I’m sure we’ve all seen the videos on YouTube of a family being confronted by a group of aggressive individuals on the highway, the parents pulled out of the car and beaten in front of their kids. Or maybe you’ve heard the stories of private military contractors caught in an ambush on the roads of Iraq or Afghanistan. After my time in the Army, I was employed as a private military contractor stationed in Iraq. Most of my time in-country was spent protecting key leaders of the US government. Some of the training we were required to take included high-threat driving, shooting and moving – all while keeping situational awareness.

However, we never dove as deep into defensive shooting from a vehicle as I recently did appearing as a “guest student” here at a Texas course tailored to the PMC and average civilian who want to expand their weapons defense knowledge base.

Fighting from a vehicle is entirely different from fighting on the ground or field with weapons. It’s almost like sniping. The way a sniper must calculate his windage, elevation, temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, etc., is the same thought process that you must use when shooting from a vehicle to a certain extent.

There are advantages and disadvantages to fighting from a vehicle. For starters, one advantage the defensive shooter has is the immediate ability to obtain cover. The engine block, sections of the door, and the overall length of the vehicle can make for good cover.

The main problem the shooter will encounter is shooting through an angled windshield. When shooting from inside the vehicle attempting to place rounds on the threat, you can expect the first round to impact high on target. Depending on the caliber and the velocity of the round, the placement will vary. The exact placement of the round is a tough one to determine, but with the decreased velocity or the expansion of the round, its main purpose at the time is to punch-through or weaken the windshield to better assist the rounds to follow. As long as you maintain the general point of aim, the following rounds will impact on the intended target.

Key Tips For Shooting From a Vehicle

  1. Instead of trying to compensate for the first round’s upwards path of flight, aim at the intended point of impact and place rounds 2-x through the hole created by the first round.
  2. Be aware of where the seatbelt is on your person. The last thing you want to do is get entangled in the vehicle while defending and seeking cover.
  3. Where is your extra mag? Do you carry it in your magazine pouch or in the car. If you do not carry it in the pouch on your belt, be sure to maintain positive control of it at all times.
  4. Although certain sections of the car may be thin and won’t stop incoming rounds, they will deviate the round’s intended point of impact.
  5. Distance from the vehicle is your friend! Avoid the ricochet!

This article was originally published on the Loadout Room and written by