The use of cover is a topic that most armed citizens don’t spend nearly enough time considering or incorporating into their practice. For our purposes, cover is anything that can be expected to stop bullets or seriously impede their progress.
It is difficult for an instructor to incorporate the use of cover when teaching a defensive class on a conventional square range. And, many public ranges prohibit even working from the holster, let alone setting up practice sessions that utilize cover. At best, the use of cover gets mentioned in some class discussion or occasionally deployed in role-playing sessions.
For all that, the use of cover seriously increases the armed citizen’s ability to survive a violent criminal attack. And, out here in the real world, cover is all around us. Outside there are trees, vehicles, corners of buildings, and walls, to mention a few. Inside is all kinds of furniture, home appliances, office equipment and structural variations. Cover is the place to get as soon as the fight starts and it is certainly the place to do reloading and the clearing of malfunctions.
It is an excellent idea to incorporate the use of cover into the dry practice that one does at home. It also helps the armed citizen identify useful cover in his own home. Setting up dry practice sessions in different parts of the home, different rooms with different furniture, gives one a better perspective on the available cover and the defensive techniques that can defeat a home invasion.
The main thing that will help the armed citizen is to begin thinking in terms of available cover. Just as we check out a location for the available exits, we should also be identifying the cover potential. Waiting until the guns start going off to try to find something to get behind is not a real good idea. Scanning an area for potential cover can become a part of our relaxed awareness (Condition Yellow).
It is rare that we get any argument from students when the topic of using cover is brought up. It’s not that people have an issue with using cover; it’s just that they don’t think about it. It needs to become part of our defensive plan. As we arrive at a location, any location, we should be scanning the area for people who don’t fit, exits, and cover. When the bullets start flying, good cover is definitely our friend.