Tampa Gunfights: Safe, fun force-on-force training for everyone

Outside the staging area is viewing, the store and the pre-fight classroom. | TGW Photo Carrie Rasmussen

BROOKSVILLE, FLA. — Once only available to elite law enforcement teams and military special forces units, Tampa Gunfights is now offering affordable and safe force-on-force training to everyone, at their indoor training facility located north of Brooksville, Florida.

Packages start at $99, which gets the shooter a Glock 19 or Glock 17 that’s been converted to only fire Simunition-type training rounds, as well as four 10-round magazines.

For $119, the shooter can choose either an AR or an AK, and will receive two 20-round magazines. The ARs have optics — excellent carbines from Adams Arms.

For $149, the shooter receives a Glock, four 10-round magazines and an AR or an AK, with two 20-round magazines.

Additional ammunition is available: $12 for an additional handgun magazine, $17 for an additional AR magazine and $30 for an additional AK magazine.

Hint: Buy extra mags!

There was a festive atmosphere Saturday at Tampa Gunfights’ invitation-only soft launch.

The facility was packed — standing room only. Everyone was eager to see shots fired.

Co-owners Gino Collura and Danny Alvarez were ready. They’ve already received a massive amount of interest in their new venture. They’re booked into October.

Both Gino and Danny have decades of high-level firearms training experience. They’re the perfect hosts.

Their shoot house is 25-yards x 15-yards. It’s carpeted and air-conditioned. It features movable 55-gallon

A variety of cover opportunities are set throughout the room. | TGW Photo Carrie Rasmussen

drums, tires and pallets that offer cover. The guys can add smoke, music, sirens and variable lighting to make the training more challenging and realistic. One entire wall of the room is glass, so spectators can watch the action inside from just feet away.

Safety was paramount throughout the entire day.

Shooters watch a training video, which is followed by a thorough safety briefing.

They’re checked for contraband — firearms, ammo or other weapons — which are not allowed in the training facility.

Shooters are issued a soft cotton balaclava, to keep their sweat contained, a padded balaclava, throat and face shield, goggles, gloves, a helmet and a tactical vest. Bulky, padded clothing is recommended. Shorts are not allowed. The owners do not want any exposed skin.

Each shooter is checked thoroughly by a team of RSO before the range goes hot.

After the gear inspection, the first scenario began — a three-on-three shootout that lasted for five minutes.

Armed and ready, one team waits along with wall for the start of the program. | TGW Photo Carrie Rasmussen

One team was armed with Glocks, and the other got ARs.

“Maintain your situational awareness,” Gino told the shooters. “Anything can happen — music, fog, lights — and watch your footing.”

Gino quickly demonstrated the heel-to-toe technique used to safely move while shooting, which was followed by a quick review of shooting fundamentals.

“Take the opportunity in here to practice how your react out there,” he said. “It’s going to be chaotic. That’s the point.”

Shooters, especially if they closed in with an opponent, were told to take “critical shots” — center mass — for safety reasons. Going hands on, in this scenario, was not allowed.

“We’re going for five minutes, so be smart about your ammo count,” Gino said.

Instructors line up as Tampa GunFights co-owner Gino Collura offers final details to the two teams in the inaugural shoot. | TGW Photo Carrie Rasmussen

If a shooter was hit, and most were, they were not considered “dead,” but were able to continue fighting.

“This is a learning opportunity,” he said. “We’ll debrief later, and examine where and how you were shot.”

When the range went hot, firing started slowly, but it quickly escalated into a cacophony of gunfire. Shooters were reluctant to close in with and destroy their opponents, but this quickly changed. By the end of the scenario, they were using good communication with their teammates.

“You have to shoot, move and communicate,” Gino said.

Tampa Gunfights co-owners Danny Alvarez, Sr. and Gino Collura stop to record a photo when the inaugural shoot concludes. | TGW Photo Carrie Rasmussen

 

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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