Weapons Painting Guide For Soldiers

On 1 April, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued the Maintenance Information Message MI 10-040 “Camouflaging Specific Small Arms” stating that, given command approval, Soldiers are permitted to camouflage the M4/M16 weapon systems with paint.

See the guide in PDF format – HERE

As the guide says at the end, weapons painting has been elevated to a fine art. I don’t know where the awesome examples I saved on my harddrive went, but some of the paint jobs I have seen are breathtaking.  The example the have in the PDF is pretty weak looking as far as artistry goes, although it still would likely look better than black in the right environment.

I’d like to see the military started paying soldiers that are also artists extra money to paint rifles. The talented guys shouldn’t have to work for free just because their whole unit would rather not walk around with the plain old black color scheme.



Halo_Storm May 17, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Whenever I connect to army.mil my firefox gives me a This Connection is Untrusted page, lol. Firefox hates the army.


Admin (Mike) May 18, 2010 at 02:22 am

hehe yea my browsers do that too. At first I thought their security certificate was maybe invalid, but I checked and its good until sept 2011. Now I think it might have something to do with the security certificate being of a higher encryption than my default security level, so it can’t establish a secure encrypted connection.


Ian Argent May 20, 2010 at 07:12 pm

I got a couple of errors too – the Root CA they used is untrusted (did they self-certify?).

Also, my wife (who is doing tech writer work for the army as a subcontractor) claims the dry-cleaning solvent as specified is being phased out because it’s not “green”. (Also, the writing doesn’t meet the current standard. Tee hee)


Pete May 18, 2010 at 07:15 am

I think its great the Army finally woke up to reality about what REAL soldiers were doing in REAL environments, but they saying that the rifles must be stripped before being turned back in? Just wondering if a better plan would not of been to have special environment specific stocks, hand guards and pistol grips colored for the AO purchased as well as correspondingly colored optic units and just swapped out in theater by the soldiers or unit armorers It would provide probably 70% of the coverage of the paint job and could be switched out in a matter of minutes..


Admin (Mike) May 19, 2010 at 04:34 am

I agree, but that would make far too much sense Pete. hehe


Ted May 19, 2010 at 01:19 pm

It’s kind of a pain in the dick to transfer weapons from unit to unit, add on the range time they’d have to spend re-zeroing the weapons, plus keeping up the maintenance and records. Far easier to bring our small arms with us. Also, if we know we’re giving away equipment, and not taking it home with us, sometimes it isn’t taken care of as well as if we’re keeping it. This is just wonderful for the new guys taking over equipment. This enviroment really does tear up our gear, it need the time back in the States to get checked out and repaired before another tour.

I’m pretty sure when they say turned in, they mean transfered to another unit, or if the CO is a dick, then for inspections and such, which in a line unit would be pretty rare.

We already spend an ass-load of money on weapons and equipment, getting a full set in different colors would be crazy exspensive, plus a pain in the ass to keep track of. I was the armorer for my old company, just keeping track of one set of stuff is a pain, add in another two or three sets in different colors, no thank you.

This guidance looks very well thought out, and I hope it helps the guys outside the wire. Painting is definetly the way to go with this, glad to finally have DA backing us up.


Pete May 18, 2010 at 07:17 am

oh yeah, and also AO specific colored mags as well….


Chirol May 18, 2010 at 01:18 pm

An M4 is not a weapons system, it’s a rifle. A patriot missile battery is a system. These trendy buzzwords are ridiculous. I’ve even heard a pistol referred to as a weapons sytem. It’s not a system, and it’s not a weapon. It’s a firearm or a pistol!


Admin (Mike) May 19, 2010 at 04:36 am

I think they refer to it as a “system” because it is so modular and can accept lots of different add ons.


John March 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Actually its not a rifle its a carbine… theres a difference…


David April 2, 2012 at 05:14 am

Actually. An M4 is not a rifle it is a carbine. Now with that established why are you whining?


Zack April 14, 2012 at 01:31 am

I don’t know what it’s called… I just know the sound it makes when it takes a man’s life…


Matt July 29, 2013 at 11:44 am

Except the M4 is a weapons system, with multiple attachments (of which all are standard loadout for units in certain situations) to include:

Red dot (EOTech, Aimpoint)
RCO (Trijicon ACOG in multiple configurations, and ELCAN Spectre 1-4x)
Different SOPMOD buttstocks
Grenade Launcher (M203 or M320)
Keymaster (Underbarrel Shotgun for breaching)

Some units get an M4 accessory kit which includes all, or some of the above depending on mission profile.

SO in short, shut up. You do not know what you speak of.


Dude May 18, 2010 at 03:36 pm

Things have certainly changed. When I was in the USMC over 10 years ago, modifying ANY weapon was a strict no-no. I even caught flak overseas, carrying live ammo, when I put a longer sling on my M16A2 to turn the useless parade sling into a nice 2-point. This was also when I made a 40oz Camelbak carrier cover out of a old camo pantleg — now the production version is issue.

Now, it looks like you can modify anything ‘cept for the bolt carrier group and the barrel. New stock, pistol grip, foregrip, etc. I like it, but not out of pocket.

This would be great for a company like Duracoat, ‘cept for the requirement they be stripped back down. Acetone / solvent doesn’t take off Duracoat if I recall.


Admin (Mike) May 19, 2010 at 04:37 am

Yea its good to hear they finally saw the light. Hopefully the relaxation of those rules will save some lives.


SPC Fish May 19, 2010 at 01:10 pm

duracoat makes a temporary paint that comes with a stripper for mission specific camo. so you can change it when you need to go to a dif environment. i plan on taking a kit with me to afghanistan if my commander allows


Admin (Mike) May 21, 2010 at 03:10 am

Does the anodizing stay on the lower when you strip the duracoat?


Mike May 18, 2010 at 05:20 pm

The paintjobs in that picture are awesome.


David April 2, 2012 at 05:16 am

Yeah. But guess what! You still have to remove all that shit at the end of a tour WITHOUT damaging the blueing on the weapon…it’s simply not worth the effort.


TOMMY May 16, 2012 at 07:53 pm

good thing there is NO bluing on an M4…


TOMMY May 16, 2012 at 07:56 pm

This whole topic kinda got blown way outta proportion… the whole weapon painting issue is at a commander’s discretion. I wan in country when this shit came out, next day got a email “tell your teams: painted weapons = artical 15”.



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