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I really wouldn’t. It will wear eventually anyway, whether you sand or not. But sanding will damage the original finish. Just make sure you remove oils so it doesn’t flake. Aside from price, the good thing about paint is that it’s not permanent. If you want permanent and durable, go with cerakote.No sanding or any other prep?
I used rustoleum paints on my helmet parts and M4 furniturethat lasted a couple deployments. It works well enough for the price and availability.
I usually use mesh of different sizes on the same rifle. When mesh is laid flat and tight against surface you get a sharp pattern. When off surface a softer pattern. If one end of a short piece is flat and the other end off surface the pattern fades out. (sounds difficult but it is not. Just drop mesh on surface, fold over or bunch up one end) I like fade out pattern as my eyes keep trying to bring it into focus.It creates the x like pattern. Cause its mesh!