Why are Mil Style Rifles black?


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Afy
July 21, 2010, 11:32 AM
Is there a reason of the EBR's to be Black?

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Gottahaveone
July 21, 2010, 11:45 AM
Well, having walked thru a jungle at night where there was a reasonable expectation that there was a not so friendly person hiding there, I felt that even my eyeballs were too shiny. Can't say I'd have wanted a weapon with chrome plating and lot's of reflective surfaces. The thing about black is that it's not an actual color, it's a lack of reflection of any *particular* color. What I mean is, something that looks blue isn't actually blue, it just absorb's all wavelengths except those our eyes perceive in the blue part of the spectrum. It reflects those. And most EBR's aren't really black, it just sounds good :)

Robert
July 21, 2010, 11:47 AM
Shiny things on the battlefield are called targets. And in recent years other flat colors are being used as black can stand out in say a brown environment.

Bovice
July 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
well if they aren't really black, they sure look like it!

GunsBeerFreedom
July 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
While the above is true, black is also highly visible with current night vision technology. It's the brightest thing you can see (for the life of me, I couldn't explain why though).

Kwanger
July 21, 2010, 12:31 PM
Because they would look ridiculous in pink and our troops wouldn't carry them ;)

Owen
July 21, 2010, 12:37 PM
black is visible in thermal sights because of its thermal emissivity. Just as black abosirbs enrgy the fasteset, it also emits it the fastest...

Military small arms are rapidly moving away from black for a number of reasons, and this is just one of them. Among other things, there are very few things in nature that are actually black, which makes black an eyecatching color.

benEzra
July 21, 2010, 01:07 PM
Because phosphate anticorrosion coatings are black, and polymer with added carbon to make it UV-stable is black unless you add additional colorants or use more expensive UV stabilizers.

JTH
July 21, 2010, 01:32 PM
How do weapons with a Parkerized finishes fit in this scenario?
JT

45bthompson
July 21, 2010, 01:38 PM
We also moved away from wood cause a bullet strike usually destroys a wood stock. The m14's that our DM's carry went to a sage international stock. Personally I like the wood stocks better.

cougar1717
July 21, 2010, 03:51 PM
Because Eugene Stoner said so?

Gouranga
July 21, 2010, 04:23 PM
Because they are evil machines whose only purpose is the destruction of mankind. lol. Personally, I like them that way...

paintballdude902
July 21, 2010, 04:45 PM
they're not black they're blue adjust your monitor.... jk its an old smurphs commercial

HorseSoldier
July 21, 2010, 04:45 PM
A bullet strike will wreck a wooden or plastic stock -- but plastic and fiberglass do not warp in high humidity, unlike wooden stocks as was seen in Vietnam and earlier.

bri
July 21, 2010, 04:52 PM
Is black the least expensive, manufacturing wise?

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 21, 2010, 05:01 PM
Because WHITE would show the dirt, grease, oil, etc.;)

Maverick223
July 21, 2010, 05:48 PM
black is visible in thermal sights because of its thermal emissivity. Just as black abosirbs enrgy the fasteset, it also emits it the fastest...You're only half right, it actually emits it slower (rather it retains heat better), but that is why it is more visible in thermal type night vision.

:)

Ky Larry
July 21, 2010, 06:25 PM
Would a brown finish, like the old British Brown Bess, reflect less energy? Would a camo finish be better than a solid colour?

ol' scratch
July 21, 2010, 06:43 PM
When concerning the recent Garands (actual milsurp AND mil style) because the Greeks finish them that way:)

Pony Express
July 21, 2010, 06:58 PM
because only evil black rifles can kill people

just ask our lawmakers

W.E.G.
July 21, 2010, 07:20 PM
Nothing a can of Krylon won't fix if you disagree with the factory finish.

Ithaca37
July 21, 2010, 07:44 PM
You're only half right, it actually emits it slower (rather it retains heat better), but that is why it is more visible in thermal type night vision.


Nope. Black has the highest emissivity. This means it radiates energy the fastest (well a real black body does not exist, but black surfaces are closer than grey or white). Look up the stefan-boltzman law.

TrickyDick
July 21, 2010, 07:53 PM
Everyone knows that black is the primary color simply because it is just so damn cool. Everyone wants to be badass and fight in style! lol

rc601962
July 21, 2010, 08:14 PM
Why not black? Are you a racist?

(just kidding)

Al LaVodka
July 21, 2010, 08:28 PM
It IS racism.
Al

yeti
July 21, 2010, 08:44 PM
Because "EBR" only works within a very narrow color spectrum, or lack of color, as the case may be.

alemonkey
July 21, 2010, 10:27 PM
Black rifles were invented by Chuck Norris. Black is awesome, therefore anything invented by Chuck is black. If Tom Cruise had invented them they would be pink.

Tirod
July 21, 2010, 10:57 PM
The "prototype" AR10s in the 1950's built in Holland were grey anodized with brown fiberglass stocks. The first M16's were grey anodized with furniture painted OD Green.

How they turned black in the early '60s is an interesting question - probably buried in a committee decision based on economics. During the ramp up in '68, production quadrupled. I speculate it was just cheaper and faster to make them black.

Once in Vietnam, the Rangers, SF, etc camo'd them and did so thoroughly, still do. Other professionals also camo'd their G3's, FNFAL's, etc. They weren't black.

Black then, not so much now. The Army has issued instructions on how to paint M4's so they aren't black, SOCOM doesn't buy black SCAR's, black has been dropped from the camo scheme, Multicam has no black.

Black is out. But, the memo doesn't get around, and many uses of the weapon don't require a more expensive color treatment. Basic? Nope. MP's on the street, no, people need to see the gun and understand it's a person having authority in the jurisdiction. So, black is ok.

With that in mind - the negative aspects of the color viewed in eyesight, by infrared detection, and the use of camo'd weapons by professionals, using black is best summed up by the previous sentiments - "It makes me feel powerful and scary."

Whatever trips your trigger, kids.

benEzra
July 21, 2010, 11:13 PM
How do weapons with a Parkerized finishes fit in this scenario?
Is that a rhetorical question? I'm not sure what you're asking here.

The steel parts of most military- and military-derived firearms manufactured since WW2 have been parkerized, up to and including the AR-15 type rifle, which accounts for the dark, dark gray of the steel parts. The dark-gray/black color of an AR's anodized aluminum receiver is the natural color of Type III sulfuric acid hardcoat anodizing; to make it any other color, you have to add a dye. The "black" color is just the natural color of the anodizing, and it costs more money to make it any other color.

It's kind of like asking why car tires are black. Tires aren't black because car manufacturers think black tires look cool, but rather because black is the natural color of vulcanized rubber UV-stabilized with carbon. It is possible to make tires in other colors, but it is more expensive, so they're usually black.

HuntAndFish
July 22, 2010, 01:57 AM
there are very few things in nature that are actually black, which makes black an eyecatching color.

In other words, a target indicator.

Mr. T
July 22, 2010, 02:10 AM
My understanding of the color black is that it is the combination of all color spectrums, where as blue is all color spectrums with the exception of blue, my understanding is that black is representative of all color spectrums combined.

Kernel
July 22, 2010, 02:37 AM
Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense (and a real cheap skate), at the time the M-16 was adopted >>>> McNamara had been President of Ford Motor Company >>>> Ford’s biggest selling car, the Model T, came in any color you wanted… as long as it was BLACK.

Mystery solved!!

45bthompson
July 22, 2010, 04:47 AM
A bullet strike will wreck a wooden or plastic stock -- but plastic and fiberglass do not warp in high humidity, unlike wooden stocks as was seen in Vietnam and earlier.
Yes a bullet strike will "wreck" either stock if you mean it will not be pretty anymore. A bullet strike to wood will splinter the the stock and cause a lot more damage to the weapon than if it had plastic furniture. This was tested at Aberdeen proving grounds. This was one of the many reasons and selling points for moving to the m16. A wood stocked weapon is usually not FMC after a bullet strike.

benEzra
July 22, 2010, 09:07 AM
My understanding of the color black is that it is the combination of all color spectrums, where as blue is all color spectrums with the exception of blue, my understanding is that black is representative of all color spectrums combined.
When mixing pigments, yes (because pigments exhibit color by absorbing all light but the color(s) reflected, if you combine a bunch of pigments, you will absorb all light and no colors will be preferentially reflected). I believe phosphate coated and hard-anodized surfaces are black because they are exceedingly porous and trap light, though. That porosity also makes them retain corrosion protectants very well, which IIRC is the key to why Parkerizing is so good at resisting corrosion (and of course hard-anodized aluminum is corrosion resistant all by itself).

Taurus 617 CCW
July 22, 2010, 09:41 AM
With the continuation of modern desert warfare, I am seeing a trend toward using guns colored in flat dark earth rather than black. They just stay cooler when it's 120 degrees or hotter out. I too have asked that question before and wondered why manufacturers don't do more guns in different colors.

Owen
July 22, 2010, 11:14 AM
You're only half right, it actually emits it slower (rather it retains heat better), but that is why it is more visible in thermal type night vision

False

benEzra
July 22, 2010, 12:56 PM
I too have asked that question before and wondered why manufacturers don't do more guns in different colors.
Cost. A bare phosphate or oxide finish is dark gray or black; any other color requires additional materials and labor. A lot of shooters will pay extra for a non-black rifle, but it is an extra-cost option.

Hatterasguy
July 22, 2010, 09:40 PM
Probably because it was cheap.

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/fal_rhod-camo4.jpg

IMHO Fal's look better in camo, maybe because so many soliders painted theirs.

Art Eatman
July 22, 2010, 10:09 PM
Seems like benEzra answered the question quite well...

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