Mikey, in the early days of VOC rules (after the "Clean air act" of 1990 in Ca) the equipment manufacture did EVERYTHING to try to make a system to beat it. "Throwing" the paint on with an airless was just one of them. They even thought that some day we would be applying the finish in a big applique vinyl sheet! Then they figured that the auto manufacture would paint the parts and we wouldn't even have the rights to paint.
The early HVLP guns were a living hell! And the equipment was just the beginning, how about the products? HOLY HELL, they just DROPPED the solvents out, that was their solution to the problem, no VOC in the product, no VOC problem. HOLY CRAP, they made the friggin crappiest junk to work with ever. And this was dumped on us in just a few years. Lacquer was dropped, urethanes were "new", it was hell.
But after all is said and done, there are some damn good products out there and damn good equipment to apply it.