One thing I truly enjoy doing is traveling and seeing new places I haven’t been before. I typically either drive or fly somewhere new for fun or work a few times a month. Whenever I travel, it amazes me how many people are loaded up with tactical backpacks with a classic “infidel” patch. Now I will be honest, I enjoy seeing different patches and making a range bag my own with tactical accessories, but having that in the plain view out in public isn’t always a good idea. Throughout my travels, I have started to practice and appreciate the “gray man” approach. Let’s check out how to conceal carry inconspicuously.
What Is The Gray Man Approach
When you carry a concealed firearm, it’s important to bring as little attention as possible to yourself. Whenever I decide to go on a road trip or fly, it’s always important for me to blend in and bring as little attention to myself as possible. This typically means no Molon Lobe T-shirts or tacticool bag with two dozen patches, but instead a regular bag in neutral colors. The real idea behind the “Gray Man” approach is being as boring and natural as possible. Deciding to look as regular or boring as possible will oftentimes take any suspecting eyes off you and makes you essentially disappear in a crowd.
In past articles, I’ve talked about being the best version of yourself when you carry a concealed firearm. Part of that isn’t trying to dress like a tough guy by wearing a Tapout shirt and walking around attempting to be as intimidating as you can be. This type of behavior is exactly what will get you into trouble, and it’s just not worth putting yourself in that situation. Part of being discreet is being passive and avoiding violence rather than actively looking for it. Dressing in a regular button up with jeans will come off looking less threatening and will ultimately make you blend better.
Why It’s Important to Blend
There’s more than one reason why people should be attempting to blend as they carry a concealed firearm. The first big reason to blend is to keep eyes off yourself throughout the day. Let’s face it, when you carry a concealed gun, there are moments you will sometimes print or your shirt catches on the gun. It’s happened to us and often times if you are inconspicuous, people around you won’t even pay attention or notice. For most people, it’s completely normal to go through that fear of printing or other people seeing your firearm the first few months when starting out. The majority of people don’t honestly pay attention to printing or the rare times where your shirt gets pulled up by the frame. Situations like this happen and it’s important to remain calm and collected while fixing your concealment garment.
The second point to blending is it gives you the upper hand in an emergency situation. If you ever are unlucky enough to find yourself in a self-defense situation, there’s a good chance you’ll need every advantage possible. Having the element of surprise will be your biggest advantage when deciding to pull your firearm and defend yourself. Some of the best predators in the wild are the ones you never see coming and this is the same concept when you conceal carry in public. I always tell people to be a chameleon and hide in plain sight.
Two Different Approaches
Let’s look at two different approaches. The first guy is a regular guy in a solid color button up shirt and jeans with a concealed Glock 19. The other man has a Punisher Skull T-shirt, combat boots, and 5.11 pants with a leather holster carrying a 1911 in it. You will have a much better chance of surprising an attacker with a firearm if you are just wearing normal clothes than if you had a punisher skull T-shirt and are open carrying a handgun in plain sight. If an attacker sees both of those people in a room, he will automatically engage the guy who is a visible threat over someone who looks like an average person. I’m fully aware this analogy is a bit extreme, but it proves my point nonetheless.
By dressing the way he did and open carrying a firearm, the tactically dressed individual lost his ability to surprise an attacker because of how he presented himself. I get the idea of being proud of your hobbies and I am too, but it’s not worth losing the element of surprise just to show your support in the public for the 2A community. I’m sure some of you will avidly disagree and protest this style of thinking and that’s alright. It’s important to challenge your ideas and think about what really works for daily life as an individual who carries a concealed firearm.
So after all this, basically it boils down to being a responsible adult and presenting your best self. Keep your bravado in check and instead be the best version of yourself. It doesn’t take much to be kind and remain quiet when out in public. This is especially important in today’s climate, with certain pockets of society being completely against gun ownership. I think it’s important to challenge their narrative and remain as well-mannered and dress to blend in. If they don’t know you’re carrying and eventually find out, it will only reinforce the idea of how responsible gun owners truly are. At the end of the day, that’s the fundamental idea of “concealed carry.” It’s about completing your day without anyone having a single clue you’re carrying a firearm.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments below. I fully expect some of you to disagree and that’s perfectly fine but remember to be respectful. Do you guys think it’s a good idea to wear “tacticool” clothing and witty 2A shirts or is it important to keep a low profile? If you have questions feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.