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Thank you for wearing that “shoot me first” gear

So I’ve seen more than one post like this one about the vests some concealed carry permit holders use. Most point out the fact that there are none-to-few incidents of people wearing such vests getting shot. They seem to overlook that a) news accounts of shootings rarely, if ever, describe the victim’s attire, and b) well, there is no b).

But the fact remains that the media doesn’t cover that detail doesn’t mean that concealed carry permit holders aren’t easily “made” by bad guys.

Sadly, many concealed carry holders have fallen into the same “keeping up with the Joneses” mindset that they follow in other aspects of their lives, and they choose to dress “tactical.” You see them at the gun range all the time.

  • 5.11 or similar tactical trousers
  • Rugged boots, with a high polish
  • rigger’s belt or pistol belt
  • photographer’s/concealed carry vest
  • “Brand” or “message” shirts

I don’t think I have to explain these in detail, because if you’re a shooter, you precisely what I’m talking about, and you may be a little alarmed if I just described your entire wardrobe.

We do we fall into wearing what is essentially a uniform? It’s simple. We want to be part of the fraternity of the gun, and one way to feel like part of the group is to dress like other people in the group. There’s nothing inherently bad about that, except when it is.

Many people involved in the argument seem to want to believe that police and other gunnies will be able to identify them as gunnies by what they wear (which is absolutely true), but that criminals won’t (absolutely false). The most dangerous thing you can do is underestimate your potential adversary, and that kind of thinking is dangerous.

The fact of the matter is that outside of crimes of passion, most violent criminals don’t start out with murder, and many of them have been in and out of the prison system for years before they became lethal. Those that avoid prison may be smarter (and more dangerous) than their fellow predators, but they maintain contact with criminals all the same. Criminals, too, have a fraternity of sorts, and they share knowledge as any other group does. Prison is nothing more than a university for an advanced degree in crime.

Rest assured that if a fellow gunnie or police officer has you made, then the most dangerous and seasoned criminals do as well.

That said, I can’t begin to describe how any given criminal will use this knowledge. The vast majority will probably choose to simply not press the issue, and most of us can be content that being made as a gunnie has the same sort of effect on criminals that an officer in uniform does.

I don’t tend to fall into that camp. Maybe I’m just over-concerned, but I’ve been around unfortunate incidents with criminals, and those incidents have led me to form the opinion that complete surprise is in my best interests as a future survivor. To borrow some philosophy from “40 -Second” Boyd, I want to get inside their OODA Loop. I want to force them to react to me once violence of action is the only way to survive, and I want to press that advantage in any way I can.

Because of this, I don’t “dress like gunnie.” I don’t have a vest. I don’t own “tactical” pants or wear obvious guns belts or manufacturer-logo clothing off the range. My normal, daily carry attire this time of year is an untucked tee shirt, some cargo shorts from Walmart or the Gap, and flip-flops. I look like your normal, middle-aged shlub and nothing about my external attire would inform anyone that I’m carrying a firearm, and that’s just the way I like it.

I can spot you if you wear a “gunnie uniform.”

Rest assured that the bad guys can too.

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Posted in Gear.

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6 Responses

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  1. John K. Smithe says

    This is just another try to stand out as an individual. Never judge people by their clothing. It works in both directions.

  2. Miguel says

    “But the fact remains that the media doesn’t cover that detail doesn’t mean that concealed carry permit holders aren’t easily “made” by bad guys.”

    The lack of problems directly related to CCWers wearing vests leads me to believe that a) The bad guys really have no idea about vests and b) If they do, they are a deterrent and the choose to do their deeds to somebody else. Either case is a win.

    As i said, in over more than10 years I have not heard of one single documented incident where a vest was directly related to an attack to a CCWer by a criminal.
    Just because it apparently makes sense, does not mean it happens in real life.

  3. Sean D Sorrentino says

    A lot of people wear cargo pants. I just leave my polo untucked. Can’t see my belt.

    The other thing is, I’ve open carried and no one noticed my gun, so I have a hard time believing that anyone would connect a vest with carrying. You are also making the mistake of believing thyat the average criminal is situationally aware. Having read a lot of the criminal records of these clowns, I keep seeing drugs and larceny convictions. People stealing to feed a drug habit are not noted for their awareness and judgement.

    I’m not trying to defeat an assassin, I’m trying to be a hard tarfet for the average street criminal. If I was an assassin target, I’d get real security.

  4. Tam says

    Many people involved in the argument seem to want to believe that police and other gunnies will be able to identify them as gunnies by what they wear

    If only I could somehow convey to you how little I care about what other people think of my clothing.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Clothes Make The Man | hellinahandbasket.net linked to this post on June 14, 2011

    […] Bob has an interesting take on the subject.  Doesn’t wearing that stuff advertise that your are armed? […]

  2. My new favorite pants | Guns, Cars, and Tech linked to this post on March 14, 2012

    […] who operate in operations would wear are becoming the new “Shoot Me First Vests.” Bob Owens had some really good thoughts on this last year, and I suggest you go read that […]



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