Only one out of four Americans receive proper firearm training. As such, there has never been a more important time for gun molds, or dummy guns. Proper gun molds can provide a safe practice device for new shooters.
They’re already utilized by police, military, and training programs. They also help holster makers by providing a sample weapon to work around.
While you can buy popular pre-made models, some people and organizations prefer making their own. But what is the best type of material for a gun mold? In this article, we’ll go over the different types of molds and their different purposes.
Different Material You Can Use for Gun Molds
There are several popular types of materials that you can use for making a gun mold. In this section, we briefly go over some of the pros and cons of each material.
Simple modelers clay can make a great cast for gun molds. You will need two slabs on clay — one for the right side of the firearm and the other for the left side. Make sure that the clay you use is thicker than the half of the gun you’re trying to cover.
When you’re ready to make the mold, then take a long piece of saran wrap and place it over both halves. Press your forearm down into both sides. Then, use a removal agent to release the mold.
You should have a detailed mold now. The only problem is that the mold is temporary — you likely won’t be able to use it more than once. As such, this molding method isn’t ideal for mass production, but it may be a viable option for certain rare guns that don’t have a pre-made mold. It’s also nice because the saran wrap protects the gun from any potential damage.
If you don’t have experience with molding or product design, then you may be wondering what polyurethane is.
So what is the material?
Polyurethane is a plastic material that can exist in both rigid and flexible forms. As such, it’s used for hundreds of industrial purposes. There are several reasons you may want to use polyurethane.
For one reason, it’s the strongest type of plastic mold you can make. You can also choose between a wide variety of hardness levels. Polyurethane is also a bit more cost-effective than methods like clay and silicone mold.
As such, it suits business and individuals who want to make multiple castings out of their final product. You can use polyurethane either by pouring it, brushing it, or spraying it.
If you’re using the material for molding purposes, then you will probably want it in rubber form. Something like this pourable polyurethane mold by TrueCast makes can provide high strength molds that hold up under strain.
Tin-Cured Silicone Molds
The tin-cured silicone mold offers a few advantages over polyurethane rubber. For one thing, it resists certain types of chemicals that can react negatively to the mold.
So, if you want to make your casting out of polyester resin, epoxy resin, or polyurethane foam, then it’s a good option. You also don’t need to worry about the casting sticking to the mold since silicone doesn’t require a release agent.
However, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind before you commit to tin-cured silicone. One con is that the molding material shrinks by 1% during the process, so your replica will not be completely exact.
Tin-cured silicone doesn't come with a long shelf-life either, so you will need to use it quickly before it goes bad. Finally, this material is expensive to use. This high price makes it less viable for people who want to mold guns for holster making.
However, if you’re only making one or two gun molds, then it may remain a good option. You can use tin-cured silicone either by pouring it, brushing it, or spraying it.
Platinum-Cured Silicone Molds
Like the tin-cured silicone mold, the platinum-cured material doesn’t require a release agent when removing the casting from the mold. It’s also incredibly chemical resistant.
The platinum-cure also comes with some advantages over the tin-cured material. For one thing, there is less overall mold shrinking once it dries.
It also comes with a longer storage life. This fact means that the platinum-cured material you buy, and the molds you make with it will work for a longer amount of time.
Unfortunately, you can’t use this type of silicone on certain types of work surfaces. It’s also much more expensive than clay or polyurethane. You can use platinum-cured silicone either by pouring it, brushing it, or spraying it.
Different Types of Casting Materials
Once you finish your mold, then it’s time to cast the dummy gun. There are five popular materials that you can choose from — but be careful before you decide. Some casting material works better than others. They include:
- Plaster or wax — best used with polyurethane molds
- Concrete — best used with polyurethane molds
- Polyester or polyurethane resin — best used with clay or silicone molds
- Epoxy resins — best used with silicone or polyurethane molds
- Polyurethane foam — best used with silicone rubbers
Alternatives to Making A Mold Casting On Your Own
The process of casting your mold is an expensive process that requires a lot of equipment and knowledge. For some people, it’s simply not a viable way to get a mold recreation of a gun.
Luckily, some sites let you purchase pre-made mold guns for training or designing purposes. Blue Gun is one such company that offers pretty dependable replicas.
However, these orders can quickly get expensive if you need to purchase multiple guns. They also don’t offer rare guns that holster manufacturers may need to design a custom product.
Find a Firearm Training Program
If you made your gun molds for training purposes, then you’re probably eager to get enrolled in a class. You can find an official training course near your location by following this link here.