Tactical Games: Fitness, Firearms, Community

The Tactical Games 2019
The Tactical Games

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up summer days. Tactical Games events also continue to heat up competitive shooting, and watching a recent event left me fired up to compete in the near future.

The most decorated U.S. Marine in history, Chesty Puller, once quipped, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” While his famed motivational words targeted his fellow warfighters, they also motivate athletes in all manner of extreme sports, including mud runs, Iron Man competitions, strong man competitions and, of course, Tactical Games. If it’s good enough for Chesty, it’s good enough for me… and the fine folks I witnessed during my first visit to a recent Tactical Games event. That said, I have yet to compete but I certainly enjoyed watching, learning and taking inventory of what pain, weakness, strength and grit look like when they intersect with marksmanship.

Tactical Games 101

What began as a small group of tough-as-nails enthusiasts having fun in an Ardmore, Tennessee field, grew quickly into a nationally recognized shooting sport; however, this sport brings together elements not found in any other competitive shooting event—hardcore physical challenges. Moreover, Tactical Games participation is open to competitors young and old, male and female, and novice to seasoned-veteran shooters. Keeping with hardcore military and LEO-style extreme challenges, Tactical Games push competitors’ endurance, speed, strength, and marksmanship to their limits. When it comes to Tactical Games, successful competitors must don a warrior mindset – mind over matter… absolutely matters!

Few folks understand how important preparedness matters in a Tactical Games event better than competitors “tracking” their personal performances. I don’t know who first stated it, but “if you keep score, the score improves”. 38-year-old Mark Nolan, who served eight years in the U.S. Air Force as a military police officer, has participated in 10 Tactical Games events – volunteering for two and competing in eight. Nolan competes in the Men’s Masters 40+ Division with second-place personal-best finishes in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Few folks understand how important preparedness matters in a Tactical Games event better than competitors “tracking” their personal performances.
Few folks understand how important preparedness matters in a Tactical Games event better than competitors “tracking” their personal performances.

“Competitively, Tactical Games definitely requires physical stamina and marksmanship. When you come here, you’re going to be tested… pushed to the max on absolutely everything you’ve got in your shooting skills and physical abilities tool bag. Preparation is critical if you hope to place well, but it’s also not everything,” stated Nolan. “In 2019, Green Beret and Tactical Games founder, Tim Burke, administered the sports inaugural event, a dynamic marksmanship match, and 30 competitors showed up. Word of mouth picked up steam about the growing community and camaraderie of the event, more than marksmanship, and it grew legs.”

Nolan also added, “The community we build through this sport is pretty awesome. I mean, look at this event here in Ohio. It’s 2022, and there are over 200 competitors out here today. They’re ready to work, shoot and have a good time with others passionate about dynamic shooting, endurance, and building relationships.” Of course, Nolan was also quick to point out Tactical Games’ growth nationwide. “Arizona, Utah, New Hampshire, Florida, Texas… you name it, Tactical Games events are on the books or heading there.”

With Jared Halbert at the Tactical Games helm since January 2021, the sport continues its dramatic growing trend with no signs of slowing down. The sponsor lists for athletes and events continue to grow, and so do competitor registrations.

Tactical Games may include three types of competitions, full-fledged Tactical Games, Skirmishes and Sniper Challenges.
Tactical Games may include three types of competitions, full-fledged Tactical Games, Skirmishes and Sniper Challenges.

Tactical Games may include three types of competitions, full-fledged Tactical Games, Skirmishes and Sniper Challenges. Tactical Games and Skirmishes include nine divisions: Women’s Division, Women’s Intermediate, Women’s Elite, Team Division, Men’s Intermediate, Men’s Masters 40+, Men’s Masters 50+, Men’s Tactical Division, and Men’s Elite. Sniper Challenges include three divisions: Team, Individual Gas, and Individual Bolt. Skirmish events are part of the Tactical Games affiliate program, allowing affiliates to hold home/region single-day Tactical Game events. The Skirmish program helps businesses market Tactical Games events via TG’s website and social media platforms.

Athletes preparing for the competition can train in person or online to better prepare for an upcoming event within your registered division. Tactical Games offers six types of in-person training: Tactical Games Complete, Grit Tactical, Hybrid 12, Run 8, Strength & Power Bias, and Low Back & Hip Stability. Online training can be downloaded via the Android- and Apple-compatible Tactical Games training app.

Gearing Up: First Timers

Be sure to have the following equipment with you during event check-in – often, the day before the match.

  • Tactical belt
  • 5 rifle and pistols magazines (pack 2 extras as a backup)
  • Magazine pouches
  • Hearing and eye protection
  • Ballistic plates: 15 lbs. for men, 12 lbs. for women
  • Holster with active retention
  • Rifle sling
Gearing Up for The Tactical Games. Img by Anna Kovats
Gearing Up for The Tactical Games. Img by Anna Kovats

On the morning of match day, you’ll receive your athlete number and squad matrix. Your battle-boss covers stage and equipment information, the scoring process, and how to safely enter and exit stage shooting boxes.

Elite competitors are awarded a two-digit competitor number, while non-elite competitors are given three-digit numbers. Competitor numbers provide battle-group and lane information. For example, Elite competitor number 17 means 1 is the battle group, and 7 is the lane number. Non-Elite competitor number 245: 24 is the battle group, and 5 is the lane number. Upon stage completions, athletes yell out your competitor numbers rather than last names.

While Tactical Games provides a platform to test the readiness, as well as physical and marksmanship capabilities of competitors from all walks of life, athletes often hail from varied military, law enforcement or competitive shooter backgrounds. Of course, matches are open to the public and interested shooters are encouraged to participate at any experience level; in fact, even the most seasoned, elite competitors are quite welcoming and mentorship opportunities are plentiful.

With a day spent as a first-time Tactical Games spectator, my interest was piqued. I look forward to honing my skills and to taking the risks-vs.-rewards leap into the Tactical Games world. Wish me luck – more to follow.

To learn more about Tactical Games, visit www.TheTacticalGames.com.


About Anna Kovats

One to wear many hats, Anna Kovats is an unapologetic pro-2A constitutionalist that balances pew-pew time on the range with freelance outdoor writing, authoring a book, active pilot training, and travel agency work. While business is her comfort zone, she’s learning to make time for new endeavors – Tactical Game Skirmishes come to mind.

Anna Kovats

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Duane

Sounds like fun.

But as I aged, it is nice to know that one doesn’t have to be in top physical shape to defend oneself with a firearm.

old guy

It would be nice for older people to have some training within their abilites being less agile.

Duane

I am Instructor that offers personalize instruction on a one on one basics. I can easily develop instruction based on a persons abilities.

I have decades of experience and instructor certifications rifle, handgun, patrol rifle and police shotgun.

I have my own shooting ranges.

I am located in Northern Wis.

I can be reached at [email protected]