The Gray Man Loadout

Is discretion truly the better part of valor?  

I tend to think so.  In fact, I believe it should be a core tenet to your beliefs as a concealed carrier.  

But today we aren’t going to be going too serious.  Rather, we’re going to look at the tenets and tools of the gray man.  First, though, let’s make sure we all know what that means.

Posing as a Gray Man

Who Is the Gray Man?

A gray man is a personal who is prepared for anything, but also blends in when disaster strikes, concealing their preparedness from others. 

People who fit the gray man persona are the three JBs:  Jason Bourne, James Bond, and Jack Bauer.  Well, Bond can be a bit flashy, but he slides in under the radar when necessary.  While these people are fictional characters, I wanted to assemble what I thought would be the tools of the gray man in the real world.  

Blending In

I also wanted to keep the list realistic for your normal everyday Joe.  You won’t see anything on here you couldn’t purchase yourself, at least in the United States.  And, while my most dangerous mission these days is making my morning coffee, this is all gear that I own, so I’m speaking from experience.

This gear has passed my sniff test, and I can wholeheartedly suggest it.  

What Does the Gray Man Wear?  

Now that’s it’s a bit nippy outside the gray man has to have a nice winter coat right?  Depending on where you live your requirements are different.  

The Tactical Jacket

My current favorite is the Propper Full Zip Tech Sweater.   I’ve been wearing this jacket for a few months and absolutely love it.  

Shooting in the Propper Full Zip Tech Sweater

The Tech Sweater is superbly comfy and it allows me to move without restriction.  It’s ready for everything, from duty to concealed carry.  

For concealed carry you have the traditional two pocket front layout.  It’s designed for keeping your hands warm and for easy access to your gun.  The pockets features an internal zipper that allows you to reach under your jacket.  With the jacket zippered up no one will actually be able to see what you are doing with your hands.  

Carrying Concealed under the Propper Full Zip Tech Sweater

You can pull your weapon through the oversized pocket, and draw it effortlessly and silently.  You can remain low profile until the moment your gun leaves your pocket.  

For duty use, the jacket has two zippers down the side that allow you to open the sides and give you instant access to belt worn gear.  It instantly goes from covert to overt.

 

80
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Armored Undershirt

What goes under your jacket?  Of course, body armor would be great, but it’s bulky.  Well, most armor is bulky, but concealable and affordable options exist.  One such option starts with a shirt.  

Tru Spec 24/7 Concealed Armor Undershirt
Tru Spec 24/7 Concealed Armor Undershirt

The Tru Spec 24/7 Concealed Armor Shirt is an undershirt designed for discrete carry.  It’s a close to skin tight fit and it accommodates armored panels up to 10 x 12 inches and less than 3 pounds.  

The panel pocket is reinforced to support the plate and the fact the shirt is tight means the plate doesn’t move.  The shirt has a front and back pocket so you can carry two soft armor plates well concealed.  

Under the Propper Tech Sweater, it isn’t an issue, but for indoor carry you need a button down shirt that’s just a little baggy.  Dark colors or plain patterns work best because they hide any lines the panels may create.  

Soft armor panels aren’t super cheap but you can find high quality soft armor panels from well reputed companies like Premier Body Armor for under a 150 dollars.  

Premier Body Armor Panel
Premier Body Armor Panel

I’ve combined a Premier Soft Armor plate with this shirt and carried it all day.  It remained comfortable – a little warm at times, but it functioned quite well.  

Guns of the Gray Man

At minimum, a Gray woman/man should carry some weapon to defend him/herself.  I like a handgun, and I assume most people are the same way.  My gun of choice doesn’t reflect my favorite handgun, but is a pragmatic choice.  

Carrying a Glock
Carrying a Glock

For our purposes, I chose the Glock 17, but the 19 would be a solid choice, too.  I have nothing against Gaston Glock’s plastic fantastics.  I just really love my CZs.  However, the Glock is a firearm you can find in most parts of the world, and all around the United States.  This means magazines and spare parts are incredibly common.  

Glock and Magazines
Glock and Magazines

The Glock series of handguns are unimaginative, but  highly reliable.  They shoot straight and are easy to use effectively.  And, if you want to blend in, the Glock blends.  

500
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Holster Selection

Since my gray man is wearing the Tech Sweater, he’s going to be rocking an appendix holster.  Not just any appendix holster, but the NSR Glock holster.   

NSR Holsters and Weapons
NSR Holsters

NSR holsters are well made, comfortable, and easy to conceal day in and day out.  Their polymer design means they are unaffected by sweat or heat.  They hold the gun securely and allow for a swift and easy draw.  

66
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

On top of the NSR holster I am going to be carrying a NSR pocket mag pouch to accommodate 1 extra 17 round mag.  This pocket mag pouch gets locked into place do to it’s width and offers you a quick, but completely hidden extra mag.  

Sliding Mag into NSR Holster
Sliding Mag into NSR Holster

Both the holster and mag carrier give you a discrete means to conceal carry both a full sized gun and a spare mag.  

55
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Long Gun 

Like most of us, I don’t normally carry a rifle, but I figure our fictional gray man may want the option.  So what rifle would someone carry discretely that would be effective in a fight?  Well, there aren’t too many choices for discreet rifle carry, but one stands out.  

Shooting the Kel Tec Sub 2000
Shooting the Kel Tec Sub 2000

The Kel Tec Sub 2000 is about the only rifle I can see being discreetly carried for any stretch of time.  This pistol caliber carbine folds in half and is a little over 16 inches long when folded.  It uses not only the same round as my Glock, but the same magazines.  

I can share mags and ammo between guns which reduces my need for complicated logistics.  

Kel Tec Sub 2000
Kel Tec Sub 2000

The Sub 2k Gen 2 that I own is a fun, easy to shoot little gun.  It’s proved reliable over the year I’ve owned it and has never been ammo picky.  It’s also quite customizable and outfitted with picatinny rails and M-LOK slots.  

350
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Bag

If I’m carrying a long gun I need a place to carry it right?  I’m certainly not going IWB with the Kel Tec.  The gray man needs a bag.  What bag exactly?  

Vertx Commuter Bag
Vertx Commuter Bag

Well, for my fictional Gray man it’s going to be the Vertx Commuter.  The Commuter is ridiculously strong and well made.  

153
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

It doesn’t look tactical on the outside in any way.  It’s big enough to pack my Kel Tec, along an array other gear a gray man may need.  

Vertx Commuter Bag and Kel Tec Sub 2000
Vertx Commuter Bag and Kel Tec Sub 2000

The internal pockets have hook and loop compatibility which allows you to organize it almost anyway you please.  Vertx even produces hook and loop MOLLE adapters that allow you to use your MOLLE pouches inside the bag.  

6
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Vertx commuter also has an armor panel made by Phalanx Defense.  It fits in the rear most mini pouch and provides you with another layer of protection.  Let’s face it more armor is better than less armor right?  

MOLLE Adaptors in Vertx Commuter Bag
MOLLE Adaptors in Vertx Commuter Bag

Spare Mags

You gotta have some spare mags, and since we are focusing on the Glock platform for this article you have tons of options.  There are, of course, Glock’s OEM mags in varying capacities.  

You aren’t limited to Glock magazines though.  Due to the popularity of the platform there are several aftermarket magazine companies.  We covered them here, and my two suggestions still stand.  Magpul and ETS both make outstanding aftermarket magazines.  

 

I keep plenty of all three on hand, and especially love the ETS extended Glock magazines.  

I’d keep a couple of these, along with a few spare 17 rounders.  

Magazine Pockets in Vertx Commuter Bag
Magazine Pockets in Vertx Commuter Bag

Carrying an IFAK

A Gray man tries to be ready for anything, including putting bandaids on his boo boos.  An IFAK, or individual first aid kit, is a must have.  If you are already carrying a bag, then you might as well have a way of patching yourself up.  

I didn’t need my Marine Corps training to teach me that it’s best to keep as much blood in as you as possible.  An IFAK should be a complete trauma kit.  Our fictional Gray man does have some medical training, and it’s not a bad idea for you to take a course or two with the Red Cross or a similar organization yourself.  

RE Factor Tactical Delta First Aid Kit
RE Factor Tactical Delta First Aid Kit

Our chosen kit is the RE Factor Tactical Delta. 

It’s great because you have options to mount it to a MOLLE platform, or to mount it the hook and loop inside the Vertx.  The inside of the pouch has lots of room and lots of internal organizational options.  Bungee cords at the bottom allow you to easily attach a CAT tourniquet for quick and easy retrieval.  The inside of the kit is easy to stock with just about anything you’d need to treat individual wounds.  

Inside of the RE Factor Tactical First Aid Kit
Inside of the RE Factor Tactical First Aid Kit

The Knives

Everyone needs a knife or two.  An EDC knife is a must and you have tons of options.  Now, like Denzel in Training Day, I like the Spyderco series.  

Gayle Bradley 2
Gayle Bradley 2

They are rock solid and reliable, sharp as a razor, and have that Spyderco blade profile I personally love.  I own three, but my favorite is the Gayle Bradley 2.  

156
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Picking an EDC knife is a personal decision, so ultimately it’s up to you.  

The Gray man may also need something a little bigger and a little stronger.  The Gerber Strongarm is my fixed blade of choice.  

Carrying Gerber Strongarm Knife
Carrying Gerber Strongarm Knife

The Strongarm is a fixed blade knife with three different means to carry it.  It can hang vertically from your belt, mount to a MOLLE platform, or my personal favorite be carried concealed horizontally.  

68
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

A fixed blade can be a weapon, but ultimately it is a much tougher and stronger tool.  It can pry, cut, and pierce better than any pocket knife.  Carrying horizontally allows you to easily keep it concealed and hidden away.  

Lights!  

We have a whole article on EDC flashlights and anything on that list would be a great light for your bag.  

For a pocket light option the 5.11 EDC light is pretty nice.  I’ve had mine for a long time now and it’s served me well.  I’ve beat the heck out of this poor thing and it just keeps coming back.  This little light is super small, no larger than a pocket knife, and clips onto the pocket.  

5.11 Tactical EDC Light
5.11 Tactical EDC Light

It’s powerful enough for indoor use, but it’s no spot light.  Its small size and lightweight nature make it a good pocket light.  Its price makes it close to disposable.  

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Nothing is Black and White

Gray Man Gear
Gray Man Gear

If I was a low rent John Wick these are the things I would carry on a day to day basis.  Luckily, I’m not any kind of John Wick and can get away with a gun, pocket knife, flashlight, and cell phone.  In fairness, I’ve also been rocking the Propper sweater just about every day since winter started.

Armed Like a Gray Man
Armed Like a Gray Man

Anyway, this is my particular gray man loadout.  It’s certainly not the cheapest, but I tried to trim where I could without sacrificing quality.  If you were carrying a license to kill and a top secret government credit card what would your gray man loadout be?  

Archer Black Titanium Credit Card
Like this one from a certain satirical gray man

Seriously, I want to know!  Share your thoughts in the comments.  Bonus points for links!

12 Leave a Reply

  • Dano

    I subscribed to the idea of being prepared for events that are encountered. However, the article is truly based in the concept of "what can I sell the reader." The info is basic but a person needs to expand their knowledge and choose equipment that works for them.

    2 weeks ago
  • chickenstripe

    The problem..... EVERYONE knows that a Vertx bag is for EDC/CCW..... so it's not so "grayman".

    4 months ago
  • Mister V

    My only thoughts are that this is a kit for a high threat environment. Being a grey man isn't about being ready for world war 3 all the time- it's about being adaptive and under the radar, responding to increasing threats by increasing your readiness. A grey man definitely only needs a CCW pistol, a keen sense of awareness, good training, and an ability to blend in 90% of the time.

    7 months ago
  • Kilroy

    Funnily enough, this is a concept I've pursued as well, and our loadouts are very similar. I'm carrying a modded Sub-2000 (with the Red Lion Precision forend and front sight), but with the Smith mags to match my M&P 2.0. Both fit snugly and securely in the Vertex Commuter. Great bag.

    1 year ago
  • TomC

    "Our chosen kit is the RE Factor Tactical Delta" Here's a hint guys -- sixty bucks for a small empty bag might be fine for people whose gear is paid for by their government agency, but not for everyone -- and the ridiculous photo is nothing but bait and switch (or maybe I should say click-bait and switch). Your photo shows suitable contents for a first aid kit but I don't think your chosen "kit" is even in that photo.

    1 year ago
    • Chris

      I don't disagree with you, but I think the way I'd put it is that I'd be more interested in knowing what the gray man includes in his IFAK, rather than what bag he keeps it in.

      1 year ago
  • Mike

    Great read will take the info and apply to the knowledge as a beginning step to becoming grey myself. Thank you

    1 year ago
  • Will Atkinson

    Great stuff Travis. I carry a Glock 17, great choice. My gray man would carry a fire steel or gel packs too, never knowhen you're gonna need fire! Keep up the great work.

    1 year ago
  • javadog

    Mr Gray Man might want to look at the new Ruger PC 9mm pistol caliber carbine when it comes out later this year. It is a take down model so it would fit in the pack and also share magazines and ammo with the pistol, like the Kel-Tec. Looks like a nicely made gun.

    1 year ago
  • Chubs

    Awesome article! Quick enjoyable read, thanks for that. Lots of good recommendations here - really digging that Propper jacket (& still waiting for Brownell’s to bring back that Sub 2000 in stock! Haha). I’m a South Florida native who just came back from a camping trip near Ocala, so I recognized the Spanish moss in the pics lol

    1 year ago
  • Joe L

    I would have my gray man wear a single point sling under the jacket, to be attached to the rifle once it comes out of the bag. If two point slings are more your speed, a Vickers Sling on the rifle in the bag would be a valuable addition.

    1 year ago
    • javadog

      Yeah you could make a necktie with a snap hook at the end. Nobody would think that was odd.

      1 year ago
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