Perhaps the most iconic examples of gold-plated firearms in recent history came from Saddam Hussein’s treasures after the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. military found a trove of gold-plated AK-47s. The pictures of American service members brandishing the shiny guns were iconic.
(Pixabay / Norm_Bosworth)
Hussein wasn’t the only leader with a penchant for gold plating guns and weapons. Libyan rebels found a gold pistol and sniper rifle in the rubble of Muammar Gadaffi’s palaces several years ago. Mexican drug cartel leaders frequently show off gleaming, gold guns. Even Hitler had gold-plated firearms.
Gold-plated weapons aren’t just the domain of tyrants, of course. They are particularly trendy in America right now. People gold plate their guns for various reasons:
- Appearance. Guns are a way to assert your right to self-defense. As such, they are a great medium for expressing personal style as well. There is a growing interest in making your gun uniquely yours with jewels and metallic finishes. If you’re going to defend yourself, you might as well look good in the process.
- Corrosion resistance: Metals can tarnish and rust in humid conditions. Gold plating provides a protective finish to extend the life and luster of your firearm.
- Wear resistance: Rust isn’t the only threat to a gun’s finish. Guns can get dinged and scratched over time, but gold plating can provide a sturdy barrier on the exterior of your firearm. Gold plating can help keep your gun in mint condition for years to come.
Some people choose to gold plate their entire gun. Others plate specific components of their gun using a localized process known as “pen plating.”
Your plating method will depend on the material that your gun is made of. For example, a steel or zinc alloy gun will be plated very differently than a plastic one. The material of your gun will help determine the correct electroplating solution. In some cases, you will need to remove an existing finish from your gun before gold plating it. In other cases, you will need to plate your gun in a different metal (such as nickel) before applying a gold layer to create a “diffusion barrier.”
There are two main types of plating: bath plating and brush plating. Bath plating enables you to plate an entire item at once with a uniform layer. Brush plating is a better choice if you only want to plate specific parts of your gun. Brush plating has a lower start-up cost than bath plating.
To get started, order a plating kit. Gold plating is a great way to impart style and durability to your firearms.