You are likely shocked by the price difference between the two seemingly similar end results of etching and engraving. The good news is the drastic price difference also translates to your weapon’s value in the long run. If you are simply interested in having a nice looking design on your weapon and not concerned with quality, value, and worksmanship then etching may be the better option. However, if you are wanting this as an heirloom or looking to greatly increase the value I would recommend that you go with the choice of engraving.
Engraving is an extensive process in which the craftsman meticulously hand carves the image into the firearm leaving you a detailed and valuable piece of deadly artwork. Etching, on the other hand, is a more modern and expeditious process in which a controlled form of corrosion is induced by the use of specialized acid onto the firearm. In my opinion it is somewhat like comparing an original painting (engraving) to a print (etching) both can be beautiful and of value to the owner, however, the painting holds a unique and individual value.