The difference between cover and concealment isn’t always properly understood. Concealment is a sheet on the clothesline or a bush. A truck or concrete abutment is cover. Rifle cartridges are powerful enough to cut through cover that would stop the most powerful handguns so the difference in rifle and handgun power is also a consideration. Those who find cover may live, whether or not they are able to shoot their assailant.
When you find cover, and fire from cover, keeping an offset from cover prevents our being hit by ricochet. Keeping a certain offset makes our body silhouette smaller and also makes quickly breaking the position and moving easier. Sometimes the best course is to keep cover and protect your position. Unless you know where the target is and have a high likelihood of hitting the target, you should not expose your body to incoming fire. Much of what you thought is cover wasn’t. The walls in your home are seldom cover, although brick walls may be.
When firing around cover do not hug cover. Stand back a few feet. You will minimize the chances of a ricochet or damage from a bullet strike while your silhouette will be much smaller. If you use a vehicle for cover, do not lean over the hood or the top of the vehicle, lean around the side.
Use a wheel for cover. The feet are an inviting target and not difficult to hit under a car. Skipping a bullet under the car will strike your body if you are close enough. Get behind the wheel, preferably by the engine compartment. This is the only area of the car, guaranteed to defeat a .30 caliber rifle. If you are close to a vehicle when the fight starts, it is good to get cover behind the vehicle. Cover is compromised once the bad guys know where you are. They may outflank you or gain high ground and rain fire into your position.
When you are using a rifle, you have a great advantage over a shotgun or handgun. The rifle is more powerful than a handgun and has greater range than a handgun. You must have the proper offset when firing from cover. Do not use a wall for cover and then hang your body around the wall. The tactical use of cover includes finding cover quickly in the open and also finding cover in the home.
Cover stops a bullet. All cover is concealment. All concealment is not cover. When you are behind cover you have greater control of the situation. If cover is sufficient in length and breadth you may be able to move quickly behind cover, even to the point of escaping an attack.
The biggest mistake people make is crowding cover. You will have a better outlook of the area if you are offset from cover. You are less vulnerable to incoming fire or fragments. You are in a much better position to quickly move from one area to the other. This is especially true when using a vehicle for cover.
Cover against shotgun and handgun fire isn’t always effective against incoming rifle fire. A shotgun can be all encompassing and the balls or shot may bounce around the area. A common handgun cartridge such as the 9mm or .45 ACP might penetrate a car door but maybe not. If the handgun projectile strikes the door window regulator it will probably be stopped.
The rifle cartridge will probably have sufficient power to penetrate two car doors in line and deal a lethal blow. Take this into consideration. While anything that breaks up your outline is good, most cover isn’t proof against a .30 caliber rifle. An engine block or wheel house is.
For various reasons, some do not shoot well from cover. Perhaps the excitement of training or the cramped quarters affect their combat mindset. I have seen students who do not use the basics of combat marksmanship.
Shooter development is expensive in terms of time and ammunition. We will never shoot like the Navy Seals, no matter what the man says, because we do not have the resources to train daily and fire tens of thousands of rounds in this training. Mental rehearsals, such as dry fire and visualization techniques, are important.
If you are firing from behind cover, you are in a fight. The lives of your family and your own will depend upon how well you are able to fire from behind cover. Practice taking cover, do so quickly, and fire accurately from a solid firing position.
If you have good cover and a good firing zone, none but the foolish would attempt a head on assault. As a closing thought, never forget that elevation gives the aggressor an advantage. If a threat is firing from above and your body is exposed behind cover, you have lost the battle. There are times when the rule of not hugging cover too closely must be modified.
Do you have a tip for using cover and concealment? Share your tips and tactics in the comment section.
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