Sarasota's Premiere Weapons Instructors

You will receive your instruction from some of the most qualified trainers in the industry. Your instructors are a combined team of experienced warfighters with decades of specialized marksmanship and advanced tactical training. They have employed these skills in real world combat experiences that will ensure that you are provided the most effective realistic training available.

Regardless of your experience, ADC instructors will take your training to the highest level possible.

“Competence builds Confidence!”

Marc Pezzella | Instructor Bio

Instructor Marc Firearm Instructor Sarasota
“Be a Survivor not a Victim!”

Marc Pezzella is a retired SWAT Team Operator and SWAT Team Commander having over 21 years of tactical experience and more than 25 years serving the public in Law Enforcement. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He has extensive and diversified exposure to conducting and supervising high risk critical operations. During his service he has worked with the U.S. Secret Service on dignitary protection teams providing security for United States Presidents, Vice Presidents and Diplomats. He has experience working as a U.S Customs Blue Lightening Strike Force Agent, and was a Platoon Leader for the joint mobile field force during the Republican National Convention. Marc also worked for the U.S. Department of State under the Anti- Terrorism Assistance Program (A.T.A.P.). He has received numerous awards including the Combat Cross for his actions during a critical incident and officer involved shooting.

Some of his fields of experience include:

  • Critical incident management and leadership
  • Mission planning
  • Advanced carbine, shotgun and rifle training
  • Youth services and firearms related courses (Eddie Eagle NRA)
  • Vehicle assaults
  • Tubular assaults (commercial airliners, busses etc.)
  • Helicopter insertion/extraction
  • ICS Incident Command System
  • Hostage rescue
  • Explosive breaching
  • CQB Close Quarters Battle
  • Maritime operations
  • Patrol operations
  • Dignitary protection
  • Armored vehicle tactics
  • Concealed weapons
  • Advanced carbine, shotgun and rifle training
  • Narcotics Detective
  • School Detective
  • Advanced investigative interviewing
  • Counter terrorism
  • Search and arrest warrant planning and execution
  • Active shooter training
  • Suicide bombings
  • Counter terrorism urban sniper and police sniper (Sniper Team leader)
  • SWAT Team Trainer
  • Firearms (state and NRA Certified Instructor)
  • Range Safety (certified RSO Range Safety Officer)
  • Defensive Tactics (Instructor)
  • SCTI Criminal Justice Academy (Instructor)
  • FDLE Florida Department of Law Enforcement curriculum (Instructor)
  • Rappelling (Rappel Master)
  • Maritime operations
  • Mobile field force
  • Israeli instinctive shooting

Nolan Champion | Instructor Bio

Instructor Nolan Champion Firearm Instructor Sarasota

Nolan Champion grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to Florida to play competitive basketball at IMG Academy. Nolan is now a sophomore in college at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He is pursuing a degree in Homeland Security with a minor in Global Conflict studies. Nolan has assisted in training with law enforcement, SWAT teams, and civilians looking to increase their probability of success during critical conflicts. Doing Rifle/Pistol mechanics, force-on-force training, and Close Quarters Battle he has now been teaching for Advanced Defensive Concepts for almost a year and a half.

Some of Nolan’s Experience Includes training in the following areas:

  • Advanced Rifle and Pistol
  • Close Quarters Battle
  • Advanced Night Vision
  • Vehicle Close Quarters Battle
  • First Aid Certified (TCCC)
  • CPR Certified

Barry Blackwell aka "Bubba" | Instructor Bio

Instructor Bubba Firearm Instructor Sarasota

Barry Blackwell, aka “Bubba”, is originally from NJ. He attended Florida State University on a baseball scholarship. During that time, he achieved All American recognition and participated in the College World Series twice (86' and 87'). After graduating FSU with a degree in Economics, he went on to play for the Cleveland Indians organization from 1988-1992. Due to his career- ending shoulder injuries, Barry went on to work as a project manager for Toll Brothers Home Builders and then as Vice President for Holiday Builders until retiring in 2010. It was at this time, Barry was introduced to spear fishing, and he quickly became an expert. Wanting to enhance the capabilities and accuracy of his spear gun, Barry decided to build his own and opened Blacktip Custom Spearguns. Shooting under water and on land has become a passion for Barry. He met Marc Pezzella in 2014 and started his training to become a firearms instructor. He is now certified as a Pistol Instructor as well as a Range Safety Officer.

John Helme| Instructor Bio

Instructor John Helme Firearm Instructor Sarasota
“The amount of pain ones body can
withstand, without one's body failure,
cannot be measured by man.
Stay in the fight!”

John Helme was a member of the United States Air Force Military Service from 1987-1992. During this time, he provided security for the President of the United States along with other foreign dignitaries. In addition, he provided security and accompanied Air Force One.

John began his law enforcement career working as a Certified Corrections Deputy at the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office from 1993-1996. He then became a Certified Law Enforcement Deputy and served the citizens of Sarasota County from 1996-2020. For 10 of those years, he was also an active member of the S.W.A.T. team. John was an integral part of Teen Court of Sarasota, working with the camp XRAY’D program for 14 years helping troubled and at-risk youth in the community.

Some fields of experience include:

  • Fugitive apprehension
  • Community Policing
  • School Resource Officer
  • Training LEO as a Firearms Instructor
  • Vehicle Ops Instructor
  • Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • First Aid Instructor

Ryan McBride | Instructor Bio

Instructor Ryan McBride Firearm Instructor Sarasota
“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then is not an act
but a habit.”

Ryan McBride has been a Law Enforcement Officer for the past 13 years, and an active SWAT Team Operator for the past 10 years. In addition, Ryan is a K9 handler for a narcotics detection and apprehension team. He has held this position for the last 8 years.

Since 2007, Ryan has been training in martial arts. He holds a brown belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is still training and competing in Jiu Jitsu regularly. Ryan has been responsible for managing the defensive tactics and CQB (Close Quarter Battle) training on the SWAT Team for the past 7 years.

Some fields of experience include:

  • Room Clearing
  • Instructor Techniques
  • Canine Tactical Operations Training
  • Rappelling (Rappel Master)
  • Vehicle Takedowns
  • Tubular Assaults
  • Hostage Rescue
  • Search and arrest warrant planning and execution
  • Helicopter insertion and extraction
  • Dignitary protection
  • Force on Force building instructor
  • Site/security assessments
  • Firearms Instructor
  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Judo
  • Kickboxing
  • Mixed Martial Arts




"The Advanced Defensive Concepts staff are among the most proficient and professional operators in the area that you can train with. Their technical competency and real world experience, coupled with a teaching approach that emphasizes safety first while still having fun allows them to effectively train folks at all skill levels. Whether learning self-defense techniques, basic firearms proficiency, advanced tactical training, or just improving your knowledge and technique for the enjoyment of shooting sports, the ADC staff and programs provide great value and impart important skills to their students."
~Patrick Redmond - President and CEO Tervis

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