To assess the adhesion of nitride coatings on metals, titanium 6% aluminum 4% vanadium substrates were coated with titanium nitride (TiN) using both cathodic arc and electron beam evaporation. Titanium aluminum nitride ((Ti, Al)N) was also deposited using cathodic arc evaporation. The interfaces of the coated samples were loaded in tension using a high speed shock wave which caused spallation either at the interface, in the coating or in the metal. Scanning acoustic microscopy analysis of the spalled samples detected delaminations at the interface in the samples deposited by cathodic arc evaporation. DYNA2D modeling of plate impact spallation experiments revealed the tensile adhesion strength for TiN deposited by both techniques was ≈ 2.0 GPa. The tensile adhesion strength for (Ti, Al)N was less than 1.5 GPa.