PRO TIPS with USAMU - Mil-Spec Rifle Paint

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Pro Tip - USAMU Gun Smith, SGT Grant Kennedy

Mil-Spec Rifle Paint



A rifle doesn’t necessarily blend into its environment, it leaves a recognizable silhouette. The hunter and the war fighter alike can benefit from camouflaging your weapon to match the environment. In today’s pro tip I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

And the first step is proper cleaning. In order to properly clean your weapon, you’re going to need these items before you begin. Masking tape, foam ear plugs, eye protection, chemical gloves, gun scrubber, acetone, or brake cleaner, or some other degreasing solvent that doesn’t leave a residue, spray paint and used paper, or paper towels.



Begin by field stripping your weapon, ensuring the bolt carrier and charging handle is removed.



Next orient yourself over a bucket so you can catch solvent you’re about to spray. One thing to know about the solvent. It is highly toxic and flammable, so be sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area and not near an open flame.

Begin by spraying half the weapon from top to bottom ensuring all dirt and solvent run down the weapon and into the bucket. Once that is done, wipe it down with a clean rag and set it aside. Pick up the other half of the weapon and repeat these steps.

Once that step is complete. Do it again to ensure that all dirt and oil are removed from the weapon entirely.

Now it’s important to let this rifle dry off for at least an hour to ensure all the solvent has dried. If not, the tape won’t adhere properly.


In the meantime, I have a rifle I’ve already taped off and I’m going to illustrate for you where to tape, to Army specifications. Key features to tape are the barrel, inside the hand guard and out. The front sight post and the rear facing portion of the A frame of the gas block.




If you have a rail on your weapon you need to tape the slots that have rail number markings. And tape any moving parts on the weapon, and any markings, safety select, trigger, magazine catch, semi, safe, burst markings, and most importantly the rear sight.





Any paint inside this sight might render it inoperable. In order to ensure paint does not get into the barrel or the weapon you will want to insert a foam earplug inside the flash hider with firm pressure. Do not use a screwdriver or any other type of tool to do this. Firm manual pressure is enough. You can also wedge a piece of paper towel between the upper and lower, then close it and trim off any excess to ensure paint does not find its way into the weapon. Fill the entire upper receiver void with paper towels all the way up to the chamber but do not enter the chamber or the barrel. You may also insert a magazine into the lower receiver to ensure paint does not get into the magazine well.



A lot of traditional hunters use bolt guns and while the cleaning procedures remain the same, there are some minor differences in the areas you need to tape off before you begin painting. You’re going to want to make sure the muzzle is taped off. Also ensure the bolt is removed, and any portion of the ejection port needs to be tapped off as well. The trigger and any external parts also need to be taped off before you proceed to paint.




All right, this rifle is primed and ready for paint, all we have to do now is give it a couple of coats. When applying spray paint always remember to use thin, even coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying another coat.

When you’re choosing the colors for your spray paint, always take into consideration the environment you will be operating in. This will help you blend your weapon into the environment. If at all possible, try to make sure you’re outside when using spray paint.  If it is not possible, try to be in a well-ventilated area, because the fumes are toxic.

Because we’re at Ft. Benning, Georgia, I’m using this pine twig as a stencil for my weapon. You can do the same thing for whatever environment you’re in. Just remember to use local foliage and match the colors to blend your weapon in. Until next time, stay Army strong.,

Spray Paint Used by SGT Kennedy




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