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Distance and Spalling

In the previous post, we talked about additional considerations for moving safely. Let’s take a closer look at the concepts that surround this subject.

a. Distance – can be the distance your adversary is from you, the distance you are from your cover, and/or the distance you need to move to get to where you want to be, etc., all of which can play to your advantage if you know how to use distance.

The FBI/DOJ, tell us that the vast majority of lost defensive gunfights will take place in very close proximity to you (7-yards and in), and your adversary will dictate this distance, especially if you are caught unawares.As mentioned previously, it is highly advisable to first observe all that you can about your adversary quickly, covertly, and as far away as possible.

Observing early gains you the ability to engage in the decision making process (OODA Loops) early, thereby activating a level of performance arousal as opposed to being taken by surprise and activating an SNS response and adrenaline dump, which would happen if your adversary ended up surprising you at close range with hostile intent.

Because distance favors the better shooter, it benefits you to be heads-up so that if a target indicator is noticed (which can be trained for using the previously mentioned observation building exercises along with quality Reality Based Training or “RBT”) you will both have more time to react appropriately – provided, you have had the proper training.

If you had your druthers, you would want your adversary to be a poorer shot than you, and you would want to be operating within a distance you can quickly guarantee your hits, just beyond the area that your adversary can shoot effectively.

But since you can’t have your druthers in a lethal force confrontation, it becomes important that you can react both quickly and sometimes surreptitiously without having to think about it too much.

b. Spalling – spalling is the fragments of both projectile (copper, lead, etc.,) and whatever matrix (brick, concrete, glass, sheet metal, etc.,) the projectile hits that travel forward and outward from the point of impact in abut a 1-14 degree fan (please see below for diagrams). Here too, distance is an important factor.

The spalling factor, what can it look like?

It will be helpful for you to navigating through your day take a moment to consider the surfaces that surround you.

Even a mental check of the areas you frequent can be helpful.

Some surfaces like sheetrock and wood will absorb rounds easily and causes ricochets only at the shallowest of angles. Other matrices like concrete or brick buildings will give off much more spalling for obvious reasons. Therefore, it is important that you understood and respect the environment you are operating in and be prepared to adjust accordingly.

EXHIBIT: Spalling what can it look like?

Screenshot (52)

Exhibit: Spalling















For instance: If you are walking down an alley and if someone were shooting at and yet missed you and hit the brick wall next to you, you could very well end up receiving wounds from both the high-speed projectile fragments as well as the wall (brick, concrete etc).

Similarly, if you are at the wrong angle next to a vehicle with sheet metal components (doors, hood, fenders, etc.), you can also be the unfortunate recipient of spalling as well (see EXHIBIT above).

Generally speaking, you want to stay far back off cover and concealment (even corners that you are pieing) as practically possible, and expose only as much of yourself as you need to in order to begin influencing the situation.

Staying off cover greatly helps reduce the amount of spalling you will receive, and doing so gives you the added benefit of seeing a much wider field of view, which is directly related to your distance from cover.

Getting too close to cover is what we call “crowding cover” and its ramifications are lethal, as can be seen in this (graphic) video of the Dallas Police shooting (skip to the 35-second mark).

In the video, it is clear that the individual shot was hugging cover, so much so that when the assailant came around the pillar the victim had his back to the assailant.

This wider field of view shortens your decision making process by allowing you to address the situation faster (you are able to see and act faster over a wider area) while helping to ensure you taking less damage due to any spalling coming your way.

Just as importantly, staying back from cover helps you to mitigate the effects of spalling mentioned above.

Finally, by staying back from cover you are able to keep your firearm and appendages working freely and swiftly while simultaneously making it more difficult for any adversary on the other side of the cover/concealment from grabbing you or any equipment/firearms that may protrude if you are too close to your cover (such as when you are working corners or doorways).

We will continue to cover more about spalling in the next post.

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