Can you spot the highly trained tactical practitioner armed with 2 pistols In this crowd ? – Exactly
Editors Note: If you are a Civilian Contractor you should also check out CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: The Greyman
What is a Greyman?
The term “Greyman” originated as a slang term for people who worked in espionage and intelligence, most likely around the cold war era. These days a Greyman is ether someone who works in the intelligence field, law enforcement or private security (these days tactical enthusiasts are also included in this group) who wishes to blend in to the everyday environment.
Unlike the Greyman of the past, today’s Greyman doesn’t necessarily want to disappear as an anonymous person in a crowd, in fact on some occasions he may even wish to stand out. What he wants to do is not look like a “tactical guy” on his way home from a Blackwater M-4 course.
The “tactical-cool” look is isn’t something new for guys within the tactical arena but is seems to be more in vogue these days then it was 10 years ago. Back in the day tactical-cool look was usually jeans, a glock shirt and maybe a hidden agenda jacket – but now it has gone way overboard.
Every time I see some guy in a shopping mall wearing a TAD jacket, 5.11 pants, riggers belt, pocket-clip knife and Maxpedition man-purse I wonder what they are thinking. Now you may think “who cares, like it matters if I look tactical-cool” – and to a certain extent it really doesn’t matter if people look at you and think to themselves “that guy is carrying a gun”.
If you want to wear the TAD-Tux or the 5.11 tuxedo (why not throw in a tactical Ball-cap wile your at it) when picking up the latest season of 24 at Blockbuster knock yourself out. The point of this article isn’t why you shouldn’t look like someone who packs a gun or an off-duty SWAT cop (not to mention no one in a 5.11 tuxedo will pick up a model) - it is to give you some tips on how to be a Greyman for those times you want to blend in.
So no matter if you want to go Full on Grey or you are just Grey Curious you should read this article (ha-ha, I made a play on words).
Leave the 5.11 Tux at the range
To anyone familiar with the tactical industry seeing someone wearing 5.11 or any other popular brand of tactical clothing screams “I AM CARRYING A GUN!!!!”
To anyone not familiar with the tactical industry the 5.11 tuxedo screams “I am on my way to a safari”
What you want to wear is “regular clothing” – basically don't buy anything that is sold on a website with pictures of people carrying guns is a good rule to follow when shopping for greyman clothing.
If you aren’t climbing a mountain leave the riggers belt on the mountain
Besides being a belt that totally stands out (and half the damn people that wear them don’t even loop them correctly) riggers belts are not attractive. Seriously, a fat coyote brown nylon belt with a tubular metal buckle looks… well, like a fat nylon belt with a tubular metal buckle.
A good leather belt will hold your pistol holster just as well and without projecting that you are packing a gun.
Leave the Combat boots on the battlefield
Ask yourself this; who wears combat boots? The answer to that question is why combat boots are not grey at all. Also, have you seen guys wearing desert combat boots and jeans in a club? It looks ridiculous – you might as well throw on a polyester shirt and call women “chicks” because you are not getting laid with desert combat kicks on.
Leave the Glock shirts at home
People who wear gun brand shirts are people who own guns, if you are trying to look grey then you sure as shit don’t want people knowing you are packing. This also goes for “Major League Ninja” patches.
Leave the pocket clip knife in your pocket
Carrying a knife with a pocket clip attached to the top of your pocket isn’t the “I am a cop” sign that it used to be. But if you are looking to go grey it is best to conceal every weapon you carry, even if tons of people now carry pocket clip knives.
The easiest way to keep your knife concealed is to clip it on the inside of your waistband (if your shirt is untucked) or cut and sew a slit on the inside of your pocket for the clip.
If you aren’t in the Army 86 the high and tight
Only active duty military and cops have high and tights, being grey means that you don’t want to look like either of these groups. You don’t have to grow your hair down to your ass, just grow it out a bit so you look like a businessman. If you like your hair short then just shave it all off, the Vin Diesel look is always in.
Loose the BCG’s
If for some unknown reason you are still wearing the BCG’s that were issued to you in the Army then for the love of god please visit an optometrist and get a normal pair. Even if you don’t want to look grey please get rid of the BCG’s, they look like shit and are the reason you are invisible to women.
If you don’t know what BCG’s are don’t worry about the above – if you do know what BCG’s are you may continue laughing.
Put a “Save the whales” sticker on your car
Sure the “You Can Take my Gun From my Cold Dead Fingers” bumper sticker is groovy, but it also says “this car is owned by a gun owner, Free Shit in my trunk!”. As a Greyman when people look at your car you want them to think you are the last person on the planet who owns a gun.
I have an Obama and Greenpeace sticker on my car - and an AR, 45. enough mags and ammo to start WW3 and full battle-rattle kit in the trunk.
Keep keys on your keychain
Sure, if you crash into a ravine in the middle of winter and you need to start a fire the Swedish firetool and the 28 other gadgets on your keychain will come in handy. Otherwise your Survivalist keychain says “this person is prepared”. As a Greyman you want your keychain to say “I am going to open the door to my minivan”.
Only cops carry 2 wallets
If you work in law enforcement then carry your badge on an ID holder around your neck and keep your credit cards and cash in a money clip in your front pocket. This also goes for any other profession where you carry a badge or ID.
Eyes forward maggot
A friend of mine that is an undercover narco gave me this tip like 10 years ago: “I can spot a cop (or tactically trained guy) the second they walk through the door – their eyes immediately start scanning the room like someone watching a tennis match”
You can still check out your surroundings when you enter a new environment; just do it a bit differently. Look at things casually and not right off the bat when you enter a room and use your peripheral vision. It will take a little longer to scan your environment at first, but with practice you can scan out an area just as fast as you can with “crazy eyes”.
As I said at the beginning of this article - not everyone has to be Greyman, but for those of us that may be working plainclothes or just wish to blend into the crowd “grey is the way”
I understand that the tactical community is a sub-culture that has its own lingo and way of dressing just like any other group of enthusiasts and I am by no means “hating” on the 5.11 crowd (well, maybe a little bit).
The point of this article is to give you some tips on blending in wile still carrying your everyday tools – not to pinch your ear for carrying a Versipack to Wall Mart. Sometimes even the tactical guy may want to look Greyman, so for those times reference the above.
~James G Founder - Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.