The author's camo-DuraCoated Springfield XD pistol.
The author's camo-DuraCoated Springfield XD pistol.

One of the most popular trends nowadays is in the application of custom colors and designs, and DuraCoat leads the way in this realm. Now you can certainly buy do-it-yourself kits to apply this spray-on coating yourself, but to get the job done right, I decided to turn to the experts at Custom Digital Designs (CDD), a veteran-owned company located in Georgia.

I had seen some of the company’s work in person and was duly impressed by the level of customization and attention to fine detail. The process is neither simple nor quick, but it is incredibly thorough. CDD starts with a complete firearms disassembly, down to the last pin and spring. Grease, gunk and oil are removed with a thorough cleaning and degreasing, and then all the parts are inspected for damage. To ensure a long-lasting result, all surfaces receive an abrasive blasting with 80-grit aluminum oxide, and steel parts are blasted to the white, which generally removes any rust or corrosion.

Steel parts are then Parkerized in a chemical bath to provide a good initial protective surface against corrosion. It is only then that the first base coat is applied with turbine-fed, extra-fine-tip spray guns to ensure an evenly applied dry coating with consistent pressure. This initial base coat layer is approximately 0.001 inches thick and will be applied in one or more colors based on the pattern design.

It is in the design stage where the real artistry happens. In my case, I asked for an urban digital camo pattern on my Springfield XD pistol. To get the patterns right, vinyl templates are carefully applied by hand to retain the underlying color. The finish may add some thickness to the exterior surfaces, but great care is taken to make sure the interior surfaces and tolerances stay to factory specs. I made sure to wait long enough for the finish to cure before taking my XD out to the range for testing. The pistol functioned flawlessly, and I did not experience any hiccups. Custom Digital Designs is capable of meeting oddball requests to get almost any effect the customer wants.

For more information, call 770-886-9900 or visit

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