In a popular TV series called Homeland, there was a young CIA agent by the name Carrie who was stationed in Iraq. Her job was to investigate terror cells in order to be exterminated in the war on terror. In part of her investigation, she was being followed by a group of young men in a village marketplace. Carrie noticed the young men following her and quickly went into gray man mode. She understood how to be a gray man from years of experience and training.
Carrie was already dressed similarly to the locals. The locals were mostly Muslim where the women wore hijabs. She was able to quickly wrap her face and blend into the crowd. She maneuvered towards a clothing store that had more Muslim women shopping. Carrie was able to quickly buy a new Hijab and walk out of the store losing her trail.
It could be that the men following her had intentions to kill her. She not only understand how to be a gray man but was able quickly to recall her training to lose her trail. This displays how powerful and useful being the gray man truly is (even if you are a woman).
The gray man concept is a popular concept in the prepper community which was adopted from military and CIA operatives. This concept has helped these organizations complete undercover missions to take out enemy targets unnoticed. It has also helped many operatives escape and evade their enemy.
The gray man concept helps you to avoid being a target. There are essentially 3 strategies that you can implement to avoid being a target. Those strategies include: become a threat so that you don’t appear to be an easy target (the weak and unsuspecting make easy targets), move from your attacker while they are not vigilant (escape and evasion), and blending into a crowd to avoid drawing attention to become a target.
Each strategy has its application and are extremely powerful strategies to use. Knowing how to be a gray man is not only important for escape and evasion situations but living everyday life as a prepper. In this post, we will take about what, why, when and how to be a gray man.
What is the gray man?
The gray man theory is about blending in so that you don’t become a target. This could be not only when you are escaping from someone but maybe before an SHTF scenario happens. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself so that people can remember you. The gray man doesn’t not only draw attention but they are hard to remember.
The typical gray man is ordinary in every way. He blends in with his environment. In other words, the gray man doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
There are some natural features that we have no control over that hinders us from being the gray man. For example, the typical gray man is average in height and weight. For someone like Shaquille O’Neil, it is almost impossible to be a gray man because someone like that is memorable. The dude is a monstrous beast.
However, there are some other features that you have control over that helps us to be the gray man. The typical gray man has no memorable body features such as tattoos, piercings, or flashy clothing.
Why be a gray man
There are a couple of reasons why you would possibly want to be a gray man. Those two reasons primarily have to do with a pre-SHTF and post-SHTF scenario. During an SHTF scenario, it is more challenging to remain a gray man.
Before SHTF you don’t want someone to see you as a potential target should they ever get the chance. For example, if someone knows that you are stocked with gear and supplies then they will remember that when they have nothing. When it comes to survival people will sacrifice many things regardless of the cost.
Another important reason why you should know how to be a gray man is in a post SHTF scenario. In case you are forced to escape from someone or a group of people you will need to know how to be undetectable.
When to be a gray man
When SHTF people who are desperately looking for food and survival items will suddenly remember all the gear and supplies that you have. Many will be able to recall the preparedness lifestyle that you live. That is why it is important to remain the gray man at all times.
Essentially being the gray man will be important when you need to disguise yourself so that you can go undetected for some reason or another. Now, being the gray man when bugging out may not be realistic. During a bug out scenario, everyone will be a target regardless of how gray or undetectable you try to be. This is why it is so important to determine if and when to bug out.
For example, if you look back at when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana it was hard to go undetected from the bad guys. Even ordinary everyday people were being robbed and killed for food and supplies to survive. Yes, bad guys may target the easier looking targets first but everyone will be a target nonetheless.
How to be a gray man
Stay consistent with the baseline of your environment
If you live in a hot and humid state then you would definitely stand out and catch attention if you are wearing clothing for cold temperatures. If you are vacationing in a non-tourist destination then you are going to stand out if you are walking around with a bag camera around your neck and a fanny pack around your waist. Bad guys love tourists because they are generally easy targets with a large payout.
Unless you live on a military base then you shouldn’t wear tactical apparel such as tactical pants. This type of apparel is just advertising to the bad guys that you have guns and gear. Unfortunately, bad guys love the easy access to guns and gear.
The typical gray man doesn’t dress flashy or stylish. They normally don’t wear jewelry or clothing that promotes associations or brandings. For example, if you are walking around with Louis Vuitton purses then bad guys know that you are walking around with money. The purse itself will earn them a pretty dollar. The designs and patterns are especially well known by experienced thieves.
Associations and branding are memorable. If you wear pro-second amendment clothing then most likely the people that you associate with know what you support. Yes, it does help promote the pro-gun agenda but also makes you are a target by anyone who is anti-gun. In case there is ever a government push on this you will be called out by many.
Don’t appear as a soft target
Appearing out of shape and weak makes you an easier target than someone who is in shape. Bad guys know that you won’t be able to properly defend yourself. These are the type of people they go for.
Now, I’m not saying that you should become some extreme body builder. That again will draw attention. However, you should be in enough shape to properly protect yourself and intimidate the potential bad guys.
Altogether, these would be my tips on how to be a gray man. If you have any suggestions or feedback please leave it in the comment section below. Your feedback helps the prepper community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.
Photography by John Strathdee