Take cov­er!

A com­mon and clichéd line from every­thing from old west­erns to sci-fi tele­vi­sion shows and movies to even some car­toons. But while enter­tain­ing, it is a tac­ti­cal issue to be under­stood in the event of an SHTF event that leads to WROL. Even with­out this it’s just pos­si­ble to be caught in the mid­dle of a crime or oth­er act of vio­lence. Know­ing the dif­fer­ence can tru­ly save your life!

“Con­ceal­ment” is some­thing that will hide you from being seen. A bush, a garbage can, an over­turned table, a blan­ket – any­thing you can hide in, under, or behind that will hide you from imme­di­ate view is con­ceal­ment. It may be pos­si­ble to see you upon sec­ond look (like under a blan­ket or behind an opaque screen) how­ev­er, espe­cial­ly to a trained eye. How­ev­er, con­ceal­ment does not nec­es­sar­i­ly include things that will pro­tect you from bal­lis­tic attack.

“Cov­er” is any­thing that will read­i­ly stop a bul­let. A met­al dump­ster, a fire hydrant, a tele­phone pole or lamp post, a car’s engine block (in most cas­es any­way), a mound of sand or dirty, a boul­der, — any­thing that is dense enough to read­i­ly stop a bul­let from reach­ing you. It may absorb the bul­let (i.e. the bul­let becomes imbed­ded in it) or deflect it away, but the result is the same.

The most impor­tant thing to remem­ber is:

Cov­er can be con­ceal­ment, but con­ceal­ment is not always cov­er!

For exam­ple, crouch­ing down behind a fire hydrant is good cov­er (a hydrant is a rather sol­id case of met­al). But even a small adult will like­ly still be seen with exposed arms and legs while keep­ing the head and tor­so pro­tect­ed.

By con­trast, as fre­quent­ly shown in old ‘Wild West’ movies, hid­ing behind an over­turned table will block you form view. But no way that will stop even a small cal­iber bul­let! (Much less the 30 and 40 cal­ibers com­mon­ly used in the 19th cen­tu­ry!) And don’t for­get that most walls and doors in a home are not bul­let proof even for a .22LR unless by shear change it strikes a pipe or a very sol­id stud.

This dif­fer­ence is impor­tant as the term “cov­er” is fre­quent­ly used to mean “con­ceal­ment”. That’s OK as long as you under­stand that hid­ing your­self from view doesn’t mean you’re safe from bal­lis­tic attack. If you are part of a group, or even just your own family’s plans, every­one must know this dif­fer­ence.

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