Blend or Bleed: Will You Make the Right Choice?

I will say this that for the most part I never tried to draw attention to myself…..
II'm apologizing in advance for the long post.

This is a common topic. It's on every gun forum out there. A similar discussion has been active on Glock-Talk for Twelve Years. So clearly this is something that people think about.

I read an article by Claude Werner in which he said if you really want to fly under the radar put on a pair of work boots blue jeans a T-shirt and a yellow safety vest. People will notice the vest but then they'll immediately catalog you and pay you no further attention.

I've noticed the same was true when I was working as a security guard. People looked at me and they saw the uniform. I've actually run into people who worked for the client companies where I did security away from work and I watched them look at me and try to figure out where they know me from. Having said that, there was also one guy who pulled over on the side of the road and got out of the car to greet me because he saw me walking down the street in sweats and recognized me.

I'm a firm believer that if you want to go anywhere without people noticing you go get a pair of gray Dickies. Pants and shirt wash them until they're a little bit worn and wear them people will think you're the janitor wherever you're at.

There is one downside and this has actually happened to me, I used to work in a factory and I went out and bought five identical sets of blue Dickies work clothes. I mean I bought them for work I wasn't trying to blend in at the factory but I noticed it when I would stop at Walmart on my way home people assumed I worked there and they would stop and ask me where to find this or that in the store.

Trying to blend into the crowd is something that I give a lot of thought to.

One thing I've noticed is it anything that you have on you that has a logo on it draws attention and gives people a reason to comment. I think I've said this before but when I worked in that same Factory it wasn't heated really in the winter so I wore a hoodie to work one day that said Dallas Cowboys on it.

I don't give a damn about the Dallas Cowboys, I was wearing the hoodie because I was trying to stay warm and because the factory was hard on clothes but there was a guy that worked in a different department from me who found reasons to come into my work area all day long and every time he did he yelled "Cowboys Suck!!" I don't need that kind of hassle.

I think I've said this here before too but five or six years ago I decided to simplify my wardrobe. I went out and bought five pairs of Wrangler cargo pants and five they call them camping shirts here. They're redhead shirts and Cabela's shirts and I think a couple of them are Wranglers. That's what I wear. Around here that look is ubiquitous. It's like everybody in Colorado dresses like they do their shopping at REI.

I went to Costco with my wife a couple of months ago and I decided to do an experiment and I counted how many people that I saw in that store who were dressed like me. There were 14 and one of them was obviously LP.

So my point is that when I dress like that I don't stand out. I mean this might be Overkill but I also buy most of my clothing used so it doesn't stand out as brand new.

Final point, I like the way I dress. I'm comfortable in it it's not like I'm wearing a disguise because that stands out too.
I wish more people would adhere to this advice. Being a 2A supporter and daily carrier doesn't mean I have to advertise it. Stickers, patches, "tactical" clothing, etc, it just draws attention and makes you look like a goof and unapproachable. Let's not get into open carry, let alone "constitutional" carry...yes everyone has a right to bear arms and carry if they so choose. But, please back that up with hours of quality training, range time, and common sense when carrying in the wild. Others like to push the "being a Patriot" or "Defending America and my rights!" mantra. That's all good too, but that's what millitary service and voting is for. Staying vigilant by daily concealed carry to protect yourself and family is a great responsibilty that requires more than just having the gear. It means a serious responsible mindset, hours of quality training, real intention in the use of your tools, and most of all being humble in public while carrying. Smile, be nice, have a good time, and blend in.
Now, I just wish that manufacturers of "concealed" carry wear, clothing and bags would make their products more "gray". Get rid of all the exposed velcro strips for patches, molle webbing, tactical colors-fde tan, brown, and green. All this on everyday gear just screams "Cop" or "I have a gun, shoot me first!". Make concealed carry clothing sans your logo on the outside of garments and bags. That's a dead giveaway also. Pun intended. The "Grayman" philosophy has been commercialized but very poorly executed by the major "tacticool" manufacturers. Graymen blend in not stand out. That means dressing for environment. Going native. All your tacticool gear should be used in training or at the range. On the street, I shouldn't be able to pick you out from the crowd. But, if you want to be decked out in your tactical pocket pants and shirt with matching ball cap with duty boots, owb holster showing, extra mags on belt, "don't tread on me", "molon labe" patches stuck all over your gear...go ahead be a target. I just hope your a cop or active duty to back up the costume.
Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled “Blend or Bleed: Will You Make the Right Choice?” and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/blend-or-bleed-its-your-choice/.

Excellent topic, I do not have any stickers on my vehicle, I do not advertise that I have any firearms, I have always advocated to my students, friends and like minded veterans to avoid, escape, leave, and to hide in plain sight. Of course, when you have no choice but to engage, by avoidance you have a better chance from a gray (as you call it) position. I never advertise that I am carrying, that's common sense and I assume we here all know that. I teach CQ skills to those close to me and when we are out together we act as a unit and don't get into crossfire, know that only one issues commands, and we understand our backstops. Over the top? Nope, I have been in live fire actuals, and those that have, understand that any plan is better than no plan, and that most plans go out the window upon contact. I just do not teach situational awareness - I preach that you must progress to the next step - SITUATIONAL RECOGNITION. I use the example of the Commuter train in France when those three trained individuals stopped the terrorist attack upon that french train - even though a lot of commuters saw the AK 47 being assembled - they did not understand or RECOGNIZE - the coming outcome - but the three did and acted upon what they were seeing based on their BRAIN INDEX ROLL-A-DECKS training stored inside their heads, my opinion.
When you don't stand out in a crowd, you've perfected the Grey Man technique. I live in a rural community. Lots of farming and ranching going on, so if bib overalls, a ranch jacket and a hat that promotes Massey Ferguson are what's needed to blend in, then that's what I wear.
In this community, if you didn't fly your "Don't Tread On Me" flag, the neighbor's get suspicious.
Great article with the truth about advertising firearm ownership; it's the best I've seen. I've been raising folk's awareness of blending and not attracting attention for decades. I'm retired, now, but when doing security surveys or talking with executives and others about personal safety, I always recommended avoiding signage, themed clothing, or posters at homes that advertise firearms. NRA stickers on cars or signs on the front step are a signal to all the baddies that this is likely a rich target. S&W sweats at the range are fine. Springfield decals on the back window are not good.
Fitting in is no longer the American standard anymore. When society accepted and opened the door to hippy life every moral slowly left out the back door. Old Merle sang about Okies, they know it well.

Dressed for success. Drawing attention of the public can easily be manipulated. Go out on a busy street corner and point to the sky and I’ll bet you’ll have a dozen immediately look up. Just as smoke from a house fire 10 miles away gets more attention that a stray goat on the side of the road.

Long ago there was a comedic analogy that if you entered an unsafe inner city neighborhood you were perceived as either the police or a crazy nut and therefore generally left alone.

These days of people walking around with rings in their noses and blue hair (some even part of the policy and decision making authority) todays fashionistas have popularized all sorts of costuming from the prison look to combat ready. Lots of stuff is marketed with a logo and really so much is faked it hardly makes anyone more a target or mark. Seeing that pickup with the Milwaukee Tools decal doesn’t necessarily mean there’s $10’ in tools inside or the driver is a well outfitted tradesman. It does or can tease the criminal element though. If everyone dons a garment with a SA or Sig logo it will become a natural as the long gone 60’s everyday Smiley face t-shirt.

I recall folks getting freaked out every time some lone young kid chosing to wear all black including a duster he was the ultimate image of a domestic terrorist or evil weirdo. This (in LE and social justice terms) has now been deemed as insufficient or no probable cause to stop. Ugly or disassociated attire can be perceived in many ways, most people really don't care.

So in this age of anti-profiling, why is it that it has to be that if the objective is to being left alone, it only makes sense to fashionably fit in with the standard crowd? Going shopping, church or doing your farm chores dressed like Oliver Wendall Douglas (Green Acres) doesn’t afford anymore safe passage than a Bugs Bunny costume on Main Street.
Though the article has made some very fine points, do we have to remind people to dress appropriately just to fit in to avoid danger…hmmmm sometimes because there‘s the human element of complacency and not the clown suit.

I do think wearing, driving or flashing something of value (or being impaired) can entice an opportunist criminal to target any mark and that happenstance being in a particular locale at the time puts anyone at risk, but that’s why situational awareness is vital. A deranged madman or thug is no more attracted to ones outfit of the day than another otherwise attired individual unless there’s some deep seated mental trigger.

Funny thing is that people might be willing to call you out for your CC bulge but otherwise accept your mohawk and the OD M-65. Yes, more and more what appear to be regular folk are now CC’s and we don’t all don’t conform to vogue standards. It will become a chance the bad guys will have to roll the dice on.

And the ‘gray man‘ moniker has me thinking Mao suit. Not a good look, but made Dr.Evil (eee-vill) just as iconic.
I promise I'm going to try to keep this one short

I want to mention the discussion on clock talk again. The guy that started it said

"5.11s are not grey. Cops notice people that dress like them and criminals notice people who dress like cops."

Where I live at (El Paso County Colorado) the Sheriff's Department and half of the security companies in town issue 511 pants and 511 polos as part of their uniforms.

The criminals may not be able to tell you that those are 5.11 Stryke Pants but they can tell you "Cops wear those." So can the cops and so can people like me.

There was a guy who used to post on the Smith & Wesson Forum who said several times that when he noticed somebody dressed in clothes from one of the "Tactical" brands he made a point of busting their chops over it.

Again, I don't need that hassle in my life. I already said how I dress but I've seen brand new 5.11 pants in the Goodwill that still have the tags on them and I avoid them like the plague. As a side note, I'm certainly not going to buy them new for $90 a pair.

I avoid anything from LA Police Gear or TrueSpec or any of that.
And yet more calls for government mandated training. And Constitutional carry in quotations?

Keep going, it’s folks like you who will eventually get the populace disarmed by their government.
Aside from dressing like the fuzz…there was a time when one could park their used Crown Vic (a cheap, durable and dependable modern day boat) in a loading zone and not get a ticket by the meter maid. Ah the good old days.

I’m gonna say it. That article was hot garbage. Did someone miss a deadline and they pulled that one out of the reject pile? You gotta be prepared but not paranoid says the article that seeds paranoia by claiming you shouldn’t do anything to make yourself a target. What a life goal - be the gray man, avoid attention at all costs. Luckily Mozart, The Rolling Stones, Albert Einstein, Michael Chricton, Marie Curie, Tom Brady, Steven Spielberg, George Washington, et al ignored that advice.