I will share something that I am sure will get me some hate mail. I'm breaking a firmly held myth in the gun industry. So much so that, frankly, almost every firearm instructor I know of is guilty of saying it at least once.
The myth is one surrounding cover vs. concealment. Forever we've been telling people to look at any given object in their environment and put it in one of 2 categories.
COVER vs CONCEALMENT.
The rough idea is that cover will stop bullets and make for an ideal object to put between oneself and one's attacker in a gunfight.
On the other hand, most think of concealment as something that may hide you from your attacker. However, it is unlikely to stop bullets and thus still leaves you vulnerable to getting shot THROUGH the object.
Why The Cover vs Concealment Paradigm Is Flawed
So here is the deal. I don't disagree with those definitions on the surface. However, the problem is in the real world, in real gunfights, it isn't the best way to think about our environment.
Also, placing objects in categories is sometimes tricky because the object may or may not meet the definition of cover depending on the circumstances and bullet caliber.
As I was pondering this, I had a sneaky suspicion. To verify, I reached out to none other than John Correia. John, a firearm instructor, created a brand and a business from analyzing surveillance videos of real-life gunfights. You probably know his YouTube Channel, Active Self Protection.
Anyway, John has now watched and analyzed over 30,000 videos of real gunfights. I asked him the question burning in my mind.
How many times have you seen a bad guy or gal fire through concealment to hit the good guy or gal?
Think about it. It makes sense to categorize objects as cover or concealment independently only if they perform differently in a gunfight.
So what was John's answer to my question?
Not one single instance ever where John could say that concealment wasn't 100% just as effective in a gunfight as cover. So is there a big practical difference between cover vs concealment?
A New Way to Think About Cover and Concealment
Now there is always a first time for everything. And I won't say you shouldn't understand ballistics or know what objects in your environment provide protection.
My point is that we should stop talking about Cover vs Concealment. Instead, let's consider everything as beneficial to some degree.
In a gunfight, we should consider that some objects provide better cover than others. And indeed, YES, where possible, we should use the BEST cover we can find.
I acknowledge that a less good piece of cover isn't ideal. Even though an attacker may not purposefully have the foresight to shoot at your cover to penetrate through to you, the simple act of blindly firing in your direction could end poorly if you only have an inadequate piece of cover.
HOWEVER, all forms of cover (or concealment if you still insist on the distinction) have their place in a gunfight because bad guys don't shoot what they can't see.
The Cover Mental Shift
When thinking of cover vs. concealment, I propose that we prepare and train to recognize all objects in our environment as potential cover we can use to our advantage in a gunfight.
We understand and study ballistics sufficiently to understand which objects are better or best for the use of cover. Then, as circumstances allow, we use the best cover. Not just in terms of its ability to stop bullets but also the strategic advantage it provides.
Generally speaking, I think the proper use of cover is one of the most important and yet poorly studied and trained defensive shooting tactics. Studies have shown that the appropriate use of cover can increase your odds of winning a gunfight by over 60% compared to using cover without proper cover tactics.
So now you know how cover and concealment work in most real-life incidents. If you are interested in improving your game in the use of cover, check out this “Principles of Cover” free video training course: Principles of Cover