Shooting from Cover

This is a discussion on Shooting from Cover within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Shooting from Cover By: Tom Perroni The reason for this article is that just recently I was teaching a firearms in-service course for some veteran ...

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Thread: Shooting from Cover

  1. #1
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    Shooting from Cover

    Shooting from Cover

    By: Tom Perroni


    The reason for this article is that just recently I was teaching a firearms in-service course for some veteran officers. I happened to be discussing with several of the other instructors and a lieutenant the difference between training & qualification this particular group must qualify every 6 months to maintain their job. And as I reviewed this agency’s course of fire I realized that they were not shooting from cover at any point. So once the officers had qualified I asked if anyone wanted to stay for some additional training and 9 officers stayed behind.

    So the first thing I asked was how many of you train to shoot to cover and then train on how to shoot from behind cover? Then answer was shocking none of them train in this important skill. Several said that they had not done it since the academy.

    So the first thing I asked was what is the difference between Cover & Concealment?

    An academic understanding of cover is being an object which effectively stops or deflects a projectile. An academic understanding of concealment is anything that hides a person from observation.

    I feel it is not sufficient for instructors to train their students on how to use cover without addressing what actually constitutes cover and when and how to use it. Lest we forget what constitutes cover the object that stops a handgun round may be ineffective against a rifle round. Once we determine what sufficient cover is we then must discuss depth of cover or crowding cover.

    I teach students to be no closer than arms length away from cover. It is important that they realize that by positioning themselves to close to cover will limit their field of view, it creates issues with their shooting platform when they try to return fire by rolling out left or right and limits their tactical options in general.

    When shooting form cover here are a few tactics I share with students:

    • Minimize the time of exposure.
    • Let the subject see only a gun barrel and eyeball nothing more.
    • Do not shoot form the same location continuously use different positions each time you roll out as not to give the advisory any advantage.
    • Do not extend you firearm beyond cover.
    • Shoot around cover nor over top of cover.
    • Reload from behind cover.
    • Do not let the slide come in contact with cover causing malfunctions
    • When shooting from the left make sure room is given to allow spent brass to fall free.
    • Use a knuckle to support the firearm not the back of the hand. (Using the back of the hand causes us to expose more of the head from cover. This also causes the weapon to recoil more aggressively.

    Always remember in any gunfight to shoot to stop the threat. Always check your six and be aware of your surroundings. Before we emerge from cover make sure your handgun is fully loaded. What I teach is A way to do things and not THE way.

    I could talk forever about shooting from cover but this is all the room I have for this article. If you want to learn more come to class and I will teach you what you want to know.

    Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!

    Remember "Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option". Stay in condition yellow and stay in the fight.

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Thank you for another great instructional post. I copy and save these to my documents. Good of you to share with the forum.

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    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    Good post. I too am a firearms instuctor for my agency. I would add to your list of tactics in regards to shooting from cover: Stand off your cover when shooting, do not hug your cover this will allow you to expose less of your body.
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    We shoot from cover alot.

    We shoot from barricades, car doors, back of the car, over the hood, even under the car.

    I've shot from window openings, culverts and even telephone poles.

    Using anything that might stop a bullet is a good thing. Of course, if its rifle fire coming your way, you need to be a bit more picky about what you hide behind.
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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Good post and list of "do's and don'ts"
    Quote Originally Posted by DCJS Instructor View Post
    I teach students to be no closer than arms length away from cover. It is important that they realize that by positioning themselves to close to cover will limit their field of view, it creates issues with their shooting platform when they try to return fire by rolling out left or right and limits their tactical options in general.
    This is the thing that I've seen people (including myself) have the most problems with. I think it's probably a psychological thing...we know that "this is what is keeping me from getting shot" so we tend to "want" to be as close to it as possible. I have to consciously remind myself to back off a little. Definitely something that requires practice to ingrain proper habits.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Great post. My only thought is how it would apply in a "defensive" scenario where someone, concealed carry, must defend themselves, more than likely in a close encounter.

    In most situations, I would be using cover to defend myself, not go on the offensive.

    Rick

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    Great post. My only thought is how it would apply in a "defensive" scenario where someone, concealed carry, must defend themselves, more than likely in a close encounter.

    In most situations, I would be using cover to defend myself, not go on the offensive.

    Rick
    That is exactly the reason to take cover...because you're getting shot at and in order to have time to defend youself, or protect yourself while you're defending yourself, you find something hard to hide behind.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoTex View Post
    That is exactly the reason to take cover...because you're getting shot at and in order to have time to defend youself, or protect yourself while you're defending yourself, you find something hard to hide behind.
    Agreed...but the article leads to an offensive slant...not defensive.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    Agreed...but the article leads to an offensive slant...not defensive.

    Rick
    Rick,

    Any defensive firearms instructor worth a darn will teach you to Shoot, Move and Communicate. We teach our students to move off the X and if available to shoot and move to cover. This in my opinion is defensive. I teach LEO, Military and Private Security Contractors and Concealed Handgun Permit holders here in Virginia.

    If you have a good understanding of the "Use of Deadly Force" it makes no difference weather you are a LEO or civilian you will be shooting DEFENSIVELY. I do not teach offensive shooting skills or tactics. Come take a class with me and I will be more than happy to teach you how to shoot from cover!

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    Great post...cover a recent post on firing because of a home invasion.
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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    hmm, a few times at a paintball park and this will be habit. "no closer then arms length". The bruises are a nice reminder. come to think of it, does anyone pratice tactical movment at a paintball park?

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    Agreed...but the article leads to an offensive slant...not defensive.

    Rick
    How do you define offensive and defensive?

    To me, "defensive" means that if the other guy initiated the action then we are responding...defending. Even if we pressure him, "reverse the flow of agression," or "press the fight," we're still "defending" ourselves because we didn't start it.
    OTOH, I see offensive action as a time when we initiate the action...possible examples are a preemptive attack based on the BG's words or actions (which could still be considered defensive depending on your philosophical outlook), hunting for an active shooter in the mall, or an intruder in the home, or a dynamic entry by a LEO team or military unit, etc.

    Either way, the principles of using cover seem to remain the same. I don't see a fundamental difference in application regardless of your status (LEO, .mil, private citizen).
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    When to move to cover? & When to Fight?

    [QUOTE=bandit383;888943]Great post. My only thought is how it would apply in a "defensive" scenario where someone, concealed carry, must defend themselves, more than likely in a close encounter.

    Bandit,

    When to move to cover? & When to Fight?

    The use of available cover is an essential element of a deadly force encounter involving firearms. Yet a shooter moving to cover that is 15 yards away while an opponent is pulling a weapon from a waistband 3 yards is a formula likely to result in disaster. I believe and train in my academy to incorporate scenario training that presents the need for the student to weigh the distance and immediacy of the threat against the distance to effective cover. I also teach my students to return effective fire while moving to cover. In situations in which that decision is determined to be correct. The speed of movement should seldom exceed the ability of the student to fire accurately.

    Hope this helps!

    Tom Perroni

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    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY27 View Post
    Good post. I too am a firearms instuctor for my agency. I would add to your list of tactics in regards to shooting from cover: Stand off your cover when shooting, do not hug your cover this will allow you to expose less of your body.
    I apologize. You already had that in there. I missed it the first time I read your post.
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    No Problem

    NY,

    No problem, shoot me a pm. I may be coming to NY to do some LEO training.

    Tom Perroni

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