The plasma spraying of TiC-reinforced wear resistant coatings, and a study of their structure and tribological behaviour are the subject of this paper. HVOF WC-Co coatings, which are well established hard facing coatings, were investigated for comparison with the coatings tested in the present study. Based on scientific criteria, modifications of the carbide and the binder phase of the NiCr-TiC system were realised. Strengthening of the NiCr matrix, achieved by alloying the matrix with Fe, Al and Ti, proved to be beneficial for the coating tribological behaviour, as evaluated by pin-on-disk tests. The NiCr-based coatings reinforced with a solid solution (Ti,Ta)C showed better tribological behaviour than the coatings reinforced with just TiC particles. In unlubricated sliding under ambient conditions, the WC-Co coatings showed better tribological behaviour than the TiC-based coatings. The coating structure, wear track, counterbody and debris investigation contributes in better understanding the coating wear performance. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.