I attended the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show for the one and only time in 2019. One thing that stood out to me was the number of customized (engraved and painted) guns on display. During and after the show, I spoke to a couple of reporters about how an attraction of AR style rifles, especially, is their customizability. Not a novel observation, but something I experienced fully for myself there.
I am not a big rifle guy, but I hatched the idea of building an AR pattern rifle for my wife and customizing the lower receiver for her. I bought four unfinished lowers (for $37.95 each in May 2019, now charging $129.95 given the Biden Administration) and had them shipped to a friend for bead blasting, engraving, and painting.
He wasn’t able to paint them as we had hoped, so he mailed them back to me and I set about finding a local company to finish the job.
Honestly, I was worried that gun businesses, tending toward political conservatism as they do, would not want to work on lowers reeking of liberalism. So I started with a Gun Culture 2.0 commemorative lower I had my friend engrave.
A number of companies in North Carolina do custom work, but I settled on a local custom coating business called Infectious Design.
I drove out into the country, past countless Trump and MAGA flags banners (and an occasional Jo Jorgensen law sign), to the large steel building next door to the owner’s home. I wore the Combat Shooting and Tactics hat Paul Howe gave me so they would know I was a friendly. Matt Lance didn’t seem to notice the hat as he greeted me and welcomed me inside his shop.
I talk about having my lower receiver “painted,” but Infectious Design specializes in Cerakote finishes. Although people use Cerakote as a verb like we used to use Xerox to refer to photocopying, Cerakote is actually a brand of ceramic based finishes that is able to adhere to metals and plastic.
Like going into a Sherwin-Williams store to look at paint chips, I was overwhelmed at the number of different colors available, including something called “prison pink.”
For my Gun Culture 2.0 lower receiver, I chose a metallic silver finish with red and blue fill on the engraving. I could not have been happier with how it turned out.
Of course, I began this post talking about an AR style rifle for my wife, so stay tuned for a following post on how that project turned out.