Armor-Tuff not so tuff?

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by Tarpon Hunter, May 16, 2019.

  1. Tarpon Hunter

    Tarpon Hunter Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2018
    I have had a Springfield RO Elite Champion 9mm and .45 longer than my WC EDC X9. I shoot them all equally at the range and carry the .45 in a kydex holster. The Springfield's finish still looks like new except minor wear at the front of the side from holstering. The WC has that plus assorted nicks (exposed metal) on the slide. The back of the ejection port is bare metal where as it's hardly worn on the Springfield's.

    All 3 get equally loving care. I have absolutely no complaints about it's function but I hesitate to get another WC if it's going to look abused after 1 year. Life's too short to shoot an ugly gun.

    Is this par for the course with their Armor-Tuff finish?
  2. Busa Dave

    Busa Dave Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Pretty Much. There has been much discussion on this topic. There will be others that are pro AT saying it is great. Let your eyes be your guide.

  3. Sneaky One

    Sneaky One Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    At least it is relatively cheap to have redone....................
    simonp likes this.
  4. Fred_G

    Fred_G Known Agitator

    Dec 29, 2015
    AT does not stand up to normal wear very well in my experience. My understanding it the guns are Parked before the AT, so the metal is still protected even after it wears. On my WC guns, seems only the slide really wore, and it is not an expensive refinish from WC.

    Your gun, your tastes, but I think honest wear is just plain sexy on a gun..
  5. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    I have had good luck with Wilsons black armor tuff on a steel gun ( CQB 5" in .45acp ) ...about 16 yrs old now with only probably 25K - 30K rds thru it ...but I carried it for over 12 yrs in a Kramer horsehide holster. ( the all stainless photo replaced it -- as my carry gun about 3 yrs ago ...5" Wilson Protector in 5").

    I don't have any experience with their alloy frame guns like the EDC.

    FWoo45 and 41 Charlie like this.
  6. Dangerous Brian

    Dangerous Brian Pigtails and butter please...

    Dec 9, 2013
    ^ It is probably worth pointing out that the Wilson AT of today is not going to be the AT of sixteen years ago.

    The current AT isn't much better or worse than any other shake and bake cerakote type finish. It is the prep and application that usually counts.
    simonp likes this.
  7. Fred_G

    Fred_G Known Agitator

    Dec 29, 2015
    This was my EDC for a couple of years before I sold it. When I bought it there was already some wear. IMG_0104.JPG
    simonp and Tarpon Hunter like this.
  8. mikegalway

    mikegalway CEO of DILLIGAF industries Supporting Addict

    Feb 23, 2014
    My experience has been the same . Slide on my CQB shows a little wear , base finish showing through . Frame shows no wear . To me it's just patina on a great pistola .
    simonp likes this.
  9. dash

    dash Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2016
    Since the EDC X9 slide is stainless steel, the Armor-Tuff finish won’t adhere as well as it would to parkerized carbon steel. Coated stainless will always show wear faster as a result. That’s probably what you’re experiencing.
  10. Tarpon Hunter

    Tarpon Hunter Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2018
    But Springfield's being 1/3 the cost of the WC, I would have expected an equally durable finish on the WC.

    I have absolutely no complaints about the Springfield's and think they are great value at that price. I guess it comes down to buying a Chevy vs a Mercedes. But they all go bang
  11. Dangerous Brian

    Dangerous Brian Pigtails and butter please...

    Dec 9, 2013
    Money spent does not always translate into quality received. This is just one example. Adjust expectations accordingly.
    Shocker2000 and cdhbrad like this.
  12. Tarpon Hunter

    Tarpon Hunter Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2018
    So the next question is, how do WC slides that are Carbon Steel hold up as compared to stainless?
  13. mikegalway

    mikegalway CEO of DILLIGAF industries Supporting Addict

    Feb 23, 2014
    To avoid disappointment lower expectations .
  14. dash

    dash Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2016
    Certainly better due to the parkerizing below acting as a primer on the carbon steel. However, it’s probably still going to wear enough in time to bug you. AT is a form of paint so it’ll show impact wear outside the ejection port from exiting brass and it’ll still show nicks rather easily. If the color is black over carbon steel, cold blue works well to hide the nicks by cutting the shine of the exposed metal and somewhat matching the paint color.

    If you love the gun, prefer a dark color but don’t care for the appearance of wear, consider having the slide refinished in something like DLC or Nitride and it’ll look great, like new, new for many years.
    Tarpon Hunter likes this.
  15. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    I have 3 guns that are "shake and bake".

    EB Krypetia = SS Frame and slide in Gen4
    COLT CCS = SS Frame and slide in Crappola
    WC Pro = Carbon Frame and slide in AT

    All three have been in the same Comp-Tac Kydex holster. This holster has retention nubs that lock in the trigger guard. Both EB and Colt show a solid line to bare metal at this point and the WC shows none. All three show "normal" feathering at the front of the slide with the WC having the least amount.
  16. retrieverman

    retrieverman Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2013
    I’ve never been overly impressed with AT finishes, but then again, whatever coating Ed Brown and Les Baer used to use was horrible too. The parked finish on my old 1996a2 (now 22 years old) has held up better than other Wilsons I’ve had with AT.

    I opted for PVD on a gun Steve Owens built for me, and so far after being carried and drawn from a kydex holster, it’s showing absolutely no wear. If I were getting a gun refinished, I would more than likely get PVD.
  17. postman10mm

    postman10mm Active Member

    Feb 4, 2012
    Wilson’s old armor tuff was gunkote, the new armor tuff is cerakote. Both hold up well on carbon steel because Wilson parks it before coating. In my experience, Wilson’s cerakote does not adhere well to stainless.

    All the EDC X9s have stainless slides, which keeps them off my list.
  18. xerts1191

    xerts1191 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2017
    All character marks, unless a guy’s looking to put a gun in a display case, I say let the natural transformation of everyday gun life happen.
    BigJimP and Fred_G like this.
  19. puddi_nugget

    puddi_nugget Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2014
    So a finish is “bad” because it shows wear with use? Not following this train of thought at all. My CQB has yet to show any signs of rust, even when I neglect to oil it after sweating all over it all day. Cant say the same for some other finishes.
  20. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Many aren't aware that while these companies call their finishes various things many are just Cerakote EB finish Gen III Gen IV whatever they call it. Cerakote. I can blast it off at 40 psi in my blast cabinet with minimal abrasive content... The same goes for the AT, this is also where the parkerizing first comes in.. Also as mentioned many finishes do not adhere as well to SS, however DLC, PVD adhere equally well to both. I just finished an EMP40 that had a ss slide and carbon steel lower, while both finished very near identical, you could see that the Stainless actually looked a bit brighter and darker in finish... It is a thin finish but, is hard enough that it doesn't remove easily...Basically same finishes with different labels.. Depending on the company marketing it.

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