How Durable is Hydro Dipping on Gun?

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If you are wondering about the durability and the consistency of the finish after getting hydro dipped, you are the right place. This article will detail the hydro dipping method and evaluate its performance in protecting the cover.

Hydro dipping has many names: water transfer printing, fluid imaging, cubic printing, or camo dipping. It is a process that applies decorative and protective finish to an object. Literally, anything with a non-porous surface can be hydro dipped, for example, guns, watches, and locks. In this article, you will find out how the hydro dipping process is carried out and how durable it is to the finish.

How can hydro dipping protect the cover?

The process of hydro dipping is quite complicated yet understandable. It starts with the application of the polyvinyl alcoholic film. The film is water-soluble and non-toxic, which acts as a base for dipping. To print the patter, they use rolling drum on the PVA film. The film will then be immersed in the water with a chemical agent to activate the viscous agent and causes the base to dissolve.

The activated film also causes the ink to float on the water surface. After that, they will clean the product to ready it for printing. After cleaning, a viscous agent may be used to obtain a proper bond. Before getting the product printed, the film must achieve the acceptable level of elasticity with the chosen design.

Click on the images bellow to see more clips about hydro dipping gun:

When the film is ready, the product will be sunk into the water. The pressure of the water will make the ink wrap around and adhere the product. This upward pressure plays a crucial role in making the finish durable and consistent. When the desired adhesion is achieved, they take the product out and clean it and coat it with powder coat or automotive wet spray clear coat.

This finishing touch will show the magic of hydro dipping. It does give not only a cutting-edge appearance for your item but also ensures its durability and high standard of design’s quality. As you want to decorate your gun in a better way, an awesome police flashlight for your hunting trip could be a good idea, now we have some to give away for lucky people every month, this is sponsored by Cabelas.

How durable is hydro dipping?

As you all may know, hydro dipping has gone far beyond its primary duty of sharpening your item’s appearance. In fact, it has been widely utilized as a cover protection for those who have a high standard of durability and quality. It gives the item a powerful coat that is scratch resistant and even provides the item with a superior UV shield.

However, the coat itself has different types; some major are high gloss, med gloss and flat. Depend on your requirement of durability; you can select a certain kind of coat.

There are numerous of durability tests for the hydro dipping objects that you can find easily on the Internet. For most cases of hydro dipping, the products seem to perform excellently in resisting the scratch. Rubbing a key, a metal brush or a ball-point pen simply cannot ruin the pattern of the product design, or cause just some inconsiderable signs of scratches.

This is to make sure that hydro dipping can easily pass the scratch test. Having your item covered with this kind of painting can ensure the fresh look of the item in the long run.

Some cases of the hydro dipped products can even pass the pressure test. However, the result is considerably influenced by the quality of the whole process, and the quality of the film, ink and coat being used for hydro dipping. There are many YouTube videos showing that even a screwdriver and a hammer cannot pose any sign of scratch or crack on the surface of the product.

And the testers were definitely not having any partiality on the tested item. They were all using as much force as they can but the results are quite the same. The hydro dipping can impressively pass the pressure test.

How consistent is hydro dripping?

The consistency is a whole different thing to the durability. The performance may be excellent on the first days, but the consistency of the durability may vary from item to item. And again, it depends on how you maintain the pattern and how much you invest on the ink, film, and coat. Some people even double dip the items, and its performance is of course exceptionally impressive.

However, we all know that Hydro dipping is not quite cheap at all, especially for those who want the double dipping. However, again, it is shown to be an economical decorative and protective solution for your items in the long run. Compared to wraps, decals and airbrushing, this method provides a much more considerable saving and superior value. Besides, you could purchase some otf knife and will receive gift as polyvinyl alcoholic film for free.

Tips for more durable and consistent hydro dipping


  • When priming, painting or clearing your part, it is always best to several light coats rather than one heavy coat to avoid runs
  • When preparing the film for each dip, make sure to have enough to cover the top and the sides of your part plus one or two extra inches on each side
  • If you forget which side of the film is supposed to go down into the water, you can wet your thumb and forefinger and touch the film. The sticky side is the side that goes down. However, do not do this test with the film that you will dip the item with.
  • Some item maybe awkward when dipping, if so, create a handle using masking tape
  • Lay your film in the water carefully in a sling holding opposite corners of the film
  • Spray an even cat of activator the dip your item slowly into the ink at 40-degree angle
  • Always rinse your item immediately after dipping until the slimy residue completely gone. Don’t touch your item until it is completely rinsed


For the long run, Hydro dipping is a money-saving and effective way to decorate and protect your items. Also, it can be done at home if you have enough supporting products. For guaranteed quality and durability of the pattern, it is always recommended to seek help from the experts. Thank you for reading my article, hope you find it helpful.

About the author

Christopher Wade

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.