View Full Version : Don't use a car door for cover

June 9, 2011, 08:24 AM
A simple word to the wise ... a short video clip which also compares 9mm to 50 caliber effects.


June 9, 2011, 08:39 AM
i did not watch the vid, but I would rather use a car door than nothing.

June 9, 2011, 09:02 AM
A car door is more concealment than cover...but it can offer some cover in certain circumstances. Like the obove poster said, its better than nothing.

June 9, 2011, 09:52 AM
Long story but without the gory details, had a deranged guy unload a shotgun loaded with lead slugs at me. At the time, I was in an old Ford sedan when they built them strong. The window was down which probably made a difference. Three slugs hit the door but did not penetrate. As I hit the gas pedal and peeled away, three rounds hit the trunk and did penetrate.

The distance between the shooter and the car was about 15 feet. End of story...we drove to the police station. The shooter was arrested and pleaded guilty to aggravated battery. I thought it should have been attempted murder but since we were not bodily hit, it was indeed aggravated battery. Shooter got what he deserved....lots of jail time.

My lesson learned. Never help a girlfriend retrieve anything she says she left behind at her previous rental apartment when the landlord is not tightly wrapped. And a car door is better than nothing at all. It saved my life that day.

June 9, 2011, 10:26 AM
i did not watch the vid, but I would rather use a car door than nothing.

Couldn't agree more. Besides, those 7.62x39mm rounds might penetrate from outside the weapons range, but that doesn't mean 9mm and especially shotgun loads will penetrate beyond their range.

June 9, 2011, 10:33 AM
Good video. I wish they would have repeated all the shots with the car door. Seems as if the AK is a little more potent than the 9mm and the .357, at a minimum, and I think a car door is way better than nothing for handgun fire.

Another point is that the full auto fire looks impressive, but it's unlikely you will run into it, and also that any individual bullet does the same damage whether it's fired full auto or not.

June 9, 2011, 12:41 PM
If you're lucky, the bullet will hit a double-layered portion of the window regulator; there's always that chance, making the door, as has already been said, better than nothing. In many cars nowadays there is also a crash bar welded to the door. Anything inside the door will help some. If it is the only cover I have, I would certainly use it.

old bear
June 9, 2011, 02:08 PM
Never help a girlfriend retrieve anything she says she left behind at her previous rental apartment when the landlord is not tightly wrapped

Been there done that, yet never with your exciting results thank goodness. Maybe there is something to be said for old Fords'

June 9, 2011, 03:11 PM
I guess I was surprised at the huge difference between .50 BMG and any of the other rounds. I somewhat expected it to just go through and through without transferring that much energy.

June 9, 2011, 04:04 PM
Car door is better than nothing and if you are subjected to .50 bmg fire and in a standard car you're fighting for the wrong side.

June 9, 2011, 09:02 PM
Thre are lots of things inside a car door.. Panels, Electric motors, metal bracketing, glass, outter metal skin, inner composit skin... All Of Which Are Harder Than My Skin.

If a car door is all I have then its what I will use.. Same as a garbage can or wooden post. Its easy to say, dont use a car door as cover- if there is a brick wall available.

June 9, 2011, 09:30 PM

Don't use a car door for cover

A car door might significantly reduce the damage done to you from a lightly constructed handgun bullet, and other handgun bullets would impart some of their energy getting through the car door before hitting your body.

A class IIIA bullet resistant vest would not stop or reduce (much) the effect of a 7.62 x 39 bullet.

I remember reading a magazine article from decades ago where the author shot some popular (for the times) handgun cartridges into a car trying to hit a plywood target placed in the driver's location. He found that the 200gr lead round nose .38 spl from a 2" revolver would not penetrate the windshield or the car door. I think the velocity was about 600 fps. The 115gr HP 9mm only penetrated the windshield about 50% of the time and what got through was so deflected and reduced in power it would not penetrate a 1/4" plywood target. The 125gr HP .357 magnum would shatter the windshield but not penetrate. The 158gr HP .357 magnum always penetrated.

June 9, 2011, 10:32 PM
The only reason you should use a car door is if you are actively driving out of the area.

Otherwise, you will get much more protection from the engine block (crouching/kneeling) or the wheels (prone).

June 9, 2011, 11:24 PM
They didn't shoot at a car door, but a barrel of water... It's a little different.

Anyway, get out of your car if your getting shot at, its a death trap inside. Get to the back where the trunk is, all that metal. If the shooter is coming from the front of the car that is.

June 10, 2011, 12:27 AM
they shoot the car door in the end 9mm, but only with the AK which unsurprisingly penetrates.

June 10, 2011, 05:31 PM
Also, if you look at the distance they are shooting, it is going to be handgun range. Maybe 40 yards max. A .22 rifle will penetrate that stripped down car door at that distance....

But even though the video seriously slanted the sights on the usefulness of a car door as cover. Using that car door is better than running out into the open to better cover 45 yards away under fire.

June 11, 2011, 01:02 PM
Car doors and body panels are much better cover than you would think.

Penetration lessens greatly if the bullet doesn't hit at a 90 degree angle.

If you don't believe me, check out all of the police videos showing cars being hit dozens of times and nobody inside is hit, much less killed. Any one bullet could go through, but they usually don't.

It is hard to get bullets into a car.

Doc TH
June 11, 2011, 02:29 PM
Agree, it is better than air.
Penetration into cars depends a great deal on bullet shape and construction, but mostly on the angle of strike. A number of people, including the late Jim Cirillo have demonstrated that as the strike angle deviates from 90 deg, penetration goes down. Cirillo demonstrated that a round nose bullet will deflect most readily.
The Russians knew this long ago; that's why the T-34 tank had sloped armor. Even a shell travelling parallel to the ground will strike the armor at less than 90 deg., to the consternation of the Wehrmacht at the time.

June 13, 2011, 03:42 PM
I have a video from a Federal Agency where they fired about 300 rounds of 9mm, .38,.357, .45, and 12 gauge buck at a sedan with two cardboard targets in it. They fired from dead ahead, and then from the left side, at about 10-15 feet.

1. Neither target had a hit on it.
2. They started up the car and drove it about 100 yards, flat tires, leaking fluids, and all.

Also, stop by a wrecking yard and check out what is inside a car door. It offers much more protection than a tee shirt.

But as noted the best thing to do is use the car to exit the kill zone!
Or, remember that a Ford at 30 MPH has more energy than the heaviest .500 S&W load - deadly force is deadly force.

Glenn Dee
June 13, 2011, 05:02 PM
Any cover is better than no cover at all...

June 13, 2011, 10:47 PM
Any cover may be better than no cover at all, but if you are going to use a car for cover, how much harder is it to get behind a solid structure (wheel, engine block) than to get behind a door?

June 13, 2011, 11:04 PM
Depends on the vehicle. We used to own this station wagon, I swear the doors were paper thin. On our other cars they are much thicker.

June 14, 2011, 11:14 AM
There appear to be some hidden presumptions here, including in my own post: Are you in the car, or out of it?
Is the car moving, or stopped? Can you move the car?
What direction is the attack coming from - front, rear, drivers side, passenger side?
Can you drive out of the kill zone, or are you truly blocked in? Could you get out by driving on the sidewalk?

And most important:
Are you the target of a dedicated attack, or just blocking someone's escape?

All of them change the potential answers. First, as always, we must define our terms and frame of reference.

June 14, 2011, 05:59 PM
Pistols: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot3.htm

Rifles: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot4.htm

I have seen the information here verified in the "Best Defense" on the outdoor channel.

Bottom line: "Cars are bullet magnets, get behind the engine block if you can't get away from the car. Then, get away for the car ASAP!"


Windsheilds too!



Don't forget the shotguns versus the car!


And finally, the engine:


June 16, 2011, 03:22 AM
I did not watch the vid, but I would rather use a car door than nothing.

I think they should look for Gander Mountain first.

Or instead, look for the nearest couch.

At least that takes there sight picture site out.

They learned that the hard way in LA against AK47s.

June 16, 2011, 06:15 AM
I agree that a car door should not be used as cover. There are only two areas of a car that I would want to be behind if rounds were being sailed my way, and they have already been mentioned. With that said…if the only thing standing between me and live rounds were a car door, then you can bet I’d be behind that car door until I could respond appropriately, flee, run, or find better cover.

June 16, 2011, 07:12 AM
Certainly was interesting to watch the car door get shot up. I think the point of the video was to basically say car doors aren't bullet proof so don't treat them as a life saving device.

June 16, 2011, 12:31 PM
There is a psychological part to this as well - many people (including LEO's) will not shoot at someone they cannot see. Many years ago an LEO in California took cover behind and empty cardboard refrigerator box, with the open side facing the outlaw! The bad guy shot at the officer when he looked around the sides, but never tried to shoot him through the box!

It may only be concealment, but if it works, who cares?

8shot357, I don't understand your post at all. Gander Mountain? A couch? What are you trying to say??

June 16, 2011, 05:20 PM
8shot357, I don't understand your post at all. Gander Mountain? A couch? What are you trying to say??

Never mind, I was tired had a few drinks, and trying to be funny. I meant any mountain and Gander came to mind. Getting behind anything other than nothing is better than just staying out in the open. Even a cardboard box I guess. Sorry for sounding dumb.:D

June 17, 2011, 06:57 AM
Cover = used to stop bullets from hitting you
Concealment = used to stop bad guys from seeing you

Big difference

June 20, 2011, 09:09 AM
Seems this topic comes up from time to time.

DEA did an informal study on service calibers and common street calibers vs. vehicles.


Bottom line, vehicles don't provide much protection, if any.