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Old 08-22-2011, 16:54   #81
ventura
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Thanks, Sam, good thread.

Subtlety is important in being "gray". Your head-on-a-swivel comment is a good example. I was in retailing back in another life. My positions gave me an opportunity to observe how bad guys (and girls) acted while casing a store. The best were the most subtle. Small movements, slow movements of their head and body along with natural actions associated with shopping.

When a security person would notice them, and often security was more obvious than the shoplifter, they would slowly move on to an easier target.

Lesson learned from those days payoff now when I carry concealed into a strange environment. You'll never know I am aware of your presence until you get into my personal "space".

There is a skill to scanning for trouble. The secret is, don't look and act like you have a secret. Watch what people in Condition White do. Do the same thing, only be in a heightened level of situational awareness.

Practice and have someone watch you practice, someone who can be brutally honest with you. It will pay off.
Different neighborhoods/areas have different behaviors that are normal. In a particularly bad area that i am in frequently you would look like an easy target (and probably would be) if you were trying to be so subtle. In that area anyone walking down the street who knows anything about the street, is looking around constantly, almost obsessively, not to do so would show you to be naive. If you want to survive there, constant vigilance is necessary and everyone there knows it.
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Old 08-22-2011, 16:58   #82
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Actually, Carrys, it is a game, so to speak.

I often run scenarios through my head. "If this happens right here, I will do_________ . If they do ___________ in response, I'll do _________ ." I visualize people doing bad things and my response. I play the "What If" game to be ready for the "When it Happens" game.

barstoolguru, your definition of "game" in this context is not mine. My "game playing", it's kept me alive for 4+ decades. In my context, if I make a mistake in my game, I can be dead when I play for real.
Like always the comment was taken out of context. I see a lot of people on this site overreacting and getting carried away with an idea. Look at my original comment and you will see that what I said is some people do see it as a game but to a street thug it is life all the time.

Comments like ” when I walk in a mall I try and spot the person carrying” … me I don’t care who is carrying, I am more worried about the thug or shady character that is more likely to be trouble maker then some wanna-be cop or ccw holder. Does the average person go out of his way to spot people packing …NO… does a person of law enforcement …yes, like it is for a mechanic to see worn parts on a car, an engineer to see structural damage it is a part of the job.

I find the tread very entertaining and lots of useful info on how to carry without sticking out but to some it is just more fuel for the paranoia fire. I can’t enjoy life if I am always worried about the other guy and what he is doing
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Old 08-22-2011, 18:18   #83
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This is a great post, I’m glad I ran across it. There’s allot of good theories and opinions being exchanged here and I too would like to give mine. First off I must agree that no one should know that you have a CCW and I carry very discreetly and when ever I can. I grew up just outside NYC and in the 60’s and early 70’s we were “greasers” and got into allot of confrontations. We learned at an early age that if you look like you can take care of yourself and have self confidence people will leave you alone most of the time. In my opinion being too much in the “gray” area can invite problems. It could make you look like you’re a non threat, weak and an easy target. Just like in nature where an animal predator will frequently choose the weakest animal to feed on. I’m 58 years old and live in South Florida. I’m 6-foot tall and weigh 175 pounds. I don’t want to sound narcissistic but I have an athletic build and I’m proud of it. I’ve jogged, rode bicycles and exercised with weights for over 36 years. In NOT a health nut by no means, but like to take care of myself. I wear 5.11 shorts/pants and for the most part only people like us know what 5.11 is or means. Many people wear cargo shorts/pants and don’t know the difference between the makers. I wear Propper tactical pants to work with boots. I work around allot of LEO’s and know many of them. I’ve never had any problem looks from them. Off work I always have two or three blades on me and a tactical flashlight in my back pocket which can be seen if they’re looking. I wear “A“-shirts or a wife beater as some call them or a snug fitting medium size t-shirt. I and my girl friend like it because it does show that I’m in good shape. I walk and stand tall and may even have a slight “swagger” in my step too. I purposely show that I am aware of what’s going on around me and I’m confident in my self. If a gang banger or ominous person looks at me I look back with a “vanilla” or blank look on my face and if eye contact is made I raise my head up slightly as in acknowledgement of their presence. It’s not a look that would incite a confrontation but a look that says “I see you, how’s it going”. 3/4 of a mile away is our neighborhood bar/pool hall and I never drive there or CCW and usually go once or twice a week. During the afternoons and early evenings it’s a great neighborhood type bar with allot of good people of all ages. Later on the younger crowd comes in and some are gang bangers, punks, athletes and druggies. I have met many of them and get along with virtually all of them. The reason is that I don’t cause trouble, show any fear or animosity. I’ll say a brief hello like many do in Florida and maybe start a conversation with them and they sometimes ask me if I’m a LEO which I take as a compliment. They can see that if they are looking for a target I may not be the one they want to zero in on. And there’s allot of easier ones somewhere else. I’m not a wise guy and some call me Pop’s or big guy or something that makes them very respectful and even subservient towards me. They often ask if I was in the military. I joke with the bouncers at the bar and these are some big young dudes. They can see I‘m not causing trouble, weak or afraid. They even say that we’ll watch each others backs. I get enormous respect from them because of how I portray myself. I really hope I’m not sounding like I’m bragging or BS’n you guys. My point is that I think if you “blend in” too much and are so gray and seemingly unaware that you can become more “targetable”. And I’m sure that many of you will be ready to react to a threat as I am most of the time but avoiding being a target is what I’m talking about and how I obtain that. Make the bad guys look somewhere else. Make them think that you’re a little too risky for their intentions and they’ll usually go elsewhere. I've been doing this for years. Please don't hit me with both barrels, it's only my opinion and what works well for me.
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Old 08-22-2011, 18:31   #84
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This is a great post, I’m glad I ran across it. There’s allot of good theories and opinions being exchanged here and I too would like to give mine. First off I must agree that no one should know that you have a CCW and I carry very discreetly and when ever I can. I grew up just outside NYC and in the 60’s and early 70’s we were “greasers” and got into allot of confrontations. We learned at an early age that if you look like you can take care of yourself and have self confidence people will leave you alone most of the time.
I'm 2 years younger and grew up in the Bronx. I have a similar outlook. I think the message to be sending is I'm aware of you (the bad guy) and I'm not a pushover.
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:02   #85
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Oh well a touch of gray, kinda suits you anyway,
That's all I had to say, but it's alright
I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.


Garcia and the boys
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:16   #86
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Today at the store I applied some of the pointers from this post. I'm always aware of my surroundings, but I'm mostly looking for the overt and obvious threats. Today I decided to look a bit 'deeper'

It was interesting. In particular the idea of dressing to 'blend in'. I saw so many different ways of dressing none of which I thought really 'blended in'. It seems like everyone wants to make their own fashion statement. Camo shorts, a lot of T-shirts, jeans of various kinds and colors. Among the women a lot of sweats and shorts as well. And the babes with tight jeans and tighter T's (Hey I had to check out everyone)

A few exceptions were a couple of very tired looking men in sweaty T's and jeans and a middle aged guy who looked like an engineer or other mid-level professional dressed in slacks and a button down long sleeve shirt. They seemed to 'blend'.

Myself, I was dressed in Black Jeans a light weight plaid button down shirt and dress boots. I think I 'blended' reasonably well.

I also think it's important to dress for your age. Being 57 a tight T and camo shorts would be really odd, though on a teenager that might be the best way to blend in.

Only one person I saw that looked even remotely like they were carrying. Moving fast for the potato chip aisle
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:25   #87
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Today at the store I applied some of the pointers from this post. I'm always aware of my surroundings, but I'm mostly looking for the overt and obvious threats. Today I decided to look a bit 'deeper'

It was interesting. In particular the idea of dressing to 'blend in'. I saw so many different ways of dressing none of which I thought really 'blended in'. It seems like everyone wants to make their own fashion statement. Camo shorts, a lot of T-shirts, jeans of various kinds and colors. Among the women a lot of sweats and shorts as well. And the babes with tight jeans and tighter T's (Hey I had to check out everyone)

Only one person I saw that looked even remotely like they were carrying. Moving fast for the potato chip aisle

they were talking about the mall not wal-mart
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:32   #88
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they were talking about the mall not wal-mart
Ah yes...wally world...my favorite place.....to avoid


Good point though. Each setting acquires it's own sub-culture. This happens to be our neighborhood grocery store. A significantly different sub-culture than wally-world.

To blend in at wally-world you need a straw hat over size jeans and hip waders
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:42   #89
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I go a different route for blending in and my thinking (right or wrong) is this:

For summer carry, I have IWB holsters that I place in the small of my back. I carry a G23, G33, and a Kimber Compact. Usually I am wearing a bright Ralph Lauren Polo (untucked), cargo shorts, flip flops, and a visor (yes, a visor). Most people will joke and ask if I just played golf. It used to annoy me, until I realized something. I am not in grey mode, I am in stand out metrosexual mode. Who the heck is gonna make me for a CCW if I am wearing a pink shirt and flip flops? I have a hard time thinking that someone will make me due to the way I dress. Whats the old saying? Hide it in plain sight and no one will see it. As always, this is my two cents. You are welcome to disagree...but I would be really curious as to why.
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:56   #90
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I would have never thought cargo shorts were a red flag. It seems like they're everywhere.

Tourists often wear clothing to carry their cameras and other essential tourist gear. It's easy to conceal when you dress like a tourist. I wear pants or shorts with big pockets so I usually pocket carry. I wear a black leather fanny pack when I ride my bicycle. I have had several police chat me up. That's OK. I enjoy the company.
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:57   #91
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Hard to be gray when this is your carry system...

Carry Issues
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Old 08-22-2011, 21:59   #92
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Thank you Mr. Spade. You make several good points, as do some others. I do believe that many here miss the point though. Being "gray" is not a matter of looking strong, or weak, or necessarily blending in. It is more like being invisible. It is a condition where although you are totally aware, no one else will even notice that you are there; you pull in your antenae and float through. It's a skill. I've seen some pick it up quickly and some who never do. You know you've got it when the BG looks dead at you, while looking for you, and then moves away. Many vets have had the sensation or can tell a story of it happening. The ones that can make it happen are the artists.
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Old 08-22-2011, 22:17   #93
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Thank you Mr. Spade. You make several good points, as do some others. I do believe that many here miss the point though. Being "gray" is not a matter of looking strong, or weak, or necessarily blending in. It is more like being invisible. It is a condition where although you are totally aware, no one else will even notice that you are there; you pull in your antenae and float through. It's a skill. I've seen some pick it up quickly and some who never do. You know you've got it when the BG looks dead at you, while looking for you, and then moves away. Many vets have had the sensation or can tell a story of it happening. The ones that can make it happen are the artists.
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I wish you would elaborate more on your statement that I put in bold.
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Old 08-22-2011, 22:27   #94
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Sure. In a military setting in particular, you're hiding; you're being looked for; you sort of pull in your antenae, be the bush, the grass, whatever; they look right at you, but don't see you 'cause you're not putting out any vibes; they pass you by. It is something you're taught, but few are good at it.
In more of an everyday way, there are people that can walk past you, maybe in a mix of other people, and you don't even "see" them. It's not so much that they don't stand out, it's more that they're just not making any waves.
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Old 08-22-2011, 22:31   #95
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Years ago when I joined the Army my Dad gave me some good advice. He said "Blend In and if at the end of Basic Training your Drill Sgt. can't remember your name, great! Never be the best or the worst, stay in the middle of the pack and kife will be easier."

I always tried to remmber that as a cop and especially when carrying concealed. Never wear load or odd clothes or toomuch gun or other crap. That said, I due occasionally still wear 5.11 pants as they're mostly old and faded and extremely comfortable. But that's the only "cop" stuff I wear past my driveway. I do wear cargo pants and shorts (who doesn't down here?) and some NRA hats and T's but again, it's so common. I'm never without my 642, except at work. I'm retired and work part time and my employer frowns on guns.
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Old 08-22-2011, 23:41   #96
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Great thread Mr. Spade, kudos for your attempts to educate. I've yet to find the holster that would make me truly grey/gray/gris. I have spotted a few CCW's mostly due to the flaws as outlined in remaining grey. Took notice not to mimic their behaviours.

Thanks for the thread!
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Old 08-22-2011, 23:42   #97
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Hard to be gray when this is your carry system...

Carry Issues
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:29   #98
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:50   #99
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Today at the store I applied some of the pointers from this post. I'm always aware of my surroundings, but I'm mostly looking for the overt and obvious threats. Today I decided to look a bit 'deeper'

It was interesting. In particular the idea of dressing to 'blend in'. I saw so many different ways of dressing none of which I thought really 'blended in'. It seems like everyone wants to make their own fashion statement. Camo shorts, a lot of T-shirts, jeans of various kinds and colors. Among the women a lot of sweats and shorts as well. And the babes with tight jeans and tighter T's (Hey I had to check out everyone)

A few exceptions were a couple of very tired looking men in sweaty T's and jeans and a middle aged guy who looked like an engineer or other mid-level professional dressed in slacks and a button down long sleeve shirt. They seemed to 'blend'.

Myself, I was dressed in Black Jeans a light weight plaid button down shirt and dress boots. I think I 'blended' reasonably well.

I also think it's important to dress for your age. Being 57 a tight T and camo shorts would be really odd, though on a teenager that might be the best way to blend in.

Only one person I saw that looked even remotely like they were carrying. Moving fast for the potato chip aisle
You, sir, have just brought up another very good point: personalities. There are 4 generally accepted personality types. One of them is the incredibly outgoing Sanguine, or the guys you see wearing plaid shorts and other generally "loud" clothing.

I would venture that our own hardwired personality gives us each a unique set of "gray" abilities. Some of us just naturally blend in better than others, while some, like Shinesintx said, "blend in by standing out".

A very interesting observation.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:01   #100
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Different neighborhoods/areas have different behaviors that are normal. In a particularly bad area that i am in frequently you would look like an easy target (and probably would be) if you were trying to be so subtle. In that area anyone walking down the street who knows anything about the street, is looking around constantly, almost obsessively, not to do so would show you to be naive. If you want to survive there, constant vigilance is necessary and everyone there knows it.
That is the key to being gray. The trick is blending in to whatever the environment calls normal. Just as the biker dude in leathers stands out in the downtown business world, the guy with the button-down oxford shirt and tie stands out at the biker bar. Doesn't necessarily mean you are carrying, but it does mean folks look at you and wonder what is going on.

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