does our choice in apparel give away our advantage?


Sitting in a cop class looking at all the guys who clearly only conceal carry when they are at training.... Yes. Da fuq u need BDU/5.11 pants in a lecture based class for?

I actually had a douche open carrying a bersa in a nylon holster scold me for not carrying... He would be surprised to know I had a G17/RMR/X300, two 19rd mags, med kit, cuffs and light.


Regular Member
I believe it can. I just try to be as "grayman" as possible. I was given a "Keep Calm and Carry" shirt last year for christmas, and I don't wear it. I don't think it means have a Master of Disguise thing going with your wardrobe, unless your mission needs dictate that. Fortunately around me, blue jeans and a t-shirt are all you need to blend in, along with hikers like Merrells or Keens, etc.

Last year I made a New Year's Resolution to CC off duty every day that I left the house, and I only missed 20~ days. This made me consider the sizing of pants I buy, where and how I was stowing a spare mag, etc., all while trying to look like just another dude. Getting back to open carry, the only time I would do it outside of LE/MIL stuff would be camping, on a hunt, or if I ever retire to a ranch like I want to.


Jeans and a t-shirt. Generally the shirts are EMS that my wife bought me or AE. I tend to avoid cargo pants or "warrior" shirts unless training or running "business casual". The only real giveaway is I always wear boots all the time.

Like regdude said. Gray man is the way to go in my opinion.
I think we read too much into the whole thing. I wear beat to shit 5.11s out because they are comfy, and have the pockets I need. I also wear star wars T shirts, Carhart shirts, or other nondescript shirts and beat up boots.

Guys that are into gear would probably figure that I am carrying, but I don't get much in the way of looks or attention because of the pants.


Yes Yes and yes. a book/ youtube vid out there called No tech hacking about a guy who does nothing in life but black hack talks about how 9/10 he can get what he wants, or at least know who to target on how they dress. He picks out soldiers/contractors and leo's outta an airport crowd with no effort. Also the old guy I'm obviously carrying a gun fly fishing vest is a big stand out. A big give away for me is the shoes/boots.
If you're in any kind of tan hiking boot/shoe IE Merril stretch chameleon 4's , rocky's, I know you are carrying something. Because no one gets into those shoes for hiking the Appalachian trail. For me I'm usually in Deluth pants and a baggy T and Vasque shoes. I would say beards but, the hipsters have kinda claimed them so thats no longer an indicator.


Just one guys opinion here but I think we recognize our own. I'm not sure the bad guys know the difference. When I see a guy in 5.11'S and boots I start looking for the gun, but I don't think the rest of the world does.
If I am wrong please correct me, I just don't see a gangbanger or housewife being hip to the scam.


Just one guys opinion here but I think we recognize our own. I'm not sure the bad guys know the difference. When I see a guy in 5.11'S and boots I start looking for the gun, but I don't think the rest of the world does.
If I am wrong please correct me, I just don't see a gangbanger or housewife being hip to the scam.
If your entire life depended on your ability to size people up and figure out who you can hustle and who will jack your shit you get good at it. Add picking out cops to that skill set and they know who's who.

I've been made during surveilance for a lot less than 5.11s


Staff member
Seems to me that a lot depends on where you live and work. I live in AZ, and because of the large number of outdoorsy type people out here, I can get away with wearing boots and outdoor type clothing on a daily basis. When I lived on the VA side of DC, I generally couldn't, without sticking out a whole lot.

I think there's lots to be said for apparel that looks "right" but still performs well in most scenarios. For example, I have a couple of sets of Marmot jeans that have enough stretch in the waistband to be comfortable either on their own, or while carrying AIWB. I find that they're more comfortable, lower profile, and generally more capable than 5.11 type pants, save for lacking cargo pockets. The darker versions clean up well enough to do a nice dinner. For me it's a no brainer, and I wind up spending less on clothes and more on ammo.

“To find a quiet peace is the dream of every soldier. For some it takes longer than others. In my own experience I have discovered that it is far easier to find quiet than to find peace. True peace must come from within oneself.”

~ Major Richard "Dick" Winters


This is not rocket surgery.

Look at what the majority of the people in your AO are wearing and wear the same things.

I find $50.00 at Target or Wal Mart will get you enough clothes to look like pretty much any ditch digger.

As long as your foot gear looks beat no one pays attention to it. I wear 20 year old Danners almost all the time.


Staff member
I actually shop at the local mall. I never got too much into the cargo pants and "tactical" looking stuff. Nice jeans and a top to suit is generally what I'll wear. A basic range can be jeans from Express all the way to high end denim online. Most people have an Express near them. A dark pair, or two, of plain 5 pocket jeans can go a long way to looking "normal" and looking better than someone wearing cargo pants.

Shirts... I mostly wear band shirts on the weekends and during the week after work. I can throw on a nice polo or button down plaid and be just fine. Shoes/boots to match the rest.

I save the durable stuff for when I need durable stuff. Yardwork, housework, in the woods... All the right time and place for TAD, Carhartt, and Kuhl.

That said... In my area one can easily pull off "REI-Chic" and have some latitude as far as wearing the TAD and such elsewhere without standing out. Just note that "REI-Chic" doesn't include Molon Labe tattoos and multicam hats covered in patches.


I read this post last night, and it's been nagging me since. There are a few ... shit, what's the word.. "themes" in the defensive community that drive me nuts. The first is the wolf/sheepdog/sheep thing. I have my reasons for that, but I won't go into them, because they're off topic. The second one is the "gray man / blend in" thing. I don't buy it. I think it's a futile exercise for most of us. And to explain why I think this, I'm actually going to indulge in the sheepdog BS.

The reason I think it's futile, is because I firmly believe canines recognize canines. Wolves, sheepdogs, doesn't matter. I believe that we recognize each other in public. We may not know who's who, but we recognize a canine. Because clothing doesn't matter. Not to me, and I really don't think to bad guys. And the reality is, it probably doesn't matter to you either. It's my opinion that most of the ways we recognize each other have nothing at all to do with clothing.

I spot you by the fact that you noticed me enter the shop, even though I'm nowhere near your personal space. I spot you because of the angle you stand at the cash register. I spot you by where you stand in the room. I spot you by seeing you mentally track anything that even vaguely looks like a threat on the street. I spot you using the reflections off the shop windows to see behind you as you walk. I spot you by your bearing. I spot you entering a room, and out of habit digging to the corners with your eyes. You may not be armed. You may not have so much as a sharp pencil on you. But you are AWARE. And people who are aware, spot others who are aware.

So dress like a 5.11 model. Wear a pink tutu over pretty purple leotards. Put on your jeans and flipflops with your Avenged Sevenfold t-shirt. You're aware, and I'll know it.

The bad guys spot us too. They see our awareness, just as we see theirs. We may not articulate it. We may barely make more than a passing mental note as we turn the street corner. But we noticed each other. Canines spot canines. Wolves and Sheepdogs are aware of each other. Weapons don't matter in this equation. It's all mindset.

I could be 100% wrong on all of this. But I believe it.

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
The Grey man stuff is real, you may have just scratched the surface of it. Aspects of it are outlined as restricted from discussion in the open forum. There is an art and a lifestyle associated.