Due to their excellent corrosion resistance, austenitic stainless steels are suitable for surface protection applications. However, the application potential is often limited by the low wear resistance. An interstitial hardening of the surface layer area can solve this problem for massive wrought alloys. Further potential for improvement lies in the transition to surface technology. For this purpose, powder feedstock of the stainless-steel grade AISI 316L was gas nitrocarburized at low temperatures. The formation of a metastable expanded austenitic phase was achieved. Subsequently, the processing was carried out by cold gas spraying. Due to the simultaneously high process kinetics and low thermal load, dense coatings were produced while maintaining the metastable state of the feedstock. When compared to solid reference systems, the scratch resistance saw a marked improvement.