NTOA Launches the 2023 PFQ Fitness Challenge

The National Tactical Officer’s Association is kicking off the 2023 PFQ Fitness Challenge. They have hosted this for several years now and provide a ball-busting series of fitness tests. This is a nationwide contest aimed at police officers, SWAT Teams in particular. This Fitness Challenge is made up of five tests, and the competitor can earn up to ten points in each test. If you max out at 50 points, your name and agency will be recognized in the Tactical Edge publication. While this might be aimed at police officers, I think it’s an interesting test for any prepared person.

We like to LARP in our plate carriers and chest rigs, but can we walk the walk? The PFQ Fitness Test certainly aims to find out. If you are a police officer, you can submit your score for recognition, and you can begin submitting scores online on June 1st, 2023, with a deadline of June 15th. The SWAT team with the highest score will receive a plaque. The individual officer with the highest score will be recognized and receive a free trip to the Law Enforcement Operations Conference in Aurora, Colorado, in 2023.

If you are a civilian schlub like me, you can think of the PFQ Fitness Challenge as your athletic FAST Test, but I can’t get you a coin, so you get the satisfaction of a job well done.

The PFQ Fitness Challenge Tests

The PFQ Fitness Challenge is made up of five different tests. The tests much be run on the same day, and three minutes of recovery are required between tests. During that recovery period, commanders can assign an extra task to complete. It’s optional, but the tasks listed by NTOA as extra credit are:

Reload a magazine
Tie knots
Match a lock and key
Weapon system accuracy
Radio traffic
Memory cards
Assemble / disassemble weapon systems
Apply defensive tactics techniques
These might be fun to add in between your tests if you want to push yourself even harder.

Test 1 – 800 Meter Run

The first PFQ Fitness challenge is an 800-meter sprint. It will be run in training uniform and boots.

Photo Credit: Paramount


3:14 or less = 10 points
3:15 – 3:29 = 8
3:30 – 3:44 = 6
3:45 – 3:59 = 4
4:00 – 4:29 = 2
4:30 or greater = 0

Extra credit – One point for every 15 seconds above MAX Score.

Test 2 – 400 Meter Run

Get ready to spring again. This time you will run 400 meters carrying a 25-pound weight in each hand and wearing a 20 lb vest and carrier with a donned gas mask. Like, it’s a ballbreaker.


2:44 or less = 10 points
2:45 – 2:59 = 8
3:00 – 3:14 = 6
3:15 – 3:29 = 4
3:30 – 3:44 = 2
3:45 or greater = 0

Extra credit – One point for every 15 seconds above MAX Score.

Test 3 – Burpees

To be clear, the PFQ Fitness Challenge uses real burpees, which means you have to do the push-up. There seem to be multiple ideas for burpees, so let’s get that clear. This is an AMRAP test. So As Many Reps As Possible. You have three minutes to do as many burpees as possible.


50+ = 10 points
46-49 = 8
43-45 = 6
40-42 = 4
38-39 = 2
37 or below = 0

Extra credit – One point for each rep above MAX score

Test 4 – Squats

Squats must be done wearing a 20lb vest and gas mask with no filter. The operator has to squat until their butt is below their knees for it to count as one repetition. This is another AMRAP exercise. You have 2 minutes to squat your butt off.


75+ = 10 points
73-74 = 8
70-72 = 6
67-69 = 4
64-66 = 2
63 or below = 0

Extra Credit – One point for each rep above MAX score.

Test 5 – Pull-Ups

The pull-up portion rounds out the PFQ Fitness Challenge. It’s a bit interesting, so pay close attention. You can use a forward or reverse grip. Start with your arms fully extended at the bottom, hang and your feet off the ground. Your chin must clear the bar to make one rep.

The first five pull-ups must be strict pull-ups. After that, you can kip and butterfly all you want. You have 1 minute to do as many as you can.


20+ = 10 points
18-19 = 8
16-17 = 6
14-15 = 4
12-13 = 2
11 or below = 0

Extra credit – One point for each rep above MAX score.

Boom, Get Some Water

We are done, and if you complete, your butt is likely kicked. The good news is you still have a month to get better, and NTOA offers a four-week prep plan on their website. Check it out here. Hopefully, this inspires you to get working on your fitness.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.