Tactical Tailor

Painting Your Weapons – The Ugly Truth

At the beginning of April SSD published an article about US Army TACOM releasing Maintenance Information Message 10-040 authorizing Soldiers to paint their individual weapons. Now that everyone else is catching up with us on this one, we will let you in on an ugly secret about TACOM’s guidance on how to paint and strip your weapon. While the instructions on actually painting the weapon are quite comprehensive, the removal instructions don’t work. You simply cannot get the weapon completely free of paint based on the instructions in the message. First off, the specified paints probably aren’t the best choice. Then the guidance has you using Break Free CLP as a paint remover and it doesn’t work like that. Additionally, I can tell you something else after 25 years of working with the military. This is going to affect unit readiness. The TACOM Message states that paint will need to be removed from the weapon before it can be turned in. That caveat alone gives bureaucrats the right to refuse to accept a weapon that needs to be turned in for maintenance or disposal. That means a weapon that should be in the fight won’t be. It will happen, mark my words. Somewhere there is a GS-7 just waiting to turn away a weapon with paint on it. You don’t believe me? Think about the last time you tried to clear CIF.

We’ve already pointed out that the message only covers the M16 and M4. All of the rest of the weapons found in the Infantry Company cannot be painted. Not the M14, M9, M203, M320, M249, nor M240. And now, when a weapon that has been painted according to instructions set forth by Army TACOM needs to be turned in for maintenance, it could be turned away.

To their credit, PEO-Soldier published a great how-to guide with pictures based on guidance in MIM entitled, “Crib Notes for Soldiers – Weapon Painting 101“. Unfortunately, because it is based on the MIM it doesn’t work. The Army’s heart was in the right place, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. Maybe there is another way. Stay tuned for a few articles on alternatives such as McNett’s Camo Form Tape.

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