What you DON’T want to do is:
You don’t want to attract attention towards yourself, wearing bright color clothes or in a fashion that isn’t in tune to your cultural surroundings. This requires objective observation of the current reality you live in. Example; Wearing a typical gaucho poncho, even though its traditional local clothing, its not something people wear these days around towns and cities. You might as well drop by the 7.11 dressed in your cowboy action shooting costume and expect no one to notice you. Yet an arab head garment like a shemag has becomed pretty common among young adults given the leftists times we live in and the piece being worn commonly by young people and roadblockers, occaisoanlly to cover their faces. So as in many other countries it is now considered fashionable and no one will look at you twice because you have one around your neck. Che Guevara t-shirts are unfortunately very common among the brain washed high school and college aged people, but it is a well remembered icon and people will notice it. It is better to avoid entirely symbols and shapes that the brain remembers better, that goes for everything from peace symbols to religious or political images. Logos in general should be avoided. Lets not even go into shirts with gun brand logos or in your face statements like “I don’t start problems, I finish them” usually going along with gun images. You might as well wear a sign around your neck that says “I have a gun”.
5.11 pants, combat desert tan boots, riggers belt, along with vests full of pockets aren’t kidding anyone. Anyone with half a brain will understand that the vest is being worn to conceal a gun, and that the vest itself is probably full of expensive gadgets. Most important, you will be noticed and remembered by the people around you.
You dot want to lie to yourself either. Letting yourself go and turning into a fat slob, never training a day in your life, never carrying a gun because its uncomfortable , (or any other gear for that matter), wearing sweat pants and some greasy old tshirt, that’s not being gray man, that’s actually BEING like the sheep you’re trying to hide among. Gray man is being capable yet managing to go unnoticed.
Yes... take away the AR and mag pouches, the guy still looks like Blackwater.
What you WANT to do is:
While the image you want to project is the one that the average person will forget the second he takes his eyes off of you, you also want to project one that the wolves DO notice and know you are not to be messed with. Do you achieve that with a 45 ACP printed in your shirt and “I don’t dial 911”? No. Listen, its easy to get the entire gray man thing wrong when you don’t have an actual need for it, when your environment isn’t demanding it and putting it to test. I’ve read so many wrong notions about this subject, that’s why I writing this article. A couple days ago for example, I was talking with my shooting instructor, even though he’s a cop that trains the local police, he dresses in civilian clothing as soon as he can. Why? Because cops have guns, and in the crazy times we live in they are actually being targeted because of their weapons. This clearly proves in actual real world experience that you DON’T WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED AS THE GUY WITH A GUN. They’ll kill you to get it, or if a maniac wants to shoot up the place he knows exactly who to shoot first.
So while you don’t what to scream out to the world that you are armed, you want to be acknowledged as someone that is aware, alert, and is not a soft target. You do this by training and actually being capable of putting up a fight, by looking alive when you have to, yet not look like a human scanner when the situation doesn’t require it. That will bring unwanted attention to yourself. Don’t stand in the door way (tactically speaking, it’s a bad place to stand in anyway) and scan the place completely with your eyes from left to right, giving the stare of death to anyone that looks at you. You can just as well walk in as you keep chatting with your buddy or wife and grin ask you make a quick mental not of the people inside, standing to the side to keep the door open for your friend to come in and at the same time use that as an excuse to look around without dragging extra attention.
You want to carry what you believe needs to be carried but in a way it doesn’t scream “tactical” even if it actually is by definition. Jeans do ok, you can even get by with the 5.11 pants as long as you don’t look like the guy on the Blackwater website and you combine with other comfortable yet “normal” looking clothes.
The dull colors are important but if you dress all tan with a tight polo shirt you’ll look like a contractor, if you dress all black you’ll look like a Goth weirdo that may want to shoot the place up. Try combining colors so that you look normal, and again, leave the Glock polo shirt and the Suarez international patch in your Maxpedition Jumbo pack for the range. Yes, we ALL know your Maxpedition Versipack probably has 5000 bucks worth of stuff. As nice as they are, as much as I’d like to carry one around, Maxpedition bags just scream gun and tactical gear, not to mention that they look expensive and if I carried one of those around here all those little pockets would be a God’s send for ever pick-pocketer in Buenos Aires. Maybe the least tactical wise thing about the Maxped bags, is that in a high crime area you want to avoid all those pockets and zippers, better to have one big flap covering everything. They look good, I like them and I’m sure they are very practical but those two issues make it a no-no, at least for high crime areas.
Carry what tools and gear you need but don’t make it obvious you’re doing so, a day pack or messenger bag works, ordinary looking ones are better and surplus satchels don’t drag much attention, they don’t look expensive.
The rigger belt is nice. I get it that since you use a belt anyway, why not use one that is sturdy for gun carrying and can be also used for emergency rappelling or simply extract you from a wreck, but it also screams gun, so cover that buckle, don’t tuck your clothes in when wearing one out in the world. Same goes for folding knife clips. By now everyone knows what they are. Cover them or if you can’t, put it completely inside the pocket, specially when you visit places where it may be a problem to carry a knife. An untucked t shirt that isn’t to tight will hide what needs to be out of sight.
Vests in particular, cameraman vests, whatever it is you want to call them, there’s nothing gray about them. I get the idea of carrying stuff, but man, that’s why bags where made in the first place, and whatever needs to be readily accessible can just as well go in a concealed holster or your pockets. If you need seven AK47 mags readily available maybe you should go for a load bearing vest and seriously consider moving somewhere safer.
When it comes to clothing, a tailor is your friend. I have a brown leather jacket that looks good but had very poor fabric lining inside. Ten dollars worth of synthetic gabardine and 50 bucks worth of tailor later I had the same neat looking jacket but with a greenish gray tough fabric on the inside as well as two extra large reinforced pockets for whatever needs to be carried in there.
Tan combat boots are pretty hard to disguise, they pretty much look like what they are. Some go along well with jeans but others are pretty obvious. Leather steel toe (or polymer)work shoes are just as tough and then some, and if you buy the high end work boots you get some excellent quality for a decent price, both comfort and protection. They also look more like hiking boots, in spite of being rated for various levels of security, against impact, slipping, electric discharge, etc.
One last word regarding minimum weaponry: Some Special forces Army SEAL ninja masters will say that, while you need twenty mags as a bare minimum for combat, you’re overkilling if you carry more than one or two extra mags as a civilian. God forbid a backup gun! Then again you ask someone that’s been into a handful of gunfights as a civilian and he’ll usually have a spare service size gun as his backup and not less than 5 extra 15+1 capacity mags.