The Gray Man Appearance

Becoming The Gray Man (Part 2/4)


How to hide in plain sight by appearing like the gray man.


In the last post of the Gray Man Series we talked about the general philosophy – how becoming the Gray Man gives us that valuable time during an emergency to execute our plan (dive to the nearest cover, assess the situation, get our gear ready, and either neutralize the threat or escape the arena).

Now we’ll dive into the first question – how to look like the man in the background? The first part of becoming the Gray Man is having the right appearance, and carrying the right tools. This will help us avoid most opportunity criminals or deal with them if necessary, and especially help us survive any active shooter scenario, while being able to conceal our true purpose until we are ready to execute our plan.

Important Note: The Gray Man concept is the name depicted for it, but it is directed to both men and women. I sometimes used the masculine form in this post for simplicity sake only.

Click the image below to watch the Gray Man Appearance video:








General Appearance Guidelines

Becoming the Gray Man does not mean you can only wear gray, but to wear whatever is the most common appearance in your local environment. You need to find that unique local look and use it as a base for your appearance. For example: if you are in hot and sunny Hawaii, you should wear a light colored or flowered shirt and shorts. Anywhere you go you need to look like the average Joe, someone that is so common that the look blends in with everyone else in that environment. Very similar to camouflage in the forest where we try to mimic the shapes and colors of the environment.

Sticking to Global Archetype Styles

There are several global archetype styles that are common almost anywhere in the world: the emotional college student, the curious excited tourist, and the bland man. In all cases start from the local common look (discussed above) and add the global identifiers of your favorite archetype style.

Here are a few recommended global styles that you can use (but don’t limit yourself only to them):

The Emotional College Student:
This look is highly recommended since it allows you to have plenty of pockets to carry your EDC with ease. Also, most people will ignore you on account of looking like you are minding your own business and generally looking uninviting – people will usually want to avoid the edgy-emotional-angry teen and this look subconsciously reminds them of that.









Here are this look’s identifiers:

  1. A round solid backpack that looks big enough to carry a laptop.
  2. A hoodie or a loose overshirt – nothing fancy, use bland solid colors like gray, black, dark blue, and can be a t-shirt in the summer. Try to avoid identifying logos or emblems.
  3. Fake earphones, usually white, with wires going to your pocket or under your shirt – make sure not to play any music since that will distract your attention.
  4. Baggy pants with side pockets – you can use camouflage colors where it’s in fashion, but a solid color works best.
  5. Brown or black hikings shoes or even combat boots fit nicely with this look.

The Curious Excited Tourist:
This look is also great as it allows you to wear colorful clothes that are a bit out of place, but at the same time, usually causes people to avert their eyes from you, for the fear that you might ask them for directions or anything about the local area. At the same time it will give you a great excuse to carry baggy pants, a backpack and even a pocket vest.








Here are this look’s identifiers:

  1. A full brim hat that covers your ears and the back of your neck – it will give you the option to easily hide your appearance by lowering your head (helps avoiding eye contact).
  2. A large backpack to carry your EDC (Every Day Carry), and anything you deem necessary for a day kit, or a get back home kit.
  3. A side camera bag, where you can carry anything from a first aid kit, to a concealed pistol (if you have the licence).
  4. Cargo pants with side pockets are a great addition to this look.
  5. Hiking, trekking or even combat boots that are covered by the pants.

The Bland Man:
This is a more indistinct appearance, without any distinguishing signs, that looks very regular, but not out of place. For example, wearing a polo shirt (preferably without a logo, or with a logo at the same color as the shirt), and khakis or sport elegant pants, making sure that the color of the pants and shirt matches.

Pro Tip: you can color the logo using a cloths marker.









Here are this look’s identifiers:

  1. Round dark backpack, like a regular student backpack.
  2. Dark softshell jacket that looks very normal with no identifying signs.
  3. Dark cargo pants that blend well with the jacket, i.e. same color or pattern.
  4. Dark hiking or combat boots that are covered by the pants.


The Everyday Gray Man Gear (EDGG):

Always remember the simple principles of the Gray Man concept – carry only things that look ordinary and fit with the local base look, and one of the global archetype styles, Things that  aren’t offensive nor attention grabbing, or that are concealed from view. We call this EDGG (instead of the common EDC).

Here is a list of all the equipment I personally use and love. This equipment (or similar) should be on your person every time you step out in order to make sure you’re always ready for any situation:

  1. 5.11 Covert Boxpack Backpack: A light backpack with a simple design that looks very ordinary. But, it’s built for carrying a concealed weapon in the front and magazines in the side pockets. It also has an easy access med-kit pouch at the bottom, and a back compartment for a ballistic pad. And the best thing is – it looks like a 30$ student backpack even from close by.
  2. Cold Steel Recon 1 Folding Knife: The Recon 1 is a great folding knife as it’s small, very light, and extremely sturdy (i.e. cracks bricks without losing its edge). It can serve as a  self-defense tool, cut restraints and come in handy for many other activities in the field.
  3. Bollé SWAT Tactical Sunglasses: They are light, and seal your eyes for great protection from dust, debris and glare.
  4. Olight S30R III Tactical Flashlight: Excellent, rechargeable, 1050 lumen flashlight, with a rapid strobe option for tactical use and self defence. It fits on your cap’s visor for a head lamp, and is light and easy to store. It’s magnetic bottom sticks to metals in case you need to work on your car or use it as a lantern.
  5. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen: This tactical pen is made of sturdy, heavy duty, stainless steel, has a glass breaker tip, and is a great self-defense weapon.  It has the Rite in Rain ink filling that will write in any condition, and is built to last. All the while looking like a normal, ballpoint pen, which you can even bring with you on any airplane!
  6. Paracord 550: 7ft (2m) of paracord in each of your shoes as shoe-laces, and another 7ft (2m) bracelet,  either on your wrist or in your pocket for a total of 21ft (6m) of paracord which you can use for pretty amazing things (from cutting restraints to building a shelter) without attracting any attention.
  7. Tactical HF Gloves: These excellent half-finger gloves should be tucked in one of your internal pockets or in your pants’ side pockets. These gloves will help you grip your tools better during an event, and allow you to grapple, climb, and perform many activities without harming your hands and knuckles, while keeping your finger sensitivity intact.
  8. Neck Warmer: The neck warmer can cover your mouth and nose from debris and dust during an event, disguise your identity if needed or serve as a balaclava – all the while looking like a regular scarf when not in use.
  9. Keychain with a Handcuff Key: A simple keychain with your keys, with a handcuff key in case you need it.
  10. First Aid Kit: Its essential to have a First Aid Kit, that can be used to stop bleeding, and treat wounds, sprains, and broken limbs in the field. The kit should include:
    1. Bandages – 4”, 6” and Stomach
    2. Bandage scissors
    3. Alcohol disinfecting patches
    4. Thermal blanket (space blanket)
    5. Elastic or C.A.T Tourniquet.
  11. Rugged Solar Panel Powerbank 10,000mAh:  The solar panel will give power to any electronic device, independent of the grid, since our beloved sun is always there to give us free energy.
  12. iPhone: You can download many helpful apps, Like a compass, area maps, and translators, and use them even without an internet connection. Also, in most cases, you can use your phone as a communication device.
  13. 700ml Mineral Water Bottle: Water is essential anywhere you go. Just make sure to refresh your supply when it goes down.
  14. IIIA (3A) Ballistic Pad: It’s best to stick it in the back of your backpack and use it as a shield in case you need to move between covers and/or if you are exposed for some reason during an event.
  15. Glock 43, Walther PPQ or Jericho 941 9mm Compact: If it’s legal in your area, and you have a license for a concealed carry, these pistols are excellent – reliable, very light (around 22-24 oz/600-700g), and easy to conceal. They have a limited magazine, but you can carry 2 extra normal sized magazines.

The goal of all of these items is simple – to be ready for any situation, while not drawing any attention.

You can checkout most of these items in our amazing SHOP:


To Sum Up:

To appear as the Gray Man you need to:

  1. Find the base look for your local area.
  2. Select an archetype style on top of the base look.
  3. Carry only items that look completely innocent, or are concealed until you need to use them.



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In the Next Episode:

In the following episode we’ll review the behavioral aspects of the Gray Man, essentially how to act in public to avoid attracting any attention, especially during an emergency (since those who act like over-confident heroes will be dealt with right after the men in uniform or the dangerous-looking ones).

So, until then – Stay Safe!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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