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BRCC Takes on the Tactical Games

For those unfamiliar with the Tactical Games, envision a combination of fitness and shooting. Endurance events (think: long runs, ruck marches, obstacle courses, carrying yokes weighed down with sandbags) mixed in with shooting rifles and pistols, alternately, at targets that vary from 5 yards to 400 yards in depth. Competitors in the Tactical Games have to have a combination of fitness, shooting skills, and general self-awareness in order to keep up. 

The Tactical Games started in 2017 when a group of former service members set up a friendly competition; after it ended, one member of the group, Tim Burke, decided to turn the competition into a business. He built the Tactical Games as a platform to test the skills and readiness of tactical athletes from all backgrounds in the most stressful environment a competition could offer.

Regardless of profession (military member, law enforcement officer, competition shooter, or civilian gun enthusiast), all are welcome to compete in the games, which provide a venue for all shooters and athletes to compete against the best in the world. 

Photo courtesy of Mindy Micelli/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 

2021 is the second year that the Tactical Games have had a national championship. Last year, the championship was held in Florida. This year, Reveille Peak Ranch in Texas hosted the games. In order to make it to nationals, competitors had to place in the top five at any of the qualifying events held around the country. 

“It’s an amazing community made up of a lot of veterans, law enforcement, retired and currently service and first responders, dentists, surgeons, military, and everything in between, from gym owners to world-class CrossFit athletes, a mom who has a photography business — all walks of life are invited and welcome to compete,” said Kirk Holmer, Black Rifle Coffee Company tactical brand partner specialist and Tactical Games competitor. “Very supportive and welcoming.”

Photo courtesy of Mindy Micelli/Black Rifle Coffee Company. 

The Tactical Games are broken into different divisions: Intermediate is essentially beginner level, where you start if you want to get a feel for the games and be involved; masters 40+ and masters 50+ speak for themselves, divisions separated by age; tactical, which uses distances and weights that are likely to be encountered in a law-enforcement or military setting; and elite. Aside from the age-specific categories, the distinguishing differences between divisions are the heaviness of weights and lengths of endurance exercises. For example, the national championship required a 4.5-mile ruck, but the elite division had a 6.75-mile ruck to complete. Additionally, there are both men’s and women’s classes, but since the women’s class is still growing, it only has intermediate and elite divisions. 

Photo courtesy of the Tactical Games.

So far, Holmer has competed in the Tactical Games a total of seven times in the intermediate, masters 40+, and elite divisions. 

Holmer spent 22 years in the military as a marksmanship instructor in the Utah National Guard. When he was just months away from retirement, a friend connected him to Maj. Robin Cox, who needed training before competing in the Tactical Games. 

“I had a lot of injuries, was dealing with a lot of pain. I had been doing ‘military fitness’ my entire career,” Holmer said. “The functional fitness training that we did to prepare for the games really helped me remove some pain that I had been dealing with and gave me something to work towards. I went from hurting sitting on the couch to this. It’s been a form of therapy.”

Photo courtesy of Mindy Micelli/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

In addition to being a marksmanship instructor, Holmer shot for the All Guard Team, competing on both the Action Shooting and Combat teams. After learning about the Tactical Games, he approached the All Guard Team about sponsoring Cox and himself. The team was excited about finding a new, applicable competition to compete in, and thus, the first All Guard Tactical Team was born. All three members of the team placed in the top five in their first competitions. Holmer won the intermediate division, Cox took third in the women’s intermediate division, and Capt. Garrett Miller took fifth in intermediate.

After one more round of competitions in 2020 — in which Holmer competed in Utah, took second in the elite division, and qualified for nationals — he finally retired from the military. He was then hired by Black Rifle Coffee to build a shooting program and expand BRCC’s influence and participation in the competitive shooting arena. 

BRCC’s shooting program was created with the goal of developing a team with multiple tiers of experience and involvement, allowing shooting enthusiasts within BRCC to share the company culture in the shooting-sports arena while BRCC identifies talented and motivated people who care about the BRCC culture and want to represent the brand at events.

Photo courtesy of Mindy Micelli/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

Black Rifle Coffee was an official sponsor of the Tactical Games for the entire 2021 season and hosted a four-day training session for three of the qualifying members of the All Guard Team at the Texas Ranch. The National Guard provided the ammo, and BRCC provided the training. 

Everyone who went to the championship placed: Cox took third in women’s elite, with only two points separating first and third place; 2nd Lt. David Merrit took 10th in men’s elite; Capt. Frank Wyckoff placed first in the men’s masters 50+ division; and Holmer placed first in the men’s masters 40+ division. 

Photo courtesy of Mindy Micelli/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

“The beauty of the Tactical Games is that they serve the same community and espouse the same values as Black Rifle, so their relationship is perfectly aligned,” Holmer said. 

The Tactical Games begin their new season Feb. 19, 2022, in Meridian, Mississippi, with eight events leading up to the national championship in November, and you can bet that Black Rifle Coffee will have competitors trained and ready to go.