Don’t draw attention to yourself

| January 27, 2014 | 1 Comments

I carried my SBR AK47 every day from my suburban home to downtown for about eight months. I rode the train for about two hours a day and frequently went out in public for lunch or coffee.

In this environment — especially on the train — I was in a confined area where other passengers were able to look at me for long periods of time. It is essential to appear as ordinary as possible. People in the community call this “staying gray.”

One problem with purpose built bags like those made by SneakyBags is that they are easily recognizable by those “in the know.” If someone is in law enforcement or the concealed carry community and knows what the SneakyBag logo means (for example), you’ve done worse than blow your gray cover. You’ve established yourself as someone who carries so actively that you purchased a purpose-built bag with which to do so. Furthermore, some criminals know what these bags are for, and you may expose yourself to a greater risk of thread.

This is the opposite of staying gray.

I recall this post from WarriorTalk in February of 2012:

I like Maxpedition and the TIB and many other bags but there’s no way that someone isn’t going to put two and two together if they have ever scoped the internet and have interest in firearms. Criminals do there homework to. On a side note, I was recently “made” while in Chicago. I was using my TIB as my traveling bag (not carrying) and a gentleman 4 bar stools down bought me a beer because he “knew who made the bag and what it represented”. It was much appreciated but also irritated me that had I been at home EDCing this guy would’ve known what’s up. His intentions were good, the next guys may not be.

So, in addition to avoiding purpose-built bags, I also recommend avoiding military- or tactical-style bags with PALS / MOLLE rigging. I also recommend not putting patches, pins, buttons etc that might declare your affinity with firearms, the Second Amendment, being a threeper, etc.



This is a close-up photo I took of someone’s bag. It shouts “tactical:” all black, PALS webbing, and a “come and take them” MOLON LABE morale patch on the back. This is the wrong thing to do if you’re trying to stay gray.

There are a very high concentration of Somalians where I live, as well as many Muslims. Many of them rode the train with me every work day. Putting one of the popular “Infidel” patches or pins on  my bag would have garnered me all the wrong kinds of attention.

infidel strong patch infidel patch


Patches like these will draw attention to yourself. Some people might say something. Some people might not. All people will look at you differently.

Remember, when you’re carrying a rifle or PDW in public, the idea is to avoid attention.

It doesn’t matter if your opinion is right, or if you’re a Billy Badass, or whatever. The best way to camouflage your SBR is to keep the bag it’s in as nondescript as possible.


About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

1 Comment on "Don’t draw attention to yourself"

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  1. Wilson Hines says:

    What is the brand and model of that green bag at the bottom?


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