Differences in physical characteristics and performance measures of part-time and fulltime tactical personnel: A critical narrative review

Dylan Macdonald, Rodney Pope, Robin Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Tactical personnel such as military, law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel routinely perform physically strenuous occupational tasks, requiring strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Tactical populations are comprised of part-time and full-time personnel, with both groups expected to perform similar tasks at an equivalent level. Purpose: To critically review existing literature comparing physical characteristics and physical performance of part-time and full-time tactical personnel. Material and Methods: Literature databases were searched using key search terms. Studies meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria were critically appraised and data extracted for critical narrative synthesis. Results: Six articles were retained for evaluation, with a mean methodological quality score of 58% (range 57% to 61%). Studies included both genders and examined military, law enforcement and firefighter populations. Conclusion: Available research indicates that, typically, part-time tactical personnel exhibit higher BMI and body fat levels and lower aerobic capacities and strength than full-time tactical personnel. However, findings regarding aerobic capacity and strength are variable. These differences may impact rates and patterns of injuries sustained while on duty. Further research is needed to more adequately profile the physical characteristics and rates and patterns of injuries in part-time tactical personnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Military and Veterans' Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2016


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