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I have always wondered what Sigs Nitron finish was all about. In a recent article I was reading about the Legion finish the writer stated, "All Legion guns are finished in SIG’s gray PVD, which stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. It is a process whereby a protective coating in the form of a metal vapor is applied to a metal surface by ion bombardment or heat evaporation while in a vacuum. It results in an extremely durable, hard (about 70 on the Rockwell scale) and uniform compound; and, in the Legion’s case, it results in a matte gunmetal-gray color that resists rust and wear. (On other SIG guns, black is added to the PVD process and the company calls the coating Nitron".
 

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From Wikipedia -
PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary.
Ability to utilize virtually any type of inorganic and some organic coating materials on an equally diverse group of substrates and surfaces using a wide variety of finishes.
More environmentally friendly than traditional coating processes such as electroplating and painting.
More than one technique can be used to deposit a given film.

A Rockwell hardness of 70 is pretty impressive.
 
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I have always wondered what Sigs Nitron finish was all about. In a recent article I was reading about the Legion finish the writer stated, "All Legion guns are finished in SIG’s gray PVD, which stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. It is a process whereby a protective coating in the form of a metal vapor is applied to a metal surface by ion bombardment or heat evaporation while in a vacuum. It results in an extremely durable, hard (about 70 on the Rockwell scale) and uniform compound; and, in the Legion’s case, it results in a matte gunmetal-gray color that resists rust and wear. (On other SIG guns, black is added to the PVD process and the company calls the coating Nitron".
IonBond does all of the Nitron finishing for Sig Sauer (it's actually just down the road from their factory) and on their site they do advertise a PVD process. Honestly though, I dont know if it's the same exact process just with Black added. It's not quite as durable as I've already seen with some peoples pistols and higher round counts.

I'm not mad, I dont mind Nitron but from what I can see, the newer PVD process must do something else during the process I'd imagine....
 

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Interesting, ya' learn something new everyday. It is quite interesting to see all of the different coatings the manufacturers come up with, especially since I'm a aftermarket motorsports junkie. Some of the Coatings they're coming up with for some of their parts these days are quite impressive.
 

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Interesting, ya' learn something new everyday. It is quite interesting to see all of the different coatings the manufacturers come up with, especially since I'm a aftermarket motorsports junkie. Some of the Coatings they're coming up with some their parts these days are quite impressive.
Agreed.

I wish they starting making hand tools and shovels with the Tennifer/Melonite process. I get tired of expensive tools getting rust/corrosion issues. That and they already do it on crankshafts, pistons and other car parts.
 

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IonBond does all of the Nitron finishing for Sig Sauer (it's actually just down the road from their factory) and on their site they do advertise a PVD process. Honestly though, I dont know if it's the same exact process just with Black added. It's not quite as durable as I've already seen with some peoples pistols and higher round counts.

I'm not mad, I dont mind Nitron but from what I can see, the newer PVD process must do something else during the process I'd imagine....
I had a Para-USA 14.45 Black Ops. I eventually dumped it at a major loss after giving up on the company being able to make it dependable to the point I could trust my life. It was a stainless frame and stainless slide.
It has a IonBond finish. Mine was one of the first generation and the finish was much smoother than the Nitron. I was supposed to be black but in bright sunlight it had a slight bronze tint to it. They claimed it was harder that a hard chrome finish. And I was impressed with the finish. After over 1000 rounds of intense shooting, the rails looked just like they did the day I bought it. I liked the finish. They used some other finish of similar color on the very poor cast thumb safeties and it was no good.
 

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Honestly though, I dont know if it's the same exact process just with Black added. It's not quite as durable as I've already seen with some peoples pistols and higher round counts.
Exactly my thoughts, too. How come even with just regular handling, the finish easily wears out. My Sig have some shiny spots that look like finish wear out of the box. Could this be from the factory?
 

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From Wikipedia -
PVD coatings are sometimes harder and more corrosion resistant than coatings applied by the electroplating process. Most coatings have high temperature and good impact strength, excellent abrasion resistance and are so durable that protective topcoats are almost never necessary.
Ability to utilize virtually any type of inorganic and some organic coating materials on an equally diverse group of substrates and surfaces using a wide variety of finishes.
More environmentally friendly than traditional coating processes such as electroplating and painting.
More than one technique can be used to deposit a given film.

A Rockwell hardness of 70 is pretty impressive.
Yep, the fallback to metal deposition (PVD) vs. plating is that you can plate much faster using physical immersion and electricity than you can with ion bombardment. Also much cheaper process to run. PVD coatings tend to begin to 'flake' when built up to very high thicknesses. But you can deposit metal using PVD to virtually anything ... whereas plating requires something you can attract the metal to it with, by charging it or using the right chemical mixtures naturally combining or replacing one another (as in elecroless plating).

Its pretty durable stuff in thin films, and fairly easy to make uniform. Its best really to be used as a seed metal for actual immersion plating later.

Melonite as I understand it is more of a forced oxidation of the material with another material. Some metals oxidize in much more favorable manners than others. Titanium oxidizes in a very thin and intricate crystallization pattern over its surface so much so that it is perceived as non-rusting. Other more obvious ones do not have the same oxidation layer characteristics, say Iron or Copper.

I work in thin films, in case you were wondering.
 

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Idk, the nitride on my Sig may be nice, but I had a Turkish Tisas 1911 w/ a beautiful finish & smooth as silk.*


 

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Exactly my thoughts, too. How come even with just regular handling, the finish easily wears out. My Sig have some shiny spots that look like finish wear out of the box. Could this be from the factory?
I've noticed, and the Sig Rep recommended it as well, just keep oil on it. I grew up always wiping my pistols bone dry and lubing all points of contact with a little more than a dab. I've found if I want that black Nitron look like it does when your getting it the first few days, spray on a CLP or gun oil, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe it of and then it wont get on your hands when your cycling it or manipulating it.

I sort of got over it though and dont care if it looks greyish. I've noticed after handling it, a few dry spots show up and at times it looks like it's scratched, but frankly the protection is still there so it's not a big deal.

I'm sure the PVD must have something better in the process. I know I was told by a Rep it's IonBond, and saw a article when they opened the new factory a year or two ago that IonBond had built another plant nearby due to demand. They even mentioned Sig Sauer as a major client in the article.

Unfortunately I can't find any company locally that does the Ilaflon finish that I've been wanting so badly. The german/swiss guns Sig Sauer's often time came with them. It's alot like the Gen 3 glock finish in the 90's, very slick and sweat/blood drip off of it. For some people it's hard to grip but for me it works fine. Now they've gone to a more Matte finish like the old Gen 2 models, looks more bronze like. They switched to that with the Gen 4's and Gen 3's followed same time, luckily mines a older finish, I just prefer it.

Anyways that was me going on and on about finishes my bad! :p

To me a pistol is a carry piece, even if the Nitron looks way off from how it should but functions, I'm a happy camper.
 

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Yep, the fallback to metal deposition (PVD) vs. plating is that you can plate much faster using physical immersion and electricity than you can with ion bombardment. Also much cheaper process to run. PVD coatings tend to begin to 'flake' when built up to very high thicknesses. But you can deposit metal using PVD to virtually anything ... whereas plating requires something you can attract the metal to it with, by charging it or using the right chemical mixtures naturally combining or replacing one another (as in elecroless plating).

Its pretty durable stuff in thin films, and fairly easy to make uniform. Its best really to be used as a seed metal for actual immersion plating later.

Melonite as I understand it is more of a forced oxidation of the material with another material. Some metals oxidize in much more favorable manners than others. Titanium oxidizes in a very thin and intricate crystallization pattern over its surface so much so that it is perceived as non-rusting. Other more obvious ones do not have the same oxidation layer characteristics, say Iron or Copper.

I work in thin films, in case you were wondering.
Very interesting. Good to know!

Lot's of companies, including Glock, have switched to the Gas nitriding process rather than salt bath. Caracal and a few others use the Plasma Nitriding process....it's interesting to see how some companies use certain process and the end result. Pretty interesting stuff.

I've only heard good things about the Legion's PVD finish, and the one I handled had over 2k rounds through it and looked like it had maybe been fired 200 rounds max. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The Nitron finish on my Sigs is still in excellent condition. My 1994 P229 probably has the best condition of all, except for the 1 month old M11-A1. Even my 2006 & 2007 LEO P226 trade-ins are still completely intact. I don't see any wear on any of the finish, but there are a couple of 1mm X 1mm "chips" in the Nitron near sharp edges. Makes sense after reading how PVD is applied.

I don't have a Legion (yet), but if there are issues with the gray finish, I assume Sig will have that corrected before I can afford on.
 
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