By Lars Dalseide | September 14 2013 12:48

Up to 200 law enforcement officers running 3-gun with duty pistols, rifles and shotguns

Shooter in NRA's New Mexico Tactical Police Competition hits water behind the targets at the Shooting Range Park

Albuquerque, New Mexico - Though the official start of NRA's National Police Shooting Championships is scheduled for Monday, the quasi-official running of the championships has already began. It starts as it does every year with a Tactical Police Competition.

Basically a 3-Gun course, the competition is different in one very significant way — the competitors.

Your high flying 3-Gun matches usually feature big names and big sponsors. While our sponsors are pretty well known (Brownells, Sig Sauer, Tru-Spec, etc...), the names aren't. That's because the people running through these tactical courses are law enforcement. Police officers, federal agents, county sheriffs and more. They're also restricted to duty guns — only those they actually use on the job. But that doesn't mean that can't put on a show.

"I'd put our competitors up against anyone in the 3-Gun field," said NRA Competitions Manager Marc Lipp. "Some are still learning the ropes, but we have a number of shooters that really know their stuff."

Based on real-life scenarios, the competition is broken down in the six separate courses. Each features a variety of targets, no-shoots, hazards and firing areas. Adding to the standard list of complications this year is the water.

Albuquerque has experienced a number of downpours over the past few days. So much so that flash flood warnings were broadcasts over the local airwaves at least six times this week. That's left a great deal of standing water on the courses. But that's all part of the challenge.

"When you're out on the street, you don't get to choose the environment in which you encounter a suspect," said Lipp. "Sometimes you'll find yourself running over rocks, between buildings and through puddles of water. We don't stop just because it's a little wet out here."

Rubber duck floating in a puddle during NRA's Tactical Police Competition in New Mexico

That doesn't mean you'll have a number of frustrated competitors out here.

To lighten the mood, a few match officials procured a necessity when dealing with large pools of water ... rubber ducks.

"Why not have a little fun with it," said Brent, a volunteer from Texas. "They might get a little worked up about having to run through water, but once they see those rubber duckies, they can't help but smile."

The Tactical Police Competitions Saturday and Sunday at Albuquerque's Shooting Range Park. If you want to see how the real pros shoot 3-Gun, this is where you want to be.

For more on NRA's National Police Shooting Championships, visit their website at


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