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Hard chrome is an excellent finish. It is hard and resists wear well. It is not as resistant to corrosion as nickel, nor does it cover the pistol as completely as electroless nickel does. The part being plated with hardchrome must be fixtured with rods going into the cavities (the mag well, interior of the slide, et cetera). The chrome deposits thus get "thrown" into the nooks and crannies. Careful fixturing can result in very good coverage, bit it still won't be as complete as electroless nickel.

The surface build-up (accretion) is less with hard chrome than with nickel, so the fit of closely fitted parts is less likely to be an issue.

While hard chrome doesn't protect the underlying substrate from corrosion as well as electroless nickel, it does do a very good job. You have to really neglect a hard chromed pistol for the difference to be seen. Besides which, the nickel can tarnish (especially on matte surfaces). It still protects the substrate and can be restored with a little silver polish, but it can be unsightly. Hard chrome also seems to have a more tenacious bond to the substrate. Nickel has more of tendency to peel or flake off.

I like hard chrome. I have always liked "white" pistols, so the color doesn't bother me. The texture of the hard chrome is determined by the preparation of the underlying metal. If polished mirror bright, the chrome will be mirror bright as well. If brushed or bead-blasted matte, the chrome will take on those relative appearances. It will always be silver/grey, but it can be applied to heavily bead-blasted steel for a very non-reflective pistol.

Rosco
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Rosco, I appreciate the information. I'm awaiting delivery of a Hard Chrome pistol I intend to use as my carry gun. This will be my first experience with Hard Chrome, so I was looking to those with a greater depth of knowledge to enlighten me about this finish. But what about care and maintenance, any special instructions?
 

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Treat it like you would a stainless pistol. Wipe it off after you've sweated on it. Unlike a blued pistol, there's no reason to have a slight oil film on the exterior, you can leave it dry (with the inner workings of the pistol lubed as normal, natch).

Rosco
 

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Purely for "use" I think hard chrome is one of the best finishes out there....

I have talked to more than one smith over the years, and a few people that do finish work for a living, and hard chrome was their pick for the best overall finish. It does not chip or peel like nickel can tend to do and even if it gets scratched under normal use it will only be on the surface and the integrity of the hard chrome won't be comprised.

Personally if I didn't need a dark finish I'd pick hard chrome every time.

Enjoy your pistol!... :smile:
 
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