When folks talk about cover and concealment, they are usually referring to utilizing some sort of cover or concealment strategy during a gun fight. Cover and concealment are two methods which can and should be used whenever a dangerous or life-threatening situation occurs.
Differences Between Cover and Concealment
Cover is anything that will protect your body from harm. There's a variety of different forms of cover which may work well in one situation, but be completely useless in another. For example, grabbing a sofa seat and placing it in front of you when an attacker with a knife is attempting to stab you may be sufficient cover to prevent the knife from reaching your body. Using the same cover when an attacker is shooting at you with a gun would not prevent the bullet from penetrating the cover and reaching your body.
Finding appropriate cover to ward off an injury is extremely important no matter what weapon is being used. Aside from being painful, injuries can cause the loss of blood, consciousness, or life. If you are injured, you are less likely able to defend yourself as effectively as you could if you were not injured.
Concealment is anything that will hide all or parts of your body from being seen. As with taking or using some form of cover, concealment also takes on a wide variety of forms which will vary in effectiveness. For example, you may be able to hide under a table and remain concealed provided the lighting is poor, the table is close to the floor, and the assailant does not look under the table. A more effective cover would be a table cloth that is thrown over the table and drapes to the floor. In this scenario, the concealment is much better unless the assailant looks under the table cloth.
Whenever you anticipate a dangerous situation is about to occur, your first option should be to remove yourself entirely from the impending danger. If you cannot immediately leave, you should consider seeking cover that will protect you in case of a confrontation or, if the circumstances are right, seek some sort of concealment that will hide you from an assailant until it is safe to leave. Ideally, locating an area the will conceal your presence and provide cover from an attacker who may be on a shooting spree would be the ideal outcome.
Cover and Concealment in the Home
Most homes provide many opportunities where occupants can hide or seek cover during a burglary or home invasion. When seeking cover or concealment within your home, look for areas you feel would provide the best cover while concealing you at the same time. Look for larger, metallic objects such as a refrigerator, washer or dryer, freezer or anything with a large amount of mass that would defer or stop a bullet from penetrating completely through the other side. Objects made of wood, such as dressers, book cases, and desks can provide a degree of cover depending on the caliber weapon being used and your relative hiding location. For example, a desk shot front to back would probably provide little cover, whereas, a desk shot from one side through to the other may provide sufficient layers of wood to stop the bullet depending on the type of wood used in the desk.
Beware of "soft" cover items, such as a sofa, chair, cabinets, and mattresses. Soft cover items are not likely to provide cover as they are too thin or made of materials which will not be conducive to stopping a bullet. A special consideration are the walls in your home, which are made from drywall; a very thin composite of paper and light plaster in which even the lowest caliber bullet will penetrate. Always try to find the most available cover that offers the greatest amount of concealment as possible. Remember, this is your home, your turf, and any place you can effectively hide and then surprise your attacker, the better.
Cover and Concealment Outside the Home
In many ways, areas providing cover and concealment are more readily available outside the home. For example, a typical city street will have junction boxes, fire hydrants, brick fences, and large mature trees. In the street the availability of parked cars are a natural place to hide behind and receive excellent cover. Other concealment items can include wood fences, mature bushes, and trash cans. Simply being aware of your surroundings could help save your life.
As in your home, you will want to avoid soft cover items and seek out the heavier, stronger, best protection option available to you. Even if your only option is a trash can--hiding behind it will temporarily remove yourself from the assailants view while you prepare your weapon, reload, or reorganize your thoughts. There's something psychological about a person who has taken cover, even behind a plastic trash can--most criminals will wait until you show yourself before they try to shoot. Eventually, they will realize they can shoot right through the trash can and hit their target, so we wouldn't recommend staying in that particular position for too long.
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