The Gray Man Behavior

Behave Like The Man in the Background (Part 3/4)

How to become truly invisible by behaving like the man in the background.


In the last episode of the Gray Man series, we reviewed what the Gray Man should look like – how to find the local base look, and then use one of the global Gray Man archetype styles like the curious tourist, the emotional student or the bland man. But it’s not enough to just look like the Gray Man. The next step is to behave like you belong, like you are part of the local environment, so you can fade into the background.

Think about it, say you are dressed up as a common bland man, and walk about, but you keep a stiff figure, keep looking nervously left and right, and act jumpy every time someone passes you by – not only will you attract a lot of attention, you might even frighten the locals who may even call the authorities on you. In an active shooter scenario, I call this type of behavior “the hero complex” – the people who try to act at the wrong time, who don’t have the patience to blend into the background, and who are likely to be the assailant’s next target.

Our goal as the Gray Man is to behave like the innocent people running for help, until we are ready and decide to act on our plan to either neutralize the threat or escape the Active Shooter arena.

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 Behavior video:









Cultural Awareness

Just like we learned the importance of determining the norm for our situational awareness, as the Gray Man, we have to notice the culture around us. The local baseline is what everyone around us consider as normal behavior.











For example, in Rome, Italy, when there’s a lot of traffic, it’s considered normal to drive with half of your body outside the car and shout at other cars and people.











In India, it’s common for wild cows to walk the streets, and for some of the locals to wear colorful drape like cloths.

Every place is different, and the codes of conduct are different. You have to be aware of the local culture wherever you go, so you can blend in as much as possible.


Behavioral Paradigm of the Gray Man

The Reticular Activating System (RAS)











The RAS is the part of our brain that helps us regulate our attention – it basically separates the important things from the unimportant things in our everyday lives, basically so we don’t go mad from over stimulation. Its responsible for deciding what is “Foreground” and what is “Background” information.

All of the behaviors discussed here are aimed at keeping us in the background and not triggering other people’s RAS response.

Since our objective is to attract as little attention as possible, here are the basic behavioral guidelines for becoming the Gray Man in every environment:

  1. It’s better to keep your voice down, especially if you are talking in a foreign language.
  2. Use reflective surfaces like mirrors, windows and the like to stay aware of your surroundings, so you don’t have to swivel your head around all the time looking nervous.
  3. Try to keep your body and stride relaxed – don’t walk too fast and take large steps.
  4. Don’t make any sudden moves – when you turn, make a point to ease into it.
  5. Keep your elbows close to your body, if you want to talk or show something with your hands make sure your elbows stay attached to your sides.
  6. It’s best not to engage with anyone you do not know, unless you have a very good reason to do so.
  7. Avoid eye contact as it activates the brain’s RAS and moves your likeness from the background to the foreground, and thus attracts attention.
  8. Try to stay in populated areas where you are surrounded by plenty of people.
  9. Every so often, enter random establishments – this will give you the chance to rest, look around, and notice if anyone is following you.


During an Active Shooter Scenario









An “Active Shooter Scenario” is any time someone either threatens to attack or is actively attacking people around you, and can range from a mugger on the street, to a full blown, coordinated terrorist attack. In case you are being attacked, you can refer to the self-defense chapters in the books Prepared and Advanced Preparation. But if the worst happens and you face a single or multiple armed assailants in a crowd, follow these guidelines so not to attract attention to yourself until you are ready to execute your plan (to either neutralize the threat or escape the arena):

  1. Follow the masses: Follow the main body of people who try to escape or hide.
  2. Dive behind the closest cover: Your first instinct should be to drop on the ground and crawl or dash to the closest hardcover (concrete works best). In case there is no hardcover around, crawl or dash to the nearest soft cover (like vegetation) and relocate by leapfrogging to a safer cover.
  3. Don’t hold your mobile phone or any other object: During your dash to cover, anything in your hands will be considered a weapon and marks you as a potential threat.
  4. Drop one of your backpack’s straps: Once behind cover slide your backpack to your chest using your non-dominant hand.
  5. Draw your self-defense tool: Draw your pistol or other self-defense tool and get ready to use it, if necessary.

If you do not have numbers superiority, i.e. your team is smaller than the assailants’ team, your goal would be to escape. If there is no option to escape, wait for an opportunity to engage each assailant separately, when the other assailants are out of visual and audio range.

If you plan to neutralize the assailant, follow these steps:

  1. Scan the arena and mark the different covers to reach a flanking position toward the assailant for a clear shot – all you need are a few seconds to take an effective shot.
  2. Make sure that each cover is no farther than a 3 second dash toward it. If that is not possible, make sure to drop on the ground after 3 seconds and roll, crawl or bear-crawl until you reach the next cover.
  3. Make sure to setup a distraction away from you and aim to flank the assailant from behind.
  4. If using a melee weapon dash toward your assailant with an aimed strike either to the base of the skull or to disarm them by slashing their arm’s interior ligaments and grabbing their weapon.
  5. If the assailant is very large, aim at the back of their knee which will drop them to the ground and remove their height or size advantage.
  6. If you have a ranged weapon, your cover location can be farther than 10 yards (about 9m).
  7. To neutralize always aim to the base of the skull, for an instant Knockout.

If you plan to escape the arena, follow these steps:

  1. Scan the arena and mark the different covers toward the nearest exit.
  2. If possible, use an escape route that is located to the side or the back of the assailant.
  3. Leapfrog between covers, make sure that each cover is no farther than a 3 second dash toward it. If that is not possible, make sure to drop on the ground after 3 seconds and roll, crawl or bear-crawl until you reach the next cover.
  4. Once you are out of the immediate danger zone, re-assess the situation.
  5. If you decide to call the authorities or other members of your team, make sure you are still behind cover and protected from danger.
  6. Do not return to the danger zone unless you have the proper tools, and a substantial number superiority – DO NOT take any unnecessary risks!


To Sum Up:

In order to behave like the man in the background you’ll need to:

  1. Exercise cultural awareness and find the baseline behavior for the location you are in.
  2. Keep quiet, walk softly and stay relaxed.
  3. Stay in a populated area and do not engage with anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary (also try to avoid eye contact).
  4. In case of an active shooter scenario, follow the horde toward the closest cover, devise your plan and execute it when you are ready.



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In The Next Episode:

In the following episode, we’ll review how to mentally prepare for any situation – not only have your tools ready, but know when and how to use them if necessary, while attracting as little attention as possible.The right state of mind will also allow you to stay calm and calculated during any event, which in turn will attract much less attention to yourself.

So, until then – Stay Safe!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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