade mark. They do not discuss firearms but they do it for many gun manufactures including Sig.

Crosscut™ AlCrN coating for cutting tools Hardcut TiSiN coating for cutting tools Maximizer AlTiN coatings for cutting tools Ionbond™ PVD coatings for cutting and forming & molding tools Bernex™ CVD coatings for cutting and forming & molding tools Decobond™ PVD coatings for decorative applications Diamondblack™ ADLC coating for luxury goods Tribobond™ PVD and PACVD coatings for components Tetrabond Non hydrogenated DLC coating for tools

I personally feel that it is a very expensive process for guns and it is more about the cosmetic nature of the process than any real benefit over any other coating or process. They all wear over time and from a hardness perspective with more benefits, hard chrome is probably the best. But from a cost stand point Cerakote is best in my not so humble opinion.

The cool thing about PVD coatings are the colors that can be achieved. I do not have a recommendation of a company because Ion Bond only works with manufactures, aero space and government. I called them once to see if I could send some guns and they said No. You need to be a contractor and have passed a security clearance before they will work with you.

All in all the PVD coatings are cool but too much of a hassle and expense when trying to retro fit a gun with said coating. Now if your guns come with the coating cool...

Edited by StraightUp_OG
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  • 3 weeks later...

I can send your gun to Ionbond. Is it fully prepped? If so the price is $350.00 plus return shipping to you. I use them and H&M black nitride. Ionbond looks better on polished flats than black nitride. When I use black nitride I leave all surfaces matte. It looks good too. Let me know if I can help. Greg

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