The first step to a successful GunSkins installation is preparation. Firearms need to be free from any rounds, magazines ejected, safety on, and in some cases disassembled. However, this next step can have a huge impact on effective adhesion for your GunSkins vinyl wrap: cleaning the gun.
A clean gun makes for a clean install. We may sound like a broken record player, but this step should not be overlooked if you want to experience the best installation on your firearm. We're going to share with you some of the methods and products we use to clean our guns with and why it's so important.
Degrease the Gun Thoroughly
Any presence of gun oil or grease will cause adhesion issues with the GunSkins vinyl material. We have a saying here at the office: "nothing sticks to dirt". Although good gun maintenance requires applying lubrication and grease to the gun for preservation and mechanical safety, it has to come off if you want to install any camouflage wrap on the surface. Here's a list of several cleaning agents we recommend using to achieve this.
For most guns, we use an eco-friendly cleaning solvent called Froglube®. This spray is made from organic material and is not only safe to spray, but also very effective in breaking down petroleum and synthetic lubrication. This is our number one "go to" product when it comes to cleaning our guns with and that's why we offer it as part of our install bundle.
Another popular brand of degreaser we recommend using is called Gun Scrubber®. This is a very reliable spray cleaner that can be found in most department and hardware stores. With the nozzle attachment, you can spray into detail areas and it evaporates quickly.
When it really comes to thoroughly cleaning a very dirty gun (I'm look at you AK-47), we have found the most success using automotive brake cleaner. We hang the gun outside and soak it down with the spray, letting the oil and grease drip like you wouldn't believe. It's important to use the non-chlorinated version to avoid any discoloration on the surface of the gun.
AK-47s are notoriously dirty guns...
We also resort to using brake cleaner in cases where traditional degreasers just don't quite cut it. For example, we also recommend using the non-chlorinated brake cleaner if your weapon has a synthetic polymer stock. Synthetic polymer is derived from petroleum oil, which makes it naturally difficult for vinyl to adhere to and requires the extra effort in cleaning.
Scrub Well Into Recessed Areas
In additional to spraying the firearm with the cleaner of your choice, it may be required to use a small tool brush to scrub into the edges and recessed areas of the gun. Guns are porous and naturally gun oil is designed to settle into these areas. Scrubbing ensures that the surface is properly cleaned, especially when it's textured or rigid with the firearm's design, contours, or branding.
For some guns it may require more than one round of cleaning to get the job done. New(er) guns from the factory are good examples of needing that extra attention. Factories package and ship firearms heavily lubricated for preservation, which makes it more difficult to install a GunSkins camo wrap. Some newer weapons also use a gun grease application that can't be removed with traditional degreasers. In cases cases like these we recommend using the non-chlorinated brake cleaner.
There is one last step that can help ensure the firearm is ready to be wrapped. We recommend using Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol and a lint-free cloth to rub down the gun with. This helps to remove any remaining residue and also removes moisture. Let the surface air dry completely and the gun is ready!
Remember, rubbing alcohol alone isn't strong enough to cut through grease.
Although we recommend using the rubbing alcohol in the cleaning process, using it by itself will not prep the firearm adequately for a successful GunSkins installation. Please consider using any of the aforementioned degreasers or other gun-specific cleaner on your firearm if you intent to wrap it with a GunSkins camouflage wrap.
Ready for Camouflage
Now that the gun has been prepped, cleaned, and dried thoroughly, you can be rest assured that the GunSkins installation process will go much smoother. A successfully installed GunSkins wrap will give you and your gun many years of protection. Post installation, it is recommend that you continue to clean and lubricate your gun as you would as part of your routine gun maintenance. The GunSkins vinyl kit is completely sealed once installed and there is no risk of it peeling off while in use or during the cleaning your firearm. There's no special treatment necessary for your gun after the GunSkins camo wrap has been installed. You and your weapon are good to go!