Taking Cover

So many people miss this little gem out of their training preparations.
To select the correct cover to protect yourself for incoming (whatever) is a major skill.
Armed or not you have to put something substantial between you and harms way.

This is not exclusively about guns though as there are so many things that can kill you in short time.

If you consider just natural phenomenon you may think tsunami, earthquake, even lightning.  There are others.
Man-imals is a reference I use a lot.
That’s danger from man and animals yet that can also include insects.
But it doesn’t stop there.
CBRN-E is something else I concentrate on. It’s an acronym standing for:-
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear incidents, and the effects of Explosions.

I suppose the biggest ‘pop’ being:-

nuke1Usually CBRN-E is attributed to military action, but accidents and terrorism can cause all of the above contamination and cover from them is as important as putting something substantial between you and bullets.

Yet it all depends on what is coming.
Chemicals and biologicals sink to the ground and love lower levels.
Hiding in a basement may not be the answer, and height may be your saviour.
As for water, height rules, no question about it YET water is powerful so choose your structure with care.
However radiation demands thickness of material.
Now you are looking at lower levels provided there isn’t a gentle breeze to carry the contamination to you. Only there is the blast and initial heat wave to contend with.
It’s no good going into the lower levels of a car park if everything blows apart and catches fire. Best to leave low till after the boom.

Bullets and Hollywood.
Personally I love it when someone or something dives behind the first thing they see or just hits the dirt. It gives a trained trigger a distinct advantage.
No leading the target (which I’m useless at), they not moving around a lot, and the range and elevation stays the same so precision firing can be carried out. Add to that if you are working in pairs, one of you can move to a better vantage point while the other keeps throwing the occasional round down range to keep the target in situ.

Still it’s what most of the meat worry about. Keeping out of visual acquisition.
A fools mission for the most part but unless you are damn quick in your movements, against a precision trigger, there isn’t a lot you can do apart from cower behind good cover and hope they run out of ammunition, patience, or light.

Yet penetration is often misunderstood and woefully underestimated. As an example?
Diving behind a modern table or sitting room suite does only one thing, hides your body from onlookers for a while. Yep, Hollywood just doesn’t know it all.

So here are a few more mythical ideal covers.

Trees.
They work well for cover unless they are under a foot thick, but it’s not a calibre thing.
Surprisingly a smaller high-speed FMJ can penetrate a heck of a lot better than the heavier 7.62 /308 at short ranges and not forgetting that most trees are round, so your safety margin may only be a few inches wide.

Ditches and foxholes.
So easy isn’t it. Duck beneath the ledge and nothing can hurt you.
W R O N G! Bullets can penetrate all sorts of materials to great depth, especially if that material has been disturbed. Dig deep, keep low.

What about bricks and common building material, how safe are they?
Well . . . . anything over a 22 LR and you could be in serious trouble.
OK a single layer brick wall may stop a single round but a constant barrage will shatter them and concrete block alike. As for stud walls? Provided a decent round doesn’t strike stud (wood), multiple layers of sheet material have little effect. That’s also an important consideration when thinking about back drop if you get the chance to shoot back. Especially in your home.

What’s left?

My favourite hate. Blue barrels as found on most combat target ranges.
Even if full of water, they have sides, they are not very wide, and if the shooter has time, they empty quite fast with a clip or two worth of holes. You trapped, and unable to move.

Sandbags.
Time proven but you just can’t seem to find them when you need them.
Yet anything more than 12 inches stops nearly all single rounds.
Facing a crew served weapon? That could get ‘interesting’ over time.
Building a sand berm (wall or bank) around the cellar level is also probably better than plating with sheet steel too.

Water.
We’re talking diving in and heading for the bottom.
If the shooters are overhead, you’ll need about 8 feet for most calibres.
From 30 degrees 3 feet will usually suffice.
How long can you hold your breath?

Vehicles.
The side glass in a door may withstand a pistol round or two when square on but don’t bank on it. A windshield is generally laminated so it may stand up to 4-6 rounds from a pistol or low power round but only at an angle. That angle isn’t actually a lot to deflect a round. Just 20 to 30 degrees off ‘full frontal’ is pretty good at bouncing lead.

As for car doors and anything else?
A hot knife through butter is the expression that comes to mind.
Car tyre rims and engine blocks are usually fair bullet stoppers but they are not exactly huge.

Still think Hollywood is full of good ideas?

Movement and distance.
Unless someone is using a crew fed weapon, it’s damn hard to hit a rapid, erratically moving, target at distance. So sprint for your life. Every 100 yards supposedly doubling your chances of survival.

Once again, distance is king in combat.

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