The SWAT Round-Up International dates back to 1982, when the
idea of this SWAT training and competition first began. This year, 57 teams
attended from all over the world.
The greatest attention getters at the Round-Up are the five
team events: Hostage Rescue, Pricher Scramble, Officer Rescue, Tower Scramble,
and the Obstacle Course. Eight members are allowed on each competition
team, with five members doing each event.
Event 1 – Hostage
SWAT Round-Up’s Hostage Rescue is a blind event in which
four assault team members and one sniper face unknown challenges to rescue a
Sgt. John Connor of the Clearwater, Fla. Police SWAT Team
has competed in seven previous Round-Ups. The CPD has a part-time SWAT team,
which usually goes on 10 callouts a year. The Round-Up competition team began
training for the events six weeks out.
The rescue involved a simulated chemical environment. Gasmasks
were worn while shooting from 5, 15, and 25 yards out. The targets were various
colored steel plates, and shooters were given their assigned target by drawing
different color blocks; they could only shoot the matching plates. The team’s
assault element made all of its shots.
The sniper had 60 seconds to estimate the distance to his
target, and dope his scope (make windage and
elevation adjustments), to make his shot. Clearwater did not use a range finder. Some
other teams did utilize range finders, but 60 seconds wasn’t enough time to make
the resulting scope adjustments and shoot.
Their weapons included the S&W M&P 40 pistol, H&K
416 carbine; Remington 700 rifle with 12-power Leupold scope. Their gas masks were from
Avon Protection with two eye pieces. They felt its flexibility made for good
cheek welds, even with long guns, and they did not have any performance issues
while shooting with the gasmask.
Suggestions? The team felt that in order for the sniper to accurately
determine the range to correctly dope for his shot, they will be practicing
using various objects and terrain features. Since this was a blind event, what
was done previously meant little; every year it has something new.
They practiced shoot and no-shoot on common paper targets. To
prepare for next year, they will have every competition team member come up
with a Hostage Rescue scenario; they will then work on each one. Clearwater
Police Department finished in the middle of the pack in this event and 22nd
Event 2 – The Pricher
In the Pricher Scramble, team members work together to
traverse a number of up-and-over, under-and-through obstacles before shooting
from positions to engage targets. This was a gas mask event. After shooting,
the course was run in reverse back to the start/finish line.
According to SWAT Police Officer Billy Cloran of the Boston,
Mass. Police, their competition SWAT team came into the Round-Up cold. They were
not able to train and prepare enough because they were detailed to the Boston
Red Sox who were playing in the World Series.
This was Boston SWAT’s first time attending the Round-Up.
Preparing for the World Series also prevented Boston SWAT from competing in
this year’s Urban Shield competition in California.
Boston SWAT is part-time, made up of
about 40 police officers and goes on 70-80 callouts per year. SWAT is
the only element in that agency to carry long guns, subguns or shotguns.
Each member of
the Round-Up assault element of the competition team carried both an M4 carbine
and a handgun. Officer Cloran was able to shoot his steel plate targets, and the team addressed rifle and
pistol shooting issues. Being an assaulter was physically challenging, as the
team had never done this type of obstacle training before. Officer Cloran
can shoot steel plates off hand with
pistol and shoulder weapons. He considers steel event plates to be challenging
and believes every team should train with such targets.
included SigSauer 1911-style in 45 ACP caliber; H&K MP5 subgun; Remington
700 rifle with Leupold 6x10 Mil-Dot. For
one member of the assault element of the competition team, having the EOTech
sights overcame what could have been nub and filter issues with his gas mask. He
didn’t switch over to his ambidextrous gas mask filter before doing the course.
With the EOTech sight, he was able to keep the M4 carbine away from the gas mask.
finished 56th in this event and 50th overall.
Event 3 – Officer
During the Officer Rescue event, each team traversed a
pre-positioned, pre-stretched rope line, engaged multiple targets with a
variety of weapons, and rescued a downed officer.
According to Colonel
Jozsef Szilagyi of the Counter Terrorism Centre of the Interior Ministry,
theirs is the only TEK (SWAT) team in Hungary. TEK stands for Terrorelhárítási Központ, which
translates to Counter Terrorism Centre.
TEK is an independent
national agency outside the regular police structure, responsible for the whole
country under the direct supervision of the Minister responsible for law
enforcement. The Centre assesses and evaluates terrorist threats in Hungary
on a continuous basis, and coordinates the activities of agencies involved in
prevention and disruption. The Centre has nearly 1100 personnel, including 300 TEK
police commandos. TEK responds to 300 callouts a
year. Other members of the National Police handle all of the other situations
involving police service.
Before the Round-Up, there was a
two-and-a-half month course including selection of members for the Round-Up
competition team and training. This was followed by seven weeks of training
specifically for the Round-Up based on many years of information they had
accumulated concerning the competition. Training began at a low level, and
escalated from there.
The team members are very fast
with a high degree of stamina, do well at handling stress, and are skilled
shooters. During this event they didn’t miss any shots. In the Round-Up years that
they attend, T.E.K. is a top team to be reckoned with, and is usually best in
the obstacle course. Mastering the O-Course is a very important part of their
two-and-a-half-month competition team selection process. Their weapons are the Glock 17 pistol;
H&K MP5 subgun; Accuracy International rifle with Schmindt & Bender
Their suggestions for teams
considering the SWAT Round-Up? Just one: Attend! They felt
the Round-up was an outstanding competition. It is also a great opportunity to
form friendships and to learn from each other, something that is important to
further perfect practical skills. Team TEK
Hungary completed 33rd in this Event and 7th overall.
Event 4 – Tower
The Tower Scramble involved all five members of the
competition team; three as the assault element and two as the sniper element.
All team members engaged various targets, climbed the tower, and rappelled down
the designated side. This event allowed one sniper and one assault team member
the opportunity to engage a bonus target. The event was about accuracy and
According to Police Officer Donny Herring of the St.
Petersburg, Fla. SWAT team, their Round-Up competition team did not train at
all as a team. However, the team did its regular training three days a month. Previously,
they had trained once a year at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office ranges where
the Round-Up is held. In addition, two members of the Round-Up team were new to
the team, each having been on SWAT less than one year.
St. Petersburg SWAT has 31 members and is a part-time team. The SWAT team is called to serve 30 high-risk
warrants a year, which are typically narcotics search warrants. Police
supervisors tend to hold off as much as possible before calling out SWAT,
tending to rely, instead, on negotiators.
In addition, teams are often formed using police officers on
duty to address situations where SWAT could be called up, especially if it is
thought that the street police officers can handle the situation. Since SWAT is
part-time, usually part of the on-duty police patrols include some SWAT team
In this event, the team’s snipers
used a bag filled with beans to assist and support their shooting, even though
doing so meant they had to carry the support with them throughout the entire event.
Snipers did better hitting their targets on the ground than up on the
tower. Officer Herring was told by the team’s snipers that they had to
make a slight adjustment to their scopes when they shot from the tower after
shooting from the ground positions.
For rapelling, the team used BLACKHAWK!
Harnesses or Swiss Seats. They did not have any problems with the cargo net, rappelling
down the tower, or ringing the bell. They noted that some teams tried to pull
the rope out the window so the other members would not have to rappel down and then
go in through the window, but they considered it more time-consuming since the
rope would keep swinging back into the window.
The assault team addressed 36 metal
plate targets, and missed six. There were no problems with the low crawl
to the plate target shooting positions, nor were the size of the targets and
distance an issue.
The St. Petersburg SWAT is armed with Glock 21 45 ACP pistols,
H&K MP5 subguns or AR-15 platform rifles, and Remington 700 rifles with Leupold or
Nightforce Optics scopes. The team has separate eyepiece lenses in their gas
masks instead of using soft-face push bubble lens masks. (Gas masks were not
worn during this event.)
Overall, the team did well and only missed some of the
handgun shots. While some agencies have had difficulty in obtaining duty
ammunition, the competition team had no issues in obtaining frangible ammunition, something their agency uses only at the
Suggestions? Take your time, move
only as fast as you can shoot straight, and make every shot count.
The snipers try not to run too fast because if they are breathing
hard, it makes it harder to hit their targets. St. Petersburg Police Department finished 43rd
in this event and 32nd overall.
Event 5 – Obstacle Course
The Obstacle Course is a timed event that consists
of various obstacles that must be defeated in order.
Sgt. Wade McQueen of the Hamilton, Ohio Police spoke for the
Ohio Tactical Officer’s Association team. He said that the OTOA team was made
up of officers from Hamilton Police, West Chester Township Police, Butler
County Police, Middletown Police, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Hamilton Police goes on 30 callouts a year, split between high-risk warrant
service and barricaded suspects.
to the manpower issues, the multi-agency team got in very little training for
the Round-Up. They received 10 two-hour training days during a two-month
period. Since the team was made up of officers from several different agencies,
they were never able to have all eight team members at any one training session.
This proved to be difficult since five of the eight officers had never competed
at the Round-Up before.
the competition, an anchor member of the OTOA obstacle course team got injured
and was out of play for the last two Round-Up events. Another member of the
team had to step up to take his place, so the team was about a minute off their
norm for the O-Course. For Jacob’s Ladder, it
was all about technique, energy, and a weave action. Also difficult were the
Gorilla Bars and the Sled Pull. However, for the Gorilla Bars, the OTOA team
trained with 2-inch bars, whereas other teams didn’t train with that size.
a multi-agency team, there were differences in gear and weapons. The Hamilton
Police team used the Glock 35 40 S&W pistol, and subguns were H&K MP5,
H&K UMP, and AR15 weapons. Hamilton Police had Avon
gasmasks, each with a one-lens eyepiece. By canting their shoulder weapon and using
EOTech sights, gas mask shooting was not an issue. The OTOA multi-agency team
finished 33rd in this event and 27th overall.
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.