Hand signals are used by gangs as a means of communicating gang affiliation and/or as a challenge to rival gang members, called “throwing signs.” These signals or signs are made by forming letters or numbers with the hands and fingers, depicting the gang symbol or initials. By using these signals, the gang member can show to which gang he belongs and issue challenges to other gangs in the vicinity.
"Throwing up" a gang sign with the hands is one of the most known and obvious forms of "claiming." It is used in many situations where other identifiers may not be possible or appropriate, and can also show that a gang member is in the area to "do business" as opposed to just passing through. Usually these signs are made by formation of the fingers on one or both hands to make some sort of symbol or letter. It can also serve to relay more specific information, such as what set they represent within a larger gang or in which activities they are currently taking part.
False Flagging - This can be defined in a number of ways. One way which is probably the most dangerous is when a non-gang member flashes a gang sign to a gang member, in order to fit in or be cool. This can lead to that person being seriously inured or even killed, there have been some reports that people using sign language have been killed by gang members because they took their signs as gang signs. Another form of false flagging is when a gang member will flash a rival gang sign to a rival gang member in an effort to get that person to "rep" their gang, once this happens they will flash their true sign after the rival has been identified, this is very common nowadays.
DISCLAIMER: The images representing the hand signs on the following pages are for information purposes only. These pages are to provide you a way to identify gangs by their hand signs. Throwing up these signs in any situation can be extremely dangerous, so DONT DO IT.