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Old 08-21-2011, 13:29   #1
Sam Spade
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"No one should have known" you CCW'd

Best title I could come up with. We might also go with "Being the Gray Man". This musing is prompted by an exchange in another thread that went like this:

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Originally Posted by Sam Spade View Post
And while I've only made one arrest on the "no guns" thing, I've lost count of the people I've hooked who didn't bother with the "No Trespassing" sign.
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Originally Posted by ipscshooter View Post
I'm curious as to why this one arrest? If the person was carrying concealed no one should have know.
The fact is that most people's version of "concealed means concealed" relies heavily on others' lack of perception and on people generally being lost in their own little bubble. It relies far too heavily on that, IMO. Once you get into a world where someone's actually looking for concealed weapons, the average guy's odds of being "made" go up. And once you get into a situation where the attention is actually on you specifically, the odds skyrocket. Yeah, yeah, that doesn't happen much. I'm writing about when it *does*.

"Being Gray" means fading into the background of where you're moving. There is no one formula for this, because what works in a law office doesn't work in a garage. The one exception to this is the guy who dresses and carries himself like a janitor. That level of service worker can move about most anywhere and be like everyone else, or be overlooked by everyone else. Let me start by talking about what *isn't* gray.
  • Gun gear isn't grey. This means exposed Wilderness belts, cute little raven pins on your hat, as well as the more obvious Tshirts.
  • Political wear isn't grey. It invites attention from both people who share the advertised views and people who oppose the advertised views. In the case of 3per, Gasden or similar advertisements, it invites LE scrutiny of your hands and waistband. Sorry, guys. I'm writing about the world as it is, not as some would wish it.
  • Cover garments beyond an untucked polo or workshirt aren't grey in warm weather. The number of people wearing vests (or worse, photographer's vests) compared to the number of people who use them to cover a gun? C'mon.
  • 5-11s aren't gray (I'm alternating spellings because I can ) There are plenty of Colombia or similar cargo pants that are quite popular. 5-11s and clones, though, are cop clothes. Cops look at people who look like them, crooks look at people who look like cops.
  • "Loud" colors aren't gray. Red attracts the eye. Neon attracts the eye. Bright attracts the eye. Attracting the eye invites being remembered, being scrutinized, and having your CCW noticed.
  • Pocket clips (folding knives) and pouches aren't grey. The crook is looking for an easy score. Seeing the clip from a knife makes him look harder before he looks away. The cop on "scan" is looking for weapons, and seeing an indicator of one he'll look for others. Belt pouches mean electronics mean stuff to steal to the crook. Seeing one piece of temptation, he's ready to look for others.
  • Posture and actions different from the crowd isn't grey. Stay to the right, go with the flow, walk, don't run. Being alert and attentive is good for you. Having your head on a swivel is doing an imitation of a crook looking for witnesses. There's a fine line on that last.

Okay, that's a start. My goal is to discuss things you can do and avoid doing so as to avoid unwanted attention to your person. Specifically, I'm talking about avoiding attention that makes people end up noticing that bulge at your waist. There's lots more, but you can start by going to public places and watching people. Notice how many your attention is drawn to when they do something from that list.
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Old 08-21-2011, 13:36   #2
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Some REALLY good points there. I think the way you walk and carry yourself is something to look at too. I've had some pals of mine that hones to goodness walk different when carrying. Almost like they're barney bad a** back in high school or something. A swagger like "I wish you would". Shame some people are like that, but it draws a lot of attention. I like to wear vests, but stay away from "Tac vests" and photog vests for just that reason. I tell you another. I have a couple of buddies that swear by the hip-pack carry. I think it's lame, #1, but that's personal taste and totally subjective. #2 is that if you see someone that looks like me with a hip-pack on, no question. That cat's packin'. Stands out big time, IMO. I've had people argue that point, or that a man-purse is in style and can be used without much drama, but I beg to differ. There aren't a whole lot of guys than can do that and not look out of character.
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Old 08-21-2011, 13:58   #3
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I've had people argue that point, or that a man-purse is in style and can be used without much drama, but I beg to differ. There aren't a whole lot of guys than can do that and not look out of character.
I only know of one guy who carries a man purse. He's been carrying one for so many years it has become part of him. And he CCWs all the time. Probably 24/7 for all I know. And of course, it's never in the man purse.
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Old 11-27-2013, 00:28   #4
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I only know of one guy who carries a man purse. He's been carrying one for so many years it has become part of him. And he CCWs all the time. Probably 24/7 for all I know. And of course, it's never in the man purse.
Man purses are very popular in some circles and in Europe.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:21   #5
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I only know of one guy who carries a man purse. He's been carrying one for so many years it has become part of him. And he CCWs all the time. Probably 24/7 for all I know. And of course, it's never in the man purse.
That is a good one.

I never wear a gun logo etc.
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Old 08-21-2011, 14:07   #6
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Some REALLY good points there. I think the way you walk and carry yourself is something to look at too. I've had some pals of mine that hones to goodness walk different when carrying. Almost like they're barney bad a** back in high school or something. A swagger like "I wish you would". Shame some people are like that, but it draws a lot of attention. I like to wear vests, but stay away from "Tac vests" and photog vests for just that reason. I tell you another. I have a couple of buddies that swear by the hip-pack carry. I think it's lame, #1, but that's personal taste and totally subjective. #2 is that if you see someone that looks like me with a hip-pack on, no question. That cat's packin'. Stands out big time, IMO. I've had people argue that point, or that a man-purse is in style and can be used without much drama, but I beg to differ. There aren't a whole lot of guys than can do that and not look out of character.
Then there are those who don't swagger or strut or anything similar, but their very presence says "Start something at your own risk".

They stand out also. They are the ones that most LEO'S don't mess with because they don't start things. The only exception to that of which I am aware are those LEO'S who have an inferiority complex of some type(Yes, they do exist, thankfully a small minority). They really dislike ANYONE who has a modicum of self confidence.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:39   #7
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Then there are those who don't swagger or strut or anything similar, but their very presence says "Start something at your own risk".

They stand out also. They are the ones that most LEO'S don't mess with because they don't start things. The only exception to that of which I am aware are those LEO'S who have an inferiority complex of some type(Yes, they do exist, thankfully a small minority). They really dislike ANYONE who has a modicum of self confidence.
"Then there are those who don't swagger or strut or anything similar, but their very presence says "Start something at your own risk". - Being 6'0 - 240 and pretty thick in the chest does that all by itself.

All kidding aside, I've been carrying for almost 15 years and there's never been a time where I've "been made" or asked if I was "maybe" carrying. As stated by others, it all comes down to how you carry your weapon and equally as important, how you carry yourself. If you look or act like someone who is noticeably different than the people around you, you will be seen and then questions will start. Blend in, be cool and 99.9% of the time everything will be just fine.
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Old 08-28-2012, 14:44   #8
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I print almost 100% of the time I carry. I've been mistaken for a cop by other people and by cops themselves.

I refuse the carry a .380 in my butt crack and I love outside the waistband holsters.

I don't care...

Carry Issues
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:51   #9
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I print almost 100% of the time I carry. I've been mistaken for a cop by other people and by cops themselves.

I refuse the carry a .380 in my butt crack and I love outside the waistband holsters.

I don't care...

Carry Issues
Except here in TX if you print, you get arrested and lose your CHL
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Old 08-21-2011, 13:51   #10
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I always play a game when I am in public places such as malls. I look for predators. I look for those who may be CCWing. I look for plain-clothes LE. Amazing how much you actually "see" when you are looking for it!

The "predators" are the easiest to spot, the plain-clothes are more difficult. CCWers are usually somewhere in between because, if they are not being obvious, they carry themselves differently and they tend to "touch" certain areas.

Years ago I was in a mall and I was looking for a sheriff's deputy as I needed some info on a friend in the department. Took me 5 minutes to find the UC and ask him to get a message to my friend. She later told me that he was not pleased and she asked me what gave him away. He wanted to know how I "made him". Still get a smile over that.

As for me, I do not advertise that I am carrying. I do not wear gun gear or 5-11s or tactical vests. In the summer, I wear cargo shorts and a t-shirt. Carry IWB or in cargo shorts pocket in a Desantis nemesis holster. I usually wear cargo shorts till mid-December and then switch to cargo pants. Shorts again late February or early March. The shorts do attract attention in the winter, but most just dismiss me as a quack!
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Old 08-23-2011, 19:27   #11
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Years ago I was in a mall and I was looking for a sheriff's deputy as I needed some info on a friend in the department. Took me 5 minutes to find the UC and ask him to get a message to my friend. She later told me that he was not pleased and she asked me what gave him away. He wanted to know how I "made him". Still get a smile over that.
I read through all 3 pages of this thread hoping someone would ask you, but... nothing!

How did you make him???
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Old 08-21-2011, 14:08   #12
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Most of the time the guys I have made just look like pmc's. tactical pants, boots (insert brand here), web belt etc etc.
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Old 08-21-2011, 14:28   #13
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Most of the time the guys I have made just look like pmc's. tactical pants, boots (insert brand here), web belt etc etc.
Yeah a guy with a Glock hat, photographer's vest, fannypack, and 5.11 pants is really not doing much to conceal anything. I don't think I have one piece of clothing with a firearms logo on it and I certainly don't have any 5.11 anything. Why someone wants to wear all those flashing lights that scream, "I have a gun!" is beyond me. Concealed is more than just not having a Desert Eagle strapped to your hip.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:58   #14
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Yeah a guy with a Glock hat, photographer's vest, fannypack, and 5.11 pants is really not doing much to conceal anything. I don't think I have one piece of clothing with a firearms logo on it and I certainly don't have any 5.11 anything. Why someone wants to wear all those flashing lights that scream, "I have a gun!" is beyond me. Concealed is more than just not having a Desert Eagle strapped to your hip.
There's a liquor store owner in my city who wears a GLOCK hat behind the counter.

I guarantee it works in his favor.
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Old 01-22-2013, 13:13   #15
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Yeah a guy with a Glock hat, photographer's vest, fannypack, and 5.11 pants is really not doing much to conceal anything. I don't think I have one piece of clothing with a firearms logo on it and I certainly don't have any 5.11 anything. Why someone wants to wear all those flashing lights that scream, "I have a gun!" is beyond me. Concealed is more than just not having a Desert Eagle strapped to your hip.
Nobody but CCWers and IDPA shooters and about half of cops recognize that any of that stuff indicates you have a gun. You can put Colt and S&W and anything else all over your 5.11 vest and non-shooters, including criminals, won't get it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 17:58   #16
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Nobody but CCWers and IDPA shooters and about half of cops recognize that any of that stuff indicates you have a gun. You can put Colt and S&W and anything else all over your 5.11 vest and non-shooters, including criminals, won't get it.
Might as well cut down on those "in the know" anyway. Just because they are fellow CCW or IDPA, doesn't meant that they should know either.

One of the pieces of advice I got, that is also an internet meme, is: When in combat, try to look unimportant, the enemy may be low on ammunition.


Do I have tacticool stuff. Yes. I even have pants that have tourniquets in the legs at two different levels. I bought them as a joke for under $20 on clearance, but they would work. Would I pull them out and put them on after the 19th zombie I killed at the front door? Maybe. Maybe even after the third one.

It's OK to have tacti-cool stuff, and there is a proper place and time to wear that stuff. I wear multi-pocketed pants when out at the ranch hunting. No one looks twice, as most of us are active duty, Veterans or family members of veterans. No one blinks twice at an AR 10 or AR 15 either.

But in the mall, let the security guard look the coolest.

Carry Issues

Especially if you have all that stuff because your favorite action figure has it.......

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Old 02-10-2013, 22:38   #17
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Good thread, subscribed.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:41   #18
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Yeah a guy with a Glock hat, photographer's vest, fannypack, and 5.11 pants is really not doing much to conceal anything. I don't think I have one piece of clothing with a firearms logo on it and I certainly don't have any 5.11 anything. Why someone wants to wear all those flashing lights that scream, "I have a gun!" is beyond me. Concealed is more than just not having a Desert Eagle strapped to your hip.
The only people who know that any of that stuff means you have a gun, other than the Glock hat, are shooters who really spend a lot of time doing gun stuff. To the average gangsta and even some hunters and cops, and certainly to Joe the Minivan Pilot, that stuff means nothing at all - just white folks with a bad fashion sense.
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Old 08-09-2014, 13:56   #19
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You have got to be kidding!!

My wife and I were visiting relatives yesterday and went to a small town fair. Walking toward us was a woman who allowed other people to come into close proximity to her. Now typically that may not be an issue. But what was an issue is that she was wearing a T-shirt with the word, Ok are you ready for this? Here it is: "iPak". Now she may have thought it funny, but typically people wearing something like that could very well have a firearm on them. So she was advertising to every bad-guy that she was carrying and that to obtain her firearm all they had to do was wait until she was not noticing, knock her on the back of the head with a collapsible batton knock her out and bad-guy has immediate gun... (ok I get it bad-guy would have to wait until she was out of a crowd of course).

I don't know, maybe it is because of the benefit of having grown up with a Grand Master in martial art that the idea of not telegraphing one's capabilities is just second nature. Which is why I think why on earth would any person ever be interested in this open-carry idea... all they are doing is advertising which firearm can be stolen later.


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Yeah a guy with a Glock hat, photographer's vest, fannypack, and 5.11 pants is really not doing much to conceal anything. I don't think I have one piece of clothing with a firearms logo on it and I certainly don't have any 5.11 anything. Why someone wants to wear all those flashing lights that scream, "I have a gun!" is beyond me. Concealed is more than just not having a Desert Eagle strapped to your hip.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:18   #20
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Most of the time the guys I have made just look like pmc's. tactical pants, boots (insert brand here), web belt etc etc.
I have worm bdu pants a lot for years because of comfort and I have had no problems yet. But the thing that matters most is to relax, make sure your weapon is hidden from view. I walk right up to leo and chat with the firearm on me.
I saw a FBI agent getting gas one night and he was checking his firearm in his glass. I told him "nice gin"...I told him I saw it when getting out of the car and that does seem to be the hardest part for most people. So when I get out of the car I check the area visually and check my attire.
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