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RECOIL Wraps Up The Tactical Games Presented by Brownells

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What happens when you cross the high-pressure shooting of 3-Gun competition with the physical endurance required by the CrossFit Games and add a healthy dose of the sheer misery that is modern-day mud racing? You get The Tactical Games, a two-day suck fest (we mean that in the nicest possible way) that involves everything from endurance running to competitive feats-of-strength to close quarters shooting on the clock.

Games 1

The Tactical Games was founded by a career Army Special Operations veteran who was looking for a fun, educational way to fuse two popular sports, functional fitness and action shooting, into a single event that would provide a challenging experience for civilians and a dynamic training experience for armed professionals.

This past weekend, RECOIL took front-row seats to the 2nd Edition of The Tactical Games. In partnership with Brownells, we fielded two joint competitors. Brownells brought sponsored shooter John “Tig” Tiegan, of 13 Hours’ fame. We brought freelance writer and Marine-Corps-veteran-turned-overseas-contractor Ivan Loomis of to take their best shot as this unique competition anchored firmly in the real-world lessons of Special Operators. In a feat of intestinal fortitude that almost brought a tear to our eye, Ivan placed 2nd in the men’s Elite Division with less than 3 weeks of preparation time.

Games 2

All seven events, split over two days, had to be run in full kit weighing a minimum of 15 pounds. No magnified optics were allowed on carbines and backup iron sights were required. This event is set up to reflect combat or duty equipment as reasonably as possible. There are three divisions: Elite, Intermediate and (new for this event) Women’s. The events and scoring method were identical across all three classes, with only the weights carried being different. Speaking of scoring, final placement was based on the total overall time to complete all events, adjusted for missed-shot penalties.

Games 3

Functional upper body strength and cardio endurance seemed to be the key physical factors. Half of all events featured wall or rope climbing tasks followed quickly by 25-to-50-yard courses of fire. Day One ended with 20 deadlifts for time challenge, which was followed on Day Two by a 3-plus mile timed run in kit with shooting stages on either end.

The phrase “gut check” was used by several competitors. Having said that, we want to stress that The Tactical Games are not reserved for Olympians. There were no entry-standards of physical fitness, and none of the events were published or explained beforehand – every competitor came into this event with no idea what they would be facing when they got here.

Much like in combat or street patrol, all you can do is train your hardest, biased to what you think you might encounter, and hope for the best. This strategy on behalf of The Tactical Games created an environment that was both physically and mentally challenging. While the playing field was heavy with military and law enforcement personnel, there was a robust representation of everyday people looking to be pushed out of their comfort zone. Competitive spirit, while stiff, was thoroughly friendly, with opponents clapping and rooting for each other throughout the weekend.

Games 4

We will be bringing you more complete coverage of The 2nd Tactical Games over on RECOILtv. But the 3rd Tactical Games are already slated for February of 2019. That’s plenty of time to sign up and start training.

Games 5

To learn more about The Tactical Games, go to


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