SMART AROUND CARS
ADVANCED TIPS FOR SHOOTING AROUND VEHICLES, PART II
When you are training for armed defense with a rifle around a vehicle, there are key elements you must know. In Part II, we have more. By Rob Pincus
The use of the rifle in defense around vehicles is a common theme in law enforcement and urban military training. For people who regularly carry rifles in their vehicles, learning some concepts specific to using their long gun around that vehicle only makes sense.
In our last issue, we went over shooting through glass, shooting over cover, and using tires as cover. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when you are practicing or planning for armed defense with a rifle around a vehicle. — Editor
01 Vehicles as a Rest
If you are in a situation where you are engaging a threat at a significant distance, or have another need to control deviation at a higher level than you can reliably manage offhanded, a vehicle can offer many opportunities for improvised rests. The hood or trunk, mirrors, bumpers, spare tires mounted on the backs of Jeeps or other SUVS, trailer hitches, or the roofs of shorter cars can all be used as improvised rests to increase stability.
Of course, using a vehicle as a rest decreases its value as cover or concealment. You should always try to use the “hard-on-soft or soft-on-hard” rule for improvised rests whenever possible, placing a jacket, bag or other soft item between the rifle and the hard surface of a car when you can. This will increase stability and improve recoil management. If you are using a vertical fore-grip or some rifles’ magazines or magazine wells as a brace, you may also be able to “lean into” the rifle to increase stability.
Remember that any contact with your barrel can affect accuracy in extreme situations and always keep your mechanical offset (the difference in the position of your sights/scope/optic and your muzzle) in mind when using a vehicle as a rest. Many a truck hunter has put a crease into their hood or a hole through the opposite side of their pickup bed after failing to account for this!
02 Behavioral Cover
You may need to remind yourself that you have the ability to see the bad guy through tinted or dirty glass when he is looking for you around the vehicle. I coined the term “behavioral cover” in the mid-2000s after seeing several videos where bad guys hesitated on pulling the trigger at police officers or targets, because they did not have a clear line of sight to the part of their body they wanted to shoot.
One of the most dramatic examples was an undercover officer who simply put his hand up in front of his body after being knocked to the ground. The bad guy can be seen very obviously trying to maneuver and angle his handgun around the officer’s hand to get a “clear shot” at his head or chest. The officer continues to move his hand in front of the muzzle of the threat’s gun long enough for the quick response team to get into the room and take the bad guy out of the fight.
I have seen countless examples of police officers and others fighting around vehicles, when they had the option of both looking and shooting through the glass. Having seen this phenomenon occur often enough to
Try to use the “hard- on- soft or softon- hard” rule for improvised rests whenever possible, placing a jacket, bag or other soft item between the rifle and the hard surface of a car.