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GunSkins Vinyl Wraps or Cerakote Gun Finish (Which One Should I Use?)

GunSkins Vinyl Wraps or Cerakote Gun Finish (Which One Should I Use?)

When it comes to adding after-market camouflage to your gun, there are several options available to choose from. Among these include vinyl wrapping, hydro-dipping, spray-painting, and cerakote. It's hard to say if one option is better than the other because they are quite different in application. It may not be apples to apples, but today we're going to be looking at whether or not a GunSkins vinyl wrap or Cerakote finish is the best option for you.

Cerakote Firearm Coatings

Cerakote finish is often mistaken for paint, but it's not the same at all. Cerakote is a Polymer-Ceramic Composite Coating (mistakenly referred to as Cera-Coating). While paint is primarily superficial, cerakote adds a permanent layer of ceramic composite to the surface of the gun, providing increased durability and protection.

One of the advantages of using cerakote is that it can be applied to any gun surface, including wood, steel, polymer, composite, plastic, and more. Although there are multiple variations of cerakote available to choose from, the H-Series is recommended for firearms, knives, and other weapons. This variant requires heat to cure the finish but offers the highest level of abrasion, corrosion, and chemical resistance.

Cerakote applications should be done by certified professionals who have the proper training and equipment. Customers can have their guns shipped to one of Cerakote's many licensed dealers to have the work done. Cerakote requires many hours of prep, spray, and cure time before the firearm can be used. It is a permanent application that cannot be reversed so easily but will endure a long time.

Cerakote Installation from a Certified Applicator

Cerakote doesn't recommend installing at home. Please allow a certified applicator to do the job.

GunSkins Vinyl Wraps

Camouflage wraps, by contrast, are not permanent and do not alter the resale value of the firearm in any way. Although they are removable, they can be left installed for years without issue. The length of time one could expect from a vinyl adhesive wrap depends on the preparation and degreasing of the gun beforehand and how well heat was used during the installation process. A successful install should last 5 years or more.

GunSkins can be installed at home with few tools and no harmful chemicals. Typical installations take just a few hours and be used right away! Install time can differ depending on the size of the firearm and the complexity of design. Unlike cerakote, GunSkins camo wraps do not inherently cover the entire surface of the firearm. Functional areas including levers, switches, buttons, slides, and other moving parts can be trimmed to avoid obstruction or left uncovered entirely.

Because GunSkins is a Do-It-Yourself application, there needs to be room for error and understand it's perfectly normal for slight imperfections to occur during installation. More often than not, the vinyl can be removed, adjusted, and reapplied to fix issues such as wrinkles, air bubbles, shortage, etc. The material is very forgiving and easy to work with. With the proper use of heat, the vinyl can conform to any shape and look as clean as any other finish.

GunSkins DIY at home Installation

GunSkins can be applied in the comfort of your home (or garage). A few basic tools is all you'll need for a successful installation.

Compare and Contrast



Cost: $100-400.

 Cost: $15-60.

Application Surfaces: Wood, steel, plastic, polymer, composite.

Application Surfaces: Wood, plastic, metal, glass, composite.

Installation: Certified applicator. Requires specific equipment, chemicals and days for shipping and labor.

Installation: At home DIY installation. Approximately 2 hours

Permanent: Can be removed using professional bead blasting.

Removable: Has no effect on the surface of the weapon.

Finish: Durable ceramic composite coat.

Finish: Durable matte laminate.

Longevity: 10+ Years.

Longevity: 5+ Years.

Sometimes when the two are visually compared side by side in the same camouflage pattern, there may be a difference in color saturation. With cerakote, color is applied directly to the surface of the gun, which may slightly alter the tone depending on the color of the surface prior to application. A gun with a black surface will appear different than one in FDE. However, vinyl wraps have the design printed on a solid white backdrop and will look the same every time, regardless of the color underneath.

For those who are looking for a 100% seamless, one-time camouflage finish, cerakote is a great option! Some gun owners take so much pride in their firearms that they don't mind the price tag for perfection. However, for those who use their firearms every day and are looking for something more economical, GunSkins is a great alternative and still gives your gun a great look! If installed properly, a GunSkins vinyl wrap can look just as good as any other professional gun finish.

GunSkins and Cerakote Finish Comparison

It's a Win-Win Either Way

Cerakote and GunSkins both achieve similar results. They add a new color scheme to the surface of your existing gun or accessory. This is great for hunters, gun exhibitors, and gun enthusiasts alike. It's your gun, you should camo it however you wish! Cerakote finishes are very impressive and will continue to look great for decades. GunSkins are another method of achieving similar visual results using a more user friendly application. Because they are non-permanent they can be swapped out often to accommodate a change in scenery or hunting season.

By the end of the day, one isn't better than the other since they cater to different tastes. For this reason, many gun dealerships who offer camouflage installations will give customers more than one option to get the job done, including hydro graphics, cerakote, and adhesive vinyl wraps. The choice is yours. Either way, your gun will come out looking like a winner!


  • GunSkins: November 04, 2020

    Yes Jeff, our vinyl is laminated with a matte finish. Solvents and oils will not affect the material and it is scratch resistant. When installed, the vinyl creates a water-tight, non-porous seal that will not peel up on you during use.

  • Jeff Perera: November 03, 2020

    Are these laminated or will they scratch or become damaged with solvents or oils?

  • Cole piland: March 12, 2019

    Can you use gun skins on nickel plated firearms without effecting the nickel after removing the skin?

  • GunSkins: March 11, 2019

    Robert, at this time we are not printing custom skins for single orders.

  • Robert Rodriguez: March 09, 2019

    can you make custome gun skins looking 4 somthing diffrent

  • GunSkins: August 12, 2016

    Thanks Wayman for sharing your experience!

  • wayman null: August 12, 2016

    I use gunskins on all my airsoft guns and will continue to do so.

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