PSA Barrel Selection:

  • AR-15 Barrels
  • AR-10 Barrels
  • 9mm Carbine Barrels
  • AK-47 Barrels

Hey guys, welcome back—Tye from PSA here with another quick tip video. Today we’re talking barrel finishes, so let’s jump right in.

Here at PSA, we primarily use four different types of barrels for our ARs:

  • Phosphate
  • Nitride
  • Cold Hammer Forged
  • Stainless Steel

All of these barrels are available in different:

  • Lengths
  • Profiles
  • Gas system lengths
  • Calibers

So to start things off, let’s take a closer look at Phosphate barrels.


Phosphate barrels are going to be your finish of choice if you are going for that mil-spec look. The treatment itself will leave more of a gray finish that has a rough-textured surface which allows for oil to better soak in to protect the barrel. Now only the exterior of the barrel will be treated with this process.

In all; phosphate barrels are tough, rugged barrels that can take a beating. Though you will need to keep a coat of oil on it to fend off any surface rust. Now let’s move on to Nitride barrels.


These barrels are coated using a slightly different process that actually forms a smooth, dark black hardening of the metal. This finish is applied to both the exterior and interior of the barrel providing rust protection and less maintenance than phosphate. Over the years, Nitride has quickly become the barrel of choice for the recreational shooter. It provides excellent accuracy and durability whether you are hunting, plinking, or slinging lead at that tactical carbine course. Next up is Cold Hammer Forged.


These are for the shooter wanting the most durable, longest-lasting barrel. They actually come standard on many US-issued machine guns because of their resilience. Cold hammer-forged barrels are literally hammered into their shape. This process entails taking a blank and repeatedly hammering it as a mandrel and reamer to create the chamber and the rifling. These barrels are also typically chrome-lined for added durability. In all, cold hammer-forged barrels will last a lifetime for the average shooter, though you will have to pay a bit more for it. Last but not least Stainless Steel.


Quite literally the standard in the precision shooting community, stainless barrels have long been the choice of those wanting to get the most accuracy out of their rifles. These barrels will consistently produce better shot groups than their average counterparts but at a cost. The softer metal does wear out faster and will not hold up as well to rapid-fire or corrosive ammo. So for those shooting for accuracy, these are an excellent choice.

Now there are other options out there, but from our experience, these are the four most popular barrels. So when it comes to starting your next build or choosing your next firearm, use this information to make the best decision for you.