Bang for Your Buck: Picking the Right Series of Cerakote

Most Cerakote jobs we do end up including discussion about the various types of Cerakote available. Its an important discussion to have, because its best to look at the purpose and environment of the coating to decide which one to go with to maximize getting what you paid for.

Instead of pointing you to Cerakote’s website and let you read up, we’ll cut through the marketing to give you our real-world experiences with the various types. The table below lays out pros and cons as we see them:

C-Many color options
-Pretty durability to range and hunting activities
-UV resistant (better for outdoor)
-Great for high-heat applications (suppressors or barrels subject to rapid firing)
-Takes 5 days to fully cure (at least 48 hours air cure before it can be shipped out)
-Tricker to do some patterns due to curing process
H-Most color options
-Good durability to range and hunting activities
-Quick oven curing (parts can ship an hour or two after coating)
-Best for multi-color pattern work
-Not UV resistant
-Not great for high-heat applications (suppressors or barrels subject to rapid firing)
HIR-Said to not reflect IR light
-Good durability to range and hunting activities
-Quick oven curing
-Very limited number of colors (military oriented)
-Jury is still out on effectiveness
E-More durable than C and H
-Quick oven curing
-Few color options than C and H series
-Not great for high-heat applications (suppressors or barrels subject to rapid firing)
V-Excels in high-heat applications (suppressors or barrels subject to rapid firing)
-Very durable
-Fewest color options
-Most odorous when applying (it really stinks)
Clears-Adds durability
-Allows the use of mica powders for prismatic coloring
-Adds an additional layer for tight-fitting parts
-Flat colors will be at least Matte in sheen
-Not heat resistant

Boiling it down,

  • If its going to be outside a lot, use C, and be ready for a longer turnaround time to account for curing time.
  • If you want it to be colorful, use H.
  • If you want it to be colorful and more durable, use E.
  • If you want it to not reflect IR light, use HIR.
  • If its going to get hot and you don’t want it to discolor, use C or V. We’ve yet to discolor a suppressor coated with V.
  • If you want to add durability, add a clear gloss or matte coating.

Once you pick the type, now you can look at the color options available. If you are unsure of colors, we can send you pictures of the swatches under pure-white light to help you judge. We can custom mix colors, but keep in mind this is a tedious process and will be near impossible to touch up in the future if the need arises.

Honoring the Fallen

Scattered Rock Armory cares deeply about our Military members and we never take for granted the ultimate sacrifice many in each branch have given to this country. They put their lives ahead of political rhetoric; this is something we all should aspire to do.

This Memorial Day, we do what we can not only for the fallen service members, but those First Responders as well. Their sacrifice is just as great.

Many businesses use the holiday to offer sales or discounts. Not here, and for two reasons:

1.) We don’t believe this is a holiday that should be cheapened by such heartstring-tugging gimmicks to make a (discounted) buck.

2.) Every day, all year long, Scattered Rock Armory offers Military and First Responders free firearm transfers and NFA engraving, and a discount on all other services.

That’s every day of the year. Because their sacrifice deserves to be honored every day of the year.

And we take our profits and give back to various charities that work with Military and First Responders. Every charity or association that has dialed our phone and asked for a monetary donation has immediately received one. We don’t do this and mention it to try earn your business; we do it and mention it to inspire others to do the same.

So this Memorial Day, we hope you pause for a long while and think about the sacrifices of our military, and as well as our first responders. We ask you to pray for all those that have served and are still serving. Whether its overseas (where our little brother is), or on the borders, coast, or the thin blue and red lines here at home.

In closing, on this Memorial Day, we ask you to find a way to honor those that have sacrifice either some or all for us. If you were thinking about using our services, use this day to donate that money to any of the reputable charities for these individuals. Honor their service and aspire to meet their measure. Every day.

May everyone, regardless of political views, have a blessed Memorial Day.

ATF eForms Are No Sweat

As a Class III shop (SOT shop), we are often asked what it takes to buy a suppressor/silencer/”can”. For the uninitiated/uneducated, it looks to be a daunting task.

Let’s start with the basics. Yes, in Texas, you can own suppressors/silencers. We own several for various purposes, and they are very useful from plinking to hunting hogs or other critters.

For the sake of this blog post, I will refer to them as suppressors, because there is a misconception they silence the shot. They do not. Even in the little .22LR using subsonic ammo, a good suppressor makes it sound like a nail gun. But I digress.

Buying a suppressor requires three steps: First, buying the model you want. Second file the proper ATF Form and submitting it to the ATF to obtain the $200 “tax stamp”. Third, forgetting about it because its going to take a really long time for the ATF to approve it and provide the tax stamp.

The form in question is known as the “Form 4”. Previously, this was submitted via paper in the mail, along with fingerprint cards. As of December 2021, the ATF has made an electronic version of the Form 4 available through their eForms website. This is a good thing.

We’ve gone through the eForm process, and while not perfect, is a vast improvement over the paper copy. And the ATF has promised faster approval times; 60 days instead of 360 days in the case of paper forms!

So what does it take? First we suggest you head over to or head into their physical shop, as they make it as painless and straightforward as possible. When you find what you like, select Scattered Rock Armory as your dealer, and finish the checkout process. Think of them as the suppressor and process broker, and not the selling dealer.

From there, Silencer Shop will send you some electronic documents to sign. You will need to find a Silencer Shop Kiosk to go through the fingerprinting process as well. Once that is done, they will send the suppressor(s) to us to hold until approval.

This is where it becomes interesting; we fill out the Form 4 together, either in person or remotely. I will do some magic on my side, and you will sign the Form 4 from your phone or PC in the same “session”. Then its submitted to the ATF and we wait together. Quick and painless!

As an alternative to Silencer Shop, we can order you a suppressor and file the Form 4 electronically together here at our shop. We can even help with the fingerprints and picture taking. We even supply the drinks while we go through it together. We lose the Silencer Shop automation, but you get a better price since they don’t take a cut. And you get drinks.

Now for the best part; if you are “local” to us, we offer to meet you at your range now and then to let you have what’s called the “conjugal visit” in the suppressor world; the ability to shoot it before approval. As long as we are present with it, this is fine and legal since its still in our possession at the range even though its on your gun. This allows you to dial it in, ask questions about it, and if you want, set up to have us engrave it with trust info and/or alignment mark while we wait for approval…all for free since you bought it from us.

Finally at some point the ATF will approve the form and a piece of paper called a tax stamp that proves you paid $200 to have it appears. When that glorious day arrives, you will come by the shop, fill out a 4473 as if you were buying a gun, and I hand you the suppressor(s) and the tax stamp(s) that proves you legally own what you bought?

Simple no? Once you have gone through the process once I guarantee two things: First, you will see its easier than it looks. Secondly, you will be quickly looking to do it again on another suppressor or two.

If you are ready to take the plunge, and have more questions, or not sure what suppressor to buy, feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to answer questions, even if you buy from someone else, because we are focused first on enabling people to enjoy the sport, and not to make a profit. How many other shops can say that?

(Usually) Golden Tickets

We’re thankful for every one of our customers and the unique asks they bring us. These asks allow us to expand and hone our skillset. And as part of this skill expansion, we’ve been able to do two things. First, we’re now able to offer coin/marker engraving service. And secondly, we use these to create our reusable discount coins:

These are coins are made of either brass, copper, stainless or titanium and each is a labor of love. Each will have a varying degree of discount on the back. While they help advertise some of our abilities, their real function is to thank customers for trusting us with their ask. So if you acquire one of these (usually) golden tickets, simply redeem the discount by including it with the parts on your next job. Or give it to a friend for them to use on their first job with us!

These types of coins also make excellent golf markers, so if you are an avoid player, allow us to create custom markers for you. Or if poker is more your thing, take your poker night to a whole new level with custom metal poker chips.

Colors Make the World Go Round

Here are SRA, we love colors. We have every color of Cerakote on hand. That’s over 170 colors. Yes, its true, feel free to ask for proof. But now we are taking colors to the next level via our laser equipment. After much fiddling, we’ve got lots of colors dialed in for stainless and titanium. This means your engraving can be more than just shiny etched metal or burned-until-black. Example on some Titanium coins:

Feel free to ask us for sample colors we can do. Meanwhile we’ll keep tweaking to add more, and see if we can have as many colors via laser as we do via Cerakote!

Fire The Laser!

After a month of waiting for build and delivery, our laser engraving machine was finally delivered. And after a few weeks of test-driving, we’re comfortable with it. The unit is a 60 watt MOPA fiber laser. What does that mean to you? Several things actually. In the bigger picture, it means this isn’t your bottom-end laser machine. We went pretty big. First, 60 watts is at least twice the power that we’ve seen many other shops use. That means we can engrave more materials and do it faster. Secondly, a MOPA laser means we turn the laser pulse so that the engraving can be colored when the material is stainless steel or titanium. I know it sounds like a gimmick, but from a tech nerd’s perspective, its pretty cool. Take a look online for examples of what can be done. We’re still dialing some of the colors, but the primaries are locked in.

All that said, the most important point of this announcement is that we can do your NFA engraving quickly, and at a cost lower than any other shop we’ve seen offer it, because we enjoy doing it. And if you want to drop your items off in person, you are welcome to stay and watch for free. We’ll even provide the safety glasses. 🙂

What’s in a name?

One of the questions we’ve been asked in our short existence is the history behind naming the business “Scattered Rock”. The short answer is that is the name of our ranch as well. Why? Because in the Texas Hill Country, there are limestone rocks scattered everywhere. They just grow out of the ground. Yep, deep thoughts, we know, but it sounds catchy to us.

Our ranch has been our main love for years. We love the seclusion, the target shooting, the hunting, the animals, the stars. One of our favorite moments was when our city-raised son saw the milky way for the first time. We love the simple life that it provides, and with the constant growth of the cities, we hope everyone has a chance to take part in something similar in their lifetime before its all gobbled up by planned neighborhoods.

We raise exotic animals because its a joy to watch good genes grow up and be passed on. Take this Axis buck for example. After all the years and thousands of dollars in feed for them, this is as close as I have come to pulling the trigger on one. The return of our investment isn’t the meat; its the journey of witnessing that animal be what it is.

Hogs on the other hand, we happily cull every last one we see. There are few things more exciting than to hunt hogs at night with a thermal scope mounted a suppressed rifle. They think they are safe in the dark and/or in the fog, but thermal says otherwise. And that is part of why we started this business; we want others to be able to access a good rifle, a good suppressor, a good scope, at a good price, to have money for that ranch or that hog hunt. And if we can customize that rifle to make you proud to shoot it and show it off at the same time, well, that’s just a bonus for us.

Happy hunting in life!

And here we go…

After years of deciding if we should go through with it, we took the plunge. This blog post is the first of (hopefully) many, but also serves to let you know about us, and why we think we’re different.

Our company values are quality, transparency and fairness. Perfectionists by nature, we cannot put our name on something that we ourselves wouldn’t accept for our own items, no matter the effort needed to do it right. As an example, a spray gun shot a small blob of paint on a lower receiver, and instead of just the redoing the receiver, we redid the entire AR. Why? Because that’s the only way to make sure all the parts perfectly matched in color and sheen. Was it overboard? Maybe, but it came out right. A quality job in the end, and that’s what matters.

As to transparency, you can expect us to overcommunicate our process, our tools, and most importantly, our skills. There are many shops out there that turn out absolutely beautiful custom airbrushed jobs, full of shadows and depth. This isn’t one of those shops because we have not built up those skills yet. We’ll get there someday, but until there, if you contact us with a request we don’t think we can do to perfection, we’ll give you two options:

  • Send us the parts and let us try our hand at doing it, free of charge to you.
  • Recommend one of several shops (Roman Arms, Branson Cerakote) we think can do the job to the standards we’d expect from ourselves.

And finally fairness. When we’ve shared our pricing structure with people, we have received three types of responses:

  • Those prices are too good to be true, what’s the deal?
  • You are selling yourself/your skills short.
  • Shut up and take my money.

Leveraging our value of transparency, this is not our livelihood. This is hobby turned side-business, and as such, we don’t need to make as much money as possible to survive. As long as we cover our costs of materials, equipment, insurance, fees to the ATF and our hosting provider, etc., we’re happy. The material costs to spray a pistol are $10-20 depending on the ask. As such, the markup over job cost that some shops charge is staggering. If you are getting an airbrushed custom job, then you are paying for someone’s skill, and you have to decide if their skill is worth that cost. But if you are getting a single color sprayed on a slide or a receiver, what are you really paying for? There is little skill in such a job. Therefore, the cost is pure markup. We do not think that is fair to a customer, hence our lower pricing structure.

All that said, we hope to talk with you soon, for many years to come, and somewhere in there, do some quality work for you that makes you happy to show off to your friends and family.