Filling in roll marks with fingernail polish on firearms can be a fun project to make your gun have a more custom look and make it stand out against factory stock. This can be done with paint pens, crayons, model paint, or fingernail polish. In this article, we’ll focus on fingernail polish, but the methods have similar steps. When it comes to the finished product, you can recalculate your weapon’s additional “stopping power” by multiplying your caliber by zero.
FINGERNAIL POLISH ON GUNS, MILDLY BENEFICIAL?
On a serious note, the only real benefit to using fingernail polish on firearms comes from adding a bright color to the numbers on a magazine’s witness holes and loaded chamber indicators. The primary benefit I’ve observed from doing this to my magazines has been while qualifying on my state’s prescribed law enforcement qualification course, in which we have to load a certain amount of rounds into each magazine. One could argue that it could help during a shootout, but statistically, self defense shootings happen so quickly, with relatively low round counts. I’ve also added some fingernail polish onto my duty weapon’s loaded chamber indicator, which I have used on numerous occasions.
HOW TO APPLY FINGERNAIL POLISH ON FIREARMS & MAGAZINES
What follows is the method I use for filling the roll marks with fingernail polish. If you opt to fill in roll marks with another material, just make sure you have the appropriate remover for that material. Crayon isn’t the best material, but the surface material can be scraped off using an old rewards card, or a hotel key card if you’re too lazy to return them. Make sure your firearm is unloaded before you start.
For the fingernail polish method, the picture below details items to have on hand, such as a paper towel, gun cleaning cloth, cotton ball, q-tips, fingernail polish remover (acetone AND non-acetone for tricky spots or shallow roll marks), and of course, your color of choice.
To begin, I use rubbing alcohol to wipe the target area to remove any oils or grease in the roll marks. Soaking a cotton ball works great for getting in the lettering. Once it’s wiped clean, I let the alcohol evaporate.
Next, I dabbed the fingernail polish onto the roll marks on the slide and magazine. I decided on plain white. The roll marks on the Phantom’s slide were deceiving. They looked deep, but they are actually just wide and shallow, so I only used one coat. I let it dry anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.
Once the fingernail polish was dry, I used a paper towel a wet a spot down with acetone and rubbed it on the surface of the Phantom’s magazine. The polish stayed in the numbers while it was removed from the surface.
Doing the slide was another story. Due to the shallow roll marks, the acetone proved too good. I switched to the non-acetone on a gun cleaning cloth. I also stretched the cloth to make sure it was flat and took my time removing the polish on the slide’s surface. I think the end result turned out well.
The color options are basically endless and can give a more personal touch. Just for the heck of it, I used glow-in-the-dark polish on my duty pistol. You can see the results below (you may have to tilt your screen to see it better).
What do you think? Have you filled the roll marks on your firearms or magazines? What method did you use? Do you want to give it a try if you haven’t already done it?