The grey man directive, some say, cannot be learned. Some insist that being a grey man is just something you are--or you're not. In this article and companion video, we take you inside the mind of a grey man, a man that understands the importance of blending in, careful to exist in the fringes between the pendulum swings of social paradigms. In most urban survival situations we will likely face at home, being grey is your best course of action to avoid kinetic confrontation. There is no complete manual on how to be grey; no written instruction to guide you. It's instinctual, environmental, and situational dependent.
|(fig. 1) - STT's graphical explanation of the Grey Man Directive phases (click to enlarge)|
In the first phase, or Phase 0 of the grey man directive (far right of fig. 1), there is little assessed clear and present danger to you, your loved ones or your property. In most--but not all--areas of the United States, we currently remain at the Phase 0 level. In this phase, we can afford to sacrifice firepower for stealth, as stealth is at the top of the grey man's lexicon. Remember, generally the more "grey" you are, the less firepower and kit (equipment) you have on your person. It's a trade off and a balance at the same time.
Warning: As of this writing, some regions of the United States are beginning to blur the lines of Phase 1 threat conditions. Phase 1 will be explained later in the Grey Man Directive.
Agent - for the purposes of the Grey Man Directive, an agent is defined as anyone or anything that the grey man wishes to conceal his/her true skills, intent and survivability assets from.
Phase 0 (normal state) Apparel and Ethos
As you can see in fig. 1 above, Phase 0 is the most stealthy phase of the Grey Man Directive. It is also the safest operating environment. In this phase, your goal is to effect interaction with your environment and evade the detection of all agents as to what you really are--someone who will protect yourself and your loved ones with deadly force if threatened with congruent levels of force by a hostile agent (looter, rioter, thug, murderer, etc., etc).
A Phase 0 gray man will not wear compromising articles of clothing such as photographer's or tac vest (fig. 2 below), or any type of overt tactical clothing. In this most strict phase of stealth, vests like in fig. 2, may cause unwanted delay and questioning by authorities (another type of agent). Clothing like this is a sure signal to authorities that you may be armed. Remember, you not only wish to avoid attention and contact with hostile agents, but also unnecessary contact with agents of the state.
|(fig. 2) This tac vest is not recommended for Grey Man Phase 0 operations|
|(fig. 3) Don't be tempted, leave the shallow bumper sticker politics to the non-greys|
Upper body: Earth tones are always a logical choice in urban camouflage. Avoid bright colors or faddish styles. A earth tone or grey t-shirts with little or no brand markings are a good choice.
Belt: Don't skimp on your belt. Purchase and wear a high quality full grain leather belt with tackle hardware, especially if you are carrying a concealed firearm. In Phase 0, avoid wearing what we call in the firearms culture, "war belts." They are thick tactical nylon rigger's belts capable of withstanding heavy lift loads, such as an emergency tactical helicopter extraction. They are another clear sign that you might be carrying a firearm. Besides, if you purchase a top quality leather belt from trusted manufacturers, you'll have all the utility strength you need for most survival purposes. Belts have many uses besides holding your gun--and your pants--on.
Lower Body: We recommend generic non-designer blue jeans or even khaki work pants, pending your operating environment. Avoid expensive looking jeans. People have been assaulted and murdered for less, even in the US. In Phase 0, avoid pants advertised as "tactical" or "operator" as most of them have military looking pockets and zippers all over them, a dead give away that you are likely armed.
Shorts: If it's hot outside, shorts are a good Phase 0 threat option. No one said that being grey means you must be uncomfortable. You will not blend well if you are the only one wearing jeans on a hot summer day. Again, consider your operating environment.
Socks: When applicable, we recommend wool socks. Wool maintains warmth even when wet.
Footgear: Choose wisely. We recommend comfortable tennis shoes or quality leather loafers with oil resistant soles (no leather soles). In a survival situation, you may be walking many miles in your footgear, through bad weather. When wearing shorts, the best option is something in which you can move quickly. Flip flops offer no foot protection and slow you down. Consider this when choosing footgear in Phase 0 operations. Flip flops are not recommended beyond Phase 0.
Now that we've covered Phase 0 threat operation apparel from head to toe (literally) it's time to go over the kit recommended in a Phase 0, any-town USA environment. Some of the Phase 0 kit will be applicable for future phases.
Phase 0 Kit
Note: follow all applicable federal and state laws pertaining to firearms. We regret that many states do not recognize the Constitution of the United States and restrict firearms unconstitutionally.
Weapon system: In today's day and time in the United States, we highly recommend any would-be grey man to legally carry a firearm for self protection. As stealth is the hallmark of Phase 0 and the grey man's mantra, we highly recommend reliable polymer sub-compact pistols in 9mm, such as the very concealable Glock 26 shown in fig. 4.
|(fig. 4) Sub-compact Glock 26 - 9mm|
|(fig. 5) A t-shirt and shorts Phase 0 Grey Man. Is he armed?|
|(fig. 6) Yep.|
Smart Phone: Many would argue that your communications device is your primary weapon in a Phase 0 environment. Your smartphone is essential kit for Phase 0 for sure, but it won't save you from an active shooter, mugger, flash mob or over zealous Occupy Wall Street thug that wants to beat you to death for no apparent reason other than you being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some prefer the flexibility of Droid phones as you have the ability to use external flash storage, keeping survival manuals stored for viewing anytime. Some like the Apple iPhone platform for their numerous reliable and vetted apps. The choice is yours.
|(fig. 7) Smart Phone running a compass application|
|(fig. 8) Something as innocent as this visible clip can shift perceptions, and perception is reality!|
Backpack/Courier bag: The backpack is not recommended for the grey man in a Phase 0 environment. Remember, you are carrying less gear in order to attain a higher measurement of stealth. How many suspicious glances might you receive from store clerks when wearing a backpack while walking into a department store or other retail area? Why? The employees have been trained to keep an eye on you, as your backpack is a sign that you might be a shoplifter. You are now a security threat and have just lost your grey status. Exceptions exist (colleges, hiking trails, etc.). Bags also invite unconstitutional searches by agents of the state in some major US cities.
Remember, your ultimate piece of kit for this phase is your good judgement. Use it.
Phase 1 (Flash Mob/#OWS Frenzy Warning) Apparel and Ethos
Phase 1: In this phase, the hostility threat level has increased to the point that your safety is in question. As you can see in Fig. 1 at the top of this knowledge base article, your stealth will be compromised to allow for more kit, and firepower. Certain areas of the United States are in Phase 1 at the time of this writing; particularly areas with high incidents of flash mobs, Occupy Wall Street Protests gone bad (Oakland, CA) and racially motivated hate crimes. Phase 1 is generally limited to specific regions, townships or events, but could spread far and wide quickly. This article describes a modern day Phase 1 situation in which being a phase 0 grey man might not be enough to save your life and limb from hostile agents.
Headgear, upper body, belt and lower body: No change from Phase 0.
Footgear: We recommend you upgrade to a plain, dark mid-length leather boots with a steel toe and comfortable foot inserts.
Phase 1 Kit
Weapon system: In a Phase 1 environment, it's recommended that you carry a weapon system with higher capacity than your Phase 0 sub-compact. You can accomplish this by using higher capacity magazines in your sub-compact or by purchasing a Phase 1+ pistol such as the compact Glock 19. The Glock 19 has a 16 round capacity with standard magazines, five more rounds than the Phase 0 recommended Glock 26 pistol. Not only is it recommended that you have the initial 15+1 rounds at your disposal, it's also recommended that you carry two 15 round back-up magazines on your belt, concealed by your untucked shirt.
Front pants pocket: pepper spray for those times that deadly force is not necessary or warranted.
Smart Phone: No change from Phase 0. The smart phone is still must have piece of kit for Phase 1. Note: Smart phones should not be considered a reliable means of communications beyond Phase 1 due to inherent Phase 2+ infrastructure vulnerabilities and law enforcement agent network kill switches.
Folding knife and flashlight: Recommended. No change from Phase 0.
Backpack/Courier bag: During Phase 0, backpacks/courier bags were not recommended, but during Phase 1, they become more necessary to the grey man. We recommend a low key, civilian looking grey man style bag with light to medium capacity (fig. 9).
|(fig. 9) Timbuk 2 messenger bag, black|
|(fig. 10) Glock 26 with 30+ round mag.|
Phase 2 (Mass Rioting, Looting and Violent Protest) Ethos and Apparel
Well, the crap has hit the fan and the situation has retrograded into chaos. Welcome to Mad Max (not quite, but almost). This phase discusses the Grey Man Directive as it pertains to Phase 2, or all out flash mobs, rioting and looting on a massive scale in the major cities. During this phase, local, state and federal governments have lost much of their control of the cities, leaving you in charge of your own destiny, but wasn't that always the case? In this phase, the grey man sacrifices a little more stealth for a substantial upgrade in armor and kit. You're going to need it to defend your family and your property from the hostile agents--ravenous zombie-like looters and murdering home invaders.
Headgear: Major upgrade recommended. We strongly recommend an upgrade from your ball cap to a protective helmet resembling a bicycle helmet (fig. 11).
|(fig. 11) To the untrained eye, a bicycle helmet.|
Upper Body: Major armor upgrade recommended. During a Phase 2 scenario, level IIIA body armor becomes a necessity (fig. 12). Do not imagine for one second that you are the only person on the streets with a firearm during a "without rule of law" (WROL) scenario. We also recommend you wear the armor underneath your clothing as to not attract unwanted attention.
|Level IIIA body armor and carrier by First-Spear.|
Belt: No change
Pants: No change, but avoid flammable materials
Footgear: No change
|(fig. 13) The Phase 2 Grey Man with helmet, body armor, knee protection, messenger bag, & a Glock 19.|
Most items from Phase 0-1 apply to Phase 2.
Weapon system: In a Phase 2 environment, it's recommended that you carry a weapon system like the Glock 19 with a 15 +1 round capacity and upgrade to at least four 15 round back-up magazines (not including your 30 round magazine backups in your bag). For this phase, we recommend an outside the waist band holster (OWB) with retention as you will need to be able to deploy your weapon quickly and will likely be forced into situations where someone may attempt to reach for your weapon. Most inside the waistband holsters (IWB) do not have retention capability. In fig. 13 above, you can barely see the bottom two inches of the multi cam OWB holster.
Smart Phone/Comm Note: In a Phase 2 and 3 Grey Man scenario, normal cellular and data communicates may be degraded or denied by agents of the state. It is now an open secret that some paramilitary government law enforcement agencies possess a capability to disrupt civilian communications networks via "kill switches." Expect your personal communications to be somewhat degraded and ensure you have a proper communications plan in place to mitigate the degradation. Another likely reason for disrupted cellular and data communications is damage to infrastructure incurred by civil unrest or rolling blackouts from plant worker walkout.
We recommend you utilize a backup communications radio, but be aware that it is not a secure means of communications (but neither is your mobile phone).
Knife/Flashlight: Upgrade to a high quality fixed blade knife and hard anodized aluminum LED flashlight with spare batteries.
Backpack/Courier bag: Stick with the low key, civilian looking grey man style bag with light to medium capacity (fig. 9). You will upgrade to a larger pack during Phase 3.
Phase 3 (Mad Max, Rioting and Looting Nationwide) Ethos and Apparel
We are now in the final phase of the four phase Grey Man Directive. We now find ourselves in the midst of calamity during a full blown social and economic collapse. Hyperinflation has run its course and the populous as a whole has devolved to animalistic behavior. Bands of rioters, looters and bandits control the cities and roam the countryside. There is all out rioting and looting on a national/continental scale. It's quite literally a war zone in the United States during this level of the Grey Man Directive.
Phase 3 Kit
Most Items from Phase 0-2 apply to Phase 3.
You are now on your own, there is no credible government apparatus. The Phase 3 Grey Man has only limited control of how he is perceived.
Weapon Systems: Firepower! M-4 carbine with 200 rounds in magazines, Glock 19, with 200 rounds in magazines. There is no hiding now. To the casual 200 meter observer you may still look like a Grey Man, but anyone inside of 100 meters will know what you are about (to a point).
Communications: Mobile phones are down. Radio is the only means of rapid communications over long distances.
Backpack: Messenger or trekking (hiking) pack filled with essential supplies. Be ready to move at a moments notice. In this phase, molotov cocktails could be raining on your home and bullets might be flying in your direction.
Tactical note: Most modern vehicles offer no protection from small arms fire. You're better off on a motorcycle as we touched on in our Motorcycle Bugout video. It's much easier to get around a pileup in a motorcycle, not to mention the obvious fuel economy advantages.
The major differences between a Phase 2 and Phase 3 Grey man are the upgrade in firepower with the M-4 carbine and more survival kit in the pack. In the photo below, the Phase 3 Grey Man strikes a balance between commando and normal dude in blue jeans. This appearance is a lot less threatening than someone dressed like a SWAT storm trooper during a major collapse scenario.
|(fig. 14) Phase 3 Grey Man with M-4 carbine|
In summary, we don't feel we need to point out that the world is in turmoil. European countries are on the brink of collapse and the western economies are not in much better shape. The #OccupyWhatever movement is growing in intensity and in some cases has devolved into savagery. We assess that these Occupy-esque protest will continue well into 2012 and beyond with a high probability of resulting in violent civil unrest. We recommend that you prepare and begin thinking about what "Grey" phase you might find yourself in the coming years and what you can do to stave the impending onslaught of self appointed have nots.