Good post over at the Every Day No Days Off Gun Blog on the new guidelines for painting of M4 rifles by soldiers in the field..
The Army has realized that soldiers are already painting their rifles themselves in theater and has done the common sense thing and allowed it with conditions (no painting of barrels, guidelines for what to tape up when painting, ect). I think its great the Army finally woke up to reality about what REAL soldiers were doing in REAL environments, but they say that the rifles must be stripped before being turned back in. That is a headache in the making as some poor soldier spends his last few days in theater trying to get all of the paint off his M4.
I wonder if a better plan could of been to have special environment specific stocks, hand guards, pistol grips, slings and magazines 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..
Here is an example I found online of what a standard AR platform could possibly look like in the field with simple replacement of the furniture and optics with environment specific colored pieces. Yes its not all military pattern and the (nice looking) .45 isn't military, but you get the general idea.