Grey Man Concept in CONUS is silly

Today I'm going to rant for a moment about the Grey Man Concept. The Grey Man Concept by many is basically trying to look non-military/tactical. I've read numerous articles about looking Non-Tactical is the way to protect yourself. CONUS is a military acronym for within the Continental United States.

To me looking tactical does not bring unwanted threats here the United States. If anything its better to look tactical; people will assume your Military or a LEO. Most people respect the U.S Military here in the states and if they perceive you are a LEO no ones going to mess with you (if they do come to harm a LEO you didn't have a chance to begin with). Either way people will assume you have been trained to handle yourself. Now don't get me wrong I don't wear 5.11 tactical pants or anything. I actually don't even own a pair. That's because I don't like the way they look; and I don't carry enough stuff that I need 50 bazillion pockets on my pants. I guess I'd say I don't like the tactical look. I served in the military for 8 years and wearing tactical stuff got old. But that's me.

Now the OCONUS (Outside Continental U.S.) is a different animal. I feel like its a very bad idea to look tactical or military. There is the possibility that someone would want to harm perceived U.S. Military personnel. So leave your Olive Drab Shemagh and 5.11 vest at home when vacationing abroad.

I've also recently attended a seminar where the instructor was going over B.O.B.'s in an TEOTWAWKI Scenario--the instructor stressed to look non-tactical/military. My question is why? In my mind I would think it would be better to look like someone that knew how to handle themselves and may peel your cap if you come messing with them. Than looking like a lost sheep with a bright North Face pack and camping supplies. If I were a bad guy who would I rob first? The guy with a Desert Tan Tactical pack and M4 carbine, or the guy carrying a $400 Mountain Hardware pack with dehydrated food stuffs hanging out of it.

The Grey Man concept should be applied in a manner that "when in Rome do as the Romans". Make yourself look inconspicuous for the environment your in. Don't pull up in a new Mercedes and get out with a Rolex on in Gang territory at midnight on a Saturday night asking for directions. Don't walk down the streets of a bad neighborhood whipping out 100's of dollars. This is common sense not a "Grey Man" concept.

Lets take this over to our new forum and discuss there, I'll open up a thread named "Grey Man Concept". You guys post your thoughts.


  1. I've been arguing this with people for years without much progress. I wouldn't be caught in public wearing camo, but I wear cargos and earth-tones every day.

    Call it camoed-camo, or camo squared; it does serve as camo when I'm off the pavement, but doesn't scream "militia" in the city either.

    Some guys think it's not subtle enough, but honestly very, very few people are looking for that kind of visual indicator, and those that are will pick up on the signs whether you keep your gear in a gym bag or a Maxpedition bag.

    Carry what works for your needs, and don't worry so much about OpSec in CONUS. your chances of being identified as someone who can help in an emergency far outweigh your chances of being a target of violence.

    1. Agreed...Yeah I don't wear camo, unless hunting. I don't think the "tacticool" look is very fashionable. lol. However I dont believe it makes you a target here in the states. But yeah brother your dead on, people can tell the signs regardless of what you wear.

  2. The criminals are looking for opportunities but the military is looking for threats. What if you're strolling around with a rifle on your chest and the police or national guard come around?

    There should be some sort of balance. Looking like a storm trooper OR a nerd on a field trip are not the only options.You can look squared away to the opportunist yet low-key to the authority. I'd steer clear from the signaling colors and the 'traditional' MOLLE/PALS.

  3. I don't like to look tactical at all because I don't want the local LEO, professor progressive, the nosey librarian, or some other liberal nut-job with an agenda to mess with me because I'm walking down town with a military type bag that screams "CCW here", or "I'm a prepper", when I'm on my way to or from my daily operations. Instead I do use a high quality carry bag that has quite capable contents that I am trained to use as required. I am not afraid of the local 'gansta's so much as I am seeking to fit the environment that I am operating in or likely to operate in.

    I try to carry myself with authority and confidence but not arrogance but I will alter my presentation to fit the situation. I am "a" lert", and I'm respectful but I have a plan......

    I'm not going to be a victim and my family will see me again!

  4. I dress as an ordinary working person and keep my mouth shut. I have been in some rough places and stayed out of trouble. You have to avoid suspicion. I got run through the wringer by the cops at a truckstop once and could not figure out why. Then I remembered I paid cash for my gas and when I took out my change I had a 9MM round mixed with it, the Lesson learned. damn cashier called the police obviously.