Courtesy of Creative Commons

So, what’s with this ‘greyman’ concept? Well, on the surface, it sounds pretty simple – just blend in. 


When you look deeper and get more into the details, it gets interesting. Subscribing to the grey man/grey woman idea means a lot of different things, so let’s narrow it down to start with three fundamental areas: you, your stuff, and your ride.  


Now I am not saying that you must ALWAYS be incognito or blend in. That, frankly, is not realistic. However, there are times and situations where you want to do that.  


First, the YOU. I, for example, realize that I have That Look. Add a set of dark, tactical sunglasses on my bald head, and all grey is lost. So, I have to work on it. You just might have to work at it as well.


Let’s first look at your wardrobe. Are 5.11 and Propper your go-to brands? Nothing against these brands at all – my closet is full of 5.11 stuff. I am actually rather fond of 5.11 and VIKTOS brand jeans. They both look like regular jeans but are much better suited to support the discreet carry of various everyday items. 

Subtle? Or not?


Moderation again is key – wearing wrinkly clothes right out of the laundry hamper draws unwanted attention, as does a tucked-in shirt with a perfect ‘gig line’ or the extensive use of starch in anything but a dress shirt. 


The second aspect of the YOU is your posture. 

No, not how straight you stand, but I am referring to how you carry yourself. What do your non-verbals say about you? Do you seem eager to be confronted? Are you continuously looking around so much that you appear to be a nervous wreck? Being grey does NOT mean that you should appear as a soft target. You appear relaxed, casual, and confident, yet move with purpose. You may have a plan, but you don’t advertise it. Being subtle is vital, and this is a challenge to master. 


Next, YOUR STUFF. What is your everyday carry setup?  


Readily accessible, quick to deploy, but also quick to spot!

One of the first things easily spotted is that clip of a tactical knife in a front pants pocket. You have seen it, leading to closer scrutiny of the person. Just what else are they carrying … ? I do it, and I would venture you do the same thing.  


I am NOT saying leave that knife at home. Maybe your untucked but uninterestingly neat shirt covers the clip – perhaps you paint the clip flat black or dark grey – or use some other strategy to make it go unnoticed.


Since we are talking EDC, remember your number one rule – Don’t Print that Gat! You need to consider not only your body shape but what activities you will be engaging in. We are all built differently. We choose different ways to carry our defensive firearms. Now I am not talking about aerobics – I am talking about reaching for the box on the top shelf of the grocery aisle or picking up something you dropped.  


I have carried one or more concealed firearms daily as a plainclothes investigator for over 20 years, and a little attention to detail here goes a long way. You might startle someone a bit or just paint a target on your back. A group of thugs might introduce themselves to you forcefully so they can steal your expensive firearm and wallet. 


I routinely watch people trying to identify who is carrying a concealed firearm. Then to see if they confirm my suspicions by it printing or accidentally being exposed to my view. Others also do the same – but with more nefarious intent.


I mentioned sunglasses before, and the oversized, military wraparound sunglasses are not your best choice here. Again, it depends on what you are doing and where. The same goes for watches and footwear. All provide plenty of opportunities to give you a look you are trying to avoid.


The trick is to eliminate or minimize the military/law enforcement look as much as possible. If you have that great pair of prescription sunglasses, just don’t wear your starched 5.11 tactical range shirt and carry your olive drab MOLLE bag simultaneously. One such item is generally overlooked. Two are distinctly noticed, and three or more confirm all suspicions.


OK, what about YOUR RIDE? People tend to get very defensive about their chosen form of transportation. For many of us, vehicles are a source of pride. Generally, we don’t want to hear anything other than compliments on our choice.


Moving past your actual choice of vehicle, we are focusing more on how it is detailed. Is it adorned with stickers advertising your endorsement of ‘The Lord’s Caliber’ or your love for GLOCK firearms? Consider what information you share about yourself or your family without even trying.  


When a new vehicle joins the family, the first thing to do is remove all dealer markings (stickers, license plate frames, etc.) from it. No need to advertise where you or the car are from.  

Some know what the Gunsite Raven is, some don’t. Sadly, others have ignorantly thought it to be something very different.


The last point about vehicles is to consider how a good ghillie suit is created – using materials from the local environment. Your car should not be the cleanest car nor the dirtiest car around. Assuming that you have chosen an appropriate sort of vehicle for the weather and environment of the area, you should be as uninteresting as a car parked in a commuter lot.   


This ride, although a blast to drive, is not likely to blend in well most anywhere.


There are certainly plenty of other areas to consider, but these three should be enough to give all of us some things to reconsider or reevaluate. See you out there – or maybe we won’t even notice each other!


About the Author: Glenn Norling is a retired FBI Special Agent, now providing world-class emergency planning, crisis management, investigation, and active shooter training and consultation services with TBR Consulting. ( 

Throughout his 20-year career, he worked as a field investigator, a field supervisory special agent, as well as a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group in Quantico, Virginia. 

Prior to the FBI, Glenn served for ten years in the United States Air Force as an acquisition program manager, managing both multimillion-dollar weapon systems and state-of-the-art modeling and simulation training systems, separating at the rank of Captain. 

Glenn holds a BA in physics and a MA in organizational management.  He is a proud Eagle Scout, and Gunsite graduate.