I have been looking to get one of my guns hydro-dipped for a while. I have a Berretta 3901 that is an all black 12 gauge that would be a killer duck gun. I always thought it would be cool to get hydro-dipped in a reed camo pattern. In doing research into hydro-dipping I had some concerns about the durability of aftermarket hydro-dipped guns and it seemed the easiest way to get a read on that was to get some hydro-dipped parts for one of my AR15 as the parts are so modular.
I originally thought about dipping the whole gun, but this somewhat limits the resale value of the rifle. If I just get the furniture dipped I could always swap out the furniture and overall I think it still does a good job of breaking up the silhouette of the rifle at distance. The most important function of camo is not to make you look like a tree or a bush but to break up the silhouette of whatever you are camouflaging.
Your eyes and brain do a lot of stereotyping to identify something; friend, foe, target, food, water and so on. The basic premise to camouflage is breaking up silhouette of what you are trying to hide to fool the brain into not being able to place the object by outline. If you were to look very hard you could figure it out but for this exercise we are just trying to blend in better. An all-black AR15 is an iconic image that the brain pickes up on fairly quickly so by dipping just the furniture we can help to break up the rifles silhouette.
If you look around for someone who hydro-dips AR15 furniture the first that usually comes up is SXW Inc or as they used to be known; Sexy Weapon Inc. SXW Inc has been doing dipping for a long time and have added quite a selection of pre-dipped furniture that you can pick up if you don’t need anything special as far as furniture goes. Most of it is Magpul but they do have some higher end furniture and accessories.
At the time of doing research about all this, I was interested in checking out the new AR grip from Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group. It had the grip angle of the BCM Gunfighter grip but a bit larger for larger hands. Its known as the Grip 23 and at the time was impossible to find. SXW Inc had them in-stock in multicam which was exactly what I was looking for. I ordered it, the grip came promptly and it sucked – the dip job not the grip. The dipping had chucks missing and the pattern was all stretched out. I called SXW Inc and they asked for me to send it back. I totally slacked at sending it back and ended up giving it away on one of the rifle forums. I don’t mean this to be a knockdown of SXW Inc, just that the grip I got sucked. I have heard rave reviews about them and will probably buy from them again if I just need to pick up odds and ends.
That whole experience turned me off of the dipping process for a while. While perusing another forum I saw some work done by Jerry at Shark Bite Customs in Florida. His work looked awesome and he got rave reviews. I reached out to Jerry to get some more info and they have a AR furniture package which include stock, hand guard, pistol grip and one magazine for $150 and $15 for each additional magazine. If you price out all that from other hydro-dippers it’s kind of a smoking deal.
After chatting with Jerry I was all in. I promptly packaged all my furniture up along with 3 mags and sent it off to be dipped. Shark Bite will dip whatever you send along. I ended up loving that Grip 23 from Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group. One of the great things about the grip is Umbrella sees it as a blank canvas to promote your own stippling. I wanted to make the stippling deep enough that when Jerry dipped it would still have texture. Jerry didn’t even question stuff like this, he just primed the stuff up and did a stellar multicam dip. Communication with Shark Bite was excellent. Any question I had, Jerry promptly answered.
The end result is excellent. The dipping is very durable, far more durable than I expected. This particular AR has been through a weekend rifle class and a whole lot of shooting in the woods with no issues such as chipping or the dip rubbing off. I am blown away by how well it turned out. If you are looking to get any of your rifle furniture or your whole gun hydro-dipped I can’t recommend Shark Bite Customs enough. With all the attention to detail and the overall durability, I would have no issue getting the whole gun dipped. I think the Beretta 3901 is next on the list.
Shark Bite Customs
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