Tactical World - - Contents - By Mike Sear­son

In the real world, you bet­ter have a lit­tle fit­ness to go along with your shoot­ing skills. The Cola War­rior pro­vides a test of both.

Chances are, if you rou­tinely fre­quent firearms- or tac­ti­cal­re­lated fo­rums or so­cial me­dia groups, you may have heard of Cola War­rior. Get­ting an ex­act def­i­ni­tion of what Cola War­rior is dif­fers, de­pend­ing upon whom you ask, how­ever.

Tac­ti­cal World re­ceived a com­plete in­sider’s view to this unique event at Cola War­rior West IV held out­side Reno, Ne­vada re­cently, and we left with the knowl­edge that this event is much more than it seems.

COLA 101

Cola War­rior was started by a few ac­tive-duty Marines who tested each other by see­ing how many push-ups they could do af­ter down­ing a 2-liter bot­tle of Coca-cola. It evolved into more rig­or­ous ex­er­cises and food chal­lenges, un­til it be­came an ac­tual com­pe­ti­tion out­side the Corps.

We can best de­scribe it as a com­bi­na­tion Tough Mud­der and 2-gun match dur­ing which par­tic­i­pants must ne­go­ti­ate ob­sta­cles, shoot firearms, eat a box of Marsh­mal­low Peeps and chug a six-pack of soda. The over­all score is based on time. Each Cola War­rior event is sim­i­lar, yet unique.

Cola War­rior West IV be­gan with an ob­sta­cle course with five ob­sta­cles of vary­ing dif­fi­culty that tested the par­tic­i­pants’ strength, speed and stamina.

At this event, the first ob­sta­cle was the sled—a 55-gal­lon drum, about 50 feet from the rear axle of a dump truck. Par­tic­i­pants had to sit in the drum and pull them­selves to the dump truck by us­ing their up­per body strength and a tow­ing strap. Af­ter pulling them­selves to the end of the truck, par­tic­i­pants had to crawl un­der­neath it from the rear to the front, while car­ry­ing two weights, and with­out ac­ti­vat­ing a trip­wire be­neath the chas­sis.

Next was pick­ing up what best can be de­scribed as an 8-foot-long weighted bar­bell. Cradling it in their el­bows, the Cola War­riors had to run through tires placed on the ground like an old­school mil­i­tary/po­lice ob­sta­cle course.

Fol­low­ing, the race was to the next hill, where an over­sized trac­tor tire

had to be rolled, or oth­er­wise moved, up and down four hill­sides. With the tire out of the way, con­tes­tants were tasked with climb­ing a 10- to 12-footh­igh pole and touch­ing the top of the plat­form.

Drop­ping off the pole, the Cola War­rior had to sit in a chair and eat a pack­age of Marsh­mal­low Peeps while field strip­ping and then re­assem­bling an AK-47 ri­fle.

When the ri­fle was back to­gether and dry fired to prove func­tion­al­ity, the race con­tin­ued.

The next step was to run a lit­tle over a half-mile to the shoot­ing range. Some folks fast-walked it, but the run time is a part of the over­all score; so, no­body re­ally wanted to stop and smell the roses, or in the case of Cola War­rior West, the sage­brush.


The firearms, safety gear, am­mu­ni­tion and bev­er­age of choice awaited each shooter at the range. Upon ar­rival, eye and ear pro­tec­tion was donned so each shooter could load and make ready their hand­guns. Tar­gets were pro­vided by the event’s host, Mitch Ger­linger of MOA Tar­gets. The steel tar­gets were placed any­where from 25 to 500 yards. The first one was a spin­ning Texas Tree that was much harder than it ini­tially ap­peared. It was fol­lowed by var­i­ous alien-shaped sil­hou­ettes, a stan­dard Ipsc-style tar­get, and a small spin­ner with a hostage taker for the pis­tol por­tion. Once the pis­tol part was com­plete, Cola War­riors switched over to their ri­fle of choice, with sev­eral chal­leng­ing steel tar­gets to test their skills. Again, two mag­a­zines were the only limit. Like the hand­gun course of fire, ca­pac­ity was what­ever the shooter de­sires.

Af­ter the last ri­fle round was fired, we ar­rived at how Cola War­rior earned its name. Con­tes­tants must per­form the “Chug,” as in down­ing 72 ounces of soda or their fa­vorite non-al­co­holic car­bon­ated bev­er­age.


Nav­i­gat­ing an ob­sta­cle course, shoot­ing at steel tar­gets un­der ex­treme con­di­tions, not to men­tion the eat­ing of Peeps and chug­ging of soda … how is that “tac­ti­cal” or even train­ing-re­lated?

We feel that any­time you get a chance to put your­self or your gear to the test, you are train­ing. Peo­ple prac­tice rig­or­ously for these events, but with the lay­out kept se­cret un­til the last minute, most of it is a sur­prise. Con­tes­tants need to think on the fly and ad­just. Adding to the frus­tra­tions of the Cola war­riors was an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic rain­storm that turned the play­ing field into mud-like quick­sand. Some Cola war­riors even ran the course af­ter dark us­ing night vi­sion.

To us, this is the true essence of tac­ti­cal train­ing, and I ex­pe­ri­enced it first-hand (mi­nus the soda and Peeps) as a Marine Ri­fle­man back in the day, as a run-up to MEU (SOC) train­ing. You may have a mis­sion and only an hour or two to re­hearse it be­fore­hand. You may have not trained specif­i­cally for the mis­sion pre­vi­ously, so your over­all phys­i­cal fit­ness, body me­chan­ics and skill with your weapons and gear need to adapt quickly. TW

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