Regardless of the industry or area of endeavor, a rivalry will always be encountered. Competition is the hallmark of free market capitalism. Honest competition is not only good for the consumer, it is ultimately good for the manufacturer. As it forces them to seek improvements and to innovate.

Nonetheless, the pursuit of success or market dominance can lead to bitter rivalries and industry feuds. Most Americans are aware of the bitter feud between Westinghouse and Edison. Then there was the Edison and Tesla feud. (I’m beginning to see a pattern.)

Currently, there is a public discussion going on about firearms coatings, of all things, and the gun culture is all set to feud among itself yet again. But, is this situation based upon the typical Coke vs. Pepsi, Ford vs. Chevy mentality, or does this situation have deeper roots?

Tokarev pistol refinished with DuraCoat Can-in-Can product.
Tokarev pistol refinished with DuraCoat Can-in-Can product.

*Author’s Note: Throughout the last ten years or so, I have had firearms refinished with both DuraCoat and Cerakote. As a point of clarity, DuraCoat is currently a supporter of Student of the Gun and has been for several years. 

Bait and Switch

The pot began to boil when it became public knowledge that Google ads were being placed that used the DuraCoat and Lauer names, such as “Buy DuraCoat Here”. The main problem was that the “Buy DuraCoat Google ad redirected to the Cerakote webstore. This deceptive practice led to further investigation regarding libelous claims.

In order to protect their intellectual property and their company’s reputation, Lauer Custom Weaponry (parent company of DuraCoat) instituted legal proceedings. The suit has since been resolved. Subsequently, what may appear on the surface to simply be an industry rivalry is a good deal more complicated than that.

During the months from the realization of the bait and switch to today, an independent third party laboratory was contracted to conduct two important tests #1 Salt Spray corrosion testing and #2 Chemical Analysis to determine whether or not Cerakote contains actual ceramic coating material as inferred in the name. You can refer to the reference links to read the detailed findings.

Gun Culture Zealots

Let’s be honest with ourselves, the gun culture is populated with zealots. Brand or caliber loyalty has been a pseudo-religion to many for longer than I have been alive. Men, in particular, will attach their ego to their gun gear.

When confronted by the information that their favorite gun finish company may have engaged in immoral and unethical behavior, rather than consider that implications, the zealot will rail against the accuser. They will run to the excuse cupboard and relate anecdotes about “a buddy” who used product “D” and it failed.

We witnessed a very similar situation recently. When, after being granted design patents for their holster, Crossbreed began to actively defend their patented products. Many gun culture ninnies cried foul. They threw out childish claims of jealousy. Again, the “I had a buddy who bought that and he hated it” accusation.

What the zealots fail to realize is that in order to maintain a trademark or patent, the holder must be seen as actively defending their intellectual and real property. Simply turning the other cheek or supposedly taking the “high road” as a competitor steals your design or slanders your product does real potential harm to the company in question. Simply put, a company has no real choice but to actively defend itself. Regardless of the opinions or feelings of the gun culture.

Bottom Line: Trust

The primary purpose of this piece was not to throw the subject in your face, but to address it. Far too often I have seen friends in the firearms industry defend their companies. They defend it against libel and slander only to be further slandered. The victim of the deceit or libel, when they take steps to defend their business are called “crybabies” or something I will not print here.

The entire situation is a bit schizophrenic. We have a gun culture, who constantly beats its collective chest about carrying firearms and other tools for defense, attacking a company that is engaged in defending itself. So, what some people seem to be saying by their words and actions is that, self-defense is a God-Given Right, unless you are defending your patents, trademarks, and reputation.

In the firearms industry there are innumerable companies making every kind of gun, holster, ammunition, and accessory. For every maker of a product there is someone else making a similar product. When given the choice, I will always defer to the company that is owned and staffed by people I like and I trust.

You could tell me that product “X” is the greatest widget in the world. I might agree with you, but if “X” is made and sold by assholes, all else being equal, I’ll defer to the next best product made by people in whom I have faith.

Trust Is All

Dealing specifically with the DuraCoat vs. Cerakote issue, I can tell you that I have never had a problem with either product. No, I have not subjected my guns to 400 hours of salt spray. I simply use them as I would any firearm.

I have known the Lauer family personally for many years now. These are people, not only that I like on a personal level but, in whom I have placed my trust. We discussed this at length on Student of the Gun Radio in the Color Wars episode.

Faith and trust in our modern world is worth far more to me than all the shiny new gear and gadgets. I fully understand that you cannot know every maker and manufacturer in the industry on a personal level. All I would ask is that you examine the facts of each case. Examine it with an honest and open mind, then decide whom it is that you will place your trust.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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