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Sarasota's force-on-force shoot house hosting open house

By Lee Williams, Herald-Tribune / Friday, February 13, 2015 Marc Pezzella, owner of Advanced Defensive Concepts, talks to Cheryl Holt, owner of Fully Loaded Guns and Ammo, The two firms will host an open house from 8 am to 7 pm Saturday, at 6026 S. Tamiami Trail. STAFF PHOTO/ MIKE LANG

Sarasota's tactical training firm Advanced Defensive Concepts, and Fully Loaded Firearms and Ammo, a gun shop on South Tamiami, are hosting an open house/grand opening from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 14, at their joint facility located at 6026 South Tamiami Trail.

"We want people to come take a look at our operation, ask questions and have fun. There will be prizes, food and raffles for free training and a firearm," said Marc Pezzella, Advanced Defensive Concepts owner and a recently retired Sarasota County Sheriff's Office lieutenant and SWAT team commander.

Pezzella's firm, partnered with Cheryl Holt's gun shop, have created a unique opportunity for the public: force-on-force training, which until now had only been available to elite military units and law enforcement SWAT teams.

The shoot house has moveable walls, which can create any environment: an office, a lobby or a client's home.

Once a client's home or office has been re-created, Advanced Defensive Concepts uses Ultimate Training Munitions - a patented round containing a small amount of paint in a plastic projectile, which is fired from real weapons that have been modified so they cannot chamber a live round. The weapons recoil and cycle as if they're shooting real ammunition, except the noise is greatly reduced.

Students wear specially designed protective clothing and helmets with face shields to soften the sting of the UTM munitions.

To be clear, this is not paintball. It's serious high-speed tactical training, which uses scenarios the instructors create based upon a client's specific needs.

The open house/grand opening is a chance for people to see the training facility and to meet the instructors.

Pezzella and his staff will showcase their "weaponized athletics" program -- a self-defense fitness program.

The public can also see the trainer's "vehicle defensive program," which teaches anti-carjacking techniques.

Pezzella and his instructors have decades of law enforcement, military and private military contractor experience.

Here's a video from a previous story I wrote about the state-of-the-art training facility.

For more information about Saturday's open house/grand opening, contact Advanced Defensive Concepts or Fully Loaded Firearms and Ammo.