Self-Defense Tip: Practice Using Cover/Concealment Properly

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I don’t know of any shooting range offering its customers day-in day-out training in the wide variety of shooting and maneuvering skills needed to survive a gun fight. Many ranges don’t allow customers to draw from a holster and rapid fire. Those that do usually keep their customers in cattle chutes, preventing any sideways movement. The small percentage of gun ranges that allow holster draw and uninhibited movement don’t provide on-demand choice-based training (i.e. shoot/don’t shoot drills). If you think about it, there are enormous gaps in real world firearms training. For example, how do you practice locating, reaching and utilizing cover (ballistic protection) and/or concealment?

In the case above, the Detroit cop behind the counter makes a strategic mistake which cost him two of his fingers, and could have cost him his life. He continued to shoot from behind the same bit of cover. By popping-up in the same place every time, he revealed his location to the bad guy. When Lamar Moore wanted to take out his threat, he knew exactly where to go.

Perhaps we should blame Hollywood. TV and movie shootouts usually involve a good guy running to cover or concealment, popping out to take a couple of shots at the bad guy, making a break through an open field of fire to find another bit of cover or concealment, and then shooting the bad guy when he makes the same move.

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Or maybe we should blame police training. How much of the Detroit po-po’s firearms training, qualification and re-qualification involves shooting from behind cover or concealment in dynamic situations; situations that require transition from one position to the next? I’m thinking very, very little. If any.

Anyway, there is a perfect answer for an armed self-defender who wants to learn how to use cover and concealment effectively. Unfortunately, Force-on-Force training is both rare and expensive. Even if you learn what to think about during a DGU at an FoF session, only regular and ongoing practice can create the habits that you need.

To train yourself to use cover or concealment in accordance with strategic necessity, the imperfect is the enemy of your enemy. Practice using cover and concealment at home like an eight-year-old kid playing cops and robbers or (dare I say it) cowboys and indians. Seriously. Pop-up in a doorway: high, low and medium. Pop-up from behind the bed: left, right and center.

[Note: to avoid unwarranted police interest, urban readers should draw their shades when practicing indoors and use a pointed finger or NERF gun when training outdoors.]

The more you practice using cover and concealment, the better you’ll be in a real DGU. It’s as simple as that. Until and unless gun range 2.0 arrives, you’ll have to try this at home. You may look like a nut, but there is no more important skill for surviving a lethal encounter than not getting shot, stabbed, hit or otherwise molested. Not even marksmanship.