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Be One With Your Cover

To optimize your safety and protection when seeking cover, it is essential to prioritize achieving maximum concealment and minimizing exposure to bullets from the suspect. Rather than focusing solely on the ability to return fire safely, blending with or conforming to the shape of your cover should be your primary concern. For instance, if your cover is a mailbox, crouching and spreading your feet to align with the box's supports would be ideal. If you find yourself behind a utility pole or tree, your instinct may be to lower your position, but doing so could inadvertently expose your kneecaps and legs. In this scenario, standing upright, turned sideways to the pole with your reaction-side leg forward, would provide better protection. Similarly, when taking cover behind a fireplug or trash can, squatting may seem like the best option, but assuming a low kneeling position would likely offer greater protection. By going down on your strong-side knee and sitting back on that leg while keeping your body hunched and tucked tightly, you can minimize your exposure and remain within the outline of your cover. Even in a kneeling position, you can still maintain agility and move quickly if the situation calls for it. When faced with larger cover, such as a wall, you will have the choice between crouching low or staying erect.


The prone position comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While it allows you to present a smaller target and blend in effectively with low brick walls or curbs, it limits your mobility and ability to quickly relocate if necessary. It is worth noting that some officers, as they progress in their careers, may experience difficulties getting up unassisted from a prone position due to a decline in fitness level. However, advancements in tactical techniques have made the prone position more viable for shooting than previous configurations used in law enforcement.

If your only available cover is a curb and gutter, adopting a prone position can be a viable option. It is important to keep in mind that the curb is typically highest and offers the most protection near intersections and storm sewer drains. Additionally, if you find yourself on or just beyond the slope of an embankment, such as near railroad tracks, the prone position may prove effective. In such cases, any ricochet bullets are likely to bounce off the tracks and pass over your head, enhancing your safety.

Assuming a prone position in a dynamic situation carries certain risks that should be considered. Firstly, it exposes you to potential secondary injuries from impact with hard surfaces or hazards such as glass and debris on the ground. Additionally, if the surface you are lying on is concrete, there is an increased risk of being struck by ricocheting bullets, which can pose a serious threat to your safety.

When it comes to shooting from positions other than the traditional upright Weaver or Isosceles stance, it is crucial to practice and become proficient in these alternative positions. Experimenting with shooting from your knees, lying down on your stomach, sitting on your buttocks, and using both one or two hands is important. By doing so, you can gain valuable experience and understand the challenges associated with aligning your front sights on a target and accurately point shooting in unfamiliar and uncomfortable positions. It is essential to recognize the increased difficulty in shooting accurately from these alternative positions and be prepared to adapt accordingly in real-world scenarios.

Osterich Effect

When selecting cover and positions, it is important to consider the "ostrich effect." This phenomenon reminds us that just because we can't see an assailant doesn't mean they can't see us. Their perspective may differ significantly from ours, especially if they are positioned at a higher elevation. For example, during an incident in New Orleans, officers believed they were protected by a tall brick fence, only to discover that the assailant shooting from a high-rise hotel had a clear view of them.

To maintain control of the situation, it is crucial to maintain visual contact with the suspect's location, even if you can't see them directly. By having a general idea of their whereabouts, you can effectively contain them. If you are unable to observe them directly from your position, there are alternative methods you can employ. Utilizing reflections in windows or employing the quick peek technique, where you briefly glance out from different levels of your cover, can provide valuable information. It is important to vary the level from which you peek, avoiding predictability, as the assailant may time your reappearance to take a shot.

By considering the ostrich effect and implementing these strategies, you can maintain situational awareness and minimize the risk of being caught off guard by an assailant who has a different vantage point.

Whatever form your cover takes, here are some general considerations to remember:


You will be much less exposed firing around your cover rather than over it.

The exact posture you adopt will depend on the shape of your cover and the suspect’s location.

The idea is to get on target while risking as little of your hide as you can.

When you’re forced to stay behind cover for a long period of time, gradually develop your position so that it does not restrict circulation, add to your fatigue, and prevent accurate shooting.

Your position should be a position of advantage, as comfortable as possible, and functional so that you can advance or retreat from it if necessary.

Keep your head down and keep the faith,


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