Oftentimes when training for combat, we can be distracted by institutional practices that are perpetuated by the old guard or antiquated thinking. A common case in point is the use of cover VS concealment and the nuance of semantics. In some cases these practices or mantras prove inadequate to address the real life problem as soon we add the magical ingredient: reality.
Stress and chaos will be your reality. The entire situation is an evolving, dynamic, and hopefully quick exchange that you will negotiate on autopilot, if properly trained.
Cover versus concealment, what’s the difference? In general the first one is considered ballistic cover from incoming fire or explosion, while the second one means hidden from sight without protection. However, when considering these differences in real life we must ask ourselves the following questions. Do you know the physical makeup of the cover you’re behind? Do you know the caliber of the weapon being shot at you? “No” is most likely the answer to these questions. Therefore you will treat them the same.
Meaning if my cover is an empty dumpster outside a building, and I am being shot at with .50 BMG, I will fare far worse then if I am behind said dumpster filled with bricks and sand, being shot at with .22 LR. The extreme example above should get you into the right mindset, which is a simple concept. “One would rather fight from behind a shield then from exposure.” While not all shields are equal, they are all temporary.
Further analysis and exploration will take this one important step further. Our adversary will shoot at what they can see exposed as a target to site in on. Not the perceived location of our center mass behind the cover. To try this, ask a friend to stand twelve meters away from you in a room. Go outside the room and ask the friend to position his hands as if he were holding a weapon in it. Ask him to “shoot” at you as soon as he sees you present yourself as a target. Now pie your head and hands around the doorway as if holding a gun. Ask you friend what he is aiming at. This will confirm that your center mass behind the dry wall (or whatever material) is not the focus of his aim and your head/hands are.
The bottom line is that a gunfight is not something you can game, nor is it the time for second-guessing your actions. Cover is a temporary location, in all cases, to better your position. Sometimes the best cover is aggressive fire and movement to contact.
By Garret Machine