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Cover is any object that protects you from gunfire. Concealment is an object that hides you from an aggressor. Question: if you were in the Stop ‘N Rob in the video above, where is cover or concealment? Concealment would be the shelves in the middle of the store. Cover? Nope. There probably isn’t any. Three things about that . . .

Very few objects provide cover

In your home, walls and doors are highly unlikely to stop a bullet. Your refrigerator is about the only object capable of stopping a bullet and that’s not a sure thing (try getting behind yours in an emergency). If you’re attacked in your home, you need to find cover, stop the assault – by counterattacking – or leave.

Out in the real world, thick cement walls work as cover. Your car’s engine block can stop all but the largest bullets (your car door almost surely won’t). Trees are excellent cover, depending on their thickness and position.

Look down. Dirt — hills, gullies, berms — are also viable options. If you’re getting the impression that there aren’t many good cover options available in a gunfight, you’re right.

Concealment is everywhere

There are plenty of objects behind which you can hide: walls, doors, store shelves full of chips and candy, tables, counters, cars, trees, etc. If a bad guy or guys can’t see you, chances are they won’t shoot/stab/bludgeon you. Chances are.

Remember that bad guys can shoot through concealment. And so can you. That’s something no one in the video above realized.

Escape is your best option

You are not a cop. You don’t have to stop a bad guy (or guys). If you’re in a dangerous situation and you’ve decided that you’re not going to defend innocent life leave as quickly as possible. Run.

It’s best to have an escape route in mind when you enter a new environment. Look around. Keep in mind that you can go out the back of a store or restaurant if things go sideways.

In any case, don’t rely on cover or concealment. If it’s compromised — if your assailant figures out how to get to you — your proverbial goose may be cooked. Unless you move.

Your end goal: get out and survive. Carry a gun whenever possible while understanding the difference between cover and concealment…for you and a potential attacker.


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  1. I have to laugh at the average Cop Procedural on TV where the officer is shooting (with his handgun) while in a kneeling crouch behind the squadcar door at the rifle toting perp. No knee / thigh nor head hits and the door stops rifle fire, which lets the cop take out the shooter at somewhere around 60 or so yards (usually with his 43rd shot without a reload).
    Good ole Hollywood dramady !

    • That has some basis in reality- one of the options offered on Police models is an armor plate built into the driver’s side door. Not all departments order it because it costs extra, and the additional weight increases fuel consumption.

      • A couple of years ago, some friends and I took sections of 1/4″ steel plate (screwed to the face of a 6″x8″ wood beam) out to our favorite desert play area and shot 5.56 and .308 into them at almost 100 yds. We were surprised that each and every round that struck the plates completely passed through. The .308s even blew through the entire beam into the dirt berm behind it.

        Armor plate is, of course, hardened and would be much more effective at stopping inbound fire, but you’re correct that it would be *heavy*.

        • Steel armor is great for vehicles and building/emplacement where it can be thick enough to be useful and not fuze discs in your spine.

      • Mass shooter /= robber but it is important to be aware of differences in typical incidents while not being consumed by bias. With that said mass shooter stats are a lot more evenly split than armed robbery.

        • These ‘usual suspect’ comments simply make dacian’s and miner49er’s jobs easier.

          I’ve lived in all white towns. We still had crime. The area of Maine that the killings happened is likely a very white community.

        • I have lived in all white and majority everything else. Whether it makes anyone’s job easier is irrelevant there are differences that at statistical levels track with race. Hopefully it is just culture and not genetics but until certain power strangleholds are broken there are observed patterns that repeat whatever our thoughts or feelings may be and if distasteful the usual suspects comment is overwhelmingly accurate.

      • He was white. Of course he had a high body count. Even clearly mentally ill he was more competent than some third world savage. He had sights on his weapon. He was holding the weapon with both hands rather than one hand on his crotch. He probably actually used the sights.

        If only gun control took the advice of the Star Trek series. Specifically the Prime Directive. Do not give advanced weaponry to less advanced civilizations. They will destroy themselves.

  2. The difference between cover and concealment is often dictated by what your adversary is shooting with. Not just caliber, but bullet construction. What’s cover from .223 may not be from a .308. If you think you have cover and bullets are penetrating it, it may be time to move. As as a refrigerator being cover in the home? No thanks. I have two gun safes positioned so that I can cover front and rear doors as well as two kevlar vests positioned so they can be quickly doned.

  3. That store owner’s shooting technique was just as bad as the robbers’. Makes me wonder if he’d ever fired that gun before.

  4. Nothing much in the average house or shop will stop bullets.

    I’ve shot through old car doors with .22 more than once as part of a demonstration on the difference between cover and concealment.

    Surprisingly to some new people a lot of the cheap 38 and 9 mm hollow points expanded too fast and didn’t go through the car door.

    At least 18” of hardwood timber to stop a full jacket .308. The British army found in Ireland that sometimes their FALs went through two houses and into the next street.

  5. Cover is what you hide beneath when there is a ghost in your bedroom.
    Concealment is the book you stuck in your pajamas because you know your going to get a spanking because you woke Dad up about the ghost.

  6. I’ll bet dacian the DUNDERHEAD doesnot know the differece between cover and concealment. He doesn’t even know the firing sequece of a cartridge!

  7. Cover or concealment? K- point well-taken. The best “advice” from this article, however, is to GTFO if at all possible. I’m all for taking care of the bad guys and all that, and certainly support anyone who is able to defend one’s self from assault or deadly force being brought to bear against them, but just getting away from the scene would always be high on my options list.

    Knowing clear paths of retreat in various situations before you have to make the choice should be a priority of wary people, armed or not. And, the legal system, along with over-zealous prosecutors, won’t have to be activated against you if you are able to run away without producing a weapon.

    Food for thought.


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