Since we’re talking about church security, let’s get one simple concept out of the way. It’s the difference between Cover and Concealment.

Some people have the mistaken impression that if you can’t see them, they can’t shoot you. There’s something to say for that, as most shooters won’t waste ammo unless there’s a reason to. But remember that in most cases, walls don’t stop bullets. So if you’re hiding in a room with walls made of drywall, a shooter can’t see you. If you’re making noise inside that room, he may decide just out of general principal to fire a half dozen rounds or so through the wall.

All Concealment does for you is to hide you from the bad guy. We work from the assumption that if he can’t see you, he won’t shoot at you. Again, making sure you do nothing to let the shooter know you’re there is highly important.

Also, not all Cover is equal. Cover that would perfect against low velocity bullets or shotguns might be worthless against other types of weapons.

This chart gives you a pretty good idea about what might provide good cover. I do want to point out that with the shotgun, a slug will go through drywall just fine, and in tests, will “crack” an engine block.

A wall made of drywall will not stop a bullet. However, a corner made of 2×4 construction and nailed together might stop some bullets. But if the same wall were made of two foot thick adobe or brick, and unless the shooter happens to have an RPG, you’re probably OK. If you choose to make a fight of it, fighting from a position where it offers both Cover and Concealment would be ideal. There’s several locations in our church that would make ideal choices to include a recently installed fireplace in the commons room. Made of high grade steel and surrounded by masonry stone, it’s large enough to hide an officer from a shooter, and offers a good degree of protection from his bullets. It also makes a good place to fight from.

That said, in church security, look for those areas that would offer the best hiding places and the best protection. These areas may also need to be identified as shelters where people can go. Interestingly, those same locations might be useful for your severe weather plan (think tornadoes).