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SWAT Round-Up 2005: Results

Written by Jim Weiss

SWAT Round-Up is the world premier SWAT competition. Participants, law enforcement and military alike, all learn from the Round-Up, as they watch with an eye for detail, practicality, and new ways of conducting applied police stratagems.

Seventy-three teams registered to compete in 2005, including the foreign teams of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Bosnia, four teams from Hungary, two from Sweden, two from Germany, and one from Spain. Some teams return yearly. Others, like two teams from Ohio, competed at the Round-Up for the first time. Competition teams included large agencies like the Orange County, FL Sheriff’s Office with 2,400 employees and small agencies such as the Lake Mary, FL Police with 28 sworn officers and 16 civilian personnel.

The benefits of attending the 2005 Round-Up were many. Expert instructors from all over the USA conducted morning training classes and students could profit from lessons learned from actual case studies or prior incidents. Preparation for the events provided motivation for teams to maintain peak physical conditioning as well as sharpen basic firearms and tactical skills. Participants were able to evaluate their performance under stress. The event also encouraged team spirit and cohesiveness, innovation, and problem solving. And by joining together in friendly competition, members of widespread special operations teams were able to meet their peers from around the world.

Event #1- Hostage Rescue

Except for the sniper’s rifle shots in this event, hand-gunners on each team used frangible ammunition. Frangible ammunition rules also applied to other handgun events as well as to those requiring subgun usage. All events at the Round-Up were five-member team challenges.

Each Hostage Rescue team consisted of one sniper and four entry team members. Entry team members wore gas masks and were armed with handguns and four rounds of ammunition. As with all of the other events except the Obstacle Course, eye and ear protection and body armor were mandatory. Ballistic helmets were not required for any Round-Up event.

The sniper, in addition to his unloaded, optically sighted precision rifle, carried an unloaded, holstered handgun. He was permitted to carry three rounds of ammunition.

At the Start/Finish Line and on the command of “Go,” the sniper proceeded to the sniper’s platform, faced his downrange target in his final firing position (prone, sitting, or low kneeling), and loaded his weapon. He was permitted to use a sling, fire unsupported, or use the firing port and deck for rifle stabilization. The sniper then engaged his three targets. Two were stationary. Once those two were successfully engaged, a third target was activated in one of the same windows as the first two targets. Targets were 75-85 yards away. Once cleared, the sniper returned to the finish line.

While the sniper moved to his firing position, the four-member entry team ran to its position just outside the shoot house entry door. Upon the sniper’s first shot, the grenadier threw a flash/bang device through a doorway and the members entered after the device exploded. Only when entry team members entered their own room could weapons be drawn; all rooms were required to be searched and cleared in any manner that the team members wished. Team members engaged eight “shoot” targets located in separate rooms, two rounds per target.

Handguns had to be holstered before leaving the shoot rooms. After clearing the rooms, entry team members rescued two “hostages” located in two predetermined rooms and carried them back to the Start/Finish Line. In previous years these hostages were two 80-pound bags; this year two 150 pound dummies, each complete with head, arms, and legs, were used.

The last team member to cross the Finish Line stopped the clock. Points were totaled, with penalties for violations. Inappropriate weapon handling was a Major Safety Violation and could bump the team to last place plus thirty seconds for this or any event.

Event #2- Pritcher Scramble

Basic event requirements were for the team to work together in traversing obstacles and for each team member to engage a moving target. There was no sniper.

At the on-deck area, gas masks were checked and secured in carriers. Two team members were each armed with subguns with four rounds secured in a magazine; the subguns were not actually loaded until the team member arrived at the firing box. The grenadier carried a gas launcher with an inert round while the Less Lethal team member carried a less lethal launcher and one less lethal round.

Both were also armed with a handgun with one magazine loaded with four rounds. A fifth team member was armed with a shotgun, with four rounds of 00 buckshot, but it was pre-positioned at the shooting lane and not carried through the event. The team’s acting door breaker person was equipped with a battering ram.

Start Line for this event was inside a SWAT van. Upon “Go,” the team sprinted from the van and traversed a series of 4-foot walls and through a tube obstacle to take cover behind an armored personnel carrier where they put on gas masks. Once the gas masks were on, the grenadier loaded and fired a practice round through a downrange window and the less lethal gun operator fired his one shot at a target. After these shots were fired, the team ran to a closed, freestanding door.

The door breaker breached the door using the ram and then dropped it. All team members ran to their individual firing boxes. Each box was centered on a 24-foot wide firing lane with an orange can inverted over a stake. Each member had to remove this can with his shooting hand, draw and load his handgun or subgun, and prepare to engage the moving target.

The team’s shot-gunner positioned himself in a shotgun shooting position at the far end of the other shooting positions. His target was a 4-inch head plate target, 20 yards down range. Shotguns could be pump or semiautomatic with iron sights and a barrel length not exceeding 20 inches. Once the shot-gunner finished engaging his target, the shotgun was left in place.

This year, the designated team leader signaled the start of the Running Man target. When the Running Man paper silhouette target entered the member’s lane at the speed of a jog, from left to right, each shooter had two seconds to engage it with four rounds. After shooting, all weapons were made safe and handguns holstered. Then the course was run in reverse, back through the door while picking up the ram, back around the armored vehicle, over the walls, and to the Finish Line. Time, target hits, grenadier shot, and penalties were assessed for the final score.

Event #3- Officer Rescue

This event was totally different from previous years. Each team negotiated a water canal rather than a pond, engaged targets with multiple weapons, and rescued a downed officer, all in a simulated chemical environment.

Team members did the course wearing unaltered gas masks. Three members each had a holstered, loaded handgun loaded with five rounds of frangible ammunition. The two team snipers each also carried a holstered but unloaded handgun and their precision, optically sighted rifle.

One sniper and the three-member assault team element ran from the Start Line to a dock and a waiting inflated boat. They entered their boat, and by rowing or also utilizing a rope running across one side of the canal, proceeded down the canal.

Not gas masked, the other sniper meanwhile ran to a shooting platform, a raised swing type structure simulating shooting from a boat. This platform had a firing port. The sniper attained his firing position, loaded, engaged a target, a 2-inch head plate 75-85 yards down range, gas masked and then moved to the finish line.

Meanwhile the boat element docked and sniper #2 moved to an elevated shooting platform, where he had the option of removing the gas mask for his shot. He selected one of three colored blocks and engaged a target of the same color at 50 yards. After taking his downrange shot, he put his gas mask back on and ran for the finish line.

After the sniper in the elevated platform completed his shot, the handgun assault element cut their way through a chain link fence with a cutting device that was provided, advanced to a targeted vehicle, and a downed officer (a 150 pound training dummy), and engaged three randomly placed head plate targets at the designated shooting area. One shooter could help another if the first shooter first exited the shooting position.

Once either 1) all targets were knocked over or 2) the ammunition was exhausted, the three assault team members located the downed “officer” and carried him back to the finish line, stopping the event.

Event #4- Tower Scramble

Wearing body armor and carrying rappelling ropes, each five-member team consisted of two elements: a two-member sniper element and a three-member handgun assault element. All had to rappel.

Teams had two options for this event. They could either move together to the tower. In this case, the assault element and one sniper would climb the cargo net and stairs and the other sniper would take a ground position. The assault element would rappel first and move on to their handgun shooting boxes, leaving one sniper at the tower’s designated shooting position to engage his two targets and then rappel. The sniper at the ground position would first engage his two targets and then go up the cargo net, enter through a window, climb the tower’s stairs, and then repel down and go to the finish line, as did all members once they repelled.

Or, the team could split up, with one sniper moving to the top of the tower and the second sniper to the ground position where they would engage their targets, while the assault element of the three hand-gunners went to their handgun shooting boxes, engaged their targets, moved to the tower, climbed the cargo net and stairs to the rappel deck and rappelled. The sniper at the ground position would then also climb the tower and rappel after engaging his targets. In either option, only the assault element members stopped their repels to enter a bottom window and ring a bell before finishing their descent and moving to the finish line.

Each sniper engaged two targets: one between 75-100 yards out and the second at between 100-150 yards out. Snipers were not advised of the exact distances to their targets. Rappelling equipment rules mandated a maximum of two 7/16 inch, or 1/2 inch static kernmantle ropes of sufficient length to allow for a double line which, with a safe and secure tie-off, touched the ground at the base of the tower, and had sufficient free rope to allow for a belay before a load was placed on it. Dynamic ropes were not allowed.

Each team member utilized an approved harness seat, locking/auto-locking carabineer with a minimum breaking strength of 6000 pounds, figure eight device, and gloves. Rifles were carried slung, muzzles up or down and bolt closed until specified.

The hand gunner/assault element, after running to individual shooting boxes, used their handguns to each engage 10 falling plate targets placed downrange at five to ten yards; a total of 30 targets had to be successfully engaged. One hand-gunner could help another engage any remaining plates.

Event #5- Obstacle Course

Team members began the course together. They were allowed to help each other in the event, but if someone moved backward to help a teammate, he had to repeat the course from that point on. The event wasn’t over until the entire team crossed the Finish Line.

The team members wove their way through the Jacob’s Ladder, climbed the rope to touch the crossbar, alternated over and under the cross members of the Over/Under, made the Attic Entry and exited off either side, did the Dirty Name by mounting one cross member and jumping up to and over the next higher cross member, and assisted one another up and over the 12-Foot Wall.

They went up one side and down the other of the A Frame, did the Hand-Over-Hand Incline, low-crawled under the mesh cover of the Rock Crawl, traversed the Parallel Bars, and climbed up one side of the Cargo Net and down the other.

Then they crossed the Balance Beams, climbed up all platforms and slid down the pole of the High Climb Slide, crawled through the mud and water of the Worm Pit, propelled themselves through the Pipe Slide, pulled themselves along the Rope Traverse, negotiated the Tangle Foot, and finally ran it out to the Finish Line. Usually, if a team had a problem, it was at the beginning with the Rope Climb or near the end with the Rope Traverse.

SWAT ROUND-UP 2005 RESULTS

First:
Orlando, FL Police Department (Team Gold)

Second: Federal Air Marshal (FL)

Third: Team Sweden, Stockholm

Fourth: Gainesville, FL Police Department

Fifth: Neutron Police, Hungary

Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, OH Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER.
Mickey Davis is a Florida-based journalist. They may be reached at jweiss2109@aol.com and mdavisFLA@aol.com.

Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2006

Rating : Not Yet Rated


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