Pimp my gun! – From old to new: Cerakoting a Walther Q5 SF, a practical report on the "Stormtrooper pistol”

Our editorial colleague with her Walther Q5 Match SF before the makeover.

Since July 2021, the author has been in possession of her gun – a Walther Q5 Match Steelframe also called "Black Ribbon". As the model name suggests, the gun is delivered from factory in black. Black is beautiful – but does that mean everything always has to be black? No matter what situation in life you look at: the desire for individualized products is becoming increasingly popular. From a can of Coke with the name of your choice to a jigsaw puzzle with your own photo. But things are also becoming increasingly individualized in the firearms sector: from Cordura optic wraps, such as from Reeses, slings with a pineapple pattern from GatMonkey to a holster with a donut pattern from Black Trident. Suddenly, the desire for a custom gun doesn't even seem that far-fetched... In the gun world, they like to say "shrink it and pink it" when it comes to products for ladies. But does a gun for women necessarily have to be pink? For the author, the answer was quite clear: NO. Of course, everyone can follow their preferences – and if your favorite color is pink and you like unicorns, so be it. But as a die-hard Star Wars fan, the desire to own a "Stormtrooper" gun existed for a long time – of course also to have an excuse in case of possible bad hits 😉. So there was only one logical consequence: the gun must be black and white.  

Reviewing the IPSC rulebook: Cerakote for sporting guns?

Relief – a color-modified gun may be used in IPSC sports. Shown here: the Walther Q5 SF with taped optics (so-called occluded sights) for training target focus. The eyes are focused on the target during the shot and not exclusively on the red dot. 

Before we got down to business, we first had to clarify whether a cosmetic modification would even conform to the IPSC rules. The author favors the Production Optics Division, where strict rules apply to any modifications to the sporting equipment. The basic rule is that the firearm should be left in the same condition as it was shipped from the factory. Of course, in the Production or Production Optics Division there is the possibility to tune the sports equipment in accordance with the rules by using permitted accessories such as grip plates. A first look at the German rules and regulations initially caused disappointment. There, under No. 16.1 of Appendix D4 and No. 17.1 of Appendix D6, changing the original color is mentioned as a prohibited modification. But did this mean that the dream was shattered? In the past, there have often been discrepancies between the German and international regulations, for example with regard to the permissible minimum trigger weight in the Production Division. The author did not let herself be put off and studied the authoritative international set of rules together with her husband, the long-time IPSC shooter Marijan Loch. Suddenly a different picture emerged: in Appendix D4, Section 17.1 it is noted that "Changing the original color and/or finish of a handgun, and/or adding stripes or other embellishments is permitted". This means that in the international IPSC rules, changing the color, finish or other embellishments is expressly permitted in the Production (Optics) Division. What now? Without further ado, the German IPSC regional director was consulted and it was confirmed that the international rules are ultimately binding. The international rules are in a newer version, which has not yet been translated into German – this is also the reason for the discrepancy between the respective rules.

Relief spread – a color change is therefore also in compliance with the rules in the IPSC world. So nothing stood in the way of a makeover. The choice quickly fell on a ceramic coating made of Cerakote. But why Cerakote? The two-component ceramic color coating ensures an even color result on any material – whether wood, polymer or steel.  In addition, the coating offers advantages such as high abrasion resistance and, for example, corrosion protection. Multi-colored patterns with sometimes complex shapes are possible, which go far beyond a camouflage pattern. But as already mentioned – the color choice had already been made. The gun was painted accordingly by a Cerakote-certified applicator. 

The procedure: coating the Walther Q5 Match SF

The disassembled Q5 Match SF from Walther before the cleaning and coating process with Cerakote.

After the choice of the Cerakote coater of confidence (In the case of the author: the gun dealer), the gun was disassembled into its individual parts, roughly cleaned with brake cleaner and neatly packed. After handover, the pistol was sandblasted, thoroughly cleaned once again and then degreased and outgassed to perfectly prepare all surfaces for painting. The coating was applied in several layers. During this process, it was ensured that the respective engravings, such as the gun serial number and e.g. the CIP marking, were still legible. By the way, the following colors were used for coating: STORMTROOPER WHITE H-297 and MIDNIGHT E-110.

After the paint had cured, the gun was returned to the author and could be expertly reassembled and greased by Marijan Loch. But not everyone has a knowledgeable expert and Walther factory shooter in the house. Those who can't do the pre- and post work themselves should consult in advance with a certified Cerakote coater of their choice. Incidentally, at Walther's “Meister Manufaktur”, Walther fans can access a selection of specific colors or even engravings directly when ordering their firearms. More information on the Walther Meister Manufaktur can be found on the website of the German manufacturer.

Cerakote coating the Walther Q5 SF: from practice, the conclusion 

All surfaces – both inside and outside – show a clean coating application. The Stormtrooper gun has now been through several IPSC Level III matches since the coating was applied, and the ceramic coating has so far remained intact: no paint has flaked off. Do you have to clean a white gun a lot? In the muzzle area, you can quickly see the adhering gunshot residue after a few shots. However, these can be easily removed with a little cleaning agent, such as SchleTek's Carbon Cleaner, or after a brief wipe with a microfiber cloth, and the surfaces shine again with the same splendor as after coating. Wet-cold spring weather with drizzle during any outdoor matches cannot harm the ceramic coating and the blaster. Accordingly, a surface treatment with Cerakote can be recommended without reservation. Be it to breathe new life into a used gun, to set individual accents or simply to get a durable surface. If you now have got a taste for Cerakote and want to give your gun a makeover, you can find prices and a Cerakote applicator near you on the  Cerakote website.

Background knowledge about Star Wars: who or what are Stromtroopers? The "Stormtroopers" are soldiers in the fictional Star Wars franchise by George Lucas. The Stormtroopers were the elite troops of the Galactic Empire. They were recruited in all parts of the galaxy. Equipped with various weapons, blaster rifles and pistols, they were efficient especially in large numbers. The most striking feature of the Stormtroopers was their snow-white full-body armor and protective helmets worn over a black suit.

Would you like to follow the Stormtrooper Blaster presented here in the long-term test? Then you can follow the author on instagram at @t.shooting.journey.

This article is also available in this language: