Slide Melting

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origonaly posted by Chan Bates on the KTOG message board.

Years ago I read about melting in a gun rag, then Mike Anderson posted his professionally done slide melt photos on the KTOG website. I decided to try it and was successful on the first attempt--but with quite a bit of extra effort.

After using files and a Dremel with a grinding stone (#932) to do a couple of P-11 slides, I found these methods left some fairly deep scratches that took a lot of effort to remove with further hand sanding with 400 then 600 grit paper. After the scratches were gone, I had the slides bead blasted at a local machine shop to get an even, matte finish. Bead blasting is like sand blasting but uses glass beads over and over instead of sand. Then the slides had to be refinished.

For my next guns I bought a small belt/disc sanding machine at Lowe's for about $75. Using the narrow 120 grit belt I sanded off the corners and ridges all over the slide in about 10 minutes. The previous method had taken me many hours by hand. The machine did not leave the deep scratches, but there were some areas it could not reach, and the slide needed some balancing adjustments done by hand with my Dremel and a cylindrical fine stone (#427 Polishing point on a #424 mandrel) to even everything out. Total time, including some final smoothing with 400 grit paper, was about an hour. Then bead blast and off to Jack Fuselier for refinishing.

In do-it-yourself mode you can do a light, medium or heavy melt. There is no effect on the functioning of the gun. Yes, you remove some metal from the outside of the slide, but hardly enough to affect functioning. Mistakes are fairly easy to correct, and the final beadblast that produces the non-reflective matte finish also can hide minor imperfections.

The test of done-ness is to run your fingers over the slide. It should feel like a used bar of soap--no sharp edges anywhere, including the gripping serrations. All corners are seriously rounded, and the ejection port gets a lot of attention. The rear of the slide is not just rounded but actually tapered more in a forward direction to reduce printing, since this is the part of the gun that shows the most, no matter what your method of carry.

This angle is one of the most attractive aspects of the KTs for concealed carry in my opinion. All square-backed guns, led by the Glocks, are vastly inferior for concealment because of their blocky shapes at the rear of the slides. Fine for duty holsters and visible carry, which is what they were designed for, but some manufacturers have still not gotten the message of what shapes work best for concealed carry.

As with the other mods on my KT's, everyone who has handled a melted slide says they prefer it over the stock slide, both for looks and user friendliness. I don't understand why more manufacturers, including KT, don't just set up their CNC machines to do this from the get-go, especially considering the rather narrowly defined purpose of the KT pistols. Many manufacturers, notably S&W and Kimber, will charge you extra to do beautiful slide melts, or they have special editions that are melted, but I believe most of that product is still a custom job after a normal production run. The vaporware Rohrbaugh is probably the most melted production gun (not yet) out there, and it looks like it could stand some more work. CB3

A few more slide melt pics here (I just used a 1" belt sander, then a wire wheel, then used cold blue to keep it from immediately rusting while I tested it, then sent it to Jack for plating):