The Top Cop Pistol Championship, April 19th, 2014.
What is the Top Cop Pistol Championship (www.topcop.org)? The Broward Sheriff’s Advisory Council (an independent organization whose sole purpose is to raise money for the families of fallen officers and firefighters) thought there should be a pistol match where cops could shoot against each other regardless if they’ve competed in a sanctioned match (IPSC/USPSA, IDPA, GSSF, NRA, PPC, etc.) They also felt the match would bolster inter-agency rivalries in a fun way and raise money with a Tribute Dinner to all who have fallen in Broward County, FL.
What would be a fair competition? The match planners thought a modified steel challenge would focus on skill sets that every officer should have. Not all cops carry a rifle or shotgun, but every single sworn officer carries a sidearm on and sometimes off duty. What are those skill sets? Drawing the pistol, aiming the pistol and shooting the pistol. The competition would then stress speed and accuracy.
In the official steel challenge competition, competitors shoot from a box at five steel plates set up at various distances. The sequence of shooting the plates doesn’t matter as long as they shoot the designated stop plate last. Skipping any plate is a 3 second penalty and not shooting the stop plate is a 30 second penalty. The maximum time for any run is 30 seconds.
For Top Cop, they used two official steel challenge stages (5toGo plus Smoke and Hope) and two designed stages. They also used the plate rack at 12 yards which proved to be the hardest stage for most competitors (more on this later.) Competitors could compete in the Top Cop division (local/county officers of Broward County), Revolver and Open divisions (open to any local, state or Fed LEOs who work in offices in Broward County).
The competition was a huge success. A lot of cops who’ve never even thought of competing showed up to represent their agency and many walked away (not only with awesome prizes) but with a good idea of where their skills currently are at. They also had a huge desire to get better, whether signing up for training classes or coming out to compete more regularly. As I said before the plate rack proved extra challenging for almost all the competitors. Why? A lot of people have shot plate racks in training and do well at them. Here’s why it is an awesome stage and training device.
First of all, most plate racks are set up at ten yards. The plate rack in the competition was at 12 yards. A little more challenging. Furthermore, all the steel challenge plates are 12 or 10 inches. The plates on the rack are 8 inches. Finally, the competitors were all shooting on steel targets that don’t move when they get hit. On the plate rack, what happens? The plates fall down. The movement draws the focus off the front sight and on to the plates. On the next shot, the rounds miss. This causes panic and jerking the trigger. Some of the most interesting behaviors were observed at this stage. Cops talking to their gun! Calling out to God. Holstering, bending over and trying to control their breathing. And let’s not forget the creative cursing (my favorite). I felt bad for that “mother”…
All this from a timer and a row of six plates. Also heard were people walking away saying “I could hit those plates all day long in practice…” Why not at the competition? Because now there is a pay value attached to each shot. Like I said earlier, everyone walked away with smiles and good cheer. The prizes were out of this world for a competition thanks to the fantastic sponsors like: Glock, Sig, BattleComp, Safariland, 5.11, EoTech, 10-8 Performance, Point Blank, Blackhawk, RandCLP, Boresight Solutions, Vertx, Streamlight, Apex Tactical, Tru-Spec, Diamond Back Tactical, Way of the Gun, and Viking Tactics. There were more sponsors, but we don’t have enough time to see them all.
The best part of the competition and Tribute Dinner was the $100,000 raised for those families of the fallen officers. God bless them.
Top Cop will return in 2015, opening up to more a regional event. Watch for it. One day it will be a nation wide event for the LEOs to meet, compete and raise even more money.