After almost nine years of constant combat in environments from the urban warrens of Baghdad to the lush river valleys of Afghanistan, the Army has issued official guidance on how Soldiers in regular line units can use paint to camouflage their weapons, joining special operations forces who have been camouflaging their weapons for years.

With all the back and forth over whether the universal camouflage pattern, MultiCam or UCP-Delta uniforms and gear were best for the varied terrain of Afghanistan, many experts cited the solid black battle rifle as one of the deadest giveaways when trying to remain hidden from enemy eyes.

Kit Up! obtained an primer in how to camo your weapon, but the Army has one big caveat:

“Before painting your weapon it is important to keep several things in mind. First and foremost is to ensure that you have proper authorization from your superior to paint your weapon…[and] have a plan for how you want your camouflage to look. Painting a weapon is not about personalization but increasing its tactical capabilities without impairing its ability to function.”

The Army also says you’re going to have to strip that paint – they give official GSA stock numbers for the type of spray paint to use – before you turn it back into the armory at the end of your deployment.

Here’s the official “Weapon Painting 101″ specification (PDF).

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