Chantilly, Va. - NRA's Regional Tactical Police Competition kicked off this morning in Northern Virginia. Open only to law enforcement officers (retired as well), this weekend's match presents competitors with six courses of fire meant to challenge their duty handgun, rifle, and shotgun skills.
"We've always believed that trigger time is training time," said NRA Law Enforcement Director Glen Hoyer. "Taking part in this competition means these men and women will be that much better prepared when they're on the street."
That sentiment is reflected in the tournament paperwork;
While traditional standard qualifications courses of fire are very important, we believe officers need additional practice time, live fire exercises, and challenges to hone their skills and gain additional experience in handling and deploying duty firearms.
To accomplish this feat, competitors are asked to assess threat and non-threat targets, shoot from unusual positions, maintain a reliable ammunition count, and work around physical barriers. All this while on the clock. In a nutshell, they're asked to be accurate with speed.
Scoring is a bit like golf in that the lowest score wins. And how do you score? With time.
Hitting every target perfectly means your score is the time it took for you to run the course. It took you 60 seconds to run the course? Then your score is 60. But if you make a mistake then that number starts to build.
A hit outside the primary zone results in a 2 or 4 second penalty. Shoot a no-shoot target? That's a time penalty. Step over the line for a shot? That's a penalty. Fail to engage a target? That's a penalty too. Needless to say they can really start adding up.
"That's why we hold these competitions," explained Hoyer. "Better they make a mistake here where the only penalty is time."
Day one saw competitors from as far as Maryland and South Carolina take the field. Tomorrow there will be more. Many more. With any luck the penalties will be less.