In Greg Tambone’s three-part series on Gray Man Theory, he goes into detail on several of the things anyone can do to influence the perceptions of others. These are a large set of skills that the ordinary person can use to his advantage in order to convince those in his vicinity to believe he is somebody that he is not. However, as Mr. Tambone explains in this video, sometimes going gray will just not be possible for certain people in certain environments.
For the vast majority of people, they should learn to adopt the skills required to go gray, and make that their primary mode of behavior. It gives anyone a significant advantage to look like he isn’t carrying a weapon when in fact he is. In Greg’s position (during the filming of this video) as a private security contractor in a very dangerous part of the world, sometimes going gray would be more trouble than it’s worth. Given the demands of his line of work (carrying multiple weapons, operating an off-road vehicle, developing an armed presence as a deterrent, and thereby becoming known in the area), he chooses to be a hard target rather than “going grey” this time. If you are unable to influence those around you to believe you are something you are not, the essence of being a Gray Man, then often the next best option is to make yourself a hard target.
Being a hard target in private security contracting sometimes means you will not be able to influence people around you into believing you are anything else than a security contractor. They will know why you are there and can estimate for themselves the things you’re capable of. As Mr. Tambone lays it out in the video, being a hard target is occasionally better all around for the safety of his clients. Those who wish to do his clients harm will be deterred by Greg’s presence. Being a Gray Man or someone who doesn’t look capable of defending anything could be disadvantageous to his clientele in certain situations, therefore Greg abandons this in favor of being a hard target this time.
Greg Tambone consistently operates in some of the world’s most dangerous areas. Crime, cartel activity, murder, robbery. In this video, he shares some very important rules to safely navigate high-risk areas.
Rule number one is situational awareness. Staying safe requires you to strengthen your self-awareness muscle. Most people walk around in a distracted state and don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them. Not only does this mean they aren’t aware of any potential threats or aggressors, but it also has a secondary effect of making them look like a target. You must stay sharp, so you can learn to recognize, and thereby avoid threats. In a restaurant for example, sit back to the wall, making sure you can see what’s going on in the room. Know how to spot an aggressor, stay in lighted areas, make yourself a non-ideal target for predators. A good idea is to take a moment any time you are out and about to look around you, assess the people in your immediate vicinity, think up a plan of how you would safely get out of wherever you are if something bad happened. You will begin to become more conscious of both your surroundings and the attitude/abilities of those around you by continuing to think through these kinds of scenarios.
The only consistent change between normal, relatively non-violent areas and high-crime areas is that you must be more vigilant in the high threat areas. Knowing how to balance “Going Gray” with being a “hard target”, especially in dangerous locations, is going to do more to preserve your safety than perhaps any other tool or skills. Be a hard target but don’t go around looking for a fight, because you will always find one. By the same token, your body language must reflect that you are not prey, and that you will not give up easily if someone singled you out in a violent encounter. Unless for some reason your chosen role as “greyman” requires luxurious attire, dress down: no flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, or otherwise pricey items which might attract unnecessary attention. Finally, hard skills like martial arts training, lock picking, use of cover/concealment, improvised weapons, SERE techniques, disarm techniques, and counterespionage practices are last ditch effort skills that can mean the difference between life and death when trouble can no longer be avoided. These hard skills take years of practice and experience to integrate, so you should be practicing them now. If you haven’t developed the mindset and skillset ahead of time, it will be too late when needed in the danger zone.