Self-Defense Tip: A Car Door is Not Cover

Cover = a ballistic shield. Concealment = the bad guy can’t see you. Cover can be concealment but concealment is not necessarily cover. For example, a car door. It’s not cover: most rounds will go through the thin metal like a hot knife through butter. Also, it’s not concealment: the bad guy can see (and shoot at) your legs and feet. If you’re using a car for cover, the engine block is just about the only thing capable of stopping rounds. Sometimes. Oh, and resist the urge to shoot in the general direction of something just because other people are doing it. Especially if you’re a cop.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

28 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: A Car Door is Not Cover

  1. avatarOddux says:

    Especially if you’re NOT a cop.

    fixed

    Like cops we are responsible for every round we send down range. Unlike cops, we don’t have an agency to put us on vaca… administrative leave, then cover for us with just a reprimand.

    • avatarJerryboy says:

      for that reason my local Sheriff issues Colt carbines to their deputies instead of shotguns, so they can more easily account for every projectile that comes out of the muzzle of their weapons.

  2. avatarWilliam says:

    Many people DO surely confuse concealment and cover, like an ostrich burying his head in sand; as for shooting feet, that famous North Hollywood shootout proved that beyond any possible doubt.

    An engine block is pretty good cover, though, unless they can get rounds on one’s upper torso, head, or feet.

    • avatarmatt says:

      Most engine blocks arent that big, even my AMC 4.0L I6 wouldnt provide that much cover. If you have something like a horizontally mounted I4, then you’d be lucky to even be able to position yourself correctly.

  3. avatarLance says:

    I agree the use of a whole car and its wheels can be OK cover BUT tactical know how you should not be exposed to fire when getting out of your car.

  4. avatarMark says:

    The more I learned about firearms, the more amazed I became at how little most people know about firearms, particularly scriptwriters. These cops might be watching too many movies and the camera operator is completely nuts to be sitting in glass and thin sheetmetal like that.

    • avatarRoll says:

      LOL, I’m suprised I havent had a brain aneurysm from all the times I watch hollywood action heros attempting to manipulating weapons on the big screen. Hollywood seems to screw it up all the time.

      It irritates me all the times I see the gratuitous pulling of the charging handle/racking the pistol slide/working the pump action of the shotgun sending perfectly good ammunition (Not spent Brass!) to the floor.

      STOP PULLING THE CHARGING HANDLE ON THE DAMN AR AFTER YOU RELOAD, THATS WHAT THE BOLT RELEASE IS FOR….

      Sorry for the rant…..I’m done for the day LOL

  5. avatarPrikasky says:

    Is dorner even shooting or was that just suppressing fire while they tossed cs gas into the cabin?

  6. avatarBLAMMO says:

    But cops do it all the time on TV! :-D

    The wheels, brake rotors, calipers, suspension, etc., also provide concealment and enough mass for ballistic cover. Tires, only concealment. Anything is better than nothing but not much.

  7. avatarShire-man says:

    I really love how often professionals duck behind car doors for cover. Gives us an edge over their idiocy.

    We’ve seen the other teams playbook and it’s nothing more than stupid tricks they’ve seen on TV followed up by the absurd over-application of neanderthalic brute force.

  8. avatarCYRANO says:

    Tree better than truck in this case. It covers you head to toe. Too many people grew up believing sheetmetal stopped .223 and .308s by watching A-Team.

    I have layers of 3/8 plate in my backstop with a
    dry firewood stacked in front of it. After placing 15 rounds inside a nickel from 100 yds with my 223, I cut though the whole backstop. Really puts cover and concealment in perspective.

  9. avatarRydak says:

    Unlike scripted TV/Movies, actual conflict and armed conflict particular, is not exactly the most graceful thing. Not in the least.

  10. avatarIng says:

    Makes me wonder if these guys even knew what they were shooting at — other than a building with a bad guy somewhere in it. That’s a lot of gunfire to send at one dude that’s holed up with nowhere to go and surrounded by 50+ police.

  11. avatarPM says:

    It’s worth noting that some police cars are available from the factory with optional ballistic door panels. I know the optional door panels Ford used in the later Crown Vics were rated at NIJ Level III and could stop some rifle rounds. It’s an expensive option though, which is why you don’t see it often.

  12. avatarLeo338 says:

    I prefer to allow the cops to continue to believe car doors are in fact suitable for coverage. :0)

  13. avatarHasdrubal says:

    Get behind the most solid object possible. If this is an engine block, great. If it’s a car door, not as great. But still better than nothing. I’m more wanting to see people not bunching up behind the same cover.

    Fix and flank, right?

  14. avatarThomas Paine says:

    where were their friggin helmets?

    • avatarChuck in IL says:

      I believe that was Berdoo Sheriffs Dept. I wouldn’t think Deputies aren’t equipped with helmets unless they are on a tactical team.

      • avatartater tot says:

        But they do get issued full auto weapons – you can distinctly hear at least one of them in the audio there..

        • avatarjwm says:

          Do we know who was firing full auto? All the laws Dorner was willing to break it’s not impossible that he had a full auto weapon.

  15. avatarRalph says:

    Looks like a scene from that Stallone movie I just saw.

    BTW, cover is good, but it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Dorner had cover in the basement, which is where they found his body. The ultimate defense is a powerful round to the BG’s coconut. Or better still, instead of hiding behind the car, use that key thingy to start it and drive somewhere else, such as the neighborhood tavern.

  16. avatarJesus says:

    My car doors are indeed cover. I bought a used Crown Vic and made the happy discovery that they left the ballistic panels in the front doors as I was replacing a window regulator.

  17. avatarEd says:

    Ammo Shortage?

  18. avatarSilver says:

    The only people who know less about the actual truth behind guns and ballistic than Hollywood scriptwriters are gun-grabbers and politicians.

  19. avatarNakedgun says:

    I kinda think they were shooting at the cabin in order to NOT have to take the main reports… It’s hard to tell from this video tho; I would fully accept if they were laying-down covering fire so the injured Deputies could be rescued.

    I’m pretty sure all other Police/Sheriffs were carrying their riot gear (including ballistic helmet) since the manifesto came out.

  20. avatarjbarr says:

    A recent airing of “Handguns” on the Sportsman’s Channel (Dish network) showed just that. They shot through side of a car at various points using several different handgun calibers, and it clearly showed that the front near the engine block provides the best odds for protection. Obviously, it’s no guarantee, but the point of the story was to illustrate that you shouldn’t think that just because you are behind a car that you won’t be hurt or killed.

  21. avatarO.E says:

    Fake event is fake.

    L.A.P.D do not want to seize guns because of the danger it will put them in so this entire story was fabricated in order to support the tin-foil hat crowds claim of needing long rifles for protection from the authoritarian “Police State” “Global Nazi Bilderberg” conspiracies.

    The Ex-Military Ex-Police ghost hunt is simply to re-balance the wheel.

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