Preparing for the SWAT Round-Up

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 Rescue

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 hostage.

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.


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


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 22




Event 2 – The Pricher Scramble

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



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


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


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.

Their weapons included SigSauer 1911-style in 45 ACP caliber; H&K MP5 subgun; Remington 700 rifle with

Leupold 6x10 Mil-Dot. F

or 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.


SWAT finished 56


in this event and 50




Event 3 – Officer Rescue

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



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


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 scope.

Their suggestions for teams considering the SWAT Round-Up? Just one: Attend! T

hey 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 33


in this Event and 7




Event 4 – Tower Scramble

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 speed.

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.


he 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 members.

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


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




their agency uses only at the Round-Up.


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 43


in this event and 32




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


, 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.

Due 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.

During 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.

Being 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


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 33


in this event and 27




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.

Published in Tactical Response, Jul/Aug 2014

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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