The AR-15/M4 series rifle has turned into a firearms Lego set for consenting adults. We all add—and frequently change—a multitude of accessories on our ARs, sometimes day by day. Many of these modifications focus on important aspects, such as fitment to our individual body types and shooting styles, while others are purely for the CDI (Chicks Dig It) factor. Other modifications focus on protection and longevity, something to think about on a gun that sees a high-round count or is exposed to harsh environmental conditions and/or rough handling.
We were so pleased with what ROBAR did with our personal Glocks (see Project ROBAR in our April/May Defensive Handguns issue), we decided to ship them a couple of our ARs to play with—one of mine and one owned by editor Ben Battles. ROBAR offers a variety of coating technologies that not only will keep your gun looking great (chicks dig that!), but also will reduce or eliminate the high cost of parts replacement and maintenance, and the time spent cleaning. So we scrolled through ROBAR’s list of coatings, chose our colors and sent the two guns off to Arizona to be transformed in ROBAR’s state-of-the-art facility.
We had or uppers, lowers, receiver extensions and rail assemblies all finished—inside and out—with ROBAR’s latest coating: Poly-T2. Poly-T2 is a specially formulated PTFE-based, modified-epoxy coating designed specifically for firearm applications that provides protection to metal components exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Additionally, Poly-T2 provides a dramatic increase in lubricity, abrasion/impact protection, and protection from galling and seizing. It also provides the level of corrosion protection necessary to exceed the ASTM-B-117 standard of 1,000 hour salt spray exposure, and is unaffected by solvents, acids, oils, degreasers and both atmospheric and fretting corrosion. (Fretting corrosion refers to corrosion damage to load-bearing contact surfaces that experience repeated relative surface motion.)
I chose gunmetal gray as a low-profile, urban camouflage that is less likely to draw the eye. From a distance, and in low-light situations, the grayscale tones of most urban surfaces—such as concrete, glass, asphalt, rooftops, etc.—is a dark gray and is susceptible to low ambient light and shadows. Black objects tend to standout and are easily identifiable. Dark gray has proven to be the least visible/identifiable color in this environment and blends well into urban surroundings. Ben—who avoids urban areas like the plague—picked Robar’s dark OD green, which is a very near match to Magpul’s OD green, and is perfect for the wooded environments where he spends as much of his waking life as he can get away with.
Our bolt-carrier groups, charging handles, forward-assist plungers, bolt releases, safety levers, magazine releases, trigger assemblies and pins were all coated in ROBAR’s renowned NP3 finish. NP3 is an electroless nickel-based finish that co-deposits sub-micron particles of PTFE (polytetrafluoroetheylene), otherwise known as Teflon, with electroless nickel. NP3 is a self-lubricating compound that is so lubricious (slick) it appears wet, yet remains dry to the touch. The more it wears, the slicker it becomes. NP3’s high lubricity, wear resistance, corrosion resistance and low co-efficient of friction greatly increase the life expectancy of a firearm, and permit firing for longer periods between cleanings and lubrication, as dirt and powder residue have nothing to adhere to. When cleaning is warranted, all that’s required is a quick wipe-down of the NP3-coated parts with a soft cloth. NP3 is currently available in an attractive, non-reflective, light satin gray.
Barrels and muzzle devices on both guns were coated in Roguard, a proprietary formulation that provides lubrication and the corrosion protection necessary to meet the U. S. Military MIL-STD Machine Gun Dry Firing Requirements after 60 days of sea water immersion or 1,000 hours of salt spray. Roguard is available in either a matte black or black with a satin finish. We went with the matte, as it is minimally reflective and really compliments the appearance of the guns.
Poly-T2, NP3 and Roguard are worlds removed from the do-it-yourself gun coatings found in sporting goods stores and on the Internet, and even some commercially applied coatings. There’s good, there’s better and there’s ROBAR.