Being the Gray Man - EDC Clothing

Being the Gray Man - EDC Clothing

The following article is by one of our longtime customers, Gunnar Anderson.  Enjoy!

- Justin 


Have you spent any time thinking about how you are dressed as part of your EDC?  Most EDC discussions focus on firearms, holsters, knives, flashlights, but almost nobody talks about clothing.

Whether you realize it or not, you read people all the time. Gavid DeBecker’s book, The Gift of Fear, talks about how your brain processes information faster than conscious thought - allowing you to process seemingly random information to help you make snap judgments about others. Law enforcement officers sometimes refer to it as a hunch. When I was a prosecutor, I had to make snap judgments about strangers while picking juries. Only when I slowed down and took the time to reflect on my decisions would I recognize why I might have concluded that someone would be a good juror. One example was if the would-be juror was carrying a Vince Flynn book. If that person identified even a little bit with Vince’s main character, Mitch Rapp, then they loathed the idea that someone might escape responsibility for their actions. They were someone I wanted on my jury.

Clothing is no different - it tells a story about you. Wearing your classic 5.11 khaki cargo pants with a tactical folding knife clipped on a pocket, Keen waterproof shoes with 550 laces, Suunto watch, and 5.11 photographer’s vest shouts to anyone paying attending that you are possibly or even likely armed. The concept of being the gray man is to be unnoticed - think camouflage for being out in public and not the woods. Wearing clothing that advertises what you do for a living or that you are armed is contrary to the gray man concept. Don’t get me wrong - I love these brands. I have a closet full of clothing and other gear from 5.11, Vertx, Magpul, etc. However, I am mindful about when and where I don this kind of clothing.

The next time you fly, see if you can spot the Air Marshall using some of the information in this article. (Out of respect for their role, I only discuss clothing and not the other telltale signs.) Try the same thing the next time you go out for lunch or are running errands. If you have never paid attention to what people wear, you might be surprised at what information you can glean from another person’s clothing.

Maybe you want people thinking or knowing you carry a firearm. I don’t want people knowing I’m armed, so I choose not to open carry. Why give a potential adversary an edge? If you are also a fan of flying under the radar, be the gray man and be mindful of what you wear in public.

Gunnar Anderson is a former EMT, rescue diver, and  prosecutor who now trains and advises both law enforcement and emergency management.


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