The Proper Use of Cover and Concealment

As we mentioned in the Tactical Definitions post previously, cover is something that will provide ballistic protection (like the engine block of your vehicle) and concealment is something that won’t provide ballistic protection (like the dark, shrubs, furniture, etc,).

While using cover and concealment sounds simple enough, there are some nuances of which you should be aware, which if not understood and properly respected can come back to hurt or kill you.

The working area

The working area simply refers to the area you can work behind cover without exposing yourself to your adversaries direct fire and varies from situation to situation.In the top diagram below, you can see that the “working area” is rather deep. That is to say that if you were behind the vehicle, you have the options of where you want to be in relationship to your adversary because you have a “deep” working area due to the fact you have only one adversary, and unless he is elevated or right up on the vehicle, you have plenty of area in which you can choose to maneuver.

Conversely, in the bottom diagram below, you can see how an elevated adversary can greatly limit your working area.

Exhibit: Working area.

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The 3 keys to the proper use of cover

Using cover appropriately takes into account the SOI and SOO and can be a simple three-step (sometimes less) process:

1. Move laterally
2. Push off cover
3. Find the sweet spot

1.) Move laterally to cover. Our first priority is to get ourselves out of the line of fire and behind cover/concealment as quickly as possible, this is best accomplished by moving laterally to get behind the cover rather than moving diagonally.

The purpose of the lateral movement is to get you behind cover much more quickly than if you ran diagonally.Running laterally both decreases your exposure time (the time you are exposed to danger) and makes you a harder target to hit.

Running laterally both decreases your exposure time (the time you are exposed to danger) and makes you a harder to hit.

Exhibit: Moving laterally to cover.

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2.) Push off cover if feasible to avoid spalling. Once you have your cover/concealment between yourself and the adversary, if you find yourself too close to cover you should literally push yourself off cover by using your support hand to force yourself back off the cover with a solid shove (provide of course that doing so fits the tactical situation you find yourself in, such as the second scenario above with an adversary who has an elevated position).

3.) Finally, find the “sweet spot” (covered below) which is the area behind your cover that offers you the maximum sphere of influence while providing the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire.

In the next post, we will be taking a closer look at how to find the sweet spot.

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