As a full-time federal agent with a wife and toddler, I find myself at the range a lot less than was the case a few years ago. I realize that I need to push myself if I want to keep my skills at an acceptable level. A friend recently gave me a flyer for an NRA Law Enforcement Tactical Police Competition (TPC) in San Antonio, Texas, which stresses using rifles, shotguns and pistols like a 3-Gun match. Having never been a 3-Gun competitor, I thought it might be just the ticket to get me out of my comfort zone.

The application cost $45, which seemed very reasonable. There are two divisions: the patrol category and the tactical category. Patrol requires using iron sights on everything and pump-action shotguns. The tactical category allows for one optic on a rifle, and you can use a semi-auto or pump shotgun. For me, the pertinent question for choosing my category: What guns do I have that fit the bill?

I decided to use my work rifle, an LWRCI M6 with an EOTech holographic sight, a 3X magnifier and a VTAC adjustable sling. I normally carry a SureFire M900 on the rifle whenever I am working, but I decided to take it off for the competition to reduce weight and because I wouldn’t need it for the match. My Remington 870 duty shotgun has an Aimpoint mounted on the top. Since no optics are allowed on the shotguns, and because my 870 does not have rifle sights, I decided to use a Beretta Tx4 that I had just purchased. It came with an extended magazine tube, and it functions flawlessly with everything from birdshot to reduced-recoil buckshot to 1-ounce slugs. For a pistol, I have a stock Glock 22 .40. I figure a 9mm has less recoil and is faster to operate, but I am really comfortable and proficient with my .40, and I don’t have the money to buy another gun for one competition.
Next, I started doing my homework. My friend at work, who had competed in the 2011 TPC match, recommended getting a cart or wagon to carry all of my gear from station to station. I have a Rugged Gear gun cart that my wife and I use for sporting clays that fit the bill. He also recommended that we bring folding chairs to sit in while waiting to compete in each stage.

I read through the NRA TPC Standards to see what gear was allowed. I figured this would help prevent too many surprises when I got there. I also Googled “3-Gun information” and perused several online forums. I found videos of the Noveske Shooting Team demonstrating support-side shotgun reloads with four shells at a time. I had only ever reloaded shotguns one shell at a time, so I bought a box of dummy 12-gauge shells from Brownells and started practicing. I also started safely dry-firing occasionally around the house for some trigger practice.

To learn more about NRA Law Enforcement Tactical Police Competitions or to see when they are holding a match in your area, visit

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