Here are a few questions that we commonly get regarding machining on pistol slides. This will be a growing list so shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions! Thanks!
Q: Will machining my slide effect how my pistol shoots?
A: The best answer is that it depends on the scope of work being done. The more weight you remove from a slide compared to it's stock counterpart the more you will effect how the pistol works. What we have found is that the more weight removed from a slide the snappier and faster the recoil impulse becomes. This can be balanced out in most cases with the use of other parts on the pistol such as recoil spring tuning, adding an optic, or even compensators. Of course how the shooter perceives felt recoil is largely subjective so ultimately here is our advise. If you like how your stock pistol shoots then try and keep the amount of weight removed during machining to a minimum. Serrations and pockets typically alter the weight of a slide minimally. Windows and ports on the other hand usually have a more drastic effect.
Q: Do I need to send my optic with my slide to have it mounted?
A: Yes. The reason that we have you send in your optic with your slide is to make sure the dimensions we cut on your slide match the optic you are going to use. There are two main issues behind why we do this. First, we have seen tolerance differences as much as .005" between two of the same model optics. When mounting an optic on your slide you want a tight fit to support the optic under recoil. This keeps fore and aft forces on the optic body and not the mounting screws. If we cut every optic pocket to the exact same dimensions, some optics would fit just fine, some would be too tight, and some would be too loose. The second reason is that we want to ensure that we are cutting for the correct optic. We have seen cases where a customer requested an RMR (he thought the term RMR just meant a generic red dot and not a specific model) cut on a slide but ended up actually having a Vortex Viper.
Q: Will machining my slide weaken it?
A: If done correctly, the slide strength will not be an issue. The fact is that anytime you remove material from something it most likely (in broad terms) will be "weaker". However if material is removed in the right places you will not compromise the slide's strength. We go through extensive design reviews on every slide to ensure we maintain the structural integrity of the material and its features. The slides we machine would most likely only fail under the same conditions that would cause a failure to an OEM stock slide of the same model.
Q: Do I need to get my slide coated afterwards?
A: It depends. Some slides are made of 416R or 17-4 Stainless and would hold up quite well left uncoated. Others on the other hand are commonly made of carbon steels like 4140 or 4150 Chromoly. These if left unprotected would most likely experience corrosion issues down the road and should be coated to ensure longevity. As far as the coating, there are many offerings out there from painted on coatings like Cerekote, KG, and Duracoat, to OEM like coatings such as Nitriding, TIN coating, and PVD. Our recommendation is that you find someone to finish your slide who knows what they are doing. Even the strongest of coatings if applied incorrectly or half assed, will not last. We use and recommend a fellow Veteran and Arizona local, AZ Liquid Images to handle our coatings as he always has put out top notch work.