It’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it

10/22 Butler Creek mags, $110 f a dozen, inc. shipping.
Minding my own business and grabbing a Krispy Kreme before my computer modelling final. In front of me is a guy with a small daypack-type backpack. The pack is ‘coyote’ (or what we used to call brown) and he has his jacket rolled up and secured to the bottom of the bag with two straps. Now, see, this is unusual because I’ve noticed most people don’t do that..they just ball up their fleece and shove it in the bag or through a strap. Interesting. So I look closer. He’s wearing solid hiking-type boots, those hiking pants that are lightweight and zipoff at the knees (subdued color), a heavy leather belt that is absolutely a gunbelt, and a similarly ‘tactical’ 5.11 type shirt. On the straps of his pack are some small pouches and I can see a folding knife and a multitool. Hmm. Add it all up and you get someone who knows their gear and the gunbelt says they might be on the same page as me.

He’s talking to the clerk at the counter and he mentions that he’s a math teacher. There’s my in.

“You’re teaching math at the University?”
“Yeah, summer session.”
“Ah, I  have to take statistics this summer. Are you teaching it?”
“No, but I know the guy who is…”

And we go on to have some friendly banter. I decide to test my theory. “Yeah, summer school sucks. I was hoping to get to spend some time this summer catching up on my pistol shooting.”
“Yeah, me too. I just did my first three-gun match last week.”


So we chatted some more for a while, and I’m now about 80% sure this guy is on the same page as me. I’ll have to see if I wind up taking any courses that he’s teaching. Could be useful.

But…that’s how you meet like-minded individuals. You encounter them organically. It just happens. Sure, he could have just been some guy back from the sandbox who likes gear, or he could just be a guy who works at Cabela’s and gets a deal on clothing, but if it dresses like a survivalist, has the gear collection of a survivalist, and has the EDC of a survivalist…well…you know the rest.

11 thoughts on “It’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it

  1. Point taken.
    It also helps when you’re in Montana, and not someplace where what you wear is primarily a fashion statement, and not necessarily a mission statement.

    Just saying.

  2. Around here it’s all about fashion. At the car dealership waiting area getting another free lifetime oil change (yes!) and I see a young man OCing a glock 17 on his hip. I know no one else has noticed his gat as we’re in the middle of liberal-ville and he isn’t surrounded by a bubble of horrified citizens. I pass by him and quietly say “Good choice.” He gets a puzzled look on his face then breaks into a smile as he gets it. We have constitutional open carry and this is the first time in 14 friggin’ years I’ve seen OC outside of a gun store. Our interaction did not proceed any further, FWIW. I was oh-so-briefly tempted to hoist my shirt and loudly proclaim “Me too!” but I wanted my oil change instead of causing multiple heart attacks.

  3. Sports watch, bonus with 550 woven band
    Clip knife front pocket, bonus with additional knife on weak side, or neck sheath
    Sturdy shoes, bonus for boots
    Cargo pants, bonus for ‘tactical’ brand
    Sturdy belt, bonus for ‘rigger’ buckle
    Visible mag carrier or sheathed multitool
    550 bracelet
    apparel with manf logo, or hat with velcro patch

    = signifiers for the tribe, but do violate ‘grey man’ for anyone clued in.


  4. nick:

    That totals 16 points. Hmm, I’m runnin’ 11 points on that list, plus some unlisted. Only ever got one obvious comment about tribe membership, and that was by a very sharp off-duty student of my buddy.
    Not even the cops who cuffed me, during a man-w-gun call that I got dragged into, seemed to notice. Even the key wrapper hanging from my pocket didn’t raise an eyebrow, apparently.
    Most people only see what the want, or expect, to see, when they look at people. That’s why most of them are clueless.

      • Heavy cover that wraps your huge ring of keys, search ‘leather key wrapper’ with a plus sign before the leather.

        Keeps them from jiggling, protects your other things from getting messed up by scratchy keys.

        Mostly worn by cops who carry a lot of keys… way more common in days gone by.


    • I just described my EDC except I don’t wear logos or the ball cap with patch space. I HAVE the cap and logo’d gear, just don’t normally wear it.

      I don’t like the paracord bracelets either.

      Other than that… guilty.


      Oh, and what looks like a sheathed multitool is actually how I carry my spare mag. In plain sight, but hidden.

      OH, and I forgot the FLASHLIGHT. I give points to anyone carrying a flashlight, but esp if it’s a tactical style on your weak side….

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