By Lars Dalseide | June 22 2013 13:01

Officers display skills with rifle, pistols and shotguns used on the job

Shotgun course at NRA's Fairfax Tactical Police Competition, 2013

Fairfax, Virginia - Round three of NRA's Virginia Tactical Police Competition (TPC) started early this morning in Fairfax. A test of an officer's ability to run through real-life scenarios and engage targets with rifles, shotguns and pistols, NRA's TPCs are a favorite training tool for the competitors.

"The courses help develop your problem solving skills," said Mark, a police officer from Maryland. "You have to figure out how to get through the course, engage all the proper targets, and do so as quickly as possible. It's challenging."

Challenging and not as easy as it sounds. For no matter how well you plan, things can always change once the buzzer sounds.

"You run by a target, your drop a magazine, your gun jams ... a lot of things can go wrong. Things are always going to go wrong. What matters is how you react to those situations."

More than sixty active and retired law enforcement officers have to react to those situations today. When added to the numbers from the previous two days, officials expect the total number of participants to reach 120.

Injured pistol course at NRA's Fairfax Tactical Police Competition, 2013

"We've been running this event for a number of years," said National Police Pistol Combat Competitions Manager Marc Lipp. "The numbers have always been going up, which is why we added another day of competition."

What those competitors can expect are six challenging scenarios to test their mettle. And unlike the traditional 3-Gun courses of the day, there's nothing fancy about these guns. They're all duty/department-issued firearms.

"If you can't use it on duty then you can't use it in our match," explained Lipp. "These competitions are an extension of training, so you won't see any Razorcat Racer Guns out here."

No matter what gun they're using, most competitors tend to have problems with the Blind Stage. Based on a breaking-and-entering engagement, the Blind Stage is the only course competitors are not allowed to walk ahead of time ... thus adding to the challenge.

"The guys like to walk the course and work out a plan of attack. But you don't get that chance when you take a call. That's why we like to include a Blind Stage."

Running a rifle stage at NRA's Fairfax Tactical Police Competition, 2013

How the competitors fare on the Blind and regular stages is yet to be seen. When the day began, past winners and a few new names were atop the leaderboard. Whether or not they stay there is up to the men and women who run through today.

Good luck to all.

For more information on NRA's Tactical Police Competitions, visit their webpage at


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