When is it cover; when is it concealment?

When is it cover; when is it concealment?

This is a discussion on When is it cover; when is it concealment? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Another thread inspired this, and I thought it might be worth considering. There are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes concealment and cover. First ...

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Thread: When is it cover; when is it concealment?

  1. #1
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    When is it cover; when is it concealment?

    Another thread inspired this, and I thought it might be worth considering.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes concealment and cover. First the “tactical” definitions:

    Concealment prevents you from being seen, but it won’t stop a bullet. Some examples, shrubbery, a large cardboard box, etc. We’ll get into some other things later.

    Cover not only conceals you, but will stop a bullet. Some possible examples: the engine block of a car, a large tree, etc.

    As you can see, it seems pretty straight forward, so why is it a problem. Here’s why:

    Is a car door/body concealment or cover?

    A car windshield?

    Is a typical residential indoor wall cover or concealment?

    Is a typical residential outside door cover or concealment?

    Getting a little more difficult, how about a brick exterior wall?

    How about those door facings we hear that we should use for cover?

    How about a cinder block wall?

    And a complicating issue is that something that may be cover to start with, may turn into concealment.

    Or does any of this matter? Well, yes it does matter. If you get behind “cover” and it isn’t, you just may get shot.

    My instructor for my level II handgun course at Blackwater said that he had seen a lot of penetration tests on a lot of different materials. But speaking specifically about car bodies, he said from his observation, nothing penetrated car bodies as efficiently as ……… let me get back to you on that. Actually the answer was 9mm. And yes, I asked, it included .40, .45, .357 Sig.

    So having said that, if you’re sitting in your car and a BG shoots a 9mm or any of the others for that matter, there’s not that much difference, well, .45s tend not to penetrate as much because they’re so big. But that’s ok, a .45 will probably turn the car over anyway. Anyway if the BG shoots perpendicular to your door what happens?

    Well one of several things, the bullet goes through one door and through the other, yep through both doors, or it hits some of the mechanics in the door and is deflected or stops, or it goes through the door and into an occupant. Car doors are not cover.

    Perhaps more important considerations are things in our homes, especially walls, doors, and door facings. For a 9mm none of these are cover they just give the bullet a nasty disposition. What if the bullet hits a wall stud – gonna likely go right through it. Even if it doesn’t where’s the next round going?

    How about that cinder block or brick wall? Well these tend to morph from cover to concealment. A 9mm will just about chew right through both sides of the cinder block and IIRC, it takes about three shots to shoot a brick out of a wall.

    How about doors and door facings? Well most residential doors are concealment; you might want to remember that when you are approaching your door thinking there may be a BG on the other side with a gun.

    Door facings refer to studs around the door way. They’re typically made up of two or three 2X4s nailed together for additional strength around the door opening, but they aren’t cover, at least not good cover, but they are better than pure concealment.

    So what to make of all of this? Well, we need to think about these things and try to avoid thinking we’re safe behind something when we’re not. I’ve been hearing that criminals are teaching criminals to shoot through doors and walls.

    I have no data to support what I am about to say, but I think IF I thought a gunfight may happen in my home and IF I had the time and opportunity, I believe I’d try to get my wife to the bath tub. If I understand this correctly, bath tubs are actually porcelain over steel! And a bath tube has two vertical walls.

    Just some food for thought and hopefully some inspiration.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array hsuCowboy98's Avatar
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    Good points to remember.

    Throwing a rifle into the equation really blurs the line between the two even farther.....another point to consider.
    Fear No Evil.

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    Member Array Nate's Avatar
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    Like has been mentioned, it all depends on the weapons in play. Cinder block against a .22LR is entirely different than a .50 caliber gun.

    But the main thing to remember is that just like a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square, is that cover is (usually) always concealment, but concealment is not always cover.

    Tangle, be careful with the bathtub thing. At the very least, consult the manufacturer and see if you can somehow find out the model tub you have, and what it's made of. If it's been made recently, there's a chance it's made of acrylic or other various types of high-density plastics. If it's a claw-foot cast iron or otherwise "antique" tub, please disregard.

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    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    what about when cover becomes shrapnel? i'd be interested in knowing how many injuries sustained in firefights are fragmentary/shrapnel vs actual gsw's

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    I believe I’d try to get my wife to the bath tub. If I understand this correctly, bath tubs are actually porcelain over steel! And a bath tube has two vertical walls.
    True, but not armor steel, and a shot going into the tub will likely skitter around doing nastiness. If a bullet does not penetrate, it will ricochet along the direction of the opposing substance. Flipping the tub over....maybe. If it was really that much of a concern, I'd put 2"x3/16" angle-iron "washboards" between the studs in a safe room, and use the heaviest sheetrock my frame would support.

    Shooting through walls works two ways- if you know your home, and who's inside at the moment, you can take your pick. Do you have a spot in the floor that creaks, near a BR wall? In a hallway? Etc., etc.. I say this in context of a home invasion- no "friendly" kicks your door in.

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    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...training&hl=en

    This is a pretty long video that my brother sent me. Interesting stuff.
    <a target="_top" href="http://www.cybernations.net/default.asp?Referrer=TonyW"><img src="http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd188/18932471/imgad2-1.png" border="0"></a>

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    Great Thread Tangle. Thanks for posting it.
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    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    excellent video!!

    and ~95% of the tubs out there nowadays are plastic.....

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    I used to work in a factory where we manufactured "marble" sinks and bathtubs and stuff. One day I got a bunch of scraps from end spalshes and broken sinks. Being the ever intelligent 18 year old I was at the time, I decided that it would be fun to shoot these peices of "marble" (its not actual like marble that is carved, its some sort of chemical compound that hardens over a mold). Well, they stood up pretty well to .22's and 12 gauge (using shot, not slugs) although the .223 did a bit of damage to it, but it took a shot or two to break all the way through.

    These were only 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. So if your bath tub is made out of that stuff (they tend to be thicker than the splashes) it could work. Too bad I didn't think to take pictures.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hsuCowboy98 View Post
    Good points to remember.

    Throwing a rifle into the equation really blurs the line between the two even farther.....another point to consider.
    You are so right. Talk about a nightmare. There's not much in a home that would stop a .308 rifle round. Maybe a file cabinet full of paper if the bullet hit the paper. Or maybe a hot water heater. But once the water level drops, the water heater degrades to concealment.

    My tub is old, it isn't plastic etc., I'm pretty sure it's steel. I'm thinkin', and as I said, I don't have data on this, but it seems to me a handgun round would have a tough time going through two steel walls and having much left.

    Just considering standard construction, i.e. no armored safe rooms, I think a steel bathtub may be as good as it gets. If you don't have a steel tub, I don't know. Sounds like from Buckeye07's experience some of those tub materials are pretty tough.

    Anyway the point is, we need to think about these things before we need to use them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briansmech View Post
    what about when cover becomes shrapnel? i'd be interested in knowing how many injuries sustained in firefights are fragmentary/shrapnel vs actual gsw's
    I dont know what the stats are, but I'd take a shrap wound anyday over a direct hit. In fact I just got my hand fixed this summer from a indirect hit, had it been a direct I would not have my ring or little finger.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array Nate's Avatar
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    Perhaps I'm inviting flames here, but...

    I mean, it WAS a movie, but in The Rock, when the Marines toss a grenade into the head on Alcatraz, Sean Connery dove into an old claw-foot tub and came out ok.

    Part of this was the fact that when grenades explode, they tend to send shrapnel upwards in a cone, and the pieces of flak that would have headed in his direction would have been stopped by the tub.

    Makes sense.

  13. #13
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    Those old cast iron tubs are heavy and thick! I would think it would stop most anything.

    Nate, your a Marine, right? You know that a grenede gets it wounding power from the debris and the fragmentation, not the explosion itself.

    I would bet the tub would have been decent cover. Now stop trying to learn stuff by watching movies!
    Last edited by SIXTO; January 12th, 2007 at 01:37 AM.
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    I have already considered this cover /concealment issue in my home. About the best cover(not great) is the safe door. Plus if I am hiding behind that I have lots of firepower avalible.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    how about this; forcing the BG to send his incoming rounds towards you at a shallow angle. You will be suprised at what will deflect a bullet at a angle.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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