So you’ve made the decision to invest in a Glock lower parts kit and a jig so you can make your own custom Glock-style pistol at home. That’s great news - you can hand-select all of the parts of your build so it delivers exactly the performance you need from a handgun - tailoring it to the unique needs of competition or home defense.
But the downside of home builds is in the diverse selection of parts at your disposal. If you get a factory Glock, everything’s already picked out for you. If you build it yourself, you have the option of changing the barrel, trigger, sights, and everything else. It’s a blank slate.
So in this article, we’ll cover the basics of one of these customizations you can make, regarding your choice of a barrel.
Should you pair a nitride barrel with your Glock lower parts kit? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Nitride?
There are many different types of nitride coatings, but in this, we will talk about black nitride. The process of adding a nitrogen-based coating to a barrel or other gun parts. Nitride coatings are often applied to steel but they can also be applied to aluminum, titanium, or other metallic surfaces.
There are three main ways in which nitride finishes are applied, being gas, plasma, and salt bath nitriding. One of the most common of these is salt-bath nitriding.
In salt bath nitriding, the steel part to be nitride coating is submerged in a solution containing a nitrogenous and carbon-bearing salt, such as a cyanide. Then the solution is heated to several hundred degrees; oftentimes an electrical current is run through the solution as well.
As a result, the high heat conditions cause a thin layer of nitrogen (nitride) to be deposited on and under a small subsurface layer of the steel. This form of nitriding is simple and cost-effective and leaves a high-quality finished nitrided product.
Advantages of Nitride Barrels
Enough of the technical talk - you’re probably here because you’re looking for information on whether or not it’s worth your time to get a nitrided barrel for your Glock build.
Well, let’s start with the easy. Many Glock-style pistols are all black, so a black nitrided barrel just looks cooler with them. It keeps the all-black aesthetic going.
That said, the primary benefits of nitride coatings are anything but aesthetic.
Nitride coatings, including black nitride coatings, are extremely hard, though they are very thin. Because of these, alloys that are finished with nitride coatings are extremely resistant to wear and tear. They are very resistant to scratches, scuffs, and defacement.
So nitride coatings are physically very tough, but they are chemically very resilient as well. The nitride deposition process actually causes a reaction at the surface of the steel, leaving behind the nitride coating. Since nitride is very stable, it helps make the steel underneath very resistant to corrosion. Even with minimal care and maintenance, nitrided barrels resist rust very well. It’s also easy to clean fouling off of them. To put it in perspective, nitrided barrels are several times more corrosion-resistant than chrome and chrome-bearing stainless steel alloys.
Another really beneficial attribute of nitrided surfaces is that nitride has a lower coefficient of friction than any steel alloy. In some circles, we call this “permanent dry lubricity.” This is one of the reasons that nitrided BCGs are so popular - it takes less liquid lubricant to keep them cycling smoothly, which amounts to less eventual wear and tear on the group.
For a nitrided barrel, this effectively means that any moving parts that come in contact with it, like the slide and extractors, can move across it or over it with less resistance. Again, you can use less liquid lubricant, which ultimately leads to less fouling getting trapped and extending the longevity of the barrel. For what it’s worth, it also makes it much, much easier to clean nitrided surfaces. You can easily wipe down a nitrided barrel and restore it to pristine condition, often without the need for solvent or oil.
So basically, to summarize, if you’re thinking about pairing your Glock power parts kit with a nitrided barrel, the key benefits are in physical durability, remarkably improved corrosion resistance, and enhanced permanent dry lubricity.
Pick Up the Glock Lower Parts Kit and the Nitride Barrel Here
Need a Glock lower parts kit to start off your home build project or a compatible nitrided barrel to complete it? We carry both - check out our collection via the links above and make sure you also take a look through our other frame parts, kits, pistol parts, and accessories. It’s your project - the end result should satisfy you the way you like.
If you have any questions about completing a build from a kit or what parts you’ll need to do so, get in touch with us at 239-848-6757.