One thing I have seen grossly misunderstood is the difference between cover and concealment. If you watch just about any Hollywood Bang Bang Shoot ’em Up movie invariably you will see the hero being protected from flying lead by flipping a table up, diving behind a couch, standing behind that sheet rock wall, or crouching down behind the door of his car. All that makes for a great action sequence but in reality our hero would end up a very well ventilated corpse and so will you if you think a car door is going to stop anything bigger than a BB.
So what is the difference between cover and concealment? Put very simply Cover is ANYTHING that will stop a bullet and Concealment is ANYTHING that hides you from enemy view either completely or partly. In this article we are going to go over what makes good cover and concealment and how to use them properly
As I said above Concealment is ANYTHING that keeps the enemy, or whoever you are hiding from, from seeing you. Concealment is not as good as cover (which will actually stop a bullet) but if the enemy can’t see you they can’t shoot you and having good concealment is better than just standing in the open.
Wearing camouflage clothing will help break up your outline and help hide you from observation.
That sheet rock wall or couch I talked about earlier would also make good concealment if you happen to be indoors.
As I said earlier, cover is anything that will actually STOP a bullet. Being able to find a safe place to catch your breath and plan your next move is a Godsend when bullets are flying in your direction or when you want to have an advantage over those who are seeking to do you harm.
The picture above shows a soldier using a rock wall for cover. The majority of his body safely behind the rocks greatly reducing the risk of getting wounded or killed.
The pictures above are from a fire fight in Mosul, Iraq and show examples of how to take cover behind a vehicle and how NOT to use a vehicle for cover.
The soldier in the uppermost picture and the soldier on the left in the lower picture are great illustrations of how to properly use a vehicle for cover. They are down behind the front wheel and have not only the tire and rim but the engine block as well. The soldier on the right in the lower picture is not in a position that small arms fire will be stopped.
An engine block will stop small arms fire and offers great cover, if you can’t get behind one of the front tires the second best place to grab some cover using a vehicle is the rear axle. While not ideal the rear wheels and axle offers much more cover than the car doors.
If you are in the woods a pile of logs at least 12″ diameter offer great cover and concealment.
Natural dirt berms at least 18″ thick will stop everything up to .50 caliber and offer some of the best natural cover.
If you are going to be in one place for an extended period of time creating your own cover is a great idea. The picture above shows a basic two-man fighting position. Use the dirt you excavate from the hole to make parapets at least 18″ thick and 18″ high on all sides of the position leaving small areas clear to allow you to fire on anyone you may need to.
Even a small depression in the ground can offer cover from bullets flying at you. Be aware of your surroundings and look for places you can grab some cover if the situation goes sideways and bullets start flying in your direction.
Now you know the difference between cover and concealment you won’t make the mistake of thinking that couch or wall in your house will stop a bullet like it does in the movies and on TV.
I look forward to seeing your comments and as always, Train To Survive!
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Photo Credits Mosul firefight photos AP Soldier behind rock wall AP Log Pile Phil Hertz Photography Basic Fighting Position US Army Soldiers Manual All other photos by the Author