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View Poll Results: Should you use the color black in your camo paint job?
Yes you should use it 2 10.53%
You can use it if you want to 15 78.95%
You should not use it 2 10.53%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 16, 2023, 10:53 AM   #1
Shadow9mm
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Camo Painting firearms, should the color black be used?

So, I am no expert. I watch a LOT of Youtube videos and read a lot of articles to try and understand the principals of things before trying them myself. I have painted a few guns before, but was trying to learn how to do it well.

Lately I have been watching a LOT of vids related to painting my long guns, along with some stuff on ghillie suits, sniper veils, along with military and hunting camo patterns.

In general what I have found is an argument against using the color black, or that the color is excluded.

The argument seems to boil down to "the color black does not exist in nature, so it should not be used in your camo pattern"

I am unclear if animals are not a part of "nature" but last I checked birds, bears, dogs, and many large predators like the tiger, cheetah, and leopard are either entirely black, or use black in their natural camouflage pattern.

I always felt black added depth, or could help to visually break up areas or parts of things.

Should black be used when camo painting a firearm?


Also, here is the collections of videos I have located so far, on painting firearms, that I personally felt worth while.

Best AR15 camo paint job, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsOM...Ueph-y&index=1
How Lucas Botkin Paints His Rifles, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx3g...Ueph-y&index=2
How To Paint A Rifle Like A Navy SEAL - Coch's Way, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAeS...Ueph-y&index=3
How to rattle can your rifle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgFF...Ueph-y&index=4
How to Paint a Rifle (FOR DUMMIES), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRyU...Ueph-y&index=5
Long Range Shooting, How To Paint a Rifle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZNp...Ueph-y&index=6
HOW | WHY TO PAINT YOUR RIFLE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYwe...Ueph-y&index=7
How to Paint Your RECCE Rifle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVSC...Ueph-y&index=8
DIY Gun Paint Job Tutorial, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghF8...Ueph-y&index=9
Painting Your Rifle the OG Way!, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZG7...eph-y&index=10
The Joy Of Painting Your Rifle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YE-...eph-y&index=11
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Old January 16, 2023, 01:32 PM   #2
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Jon, I have not used black. I kind of went for a desert camo (live in NC, but too much time our west in the AF, haha). That being said, in hardwoods, you could use some black for shadows. I think dark green would serve the same purpose. If I did black, I would be subtle with it.

And black does exist. Holes in trees is one example. If on the ground, look around at how many areas are shaded to almost black with deadfalls and such.

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Old January 16, 2023, 05:04 PM   #3
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Personal choice but as camo, no problem !!!

Quote:
The argument seems to boil down to "the color black does not exist in nature, so it should not be used in your camo pattern"
Black certainly exists, in nature. Basically, it's the absents of light and I agree with your logic of;
Quote:
I always felt black added depth, or could help to visually break up areas or parts of things.
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Old January 16, 2023, 09:43 PM   #4
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Black exists in nature, and so does white.

The point of camouflage is not to make the item invisible its to break up a recognizable pattern. The eye still sees it, but the brain doesn't recognize it, as soon, (distance) or at all.

Look at nature, there are all kinds of patterns, some like the zebra actually make the individual animal stand out (black and white stripes), but in a herd of black and white stripes, individuals "get lost", and while the predator can easily see the herd, it has a more difficult time focusing on any specific animal in the herd.

Camo against humans also relies on pattern recognition. Areas usually in shadow get light colors and prominent areas get dark ones, to change the usual pattern into something not as easily recognized.

As far as I'm concerned, the only fact you can count on from internet videos is the fact that they are on the internet. Some information is sound and valid, some isn't.

IF you don't want to use black as a camo color, don't. But nature does, and the military has been, since they adopted camo.
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Old January 17, 2023, 11:49 AM   #5
ballardw
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I would say "no black" might be an exaggeration depending on the environment you want to match.
"Too much" black could well become more noticeable if used in an area where there is not much in the way of dark colored areas or shadow.

Search the internet for "quacking aspen snow" pictures. You can find many that about the only colors that make sense for camo would be white, grey and black.
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Old January 17, 2023, 04:37 PM   #6
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I created and painted my own camo on an AR-15. I first stood back and observed the brush and woods I would hunting in and made note of what colors and shades I was seeing. There was a lot of black in there, mainly tree trunks and branches, which appear black from a distance. I started with black AR receiver and furniture, and cut strips of masking tape to form branches, starting about 1/4 inch wide and tapering to points. Once I had all my branches laid out I shot the whole thing with 3 different shades of tan, reddish tan, and brown. Then I cut leaf shapes out of tape and laid them out all over the gun. Then shot the whole thing with white. I wanted a winter camo. Pic below.
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Old January 17, 2023, 05:50 PM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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What is the purpose of this camo?

If it is because you want a gun that you think looks cool, do whatever you want.

If it's because you want to hide it from deer, it doesn't matter. Any detail you could put on a gun is likely far beneath a deer's visual acuity and they just see "smears" of color anyway. A deer's visual acuity is approximately equivalent to 20/100 in a human.

If it's for other critters, you'll have to research their eyesight and make a determination.
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Old January 17, 2023, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger View Post
What is the purpose of this camo?

If it is because you want a gun that you think looks cool, do whatever you want.

If it's because you want to hide it from deer, it doesn't matter. Any detail you could put on a gun is likely far beneath a deer's visual acuity and they just see "smears" of color anyway. A deer's visual acuity is approximately equivalent to 20/100 in a human.

If it's for other critters, you'll have to research their eyesight and make a determination.
In a sense its about looking cool. However in my case looking cool means its cool because its practical and effective. So I am mostly basing this on human eye sight.

However with camouflage, based on my understanding, the goal is to break up or obscure the shape so it cannot be recognized as what it is, while helping it blend into its surroundings. which I consider to be a somewhat universal principal.

To me, my idea of camouflaging a rifle is as follow.
1 I want to use colors that are natural to my location, but also that do no stand out against what I am wearing as a different pattern.
2. based on a rifle being a long object I want to try and break up the gun length wise, not top to bottom.
3. I want to use alternating light and dark colors to effect a perception of depth to make the gun appear to appear and disapear in an alternating pattern of shadow
4. I want the paint to be slightly darker on top and slightly lighter on bottom to flatten out and make it appear more 2 dimensional ( see How To Paint A Rifle Like A Navy SEAL - Coch's Way)
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Old January 17, 2023, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
In a sense its about looking cool. However in my case looking cool means its cool because its practical and effective. So I am mostly basing this on human eye sight.

However with camouflage, based on my understanding, the goal is to break up or obscure the shape so it cannot be recognized as what it is, while helping it blend into its surroundings. which I consider to be a somewhat universal principal.

To me, my idea of camouflaging a rifle is as follow.
1 I want to use colors that are natural to my location, but also that do no stand out against what I am wearing as a different pattern.
2. based on a rifle being a long object I want to try and break up the gun length wise, not top to bottom.
3. I want to use alternating light and dark colors to effect a perception of depth to make the gun appear to appear and disapear in an alternating pattern of shadow
4. I want the paint to be slightly darker on top and slightly lighter on bottom to flatten out and make it appear more 2 dimensional ( see How To Paint A Rifle Like A Navy SEAL - Coch's Way)
So, Jon, what is your location you will use this. Is this for work? If urban, that changes things a bit when it comes to the camo.
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Old January 17, 2023, 10:15 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
However with camouflage, based on my understanding, the goal is to break up or obscure the shape so it cannot be recognized as what it is, while helping it blend into its surroundings. which I consider to be a somewhat universal principal.
True enough, but to a deer or similar animal a rifle is a tree branch. They're not worried about the color of a tree branch. Branches are every color from white to black and anything in between.
It's one thing if the gun is shiny (stainless steel or reflective glass), but black or brown, like your average gun?
Even if they would notice, by the time they're close enough they're dead already.

But, as you said it is at least somewhat to make it look cool... and I don't believe it makes one whit of difference to the animals, so you should do whatever it is that you think looks cool.
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Old January 18, 2023, 08:57 PM   #11
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There are a lot of camo patterns that work. The best ones for functional camo break up the outline of the object being camouflaged. Whether you use black or not, you are trying to break up the appearance of the object, not color it. True black is not normal in nature, but it exists. The easiest camo patterns to detect beyond 25-30 yards have a lot of black in them for contrast, but animals look for movement across the basic color or pattern of the background. If you add contrast, you increase visibility of movement. Look at how predators like coyotes and mountain lions camouflage themselves, bland color that mimics the background with little or no contrast. If you are in an area with shadows and splotchy light, look at tigers and leopards, bland base color with splotches of dark that blend in with the shade. But the best camo is lack of movement.
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Old January 19, 2023, 12:48 AM   #12
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I have rifles in OD Green, Flat Dark Earth, Burnt Bronze, and Black. All Cerakote. Excellent.
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Old January 19, 2023, 02:56 AM   #13
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The main purpose of cammo rifles is to increase the chance you put it down--lose it, then have to buy another one.
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Old January 19, 2023, 03:40 PM   #14
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Black does not need to be excluded

Quote:
The best ones for functional camo break up the outline of the object being camouflaged. Whether you use black or not, you are trying to break up the appearance of the object, not color it.
Pretty much, in a nut-shell but that isn't the way the OP posted this question and the answer is; "Some black is fine" or "does not" need to be excluded...

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Old January 20, 2023, 01:49 AM   #15
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The sniper and SEAL in the videos did really nice jobs. The only comment I have is why would anyone use Krylon/Rustoleum on a firearm (I did for a few)--it isn't going to stay put and will scratch off easily. I would use Brownell's bake-on at a bare minimum.
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Old January 20, 2023, 03:17 PM   #16
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From the sniper and SEAL's experience, they're not creating a work of art to last the life of the rifle. Their next mission may be in a completely different environment and need a different color scheme to "disappear", they actually don't want much durability beyond the mission.
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Old January 20, 2023, 05:21 PM   #17
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If the color black doesn't exist in nature ... then explain what color a zebra is .
Tell that U-tube Expert that there is a lot of black in nature .

Cameo is based onwhat area you are trying to blend in with at a particular time of year .
You need to look at the colors around you , use those and black to break up straight lines .
It isn't the color black that doesn't exist ... it's straight lines like a rifle stock or rifle barrel that look out of place .
I've been toled most animals , except maybe birds are color blind ... do not see color as we do ... Hunter Orange safety hunting vest doesn't seem to bother them !
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Old January 21, 2023, 06:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
If the color black doesn't exist in nature ... then explain what color a zebra is
The pictures you look at in National Geographic are manipulated.
Zebras are whitish and dark brown.
Black panthers are very dark brown.
Buffalo, Cape or water type, are still very dark brown.
Why? Because melanin isn't black. Does your skin turn grey when you get a suntan? No, it turns brown because your body starts to mobilize melanin to protect your skin. Even the darkest skinned people on earth are not jet black. No, black exists in nature, look at burnt wood, lava rocks, jet gemstone, etc. But it's rare.

I'm not sure if deer can tell the difference between a dark brown branch and a black one. But it doesn't matter anyway. Animals react to movement. I remember watching camo-clad idiots running around on a hillside and when they were asked to stop moving around and scaring the animals they responded that they were camouflaged and the deer couldn't see them. They had a lot more confidence in Mossy Oak than I do.
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Old January 21, 2023, 09:29 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
The pictures you look at in National Geographic are manipulated.
Zebras are whitish and dark brown.
Black panthers are very dark brown.
Buffalo, Cape or water type, are still very dark brown.
Why? Because melanin isn't black. Does your skin turn grey when you get a suntan? No, it turns brown because your body starts to mobilize melanin to protect your skin. Even the darkest skinned people on earth are not jet black. No, black exists in nature, look at burnt wood, lava rocks, jet gemstone, etc. But it's rare.

I'm not sure if deer can tell the difference between a dark brown branch and a black one. But it doesn't matter anyway. Animals react to movement. I remember watching camo-clad idiots running around on a hillside and when they were asked to stop moving around and scaring the animals they responded that they were camouflaged and the deer couldn't see them. They had a lot more confidence in Mossy Oak than I do.
I have seen zebras in person at the zoo... looked black to me.....

Movement will always stand out to animals. That's why breaking up the outline is so important. So if you do get busted, your not identified as a threat. Same with a firearms. No one looks twice at someone carrying a package. In public your always busted. But someone carrying a gun is perceived as a threat. So the goal is to break the shape up, so it does not register as a gun.
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Last edited by Shadow9mm; January 21, 2023 at 09:43 PM.
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Old January 22, 2023, 03:45 PM   #20
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Not Black; just very dark-brown !!!

I have seen zebras in person at the zoo... looked black to me.....Not just Zebras but what about those dark-brown Skunks !!! .....

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Old January 22, 2023, 03:54 PM   #21
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Never seen a live skunk. Seen dead ones on the side of the riad before though. Black as best i could tell.
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Old January 23, 2023, 10:53 AM   #22
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Vegetation isn't black.
Dangerous animals, from bears to skunks to snakes, often are.
Even a flock of crows is called a murder.
Consider black a danger signal.
It's eye-catching.
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Old January 23, 2023, 04:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
The main purpose of cammo rifles is to increase the chance you put it down--lose it, then have to buy another one
This is the main reason I will not have a camo wallet!! IF it comes out of my pocket, I REALLY want to be able to find it, not have it disappear in the ground cover!

Quote:
Consider black a danger signal.
It's eye-catching.
Only if it moves. Othewise, tis just a shadow....
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Old January 23, 2023, 05:00 PM   #24
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Personal call on service

The original post is;
Quote:
Camo Painting firearms, should the color black be used?
No harm either way and really a matter of personal choice and depends on the service. I would not use black on one of my duck-guns but that's just me....

Quote:
Shadow9mm
Never seen a live skunk. Seen dead ones on the side of the riad before though
.
That's one point, on the learning curve, that you might want to pass on. ....

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Old February 4, 2023, 06:07 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo View Post
Black certainly exists, in nature. Basically, it's the absents of light and I agree with your logic of;


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Yeah, I pondered the "black doesn't exist in nature" while in the woods hunting and thinking up good camo. Gray and brown is best.

Some things in the woods look black as heck though so it does exist to the eye and some old stumps and dead falls look black.... in bow season I see guys all camoed up at a short distance and they look solid. Big swathes of color rather than small squares, etc. are better.

Some camos glow like a neon sign if under a black light...deer are supposed to be able to detect UV light....I got an old orange vest that is brown under a UV light, which actually makes it better than the designer camos...humans see it as orange though.

Urban camo should obviously be different than woods camo
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