Student Testimonials

"Let me start by telling you a little bit about my history which led me to (Advanced Defensive Concepts) ADC.

In the early 90's, I was the victim of a break-in while I was home. In the middle of the night I was awaken to a stranger who jumped on top of me while I was sleeping. It was a life changing event that to this day, I cannot forget. The fear I felt that moment is indescribable. I was able to fight him off of me and then realized I knew this person. I thought I was going to die that night. It was horrible. I pressed charges and went to court and he was found guilty, however, I never had been able to overcome the fear I had felt that night.

I heard about Advanced Defensive Concepts and how they taught an instructor led full day class for CCW. I signed up but was very nervous. I had never shot a gun until a week before my class. On February 2, 2013, my life changed. At the beginning of the class, I started out nervous and insecure but left that evening feeling like I could protect myself in whatever situation. I then took another full day course shortly after for Basic Pistol and then 2 private lessons with Marc Pezzella. My knowledge in handling my firearm and marksmanship advanced well above my own expectations. These guys are the best in the business. I still actively shoot at least twice a month to help retain my skills and it has now become an enjoyable hobby. I plan on taking more classes in the near future.

Thank you to Marc Pezzella. You have helped me in more ways than you will ever know, and I am truly grateful to you."

~Liz Bertran

"I could not speak more highly of the ADC staff and the training I received. It alarms me the number of fly-by-night firearm courses that seem to grow by the day. To think that anyone would choose not to be trained by the very elite in their respective fields when it pertains to defensive tactics and firearms is astonishing. The training facilities and staff are top notch and each instructor has life long careers with real life experiences. No target or cap gun can teach that. I arrived with a nervous understanding of self-defense and gun ownership and left with the confidence and knowledge that everyone should have who chooses to defend themselves. By the end of the class, one of our best shots was a 70 year old woman with her late husband's revolver! Looking forward to the Carbine class!"

~Jacqueline Abney

"My wife and I took Marc's Basic Pistol Class three times because there was so much information that we wanted to get it all. Each time we felt more comfortable in our ability to handle ourselves in a dangerous situation. There are plenty of people out there who can take you through a book in three hours. If you want to feel confident in what you know and how to really handle a firearm, Marc is the best. You won't be disappointed."

~Wiley Jones

"When my fiancée and I were searching for a conceal/carry weapons course, Advanced Defensive Concepts came highly recommended. Marc is very approachable, and he lived up to his reputation for emphasizing safety, which made the shooting exercises more enjoyable. Marc does not have to brag about being experienced; they exude the professionalism and confidence you'd expect from seasoned operators. We were very impressed all around and are looking forward to going back for more training."

~Brent Campbell

"I have taken a number of courses with Marc and found him to be pitched at exactly the appropriate level to make the days both fun, informative, and a valuable learning experience. Marc has many years of hands on experience, the type of situational experience that can only be picked up from hands on real life engagements. It is that level of skill that makes every one of these courses Advanced. The level of instruction is “Advanced”. The ultimate testament is the familiar faces of fellow students, some of whom I now call friends, that regularly attend these course both as first timers and as refreshers."


"I have taken other weapons classes offered by various organizations. Many of them offer little more than a description of a weapon, have you shoot it a few times, and sign off on your CCW permit certification. ADC takes both the time and effort to truly concern themselves with your safety, and knowledge. They conduct a thorough evaluation of the individual to be sure of their capabilities and needs. They also provide significantly more classroom time as well as hands-on firearms support at their shooting range. When you work with these guys, you know you are in good hands. They are extremely knowledgeable and skilled. They are true experts at the art of tactical weaponry and defense. I highly recommend their classes for anyone, beginner to advanced skill levels. You will walk away with greater knowledge and confidence in your abilities. They are true professionals."

~Karl A. D'Accursio, North Port, FL

"I've taken several courses with ADC and had my family and friends take courses with them as well. Marc takes the time to not just teach you proper techniques, but also make sure you understand why things are done that way. For the amount of real world experience Marc has in dangerous situations and environments he is remarkably patient and professional with every student in the class - no matter your skill level. For my money, I feel I have gotten the most thorough and practical instruction available anywhere. I will definitely continue to use ADC to improve my skills and abilities in the future!"

~ R. Davidson

"After having received training from two other sources here in the Suncoast, I have to tell you that I am thrilled to have found Advanced Defensive Concepts. After having spent three very extensive range days with ADC I am really starting to feel both challenged and at the same time more confident in my ability and preparedness to help defend my family against the unthinkable.

Whether someone is seeking the next level in proficiency in handgun, carbine, or any other defensive weapon, ADC has an uncanny ability to reach their student’s level and tailor their speed and curriculum perfectly in order to maximize the student’s growth and proficiency. Rather than adding more hardware to their safe, I feel that most folks are like me, and would be better served by investing money in a way that will increase their knowledge and skills if increasing their safety is their objective. A lot of folks own guns, many do not have this level of training.

There are a lot of talented "operators" out there, but to combine those skills with the ability to connect with, and effectively teach, students of different skill levels, is part of what makes ADC unique!

ADC is where I will invest in my safety and that of my family!"


"I spent too many years as a prosecutor and a judge dealing with homicides and felonious assault cases. As a result, I was so terrified of guns and I was afraid to have one in my home. The carried concealed class was tremendous, both the class room portion and the range. As fun and as interesting as the class was, the range was my favorite. The instructors made safety their number one priority. There were several inexperienced shooters like me and the instructors couldn't have been more patient...and alert. The experienced people as well as the instructors kept an eye on everyone to ensure safety procedures were always followed. I plan on taking another class to refine my shooting skills."

~Patricia Cleary

"I had never held or fired a gun before I went on the CCW Course with ADC. I had no interest in guns but I was encouraged to go on the course by my husband. I am now confident with a handgun and I feel able to protect myself and my family. ADC was so patient with me and really helped me gain the confidence that I thought I could never have achieved"

~Catherine McDonnell

"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

"I’ve been fortunate to take several classes over the past two years. However, I found that my pistol skills were deteriorating since I had spent so much time focused on carbine. I wanted to find an instructor that had real world experience, was patient, and that would tailor instruction to suit my needs. I received a recommendation to contact Marc Pezzella of Advanced Defensive Concepts from a friend, and I’m extremely happy that I did. During our first phone conversation, Marc asked me what I wanted to accomplish and what my goals were as a shooter. I told him that I wanted to become the best defensive shooter as possible, so that I could defend myself and my family should the need arise. We talked a little about my previous classes and experience, and then Marc took the time to design a shooting program tailored around MY needs. He didn’t just plug me into a pre-existing syllabus.

After meeting Marc for the first time, I knew that I had found the right instructor. I could tell that he wanted to teach, and more importantly, that he wanted me to learn and to get better as a shooter. He explained the how’s and why’s of the techniques that he was teaching, which he understood was important to me and my learning. After our first class, he determined that I am very “analytical” (I think too much) and that I needed to loosen up. He approached our next class differently based on his observations and further tailored it to my specific needs. I can honestly say that after a few classes I am a much better and more confident pistol shooter!

I’m not former military or a former law enforcement officer, but rather a concerned citizen that enjoys the freedoms of the Second Amendment, so I don’t generally like people yelling at me. In fact, it kind of pisses me off. I can assure everyone that the instructors at Advanced Defensive Concepts will treat you with respect and base their classes off of real world scenarios. Shooting and firearms should be taken very seriously, but if you take a class with Advanced Defensive Concepts, I promise that you WILL laugh and have a great time while you learn. I’m looking forward to the 2014 class schedule!"

~Jeff R, Tampa, FL

"Some trainers are good sportsmen but they are not good trainers. Some excellent sportsmen in the past are not good trainers now. Marc is a very good trainer. He is really good.

I was born in Russia . I have a Masters in Sports ( Moscow University ) and Masters in Engineering and I was a USSR Judo Master and trainer in Martial Arts for 20 years. I taught students in a University in Moscow . I know how to teach, the methods and principles of teaching, and all about the rules of teaching, you name it…. So I know what I am speaking about. Marc does it right.

Some trainers just do not know a lot (how can a newbie recognize it?). Some trainers are trying not to give you all they know because they do not know a lot and they are afraid you might know some things better than they do. It is not this way with Marc. He has so much to teach you on any level that he is glad to see your every successful step because he wants to give you more and more.

I think Marc is a very good person (sorry, I do not know if I may tell so. Maybe it destroyed the image of a cool and dangerous person…Do not worry- he is cool). He does care about you. He taught me not only how to be proficient in shooting but with an idea that sometime it will help me to save my life and my loved ones. He cares about ME and MY Family!

Marc is a very educated person. I was enjoying speaking with him about different things, about life, about the USA and in the World. He understands humor and it was fun to be with him. And he always has time for you and answers all your questions.

Because of my illness 3 years ago I am not very fit now. Marc understood it just in time and challenged me exactly so far till I was able to do it but not less!"





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