Who notices people carrying guns? Other people carrying guns. I’d mentioned this in last week’s post, and feel it bears repeating. The challenge is that most of us have difficulty coming to terms with thought processes that don’t mirror our own. Case and point: it’s unfathomable to those of us that carry guns that there are people out there that genuinely believe bad things won’t happen to them. It’s also hard for some to come to terms with the idea that true human ambush predators will use as much visual information as is available to profile their victims.
Dr. William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting does an amazing job in his Unthinkable seminar of articulating the thought process and motivators of Violent Criminal Actors (VCAs). One example he uses is that some criminals are so in tune with their predatory side that they are able to not only select a victim, but merely identify whether someone has been previously victimized, purely by their gait (how they walk)!
If they’re able to pick up significant info off of something that subtle, you can’t really believe that they won’t notice the hip-tumor under your shirt, the flashlight clipped to your pocket, or your operator-chic polo & 5.11 pant combo?
There was a fantastic podcast from Primary & Secondary where Varg Freeborn went into detail discussing degrees of concealment, and how they relate to the individual’s context and expectations. (It’s cued up to that snippit of the conversation, but I would strongly encourage you watch/listen to the whole thing.) The major point he made was that the kinds of people that we carry guns to protect against got much more familiar with a much higher degree of concealment at a much younger age, because failing to conceal whatever it was carried much graver consequences (loss of food, loss of resource, loss of freedom, etc. Survival level priorities). It’s comforting to dismiss the criminal element as stupid, uneducated, and unskilled. Sadly, it’s categorically false.
If a criminal predator is sizing you up and planning to ambush you, cues that you are armed in some form or fashion are not going to dissuade them. Chances are this is the type of person that has had more than one gun pointed at them at some point in their life. Basically all they’re going to do is read the defense, call an audible, and re-adjust their strategy to accommodate the new information they now have.
The preferred strategy is to keep your tools and abilities hidden. That way if you do still fail and end up getting selected, you’ve been underestimated.
When it comes to profiling off of visual information, who is more likely to be carrying a gun with which they’re proficient?
This guy or That Guy?
And which one do you think your significant other would rather be seen with at a nice restaurant?
If you want to fly your “gang colors” as a gun carrier (and if we’re being honest, that’s exactly what they are: a way for members of a tribe to signal to each other that the general public doesn’t immediately catch) go for it. But don’t think that advertising yourself as such is going to help de-select you.
On top of all of that, in the event you do have to employ your firearm in public, how you dress may have an impact on the public’s perception of you and your actions (which may translate into a more (un)favorable 911 call or witness statement.
The next segment is going to touch more on the social impacts of dressing well.
I mentioned Dr. William Aprill’s work at the onset of the post, and I really cannot recommend his Unthinkable class enough. I call it a “Red Pill” class (a la “The Matrix”). Once you take that course, your eyes are opened to an entire other set of cultures and behaviors that you cannot un-know. It will absolutely make you uncomfortable, and you’ll never look at the world in quite the same way, but you’ll be much better off with the information than you would without. He also put out great regular content on his Instagram and Facebook pages, which you should also be following.
11 thoughts on “Dressed to Kill: Sartorial Guidance for the Well Armed Man Part VII”
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Really appreciate the support and encouragement!
I’m really enjoying your content here. There is not much information out there for those of us I retested in personal defense and dressing well.
I have a question though about your discussion of pattered clothes in an earlier post (I’ve been catching up). You mentioned that stripes can help conceal and break up the outline of a firearm; I’ve always been under the impression that stripes should be avoided as they will have a kind of warping effect that will make the bulge of a firearm more obvious. Have you encountered this at all?
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Honestly, there’s no one singular answer.
The advantage that stripes have over a solid is that shadowing or any variation on the topography of the fabric (for lack of a better term) is much more obvious when it’s all one color.
Patterns are certainly better at hiding things, but dep
ending on the environment something that bold may not be a viable option.
Great series, well done.
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Glad you’re enjoying it!
Greg, I always read with interest your opinions and observations on being the “Grey Man”, blending in and not giving away your secrets. My Lovely Bride and I have discussed this many times, and while I tend to dress casually (jeans, t-shirt), I also like elevating that to the next level (jeans, dressy shirt and a vest [I -Love- vests!]), my bride subscribes to the opinion that ‘If you look like food, you will be eaten’, and I have to admit that there’s some truth to that. Knowing that demeanor/attitude (a confident swagger or focused attitude) won’t deter some VCA’s from their dirty work, just where do you draw the line? Or is a Zen, Go-on-Instinct policy the way to go. Thanks in advance, and thanks for your great work.
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I’m assuming you found my blog through Greg’s weekly knowledge dump?
Honestly the best advice I can offer is take William Aprill’s class. It will give you the best insight.
There is a little bit of nihilism involved. A good friend of mine told me that “with a couple decent classes and a year or so of combatives, you’re prepared for 98% of the violent confrontations out there… and if you’re not, well then it won’t be your problem for much longer”
It’s a bit of dark humor that carries some truth.
Ultimately, you’ll need to do your own risk assessment and establish your threat profile.
I’d also watch/ listen to Paul Sharp’s content. He’s great about helping you be appropriately confident about your abilities.
Yes, just assumed I was addressing Greg…sorry. Thanks for the reply. Time and resources are limited for me (71, fixed income) but I’m trying to gain as much insight as I can from blogs and other sources by knowledgeable people. Thanks again.
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Theres a few videos of Dr. Aprill out on YouTube, plus there’s a DVD he did with Personal Defense Network. If you can’t find it for sale I’d reach out to him directly. I think he has copies for sale.
I’d also suggest reading the books by Varg Freeborn, Rory Miller, Gavin de Becker, and Marc Macyoung. They offer great insights into what real violence is and how we can avoid it.