Titanium FAQ

What is the weight difference between titanium, steel, and aluminum?

Titanium is about 45% lighter than steel and aluminium is about 67% lighter than steel.

If aluminum is lighter than titanium, why not use aluminum?

Titanium, like steel, is one of a very few metals that operates with a fatigue limit. This means that as long as the load on the titanium is under acceptable limits, it will never fail due solely to fatigue. Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit and will eventually fail, regardless of the applied load. This means that titanium is an superior solution for many applications as it will dramatically outperform aluminum, while still weighing significantly less than steel. The primary challenge with titanium is in regard to friction / galling, which ArmorTiTM completely solves.

Why don’t you just make slides out of raw or anodized titanium?

Slides cannot be made from raw titanium due to the extensive galling issues (a form of wear caused by friction welding between sliding surfaces) seen in friction related applications. Although anodizing can help to delay this process, anodizing does not provide sufficient wear resistance to provide a long term solution and will fail too soon to be effective in virtually all high-wear applications.

What is galling and why is it such a problem with titanium?

Galling is a form of wear caused by welding between two surfaces due to friction. When this welding occurs, but the two parts continue to slide against each other, a section breaks out causing galls. The end result is that the two materials will begin to “stick” to each other and have a dramatically negative effect on performance, up to and including the parts completely binding and no longer sliding.

What is thermal conductivity and how does titanium compare to ordnance grade steel in this regard?

Thermal conductivity is the ability for a material to absorb and transfer heat. Steel has a thermal conductivity that is about four times higher than that of many titanium alloys. The lower thermal conductivity of the titanium makes it more difficult for the heat to transfer into a titanium part, keeping it cooler, longer and ultimately cooling faster once it does become hot. Due to its thermal conductivity properties and light weight, it is common for titanium to be used in applications like firearm suppressors and muzzle devices.

I heard titanium is brittle compared to ordnance grade steel, is this true?

For some reason, this is a common misconception about titanium. Many titanium alloys can obtain the same amount of deformation (elongation and reduction of area) as comparable steels before breaking, meaning many types of titanium and ordnance grade steels are similar in this regard. Much like the various types of steel, titanium’s performance depends largely on what other elements it has been alloyed with, but properly alloyed, titanium will perform as well, or sometimes better, than steel in a given application.

I heard that titanium will deform under impact. Why does this happen and does ArmorTiTM fix this problem?

Any material will either deform or break under sufficient impact. Titanium has a lower stiffness than steel, allowing it to see lower impact stresses than steel under the same conditions. ArmorTi strengthens the titanium’s surface, making it stronger while maintaining the same superior properties at the titanium’s core.

Why hasn’t titanium been used more in firearms before now?

Titanium hasn’t been used in firearms before now because of the galling issue seen from sliding and wear related applications. This is why virtually all of the titanium products available in the firearms industry, to this point, have been peripheral, non-structural components (muzzle devices, small controls, pins, etc.). The exception to this has been the use of titanium in suppressors, which do not have to deal with friction. Typically, coatings are designed for use on steel and cannot accommodate titanium’s lower stiffness. The result is a failure of the coating (typically cracking or delamination of the coating) resulting in wear on the titanium, most often leading to galling. ArmorTiTM is specifically designed to work on titanium providing exceptional results not seen by any other coating or process currently available.