Dear Brendan,

In previous letters I’ve addressed vehicle combatives.  In this letter I’d like to discuss combat shooting from inside and outside of vehicles, basic ballistics as it relates to vehicles used as cover and some other TTP’s that you can add to your growing toolbox of skillsets and tradecraft. 

First off bullets come in by the magazine, not ones and twos.  Only hits count but volume of fire and violence of action will help you get off the “X”.  Speed kills, so move with a purpose.  Speed and accuracy matter, so learn to be slow in a hurry.  Some ballistic protection is always better than none, but beware of BS smoke & mirrors. Trust but verify. Some clowns in the growing industry of weapons and tactics training push “revolutionary” new ways of vehicle protection. Be skeptical.

The BLUF: Cars are still terrible pieces of cover that provide minimal ballistic protection and not cover.  Know the difference between cover & concealment.  In the middle of a gunfight is not the time to learn this lesson. You may very well learn it the hard way with the loss of your own life or that of a teammate or loved one.

I recommend you conduct your own ballistic tests.  Go to a junkyard and get a wrecked vehicle and use it for real world training.  You should practice drawing your handgun from the driver’s seat, passenger seat, and backseat of the car.  Shoot through the front windshield from inside the car. Practice exiting the car by getting out the opposite side passenger door by going over a wounded or dead passenger/teammate, with your long gun and go bag.  Simulate real world scenarios such as your seatbelt won’t unlock, or the car door won’t open and you are taking heavy fire.  You must train to muscle memory.  You must train using gross motor skills, as you will likely lose some of your fine motor skills under high stress situations.  You should have an automatic knife on you to cut free from your seatbelt and a glass breaker on the handle to break the passenger window out.  I say automatic knife knowing your gross motor skills can hit the button to lock the blade out vs. having to use fine motor skills to manually open a folding knife.     

Put targets inside the vehicle and on the outside behind the vehicle as if aggressors were using it as cover or concealment and engaging you from the vehicle.  I recommend you train with various weapon systems (small arms) and fire all types of rounds into and through the vehicle.  You will notice 7.62mm; 5.56mm and even 9mm rounds will penetrate the car with ease.  Only the engine block and axel provide any level of cover.  Never lean on the hood of a car and shoot. Stand off/back from the vehicle. Leave some distance between you and the car.   

If you find yourself in a vehicle and you are taking fire. Consider yourself on the “X”, aka the kill zone.  You must move, move, move! If your vehicle is inoperable, you must exit the vehicle and move to cover.  A vehicle that can’t move becomes a magnet for lead/bullets. Remember you are never out of the fight!  Fight your way to cover.  Never quit!  Most people don’t rise to the occasion; they fall to their level of training.  On that note, remember to train like you fight, because you will ultimately fight like you train.  Think back to earlier letters and recall the four cornerstones we started with to build your foundation.  (Commitment, Training, Communication, Leadership) 

I’ll leave you with one of my pet peeves.  I’m sure we have all seen the guy who litters the range with magazines.  Please for the love of Allah, don’t be that guy!  I don’t want to ever see you do this in training or in a gunfight.  I know there will be times when you need to simply drop the mag and speed reload to stay in the fight.  However it only takes a second to retain your mag.  To put it in your drop pouch, drop it down your shirt or put it in your cargo pocket or somewhere on your person.  You shouldn’t litter the battlefield with empty magazines or partially empty magazines. This terrible habit of leaving magazines behind can cost you your life. Start getting into the habit of keeping your empty and partially empty magazines on you.   

Please remember ammo is cheap.  So don’t hesitate emptying an entire magazine on a target. Your life and teammates lives are priceless. Your life is worth fighting for.   

Fight smart, remember superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior firepower.



Always Faithful & Always Forward