Arts and Entertainment

'Top Shot' update: Show takes on SWAT theme

Federal Way Police Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter is a contestant on “Top Shot,” which airs Tuesdays on The History Channel. - Courtesy photo
Federal Way Police Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter is a contestant on “Top Shot,” which airs Tuesdays on The History Channel.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

This week’s episode of “Top Shot” promised to be intense and physically challenging, taking on a theme of Special Forces/SWAT style operations.

In the end, the competitors had to rappel down a three-story building, stopping every 10 feet to shoot targets through a window using the FN Five-Seven pistol. At each descending level, the targets got progressively closer, starting at 70 feet downrange and ending at 30 feet downrange.

For Federal Way Police Department Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter, a contestant on the reality show, the challenge wasn’t quite as physical as he anticipated.

“I expected something more physically intense. Rappelling is relaxing, not intense. You can bungle it, but in terms of physical fitness requirements, it’s pretty low,” he said. “When the whole SWAT theme became apparent though, I thought not only is this going to be fun, but I’m going to rock this.”

And rock it he did. Sumpter recorded one of the top three times for the challenge, finishing the course in 1:21. That time would have been quicker, if not for a mystery malfunction on the second stage of the challenge. Even after reliving it during this week’s episode, Sumpter said he’s mystified by what happened with the FN Five-Seven when it refused to fire, and cost him almost 20 seconds.

“To this day, I do not know what happened with the gun. I loaded it the same as all those other stages. I worked to clear that stoppage for over 20 seconds. (What you saw on the show) was pretty much realtime…It was more like 22 seconds. I thought for sure I was headed to elimination,” he said.

Instead, the three competitors tagged for elimination were Greg Littlejohn, Chee Kwan and Gary Shank. Sumpter made it clear his intentions were to nominate the controversial Littlejohn for elimination, but again, he made a change of course when the competitors got to the nomination range. Sumpter explained the reasoning for his deviation.

“I started telling Greg, ‘I’m going to shoot your target.’ However, nobody jumped on board with that. I was shocked. When nobody else did, and then Chris (Chen) defended Greg, that right there told me…they have a secret alliance. They had conspired against William last time, when Chris and Greg shot William’s target unexpectedly. So, just like any other show, we’ve got our secret alliances. In a group that small, two people can have an impact.”

“Whether they truly worked it out, I have no idea, but that is exactly what I thought,” he added.

For the elimination, it ended up being Shank and Kwan facing off in a simulated SWAT setting. The two dressed in full SWAT gear, and used a combination of the Mossberg 500 “chainsaw” shotgun and the FS2000 gas-powered carbine. The two men had to use the Mossberg to breach a series of doors, then use the FS2000 to shoot targets. Shank prevailed, making a smooth run through the course, while Kwan’s undoing was a misplaced shot using the Mossberg.

With extensive experience in SWAT, Sumpter said he wanted to do this particular elimination challenge, but was grateful he didn’t, because it was an elimination challenge.

“Every elimination challenge I saw, I wished I could do it,” he said. “But, I also know, anything can go wrong, and I could be on the next plane back home. I wanted to do it, but didn’t want to be in an elimination challenge bad enough.”

As the contestants get whittled further down, Sumpter said that the camaraderie among them at the house stayed cordial, even as the competition shifted to an individual focus.

“I did not see it affecting people in the house. Everybody made an effort to get along. Some people are easier to get along with than others, but again, everybody made an effort to get along,” he shared.

“Top Shot” airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on The History Channel. Episodes can be viewed at


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