You may have heard the phrase “be the gray man.” Take a seat in a mall, a fast-food restaurant, even a sidewalk bench on a busy street. Look around at the people in the area. How are they dressed? How do they act? What stands out in that particular area? The area you’re in does matter when you’re deciding what’s “gray”; what stands out in Beverly Hills might be completely normal and grey in a small Midwest town. What passes for straight up crazy and even uncomfortable where I’m from in the American Heartland is perfectly normal and even expected in the freakshow of Seattle. Being the grey man is part skill and part art. It’s a behavior pattern that can save your life and that of your family in SHTF, and for those engaged in patriot activities it is a lifestyle that you should be practicing every day.
If this is a new concept to you, take a look at the links in this article. One of the best how-to guides for getting started is by a former counterintelligence agent (in fact, you should be adding his site to your daily or weekly reading list).
In order to stay off the radar of others, whether you’re an undercover secret agent or just trying to get through a bad neighborhood, you need to be the person who doesn’t trigger anything in the thought process of others. We call that person the Gray Man. He is invisible. It’s not that he doesn’t exist or interact with people though. He can walk through a crowd, take note of everything he wants, complete his mission or walk through an area and be out without anyone remembering he was there.
He doesn’t just wear clothes that match what everyone else is wearing, he wears clothes no one will take note of. He doesn’t just do things to fit his natural surroundings, he does things that don’t cause your mind to take notice. He had no color, no smell, no texture, no emotion. He wasn’t there.
There are plenty of articles on how to do this effectively, one of them being what I just quoted. A member of the Zombie Squad also penned a pretty decent how-to that will at least get you started thinking about the mindset necessary. It can be difficult to fade into the gray, especially for people with loud, boisterous personalities, a need for attention, a tendency to stand out, or even distinctive tattoos or scars. Some traits lend themselves well to adopting the gray man lifestyle; some, not so much.
The best tutorial I’ve seen so far is this gem over at ITS Tactical, which explains the psychology behind the whole thing and includes an exercise for training your mind to see the grey men that are already around you. Once you know how to spot them, you can be them.
To learn to see the previously invisible gray man, go to a public area with lots of foot traffic. Sit back and watch the crowd. As a person walks by, notice the stimulus that drew your eye. In your mind (not out loud), create an insult about that person’s stimulus. The more outlandish the better. Before you all get offended here, the purpose is to pound into your consciousness the stimulus – what you notice about each person. “That guy has a huge nose.” “That guy has completely bizarre taste in shoes” “Do they sell men’s clothes where he bought those pants?” “Wow. That almost looks like he got dressed in the dark.” Remember your purpose is to identify the stimulus.
Then after a few minutes, someone will walk by and you will not find anything. Nothing to make fun of, nothing to ridicule. Pay attention to that person. Observe them carefully. See how they move, what kind of energy they project. See how they interact with others, what they pay attention to (or not). If possible follow them for a bit. Observe them move. I am sure from having done this myself and observing as classes do this, that the key to becoming a gray man lies in your ability to observe and mimic.
One specific and somewhat impressive trick comes from a tiny little blog started a few months ago by a group of vets and active duty military. They’re called Cohort One Five, and one of their first posts back in June mentioned one way to get your gear from one place to the other while being the grey man.
A possible option for a low profile, covert, gun and gear case is the field hockey bag. Most can be had for under $100. While these bags are not designed specifically to hold a rifle and associated gear, it would not be difficult to modify it in order to do so…[Many] would fit a 16″ carbine and associated gear quite nicely. A couple of the larger ones might even fit a full length rifle.
We talk a lot here about minimizing your online footprint. Minimizing your physical footprint and not drawing attention to yourself is just as important—and being able to spot the people around you who are gray is critical as well.