Preppers – Take that Target off Your Back

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There are many aspects of Prepping that we think of from a tactical perspective as being information we wouldn’t want to share with everyone. You don’t usually want to advertise to the world that you are a prepper in the first place because conventional wisdom would say you have supplies that others could want in a crisis scenario. To that end we discuss concepts like OPSEC or operational security – being those practices we employ to keep our supplies and activities on the down low. There is no sense telling your neighbors what you have and advertising your stash of prepping supplies if you ever expect to hang on to them in a crisis. At least without putting up a fight to keep them to yourself.

We also cover the concept of becoming the Grey man, or the Grey neighbor in some cases as I call it; intentionally trying to blend in to your surroundings so as not to draw attention to your physical appearance. By looking more like the people you are around, you stick out less and should be viewed as less of a target by people intent on doing you harm. This can be after a disaster where your neighbors are hungry and dirty and you should be but aren’t because you prepared. It won’t take long for them to get tired of looking at your clean happy face before they will want to storm your castle and take what is rightly theirs “for the common good”.

Practicing good OPSEC as much as you can and implementing grey man concepts are just a few ways we can avoid drawing unwanted attention, but there are other ways that preppers make themselves targets – possibly without realizing it. I wanted to talk about a few ways I think you can telegraph you are a prepper that you might want to consider. Some of these will be obvious, but you might not have thought of a few.

Dress and Appearance

This is probably one area where I make the most mistakes myself and you may not have considered how what you wear makes you a target. For men primarily, especially preppers we tend to like our camo. That makes perfect sense some times of the year. Heck, in some areas camouflage is perfectly acceptable church attire, but in others it puts you in a bucket. It is one thing to have a camo jacket or hoodie on but it is another thing entirely to have the whole GI Joe outfit on when you are out at the mall. This will definitely draw attention to you. Unless you are active duty, I would reconsider going anywhere but to the woods or your local taxidermist in a lot of camo.

Tactical pants are one of the biggest giveaways that you could be carrying concealed. Pair something like 5.11 Tactical pants (which I own and love!) with some mil-spec boots and a large un-tucked shirt like the guy below and you have the recipe for disaster. Potentially. This outfit is lovingly referred to as the “Shoot me first” outfit. At the gun range, this is not a big deal is it? At your daughter’s recital – to anyone who knows what they are looking for it could single you out as a target.

Concealed Carry? Maybe you aren't as concealed as you think.

Concealed Carry? Maybe you aren’t as concealed as you think.

Molon Labe T-shirts and tattoos. I am a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate and I have nothing against tattoos either, but if you wear these proudly (and conspicuously), you could make yourself a target. I completely understand freedom of expression and this isn’t an argument about political beliefs, only the information you are sharing about yourself that could be used against you. Look at the guy’s tattoo below. Do you think you would think of him differently if you ran into him on the street and you saw that tattoo? Do you think a bad guy or cop might think the same thing?




How you decorate your vehicles

I was going to write a post a long time ago titled, “What does your bumper say about you?” The gist of it is that some people go to absurd lengths to showcase their beliefs. By absurd I mean there isn’t an inch of free space on the back of the car and you have to believe that seeing out the back window is a challenge.

This is a free country and you should be able to put whatever you want on your car, but… Unless you want the police or anyone watching you to know your capabilities or recreational hobbies, why would you advertise it? There is a distinction between freedom of expression and saying something that could get you killed. Everyone should have the right to say what they want, but it could be used against you.

I understand both sentiments, but could this make you a target?

I understand both sentiments, but do you think it is wise for everyone else to know?


Everyone has seen the sign below, but do you think it stops robberies? Do you think this sign would make anyone think twice about breaking in? It does make them think you have weapons on site that they could now either plan for or want to steal. You are advertising that you have guns to everyone and that could come back to haunt you someday. What if there are gun confiscations? What if neighbors get a reward for reporting suspicious people and that crazy lady down the street calls the cops on you because she thinks you might be a terrorist and she “knows that you have guns”? Is that out of the realm of possibility? Maybe, but would you consider that it might be better if you don’t advertise what you have?

And now they know you have a gun.

And now they know you have a gun.

Social Media

Facebook is the central clearing house for photographs and meme’s about gun rights. It is also the place that some people choose to put photographs of all their weapons on their page. I don’t know why anyone would do this if they didn’t want someone to try and take them. Who is that someone? We don’t really know but again, by advertising what you have, you are helping out anyone who has plans for you that you don’t know.

This is a bad idea. On SO many levels...

This is a bad idea. On SO many levels…

“Let em come”, you say.”I want them to know that I don’t care what they think” “They should know who they are dealing with” and that is my point. If you don’t care that everyone knows in advance what they are dealing with when they confront you then by all means, go right ahead and pose in your fruit of the looms with your arsenal. Look like a walking advertisement for your favorite movie.

I think it is better to be more subdued, leave them guessing. If someone is coming for me I don’t want them to know what I have or am capable of.

The often quoted Sun Tzu says it pretty well:

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

He was talking about guerrilla operations but I think the concept applies here. Is it better to confuse and deceive your enemy or show him your cards? Isn’t OPSEC and the Grey man all about deception in the larger sense in an effort to keep yourself safer? Could these not apply to other areas of your life as well?

What do you think?

P.S. I  know the title image has the target on the front. Finding good photos is hard…

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Thanks, Pat. After viewing the photo of the gentleman with the guns and guitars, I”m going to have nightmares tonight.

But seriously, thanks for detailing some “Gray Man” ideas. I don’t wear camo, but I have some stored away for SHTF hunting/hiding. I don’t tell anyone about our defensive steps, because it’s not their business, and they wouldn’t take my advice if I shared it anyway.

I’ve taken Sun Tzu’s advice, and appeared liberal in my little leftie college town, when I am not. No one would have any idea I’m a prepper, and that’s the way I like it.

Pat Henry

I couldn’t resist Bobcat! Glad you enjoyed the post.


Just about every male out here was issued a black rifle and three loaded magazines at birth. Trying to hide firearms or appear to be disarmed is a great way to get yourself set up as an easy score. I do not worry about LE trying to disarm the Natives, that would not go down well.

I agree with you on the vehicle stickers, especiallyif you have a trunk gun.

Pat Henry

Thanks LWJ. All of us live in different areas and I know what I wrote doesn’t equally apply to all, but just some thoughts I had.

Thanks for reading.


Bolfia and Lawerence hit the nail on the head, at least out here. Now if I had an Obama or Clinton sticker on my vehicle that would stick out like a sore thumb. Kinda like wearing baggy pants and a black hoodie, while driving a Honda. Ford, Carrhart and Cabelas will not cause people to bat an eye and will allow one to blend in and not stand out. The same can be said for folks who like to open carry in places that tend to be somewhat taboo. Just because you can does not mean that Walmart, Target, or… Read more »

Lawrence Black

Guns, guitars and……..gaaaaak! Some things you just can’t “un-see”.


Posture and looking like one of the sheeple will be extremely difficult. It goes against every fiber of my being to walk with my shoulders slumped and head down like I’m unable to accept any challenge. I’ve had friends call me out on my “George Washington walk” as if I was reviewing the troops when I get serious about something. I think I’d rather stay hidden and on my own property than shuffle along like Winston in 1984. One thing I definitely need to do though is get rid of my veterans license plate. I thought it would get me… Read more »


The veteran tags and driver license designations seem to draw more unwanted attention, then what they are worth. I just use the good old VA ID, for the perks that certain places or vendors offer.

Pat Henry

I think you can still hold your head high Matt, just as long as you are dirty and stinky if the situation calls for it… 🙂

Lawrence Black

Think of it like this: whenever you need to go into town and/or associate with those not of your inner circle (maybe to get your ration for the month, like everyone else) it’ll be a kind of “covert op”. Adopting the dress and mannerisms of the crowd will then be a necessary disguise.


That’s a good perspective. Thanks!

Prepp or Die

Don’t you dare get rid of those Vet plates Bro! Never let those colors run. You have had a target on your back since the day you put the uniform on. I will be looking for those Vet plates if the SHTF, not for people to fight, but for Brothers in arms 🙂

Pat Henry

Thank you very much Lawrence, good to hear from you again!


We don’t have a single decal or sticker on our vehicles. However, to “blend in”, I have a supply of various leftist/Progressive college/university alumni license plate holders, that I routinely place on the rear of the vehicles we use when traveling. No one has tumbled to us yet, or even given us a second look.While I have grey hair, I DO carry a cane routinely and can instantly become a “gimp” if needed. The cane is made by the same company that made my blonde colored straight baton I carried for a couple of decades in law enforcement. I prefer… Read more »

Pat Henry

That is something I didn’t think of before, but a great idea Egbert!


I’ve never wondered whether my “Don’t Tread on Me” sticker was a detriment because I live in a community that is staunchly conservative and a state that is on the leading edge of pro-2nd Amendment. I can’t think of a justifiable reason to drive to California or Connecticut but, if I did, they can kiss my sticker…

Herman Nelson

Good Article! Yeah, I’m guilty of wearing the 5.11 pants and the operator ball cap. When it comes to the bumper stickers, t-shirts, neighbors and social media; I keep a low profile. The area where my employment is located has a big population of homeless and most cars in the parking lot across from the company office is bumper sticker-ed with obama and other pro-communist slogans. I consider the area “indian country”. The dude in the speedo- my eyes are melting! It’s wrong in several ways.

Pat Henry

Ha Ha! Yes, I figured that would garner some responses.

Herman Nelson

Yep, you picked the right pic for the topic! LOL Besides, I was not impressed with guy’s guitar hero guitars or his attempt at looking manly with the stash of pimp guns and small amount of ammo he had. Deuce Bigalow he is not.. 😉

Prepp or Die

Boy am I screwed… LOL! At some point you just got to be who you are Brother. I don’t plan on being a grey. I live in Idaho where the libtards are in the extreme minority. I may be a target? In my personal experience (Albuquerque, Denver, OKC, Tulsa) thugs are cowards. They will hold off and wait until the obviously armed non-coward leaves the store before they rob it. Home invaders avoid armed households. My wife often comments that I look like I am ready for a fight. I have lived in some pretty bad neighborhoods in my life,… Read more »

Pat Henry

I hear what you are saying and I guess any advice or opinion is regionally dependent on where you are and the lifestyle. I can see how Idaho this would be completely different. Thanks for reading and for your comments.



Growing up in Detroit and forced to fight the Mexican gang members i realizes one thing. Most of the bravery comes from the gangs who back them up. I see it in the gangs of blacks now in control of Detroit and the muslim gangs in control of Dearborn. Take out the leaders or get them alone ant they aren’t so tough. Most dont know how to fight with a knife. I am still here because I learned not only how to fight but to read your opponent. This is your greatest survival method. Avoid conflict if at all possible.… Read more »

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