Deep Dive

DLC Coating Firearms

Why do top firearm manufacturers and the DoD rely on Diamond-like carbon coatings? Let's find out.
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Firearm & DLC Resources

P51+ DLC
Firearm Coatings

A Tale of Two DLC's

There are two types of Diamond-like carbon coatings that you may encounter; Hydrogenated DLC (a-C:H) and Tetrahedral Amorphous Carbon (ta-C). While either can be applied to firearm components, we recommend Hydrogenated DLC. Tetrahedral Amorphous Carbon is harder, but more brittle which can lead to coating failure. Not a good thing when it comes to firearms.

Hydrogenated DLC (a-C:H)

Hydrogenated Diamond-Like Carbon (a-C:H) is a type of DLC coating that incorporates hydrogen into its carbon-based structure. Let's delve into its chemical structure, characteristics, and why it might be a suitable choice for firearm components in this section and the next.
Carbon Network: The basic structure of a-C:H is composed of a disordered carbon network, resembling that of diamond. Carbon atoms are bonded in a sp3 hybridized arrangement, leading to tetrahedral coordination.
Hydrogen Inclusion: Hydrogen atoms are interspersed within the carbon matrix, typically in sp3 hybridized positions. The hydrogen content can vary, and it plays a crucial role in influencing the coating's properties.
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Polished pistol frame coated with P51+TM DLC (Diamond-like Carbon)
polished dlc coated pistol barrel
Polished barrel coated with P51+TM DLC (Diamond-like Carbon)

Benefits of DLC coating Firearm components.

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Increased Hardness

DLC coatings exhibit notable hardness, providing enhanced resistance to wear and abrasion. This is particularly advantageous for firearm components subjected to friction and repeated mechanical stress. Our industry-leading DLC coating has a hardness range of 1700 - 2300 HV.

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Greater Corrosion Resistance

DLC coatings also exhibit good resistance to corrosion, protecting firearm components from environmental factors such as moisture and oxidation. This results in a longer-lasting, lower-maintenance, better-performing firearm.

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Reduced Friction

The inclusion of hydrogen contributes to lower coefficients of friction, reducing wear on the coated components. Low friction is essential for firearm components that undergo sliding or reciprocating movements. DLC's low friction combined with increased hardness means less wear.

Additional Benefits

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Enhanced Aesthetics
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Increased Part Life
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Reduced Wear
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Maximized Reliability
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Minimized Operating Cost
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Increased Performance
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Ultra-thin (3 - 5 microns)

Chat with us about your FIREARM Components



An ideal DLC coating for firearms

UPT’s P51+™ is a next-generation diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating that optimizes firearm performance and reliability. P51+™'s performance has been proven by industry-leading firearm manufacturers who produce firearms for military, law enforcement, and consumer use.

Plus, P51+™ gives your firearms a premium look.
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Learn More about P51+

UPT Advantage

DLC: Hybrid Deposition

We employ a hybridized deposition process combining PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) and PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition). This advanced process allows our DLC to be applied at lower temperatures than many other coating providers in the market.

Because our coating is applied to the surface of your firearm component at lower temperatures the properties of the base material aren't affected.


We're a surface engineering company backed by over two decades of surface study and solution development. Our on-site tribology lab allows us to accurately characterize surface properties, ensuring you receive the ideal finish.

Frictionless Service

When you work with UPT you'll receive personal service designed to provide you with a frictionless experience. Our experts in surface finishing will guide your project from quote to delivery with personalized service the whole way.
black diamond-llke carbon coated bolt and handle for bolt action rifle
Bolt coated with P51+TM DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) - matte finish