But Is It Bullet Proof
Mention the word “cover” and you immediately get visceral responses of solid, robust and of course bullet proof. That’s great, most folks know the difference between cover and concealment. I suppose I would be remise if I didn’t explain the difference for those just starting out in the art. Concealment obscures your position from the enemy, while cover absorbs the enemy’s bullets.
Cover, Cover All Around
With that being said, how often do you find yourself near cover, true cover. I mean think about your daily activities. How often do you find yourself near a reinforced wall or engine block? The problem I have is while most folks understand what cover is, there is this idea that cover will be readily available. While teaching an advanced tactics class last month, many of the troopers had a hard time giving up their notion of cover. It took them a while to realize that cover isn’t always what it is cracked up to be, sometimes your cover can become your coffin. I don’t blame them at all, it seems indicative of today’s tactics being taught.
The Coffin Theory
What does that mean, in my experience of teaching tactics many of the tactics discussed for active gunfights have a heavy emphasis on seeking cover. I get it, it’s easy to just lump the response into a simple concept. It is much harder to apply in practical terms. Then there is the whole issue of what to do once you have obtained cover. This is where you get a lot of dumbfounded looks. Ok, so you got cover…now what? You see if you are not willing to maneuver/move on the bad guy they will more than likely out maneuver you and in so doing that precious cover you held onto now has become the big “X” you were trying to avoid.
Vertical Fetal Position
Sometimes folks get sucked into cover and it becomes what we call the “vertical fetal position”. You get right up on the corner with no room to do much of anything. The way you need to look at cover is always temporary, I don’t care if you are buried deep in some presidential bunker, it is only temporary. Movement is life and if you don’t have a plan on what you are going to do once you are behind cover then it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to take the fight to you. Add quick peeks and it is just a major recipe for disaster. If you have reason to believe danger is around the corner, don’t do a quick peek…like ever.
We teach some simple concepts when working around cover. First, you have to understand what cover really is. It starts with your bullets, your bullets are the best form of cover. If you are putting the pain to the bad guy, it’s hard for them to do that to you. Then your body armor to protect you agains their bullets, then your buddy putting the pain to them and last is ballistic protection or what every one thinks as cover. See, it’s a lot more complicated that what folks lead you to believe.
It’s a major mindset shift, from a reactive measure of getting to cover to employing tactics that emphasis total cover. Believe me, your reactionary gap when someone busts the corner where you thought you were safe and sound is too much to catch up from. And that is how cover becomes a coffin.