I just brought home my new Gold Match II SS. It looks like artwork. I would like a holster that holds and protects it well. When I am out in the wood's I want to protect it from the briars and trees and such... Yeah I protect all my guns like this. When at the gunshpt the other day they were wearing the hard plastic clip in type..But the barrel protruded out the bottom..? And they swear that where it fit's in and out around the trigger guard that it wont harm the finish in any way. I know leather will cause some finish wear and I sweat profusely in the summer.. Leather in the past has stained nickel finish for me . Sweat? So What are my options?Thanks in advance
All holsters will cause some finish wear, not matter what. Any place where there's friction it will wear the finish, if it's a polymer framed gun in a "trigger clip" holster it's a little different, but no matter what you holster that Kimber in you're going to see wear, don't sweat it too much.
As for "field" holsters, check out Simply Rugged.
The stainless steel will not tarnish like nickel. And sweat will not affect it either. Any topcoat over the stainless can show wear. The stainless resists abrasion moderately well; much better than nickel which is quite soft for a metal, but not as well as chrome which is extremely hard and abrasion resistant.
The grips might have an issue with wear and sweat but can easily be replaced.
A rough out (smooth side inside the hoster) holster or a fully lined holster is supposed to have less wear on the gun. Milt Sparks sells rough out holsters.
My stainless steel guns have always been "natural" with no top coat. They never seemed to show any wear.
My blued guns, and my anodized guns definitely showed wear.
I, too, sweat profusely in the heat. My sweat seems particularly corrosive, too.
I'm always carrying one of three pistols: a 1911 shortie in blued steel, a full-size 1911 that's been "hard chromed," or a stainless steel pocket .45 mini-pistol.
When I was practicing every weekend for competition, I was less than careful of my two "hard chromed" competition 1911s, exactly because they were "hard chromed." It's supposed to be an impervious finish.
Well, it's not. My sweat did get through the plating in a couple of places. The underlying steel did corrode...a little. I caught it in time, removed the corrosion, and learned a valuable lesson: Nothing is sweat-proof. Nothing.
So now I use a slightly oily rag to carefully wipe-down whatever I'm carrying, at the end of the day.
That does the trick. No more corrosion, on anything.
Stainless steel does rust. It's slower to corrode than "ordinary" steel, but it still needs a little oil on it, at the end of the day.
Plating applied over steel will also corrode. It doesn't matter what the plating is. Sweat will get to it.
Blued steel is, of course, particularly vulnerable.
Don't become complacent.
Oh, yes—about holsters: I second what VAMarine wrote. All holsters, no matter how smooth inside, will wear finishes and even the metal itself. There is no harm in it, and experienced shooters actually prefer the look of "holster wear," since it indicates that the gun has been used by someone who actually shot it.
Unworn pistols are for museums and wanna-bees.
There are different ways for plating to protect the steel from rust.
The first way is by "finish integrity". This is the way paint works. There is a continuous coating everywhere and there is no place for moisture and oxygen to combine with the steel to create ferric oxide (red rust).
The second way to protect a finish is with a galvanic coating. In this case the coating material is a metal that is higher on the peroidic chart for elements. This makes that material "more active" and all of the more active material has to be sacrificed before the steel will rust. These metals are commonly zinc or cadmium. Neither of these are a satisfactory finish for handguns as they are too soft and lack abrasion resistance.
Chrome is harder than steel, but unfortunately it is also less active than steel. So once the surface integrity is compromised either by wear or a scratch, corrosion will occur. And because the steel of the gun is more active on the periodic chart of elements the steel becomes the sacrificial material protecting the chrome. In other words once the chrome's surface integrity is compromised the compromised area will rust faster than un-coated steel.
Nickel suffers the same fate and is soft to boot.
The chrome on guns is called "hard chrome" and this is a specialized process used for tooling and handguns. It lays an extremely even thickness of coating on the metal surfaces, and it is highly wear resistant. That is why you sometimes find stainless steel coated with hard chrome. Stainless steel against stainless steel makes a poor bearing surface and is subject to galling if not well lubricated. For handguns this is generally not an issue, but for machine tools it is.
The hard chrome on Steve's gun allowed rust almost certainly because at some point the plating integrity had been compromised. And sometimes this has to do with an imperfection in the base material that caused the plating to have poor adhesion to the substrate. As the scratch or imperfection was likely extremely small it gives the appearance that the sweat ate right through the finish. I've never heard of hard chrome allowing salt water to attack it and get through to the substrate. Hard chrome on handguns is very, very thin or it will cause binding in the slides. Hard chrome is about .0002" to .0006" thick.
The most durable finish in my opinon would be hard chrome over stainless steel. I've heard of hard chrome over aluminum but it is not widely available and I don't know how durable it would be. The aluminum substrate is fairly soft and the chrome is glass-brittle hard. So a hard band might cause the aluminum to dent and the chrome to flake. This might not be a real issue; it may only be an issue in my mind. But as there is little out there to bear witness I would not have an aluminum gun hard chrome plated. It only costs about $45.00 to chrome plate a slide so if it does get damaged it can easily be fixed. Note: There may be a separate "stripping" charge to remove the old plating.
You can have a gun that you own hard chrome plated, but it is best that you send it to a shop that has experience in this (and has the FFL to handle the weapons). http://www.techplate.com/firearms_pl.htm
Here is a link describing the process: Hard Chrome Plating - Industrial Chrome
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