For the 31st annual SWAT Round-Up competition, 57
teams competed, including international teams from Hungary, Estonia, Jamaica,
Kuwait, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain,
Sweden, and Germany. Teams also came from all over the United States including
LAPD, Boston PD, the New Mexico State Police, and agency teams from Ohio,
Indiana, Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. There were 32 teams from
In the spirit of camaraderie, American teams loaned foreign
teams items that could not be brought into or taken out of this country due to
American and state laws. In the real world, SWAT teams train for their normal
tactical duties using full ballistic gear. At the SWAT Round-Up, the
competition teams use lighter equipment and need less tactical depth.
A competitive team consisted of eight members. Each team
event required five members for competition purposes. However, all eight
members were considered competitive team members and could alternate on any
given event. Each competitive team member had to be a sworn law enforcement,
military, or correctional officer, as well as be a full-time member of the
registered agency’s response team.
Event 1 – The Hostage Rescue
The Hostage Rescue consisted of four assault team
members and one sniper. Spectators
were not allowed to view the event. Since it was termed a “blind event,” no information was
provided to any team prior to their arrival at the team leader meeting the day
before the event. At the meeting, basic information about the event was
provided in a sealed envelope.
team members were required to be mission ready, with department-issued equipment
necessary to complete a high-risk warrant, hostage rescue, or barricaded gunman
scenario. A minimum equipment list included helmet, gas mask, ballistic body armor,
handguns, subguns, magazines, and rounds for these guns and the sniper’s rifle.
five team members reported at their given time to the on-deck area, they were
safety inspected and equipped as required to begin the event. Each assault team
member loaded the required weapon systems as designated in their briefing
sheet, and placed the weapon system in a safe condition. The single sniper team
member utilized an optically sighted precision rifle. Ammunition could not be
introduced into the rifle until specified.
safety violations for all events except the O-Course included: breaking the 180-degree plane, violation of
the laser safety rule, early weapon presentation/draw, and any other
inappropriate weapon handling.
Event 2 – The Pricher
The Pricher Scramble consisted of four assault team members
and one sniper. This event required each team to work together to traverse
various obstacles, and arrive at shooting positions from which each team member
engaged a moving target. Eye and ear protection, as well as body armor, were
mandatory throughout the event.
Assault team members arrived equipped with a fully
operational, unaltered gas mask in a gas mask carrier. They each had an
operational subgun or assault rifle with one magazine loaded with a total of
four rounds of ammunition. Assault team members also had a handgun loaded with
four rounds of handgun ammunition in a department-approved holster.
The sniper team member carried a securely holstered but
unloaded handgun, and used an optically sighted precision rifle, with one round
of ammunition, which was not introduced into the rifle until specified. The
sniper team member was allowed to use any ancillary/ support equipment he deemed
fit, but had to transport the rifle and additional equipment throughout the
The team entered a van where inside was a battering ram and
a Halligan Tool, which would be carried through the event and used as needed.
Upon the command “Go,” the assault team and the sniper left the van and ran to
the series of obstacles, which they traversed with all of their equipment in
any way they wanted.
After the obstacles, the sniper went to his firing position
where he assumed a prone position and loaded his rifle. He was able to engage a
downrange target only after all of his team members had donned their gas masks
while in their designated box. A scorable hit on the sniper’s target had to be
on the bull’s-eye. After engaging his target, the sniper made the rifle safe,
and moved back to the start/finish, negotiating the obstacles in reverse.
While he was doing this, the assault team ran to cover
behind the APC and put on their gas masks. Once all team members had donned
their gas masks, the sniper was allowed to engage his target. The team waited
in the staging area until the target was engaged, then moved to the
At this point, the team door breaker used the battering ram
to breach the door. Once it was successfully opened, the assault team proceeded
to the firing line. The battering ram and the hooligan were left at the
breaching door, where it was picked up by the team on the return trip.
At the firing line, each shooter selected an individual
shoot box. Before loading a subgun or assault rifle or drawing a handgun from
its holster, the team member had to lift and remove a painted cover with any
hand. Once accomplished, each shooter then drew his handgun or loaded his
subgun/assault rifle, and engaged six targets in his lane and his lane only. After
engaging the targets, all team members traversed back through the course in
reverse order, picking up the battering ram and hooligan as
they passed through the door.
Event 3 – Officer Rescue
The Officer Rescue consisted of four assault team members
and one sniper. The event required each team member to traverse a
pre-positioned/pre-stretched line across a canal, engage multiple targets with
multiple weapons, and rescue a downed officer. Traverse equipment was
determined by the team; however, all traverse and rescue equipment was carried
throughout the event.
Each team member was equipped with a fully operational,
unaltered gas mask secured in a gas mask carrier. Assault team members had a
fully operational subgun or assault rifle with one magazine loaded with six
rounds of ammunition, and a handgun with a magazine loaded with four rounds.
The sniper team member was armed with a holstered handgun
loaded with six rounds of ammunition, and utilized an optically sighted
precision rifle with five rounds of rifle ammunition. Ammunition was not
introduced into the rifle until specified. The sniper was allowed to use any
ancillary equipment he deemed fit, but had to transport it throughout the
course. No additional ammunition for the sniper or assault team was permitted.
One member also carried a 40mm gas launcher and one inert round.
At “Go,” the entire team proceeded to the pre-rigged
traverse line. Each team member traversed the line, and all members, including
the downed officer, then climbed a concrete wall using pre-positioned ladders.
Once all team members were over the wall, the sniper separated from the team
and proceeded through a series of obstacles as he/she moved to four different
firing positions, engaging one specified target at each one. After the sniper
had knocked down all of the targets or run out of ammunition, he engaged the
sniper handgun targets from the final position, then holstered the handgun and
proceeded to the canal crossing.
At the time the sniper separated from the team, one member
of the assault team picked up the ram from the pre-staged position near the
concrete wall and carried it through the obstacles to the breaching door. Once
the entire assault team was inside the designated box at the door, the
grenadier loaded his/her 40mm gas launcher, and engaged a target downrange. At
this point, one member of the team breached the door using the ram. Once the
door was breached, the ram was put down and the assault team members moved to
their assigned shooting lanes.
At the shooting box, each member removed the painted can
with his shooting hand, and readied the handgun. When the third can was removed
from its stand, the moving target started. Each team member could only shoot in
his/her lane. After the shooters engaged the moving target, they proceeded to
another position where they each engaged four targets with their subgun. Once
all the targets had been engaged or shooters ran out of ammunition, they moved
back through the series of obstacles, over the concrete wall, and back to the
downed officer box near the canal crossing.
Once the selected downed officer arrived at the downed
officer box, he lay down. The team determined the number of members needed to
transport him. They carried him by any means necessary except dragging; the
downed officer could not assist in any manner during any part of the rescue.
The downed officer was then transported back across the traverse line and all
the way to the finish line. Once all team members crossed the line, the timing
Event 4 – Tower Scramble
The tower scramble
team consisted of three assault members and two snipers. During this
event, all team members engaged various targets, climbed the tower, and
rappelled down the designated side. This event also allowed one sniper and one
assault team member the opportunity to engage a bonus target which, if
successful, resulted in a 60-second bonus for the event. Unsuccessful
engagement resulted in a 30-second penalty. The sniper taking the bonus shot
was allowed to carry an additional rifle round.
Assault team members had a loaded handgun securely holstered
in a department approved holster. Each assault team member carried 20 rounds of
frangible ammunition, which was loaded in at least two magazines, no more than
10 rounds per magazine. One additional magazine was allowed for handguns requiring
a single-stack magazine.
Snipers were armed with an unloaded, holstered handgun and
an optically sighted precision rifle with four rounds of unloaded rifle
ammunition. If they decided to carry ancillary/support equipment, they had to
carry it throughout the course. No additional ammunition was permitted on the
course. Eye and ear protection, as well as body armor, was mandatory.
Team rappelling equipment consisted of a maximum of two
static kernmantle ropes. No dynamic ropes were allowed. Each team member
utilized an approved harness/seat, locking/auto-locking carabiner with minimum
breaking strength of 6,000 pounds, figure eight device, and gloves. All
rappelling activity took place with a safety belay, each team utilizing their
own belay personnel who wore protective helmets and no gloves.
Belay personnel performed a safety function, and could not
assist the team in any way outside the safety mission. The two-member sniper
team engaged a total of four targets placed at unknown distances, engaging each
from a standing, kneeling, or prone shooting position, from the ground as well
as at the top of the tower.
On “Go,” the sniper team moved to the first firing position
on the ground, and engaged their face target with one round each from the
standing position. Once this round has been fired, the snipers went up the
tower stairs to the second firing position where each one engaged two of the
four white (steel) targets located down range. Target engagement completed,
they rappelled down the tower, and moved back to the first firing position on
the ground where they engaged the face target with one round from the kneeling
position. They then returned to the start/finish line.
A sniper electing to engage the bonus target was allowed to
do so after all of the mandatory shots were fired. The bonus shot required the
sniper to shoot from a modified shooting position on a face target at an
unknown distance with an unknown score zone located between the eyes of the
target. After completing the bonus shot, the sniper proceeded to the
Each member had 20 rounds to engage 12 white targets. The
assault team completed a low crawl to reach their firing positions. The team
member who drew the prone shooting position unholstered the handgun prior to
establishing a prone shooting position, engaged the targets, and completed a
magazine exchange while remaining in that position. Team members could not
assist each other during the engagement sequence. The assault team members then
moved back through the low crawl, and headed to the tower.
The team member taking the bonus shot was allowed to move to
the bonus shot firing position once all mandatory handgun targets were hit. He
shot from a modified shooting position on a steel target at an approximate
distance of 50 yards (no telescopic sights were authorized). After completing
the bonus shot, the assault member moved to the tower.
The assault team entered the tower through the first floor
window via a cargo net, then used the stairs to reach the rappel platform. All
five team members had to descend the tower using a rappel line; however, only
the assault team members had to ring the bell in the bottom window on their
descent. The event ended when all of the team members crossed the start/finish
Event 5 – Obstacle Course
The obstacle course required the team to overcome various
individual, physically challenging obstacles through teamwork and fortitude.
Each obstacle had to be completed by all team members. Any team member who
moved backward through the course to assist a teammate had to repeat each
obstacle from that point on to the finish. Once the entire team completed each
obstacle and every team member crossed the finish line, that team’s time was
Jacob’s Ladder: Each member “wove” his/her body over one
rung and under the next one without touching the ground. Rope Climb: Each
member climbed the rope to the top and touched the crossbar before descending. Alternate
Over/Under: This was negotiated by first going under the low cross member, then
over the high one, then under the next low cross member, and then over the next
Attic Entry: Entry to the “attic” floor was made up through
the opening, and exiting could be accomplished from any side. Dirty Name: Team
members mounted the low cross member in order to jump up to and over the next
higher cross member. 12-Foot Wall: Members assisted each other up and over the
top of a flat-faced wall using (or not) the attached length of rope. Gorilla
Bars: Members could use only their hands to negotiate this obstacle.
Rock Crawl: Entering this obstacle in the low crawl
position, team members stayed beneath the upper cover and proceeded through it,
exiting at the opposite end. Incline Wall: This was negotiated by climbing up
and over the bar, and then sliding down the incline wall. Pete’s Dragon (High
Climb Slide): Team members ascended up the platform and slid down the pole to
the ground. Worm Pit: Team members crawled through a muddy pit while remaining
under the low tangle wire.
Pipe Slide: Members slid through a pipe from one end to the
other. Rope Traverse: While crossing the rope, members were not allowed to
touch the ground until they touched the upright vertical support at the far
end. They could not be assisted by anyone not actually traversing the obstacle
themselves. Sled Pull: This obstacle was a weighted sled with harness.
Competitors donned the harness, and pulled the sled over the finish line.
Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, Ohio
Police Department and a frequent contributor to Tactical Response.
Mickey Davis is a California-based writer and author.