Cover vs Concealment: Knowing the Difference

Cover vs Concealment:  Knowing the Difference

When it comes to personal safety, protection, and survival, knowing details about tactical situations can be the difference between surviving the situation or succumbing to it.  INTELLEO takes a moment to discern the important difference between cover-versus-concealment.

Universal Agreement on The Definitions

There’s no splitting hairs or semantics involved here.  Any number of reputable sources are in full agreement on the fundamental difference distinguishing our topic.  Among them:

Wideopenspaces: Paraphrased, this site defines cover as, “a place you want to be when bullets start flying because cover is anything that will stop a bullet.”  Examples given include but are not limited to a concrete wall, a telephone pole, a car’s engine block—anyplace you can hide knowing that a bullet will not get through to you.”  On the other hand, concealment is defined as “any place you might hide but will not necessarily stop bullets,” with examples of a hollow wooden door, a wooden fence or a car door (especially today when many car parts and doors are made of plastic or light-weight composites).

Concealed Nation adds to the discussion by chipping in that you don’t want to be out in the open when bullets start flying.  Borrowing from United States Marine Corps publications on Scouting and Patrolling, this site doubles down on the definition and difference noted above and gives examples of which tactic may be better suited for those who choose concealed carry.  This site succinctly defines Cover as protection from the fire of hostile weapons.  Examples of good cover include steel, concrete, water, packed earth, and thick wood.  Concealment is defined as: protection from observation.  Examples of concealment may include foliage, netting, shadows, fabric and non-reflective surfaces.  The caveat between the two terms here?  When live fire breaks out your absolute first objective should be to seek appropriate cover.  Included on this site are examples of basic rules for cover, and concealment in an urban environment, and even a link to the Marine Corps’ publication MCWP 3-35.3, Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain.

We’ve all seen military movies or cop shows where a character shouts out, “cover me,” then goes dashing through the entrance of a dwelling or heroically zig-zags across an open courtyard to rescue someone in distress under a hail of gunfire.  But what happens when the issues of cover and concealment hit close to home on a very personal level?

OffTheGridNews moves from outdoor situations and examples to indoors, where you and your family may want to take suggestions for cover and concealment options in the event of a home invasion.  Suggestions here include indoor cover options, the development of a “safe room” for both cover and concealment, and the necessity of being prepared.  This site hones in on the concept that regardless of your cover and concealed options and resources (or lack of them), it’s better to think ahead and have a plan than to have no plan at all.

Tactical Life puts the critical distinction between the cover and conceal into real-life perspective.  Given the situation and circumstances of a live fire situation, you may have to make an instantaneous decision when the lead starts flying:  Is it more important for you to shoot the bad guy, or for you not to get shot?  This is certainly a case in which both cover and concealment would come into play, and with not a whole lot of time to make the distinction and the decision.

Writing for USA Carry, author Michael Jenkins points out that while the language and verbiage of “cover” and conceal” is frequently used during Concealed Carry Weapons classes, too often the terms are not thoroughly discussed or explained.  The difference he points out, as likewise noted above, could mean the difference between life and death.  In his article, Jenkins provides two links to United States Army Field Manuals that explain both the basics and details of “cover and conceal.”

Mobilize Rescue Systems takes the discussion a step further by explaining the differences between offensive cover and defensive cover, and includes dialog on which is better; cover or concealment?

Reading and researching about strategies and tactics related to cover and concealment should help those with personal safety and survival interests get up to speed on the topic. 

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