Armed with paintball guns, players duck and weave through Florida Extreme Sports’s new outdoor paintball field, taking strategic, brightly hued shots at their opponents. Additionally, adrenaline junkies of all stripes flock to the facility. Visitors can experience the thrill of battle on indoor and outdoor airsoft fields or take to the indoor BMX and skate park’s ramps and jumps to show off tricky moves, from grinding to holding only one railing for balance. Alternatively, visitors can test their radio-controlled cars’ mettle on an outdoor track, guiding their speedsters through intricate twists and turns.
Masked warriors charge over the top of trench fortifications, spearheading an attack on enemy lines, spurred on by a telltale popping noise and flurry of splattered paint. "I don't care if you're a man, woman, child or 65-year-old grandma, you're going to get an adrenaline rush," Owner John Gross told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking to paintball and airsoft sports’ ability to bring out that competitive spirit in almost everyone, from military folks to birthday-party guests.
Players of all ages and stripes engage in friendly combat on the rolling slopes of six separate fields, which sport obstacles and features such as mock-pillboxes, buildings, and a hulking U.N. tank. Visitors ambush, flank, and outmaneuver opposing teams using the field’s arsenal of pigment-hurling paintball cannons, or more realistic pellet-shooting airsoft rifles. Referees carefully watch play to ensure soldiers adhere to house safety rules and Geneva Convention standards.
The sounds of crunching leaves break the otherwise still air, causing a pair of laser-tag teammates to slow their breathing and crouch down low. One of them puts a finger to her lips and peers over a fallen log, catching sight of an opponent before carefully aiming her laser gun in his direction. The sensors strapped to his head detect the hit, disengaging his gear for up to three seconds and rendering him unable to retaliate.
This is a common scene at Mission Quest Adventures, where players cavort in an outdoor arena while clutching weapons loaded with laser beams. Adrenaline levels spike as warriors dive under bushes and dodge behind trees, aiming for victory in organized games such as capture the flag, last person standing, and pantomimed bowling.
The NRA-certified instructors teach at indoor and outdoor ranges.
Depending on the class, shooters use different calibers of handguns, such as .22, .380, 9 millimeter, 40cal, 45ACP, and a .38 revolver.
At a Glance
Before becoming state- and NRA-certified firearms instructors, each Elite Tactical Training team member worked in law enforcement or the US Army. They draw from these experiences to teach safety during one-on-one, group, and women's-only classes that incorporate scenarios. To deal with each simulated situation, the experts teach their clients??who range from civilians to law-enforcement officers??to select a suitable caliber, safely handle their chosen firearm, and practice self-defense techniques.
Bright colors and self-defense precepts rarely go together, but there’s purpose behind such a coupling in Elite Tactical Training’s paintball sessions. Participants use high-tech paintball guns loaded with multi-hued paint pellets to learn how to fight their way out of real-world defense scenarios with the help of role players. The educational paintball battles complement the company’s other offerings, such as marksmanship lessons and concealed carry courses.
Genesis Paintball's woodsball field sprawls across 38,000 square feet with uneven terrain and junkyard obstacles including corrugated pipes and large wooden spools. Players dive into the long trench to evade their opponents, who can shoot from a minimum of 10 feet away or duck into hollowed-out bunkers to catch their breath with a game of Pattycake. On the other end of the facility, the astroturf-covered speedball field measures a regulation 120'x170', where teams can fire at close range and hide behind inflatable obstacles such cylinders and pyramids. Between bouts, patrons retreat to the concession stand to refuel with drinks and snacks.