Thoughts On Cover & Concealment

What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You…Or Worse

We read and hear a lot about cover and concealment these days, but how do the concepts play out in real life?
Are they interchangeable? If you are in the law enforcement profession, your answer could mean the difference between walking away from a threatening situation and being carried away.
Have you ever seen a “breaking news” story on television picturing a group of officers standing behind their patrol cars with their handguns resting across the vehicle’s roof, but exposing their entire upper torsos to potential incoming fire through the vehicle’s windows?
If those with the potential to find themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis can make such an error, then so can anyone else. In any deadly encounter involving firearms, the proper understanding of cover and concealment is an absolute essential for survival.

gun-shooting-trainingDEFINING OUR TERMS

First, let’s define our terms. Cover is something that stops bullets. Concealment, on the other hand, does not. What it does do is obfuscate your target image and profile, making you more difficult to hit. Ideally, we want both, but in the real world, they aren’t always available. Particularly when handguns are involved, the nature of the typical encounter isn’t such that cover and/or concealment are available.

In our modern world, what really constitutes cover? Truthfully, not much. Large, everyday objects once made of steel, stone, heavy wood and other materials have been replaced with plastic, aluminum and fiberglass, which for the most part are not bullet-resistant. In the past, dishwashers, ovens, stoves and refrigerators were excellent bullet-stoppers, but no more. For example, a friend of mine (an excellent marksman) fired six shots of heavy-loaded .44 Special at a refrigerator at 200 yards. Five out of the six penetrated!

In the modern home or office, foam panels, aluminum braces and plastic have largely replaced heavy construction materials. Simply put, heavy appliances have gone from being considered “cover” to “concealment.”

Automobiles have gone the same direction. Windshields are thinner and composed of softer glass. Sheet metal bodywork has been largely replaced by aluminum panels, and bumpers are now plastic or fiberglass instead of heavy-gauge steel. As a result, incoming fire penetrates them better than ever before.

This excerpt, which is in a special section devoted to law enforcement, is from the June issue.

Story & Photos by Chuck Taylor

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