Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How To Darken Stainless Steel: 3 Easy Methods

Shooting Mystery How To Darken Stainless Steel

The color black is associated with power, importance, and professionalism. We don’t blame you for wanting to find out how to darken stainless steel for your firearm.

Typically, the barrel of the gun is the primary part where you would want to darken the metal. Having a black steel barrel is also great if you’re planning on making an ambush on foot.

The black steel will make it easier for you to stay hidden compared to having a bright and shimmering metal of a regular stainless steel gun.

Most people like to blue their stainless steel guns. But if you’re looking for ways to make your gun look more professional or want to get rid of annoying shines and shimmers, then the three methods below are the solutions you’re looking for.

How To Darken Stainless Steel

Method 1: Using Paint to Darken the Metal

black watercolor brush strokes

If you want to go for the easiest method to deal with the metal piece you have, this is the easiest method we recommend. It won’t take up much effort, and it’s a cheap solution too.

Also, this method ensures that no sort of accident will come to you.

First, you will need to buy either black paint and a brush or a spray paint bottle. We prefer using spray paint because this is the easiest method.

For the paint, try to choose the best type you easily buy. Make sure that the coating will work for metal, will last for a long time, and will not fade too quickly.

It would be best to look for paint that has the color black, gunmetal grey, or any other hue that is similar to black stainless steel.

If you’re going to use a brush and paint, then don’t forget to prepare water to rinse the brush. You should also cover the surface you’ll work on with a plastic sheet or newspaper.

Brush all sides completely with the black paint. Don’t forget to deal with seams and hard-to-reach parts of your gun too. Make sure that you cover the entire gun with the paint entirely.

For spray paint, just spray your gun from end to end until you cover all parts completely.

Inspect your firearm and see if you missed any spots. Once all areas are painted black, leave it to completely dry. This can take hours, but it can also depend on what paint you use and how great its quality is.

Aside from using a brush, it would also be a good idea to use a wet sponge. The texture of a wet sponge will help smoothen out the surface of your gun that a brush might not be able to do.

Just remember to make sure your sponge will be wet. Using a dry sponge could damage the finish of your gun and leave imprints on its surface.

After that, you just need to repeat the process until you reach your desired results. The more you repaint, the thicker the paint layer will be.

When you dry it out, make sure to dry it in a clean area with no dust, dirt, or other particles that could stick to the painted surface of your gun.

This method is the easiest way to darken the stainless steel of your gun, but it’s not the most aesthetic method.

It’s possible that the paint can peel off, and it’s also possible that it won’t leave a smooth finish on your gun.

This might interfere with how you handle your firearm, which is a situation you probably don’t want to end up in.

Method 2: Darken With the Heat Using Fire

black handgun firing

For this method, you’ll have to use fire to make your shiny, flashy metal gun to turn luxuriously black. Therefore, you should tread carefully and make sure to follow safety precautions to prevent fire accidents from happening.

Despite its risk for potential harm, this method will not disappoint.

To ensure the best safety, you should do this method in a place where there aren’t any flammable objects. At the same time, prepare thick, fire-resistant gloves that you can wear throughout the entire process.

You will also need a bag of coffee grounds to cool off your metal piece quickly. If you don’t have any coffee grounds, the next best thing you can do is to just leave your gun to cool down to normal temperatures.

As much as possible, you should avoid cooling your gun by using water. This will add an undesirable chemical reaction that can affect the finish and appearance of your gun.

First things first, you’ll need to prepare the fire. This can be from any source, so if you have logs of wood, coal/charcoal, or a fireplace, then those should be sufficient.

You just have to continually pass your gun through the fire until it turns to the desirable black finish you’re looking for. Find a way to handle your gun from a distance or hang it over the fire.

To reach all parts and sides of your gun, make sure to spin it around slowly and constantly.

Once you reach the black finish you desire, you can now place your gun inside a pile of ground coffee and leave it to cool down for a couple of minutes.

The coffee ground also helps with dyeing your gun to a darker shade, so that’s a plus.

This method won’t leave your gun as black as it would be if you use paint, so you might have to repeat the process several more times until it becomes black.

Method 3: Using Vinegar

vinegar in a bottle

The last method on how you can darken steel is by using vinegar. The acid in vinegar reacts a certain way to the metal which leads to the darkening effect.

On the downside, this isn’t a reliable method because the results can vary depending on the specific material of your gun.

Depending on the material ratio of steel, this method can work, and it might not work at all.

Nevertheless, this is a very easy method to do, so you can still give it a shot.

All you need to prepare is a container big enough to fit your firearm, fill it up with vinegar, and leave it there overnight.

To make things clear, vinegar is a highly acidic substance, so don’t just dump your entire hand inside when handling your gun. Make sure to wear gloves to protect your skin.

Your gun might also end up floating, so one way to deal with this problem is to place a heavy object like a rock to keep it submerged inside the container filled with vinegar

After one night, if you see the metal darkened, then that means your gun’s composition works well with vinegar darkening.

Just like the fire method, you’ll need to repeat these steps if you want to achieve a darker and black stainless steel finish.

You might also be interested in: Hydro Dipping Guns

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.