So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

http://www.COWBOYFASTDRAW.com

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game: Pizza, Coca Cola, and Strategy, the cornerstones of a happy life

At Mos Eisley Radio these guys not only talk news concerning the most recent Star Wars Game X-Wing Miniatures, which I am crazy about, but a lot more.  Have a listen to them for  in-depth looks at classes, guilds, lore, and everything else fans care about in the galaxy far, far away.  But related to this article, they go into great detail about the strength of ships and strategy of the game for those who are prompted to get more involved by the conclusion of this article.   Have a listen while reading the below text!

star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game-milennium-falcon

While it’s true that many of the people I know are locked into the very real and immediate danger of a real-life rebellion, which is covered at this site extensively, the way I endure the stress of such a thing is to fill my life with interesting hobbies, that also help build up my strategic ability.  I share some of those hobbies from time to time in hopes that others might become inspired and do the same for themselves, not by copying my suggestions so much as in finding something that works for them to give themselves a break so to endure the rigors of life just a bit more efficiently.  I have shared glowingly my love of the strategy game Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids.  My family has spent many hours buying, building, and playing that game till the very small hours of the morning.  I can remember one very fun Holiday week after Christmas where my kids and I with a small army of other kids bought every single pack of WizKids pirate ships on a cold December afternoon at Cincinnati Sci Fi in West Chester, Ohio.  The delighted store clerk even brought out a new shipment of those ships which had just arrived that was in the back while we were in the store, of which we bought every single one.  So needless to say, we love those types of role-playing games as a family, and as individuals.

Recently while on vacation in Florida my nephews along with my kids, my wife and I played a very cool Dungeons and Dragons type of role-playing game called Heroscape over pizza from the best place in Central Florida till the late hours of night with the condo door open to the ocean outside.  We had turned our large dinning room table into a war zone and found ourselves intensely engaged in mortal combat with dragons and warriors.  Like the referred to pirate game, I enjoy those types of games that allow you to play with several live players around a dinner table.  It is a great way to bond with other family members and actually speak to each other, while exercising the brain. 22_Top I find those types of games to be stimulating in a similar way to reading a novel, or playing a great video game.   The difference is that you have to work with other people in a way that is only possible with this type of strategic gaming.  For many years these role-playing strategy games have increased in popularity from a sub-culture of Dungeon and Dragon players, to what is now considered mainstream geekdom at major conventions all over the country.  The transition came officially from the popular game, Magic the Gathering.  The gaming industry in that market has never been the same, which is wonderful for the human race.  A short history of this type of gaming can be seen at the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons

However, for me, I always loved that Pirate game from Wiz Kids the best of any that I have played in the last twenty years.  My entire family was deeply into it and our playing time together represent some of the most fun we’ve had together, which is quite a statement.  So I have missed it as Wiz Kids stopped making the game in the format we enjoyed, and time and distance has moved us away from the contents.  However, I recently received news from Lucasfilm about their latest version of a Star Wars Role Playing game by Fantasy Flight Games which I thought at first would be gimmicky, but upon investigation quickly found that it was a quite in-depth game that actually combined the type of game play that I enjoyed so much in  Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids and the Heroscape.  The new game is called Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios.

Whatever the chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral gameplay that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn. After planning maneuvers, each ship’s dial is revealed and executed (starting with the lowest skilled pilot). So whether you rush headlong toward your enemy showering his forward deflectors in laser fire, or dance away from him as you attempt to acquire a targeting lock, you’ll be in total control throughout all the tense dogfighting action.

Star Wars: X-Wing features (three) unique missions and each has its own set of victory conditions and special rules; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What’s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Damage, for example, is determined through dice and applied in the form of a shuffled Damage Deck.1XW For some hits your fighter sustains, you’ll draw a card that assigns a special handicap. Was your targeting computer damaged, affecting your ability to acquire a lock on the enemy? Perhaps an ill-timed weapon malfunction will limit your offensive capabilities. Or worse yet, your pilot could be injured, compromising his ability to focus on the life-and-death struggle in which he is engaged…

The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What’s more, Star Wars: X-Wing’s quick-to-learn ruleset establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.

More can be learned at these links:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=174

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103885/star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game

The hook for me was when I saw the game’s version of The Millennium Falcon which is for me one of my favorite fictional symbols in film history of rebellion.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE.  I remember vividly when I toured the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to see the actual model of the Falcon in a traveling display that was set up there.  I traveled to Washington that weekend just to see the Falcon.  I spent nearly two hours looking at it, photographing it and memorizing every pipe, dent, and burn mark on a ship I had watched so many times in the feature films.  It was for me one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.  When I saw the level of detail that Fantasy Flight Games had poured into the Millennium Falcon game piece for the X-Wing Miniatures role-playing game it called to my mind memory of that original model in sheer detail and I instantly fell in love.  I immediately bought a starter set of the X-Wing game and launched my family onto a new generation of game play that is sure to engulf for many years. In the game players can fly the legendary Millennium Falcon into fast-paced battles for the fate of the galaxy! The Millennium Falcon™ Expansion Pack for the X-Wing™ Miniatures Game allows players to blast through hyperspace with Han, Chewie, Lando, and more. The Millennium Falcon comes with four pilot cards, thirteen upgrades, and all requisite tokens. New rules expand the X-Wing galaxy to include large ships and modifications. With its pilots, upgrades, and lovingly detailed miniature, the Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack is a beautiful addition to the X-Wing game!  It may be the coolest thing I have seen in years regarding this kind of thing.  It is a marvel to look at and unbelievable to have as a game play option.  I consider it stunning.

If the Millennium Falcon didn’t close the deal for me on the new X-Wing game the promise of the next ship did.  It doesn’t come out until the end of August, but when it does, I will buy it immediately.  It is the HWK-290 designed by Corellian Engineering Corporation to resemble a bird in flight, the “hawk” series excels in its role as a personal transport. The HWK-290 Expansion Pack comes with one detailed miniature at 1/270 scale, a maneuver dial, all necessary tokens, six upgrades, and four pilots, including the renowned Kyle Katarn. Each HWK-290 provides a wide range of support options for your squad and can be outfitted with both a turret weapon and crew member.  The reason this ship is significant for me is because it was the featured spacecraft of the main character in the video game Dark Forces.  pic1394907_lgIt never appeared in a Star Wars film, but was the home craft of the video game character Kyle Katarn, who would later become a Jedi Master in the novels years later.  One of the very first video games that my oldest daughter ever played was Dark Forces.  It was a first person shooter that came out in 1995.  My daughter was only 6 years old at the time and helped me play it by pressing the space bar on the key board when I told her to which caused my character to jump.  She was too young for the complex shooting and strategy it took to win the game, but she knew how to hit the space bar when I told her to and it was that game that launched her into a lifelong love of video games.  She and I will always share that unique father/daughter experience, and I will always think of her when I think of the HWK-290.  I was dazzled to learn that Fantasy Flight Games was actually inserting that ship into the game mythology before other types of ships, which let me know that the game designers were very serious about expanding the Star Wars experience of role-playing gaming in a format that hasn’t seen such a level of attention since our beloved Pirate Constructible Strategy Game.

Now that I’m going to be playing, it won’t take long before other members of my family will also and soon we will be ordering LaRosas pizza late at night and lining up 2-liters of Coke along our kitchen counter playing Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game well into the night.  It doesn’t matter that everyone playing will be well over 20 years old and in my case their 40s.  I still get a thrill about purchasing new strategic game pieces that can be used under battlefield conditions that have infinite possibilities.  I do not feel this kind of passion for other types of games.  The reason is that the role-playing games allow for complete independent freedom of strategy, unlike board games where the path is set and random chance puts players often into a position to win the game.  With games like X-Wing Miniatures all the conditions of battle are set and designed by the player, and that is why I love these experiences so intensely.  For me the game is only part of the fun.  I enjoy often reading the stats of the cards and infinitely considering various strategies before hand.  The game only proves a theory good or bad. 

 

I have played these games with people who are really good.  They are very quick with their mind and spend a lot more time playing the games than I ever will.  It is fun to watch these kinds of players at tournaments and conventions.  I will never put the kind of time into these games that they do, but I admire their efforts.  Too many adults in our modern age believe falsely that games are for kids and that such things should be put away as adulthood consumes our lives.  Games are not for kids, they are for minds.  Games like the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game feeds the mind with more than entertainment, it provides mental exercises that are invaluable to real life.  I can’t say how many times I have been locked in epic political struggles and other situations where I resorted on the practices used in these strategy games to apply some skill I tried and won with in theory, against real opponents in real scenarios. 

 

So as I sometimes take breaks from the rebellions of the real world to embark on these flights of fantasy, even in my leisure, strategy is an important part of my life.  It is far safer to make errors in judgment among friends and family over pizza and Coca Coke than when it really counts in real life. 

And with that said, I am ecstatic to see this new Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game available at what might only be termed, an essentially important period in my life.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I am so glad that the good people at Lucasfilm put the short playing clip of the example with Wil Wheaten and Seth Green up so I could see the Millennium Falcon playing piece for the first time and become enticed enough to investigate further.  That investigation will yield tremendous benefits that can only be found when adults play the games of young people and further develop their minds against the antagonists who have lost such abilities to their own detriment.  Sometimes being good at strategy isn’t about being better at the game itself, but is due to working against un-armed opponents.  Those who don’t play these kinds of games find their minds unable to think strategically enough to compete when it really matters, and every time a new game like Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game comes out, I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to feed my mind with the contents that have benefits which extend beyond convention.  When a vacation is needed, it’s not just the body that needs rest, the mind does also.  But the mind enjoys stimulation, not stagnation, and often a game like this can provide the crucial ingredient that the mind seeks with abundance in all the best scenarios.

 

To get the gist of what I’m talking about read this review from Boardgamegeek.com.  It reveals why this game is so much better than most other games, and why it will become one of the most enduring games of its type in this generation. 

 

 

 Harrowing dogfights, family drama, shootouts, a tender moment, amazing monsters, humor.

There’s a tempo to Star Wars. We all remember Luke screaming NOOOOOOO at Vader. For different reasons, we remember Anakin turned Vader screaming NOOOOOO. But we also remember Leia offering a little cracker to an ewok. We remember first seeing Darth Maul’s double lightsaber. And we remember Han saying “I know.”

It is NOT all pew-pew-pew. It is NOT all Vrusssshhhhhhhzwwwmzwwwmmm. It’s a cycle of teasing action and drama.

Even though the X-Wing Minis game plays out some incredible dogfight sequences, the play of the game is NOT a straight forward flow.

I’ve got dozens of rounds under my belt now, and I’ve been wanting to write a review, and it finally came to me what it is that makes this game such rip roaring fun.

It’s not the astoundingly detailed minis. And anyone complaining about scale needs to take a close look at the movies, where the scale of the ships to each other changes from shot to shot due to the compositing techniques used at the time.

The minis are awesome. I’m somewhat surprised that different ships use different plastics, but I understand why. That denser stuff used on the X-Wing would collapse a Falcon into itself.

The prepaint jobs are incredible. The cards gorgeous, the components just off the scale. Even with the bit more they must pay in royalties to Uncle George, the massive appeal of this game allows them to make a ton of copies and the price, while at first glance seems daunting, isn’t a lot for what you get.

What makes the game work is the pendulum swing. The rhythm.

First, the setup. The agonizing squad building. Is it worth 2 points to raise this pilot’s skill, not knowing what the enemy force contains? It could easily be two points that have ZERO effect on the game. Terribly tough gambles. Now that wave 2 is out and you could just as easily face a hulking mothership like a decked out Slave I or a swarm of the world’s most annoying TIE fighters, you really have to prepare for a wide contingency of opponents.

This setup is tense. You want flexible. But strong. Synergistic support between squad members, but not so much that the loss of a key ship means defeat. And you ALWAYS want about 3 more points for that perfect build. No matter how many points you choose to fight, you will kill for another 3.

So it’s got that whole squad building aspect down great. Especially now that there’s a ton of options. Who knows what your opponent will bring?

But the flow of a turn is brilliant.

Everybody chooses their maneuvers. No downtime. But here in the game is where you are playing cat and mouse. Maybe psychologically toying with the opponent, making them think your plan is A when it is actually B.

Hidden agendas and secret moves. That’s the next game that plays out after the squad building math.

Then the wonderful move system. Everyone slowly reveals their moves, in what might be the games most questioned rule. The lowest skilled dudes go first, and eventually the better skilled dudes, which mean they have a fairly good chance of accidentally hitting and losing their action, where the lower skill guy might pull it off.

But it works in the long run, because it keeps higher skills in tailing positions.

Bit in this phase of the game, again, very, very little downtime, as the nefarious plans and maneuvers are revealed.

Squeals of glee and grunts of horror abound as unexpected collisions happen and skillful turns are executed.

But then comes the start of your devastating on the spot decision making. While plotting your squadrons moves, you had an overall plan. Now, each ship must choose it’s precious action.

Evade? How many guys might end up firing on you? Target? Are you clear to get the shot this or next turn? Focus – the all purpose “Egads, I need help” token. Or maybe that barrel roll or super freakin cool new Boost – move a bit maybe out of a firing arc or -surprise – snap someone into your arc. Maybe you execute some trick of your specific pilot.

Here is where you are tempering your odds. Things that will alter the upcoming luck sequence. carefully guiding the gods of luck to your favor.

The tokens build up on the board as actions get selected. At first, this is a pile of confusing cardboard. In a few games, the counters become invisible, simply reminding you of who plans what.

Whew. So, strategic planning in the squad build, then the secrecy of move plotting, then the agonizing action choices. What more does this game need?

Raw luck.

Bring out the dice. Or the iPad app, if you prefer.

Its Star WARS and the dice bring on the war. Now MORE decisions that hurt. Do I spend my focus token to get that extra damage possibly in, or hold on to it to help me avoid possible damage? What if I hold it and no one fires? What a waste… Two hits coming in… Do I evade? Or hold on to the evade since a crit might come next?

Hopefully, you’ve pile bonus upon bonus on your fighters. Distance, skill, weapon, focus… Or maybe all you’ve got is a shot in the dark.

Fire away.

Even defenders are active, choosing focus and evade moments.

Again, very little downtime. Lots of whining and cheering. Little downtime.

Start the cycle again. Hidden choices, movement reveals and actions, combat.

I think THIS is why X-Wing is such a stunningly successful design. It bobs and weaves each turn. No phase is long enough to overstay its welcome. And you must juggle and balance each phase to support the others.

An excellently designed system that overcomes any of it’s perceived problems due to the overall strength of play.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/942443/why-it-works-review-after-wave-2

Listen to Star Wars gaming news at Mos Eisley Radio broadcasting straight from the Outer Rim!

http://moseisleyradio.com/category/mos-eisley-radio/

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

Give yourself the gift of ADVENTURE.  CLICK HERE!  

“Shoot Extreme” in West Chester Part 2: Tactical Targeting for Civilians

This posting assumes that my previous article about the new indoor target range Shoot Extreme has been read.  Click here for review.  Shoot Extreme is the tactical indoor target shooting range located in West Chester, Ohio.  It is the first of its kind anywhere in the United States, where real guns can be used in the fashion that has become popular with paintballing.  While paintball can simulate combat, the weapons are unique to paintball.  The huge advantage that Shoot Extreme has over everyone else in the simulated combat training business is that their guns are real, so it allows the shooter to become very familiar with a specific weapon.  

In my trip to Shoot Extreme the genius of the concept was quickly evident. Ownership of Shoot Extreme revealed to me that in its current state, he is at phase one of a multi-phase plan.  Currently there are two lanes (mazes) of interactive targets that a shooter must engage within 3 seconds while in the course.  The two lanes are of two different difficulties, lane one, easy to intermediate, the second is the advanced lane.  The interactive targets in this case happen to be zombies, to simulate human style targets and they are cleverly positioned throughout the simulated interior of a building dressed up like a haunted house.  The lighting is challenging because it’s dim to dark in most places which accurately simulates most situations of nighttime home intrusion scenarios.  The zombie theme is wonderful because it makes it fun and much less serious since replication of human targets crosses the line for many people. 

For even experienced shooters I highly recommend lane one first because I have to admit, my first couple of shots in the course were loaded with mild anxiety at the thought of shooting at a human like target, its one thing to think about shooting at a live target, it’s quite another to actually do it.  In lane one it takes 19 shots to get through to the end.  It takes a “double tap” to kill the final two bosses which appear nearly simultaneously. Additional ammunition is available for $10.  The cost of admission gets you 20 shots and is currently $20 dollars to get two clips of ten shots, a gun rental of your choice, a tactical holster and a run through one of the target courses.  Basically the cost of shooting is a dollar a shot, and most of the guns available are traditional 9mm and .45 simi auto pistols.  Shoot Extreme provides the best training possible with a full staff available and their gun rental department is vast as they maintain many commonly used service weapons, including Glock, Beretta, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and other arms.

When I went through lane one I picked the Beretta 92F since it is such a reliable weapon and seemed like the one that would be most useful in a zombie apocalypse.  It’s a 9mm and holds plenty of ammunition.  But with a ten round clip, a reload in the middle of the course would be needed.  And this is what makes Shoot Extreme such a treasure for target shooters.  The zombie apocalypse target shoot forces shooters to keep track of their ammunition under duress, just as it would be required in an actual combat situation, which is probably the single most important tactical teaching tool that this course provides.  The second benefit is that it gets a shooter used to shooting at a target that simulates a menace. 

Typically under normal target shooting there is very little urgency to perform, and react to the target.  The shooter is in complete control, however, in an emergency, control is in the command of the aggressor.  So normal target shooting does not properly train the mind to deal with situations of aggression.  In a real hostile situation, if an intruder entered a home and a shooter was commissioned to defend their home with their own Beretta 92F they would have to overcome their anxiety to pull the trigger on a hostile, and they would have to get used to keeping track of their ammunition in low light conditions under duress, and possess the ability to determine a friend from foe while geared up and ready to fire at the first moving target they see. 

To date, only Shoot Extreme in West Chester gives civilians the opportunity to exercise these types of skills.  When a visitor enters the double doors to the Shoot Extreme building located at the intersection of Tylersville Road, and Cincinnati-Dayton Rd, a state of the art, technologically equipped lobby is there to greet. After a release form is filled out, shooters stroll into a room where they are checked by a metal detector to ensure they don’t bring live guns into the facility, so everything is tightly controlled.  From there, a shooter steps up to a counter and selects their holster, and a technician will present dozens of potential firearms converted to fire Simunition, which functions the same as regular ammunition, but fires a plastic round that could easily strike the bare skin of a human being and not penetrate.  It will sting a bit, but will not cause any harm. In fact advanced shooters at Shoot Extreme are organizing four on four matches where they shoot at each other in special competitions.  So there is no danger of death, but this is certainly a step up from paintball.  A BIG step up!  Once a shooter has their guns and holster, a guide takes shooters through one by one.  The guide hangs back while the shooter engages the targets and does not get involved unless they need to.  For instance, while I was going though, my Beretta jammed up, which is part of the shooting experience.  In a real situation, a shooter would have to solve this problem while still in danger.  My guide was able to step in and pause the action while we cleared the gun.  He was able to restore my ammunition level to compensate me for the lost rounds so I didn’t have an unpleasant experience.  The guides are also there to help in case a shooter finds themselves in a panic situation passing out due to the anxiety. 

I moved through my course rather fast and my guide stayed well behind me not interfering.  I had a lot of technical questions which he was able to answer as I thought of them, but at no time did he encourage me to slow down, or speed up.  He just hovered back there in case something went wrong, which for me was only mischambered ammunition after a series of rapid fire targets. 

The environment is decorated just like a haunted house but the thinking is opposite from that experience.  When a monster jumps out, the typical reaction in a haunted house is to jump away from the action.   In this scenario as the walls are smeared with blood, and other chaotic markings overwhelm the senses, the zombies make a bellow noise and growl at you and the must be engaged with aggression.  You have to determine where they are and kill them within the 3 second limit.  If you don’t strike them with a clean hit, within that time, they flash red to let you know you failed to engage that target.  Toward the end of the course are two bosses that require “double-tapping” to bring them down.  They require four shots between the two in about 3.5 seconds.  One is at close range and the other is in the distance and even if you know what to expect, would be a challenging shot. 

If shooters would like to get used to the idea of firing guns at interactive targets, Shoot Extreme features a traditional range that can be viewed from the lobby, and is filled with torso targets that are very similar to the zombies in the course.  I did not shoot on this course before I went through the zombie maze, and I did lose a couple of shots because I went for head shots, and head shots don’t always register completely, since the hit sensor is in the torso.  So a torso shot is the most effective way to bring down a zombie, and that can be practiced in the traditional target range for similar pricing, about a dollar a shot along with the gun rental—so it’s very affordable, and a cheap way to shoot, a really good bargain for such a non traditional target range.  I did shoot on the traditional range after my zombie hunt, because I didn’t want the experience to be over, so I was able to see how the zombies worked in lane one by studying how the targets behaved without all the zombie dressing that makes them look like monsters in a haunted house. 

Shoot Extreme is a happening place, and a palace of tactical shooting.  It is a great benefit to the community of West Chester and the surrounding areas as it gives civilians a chance to do what only military personnel has had access to in the past.  I will emphasize that every gun owner and Second Amendment supporter I know should make a regular visit to this fantastic target range.  This particular venue enhances experiences like that enjoyed at Target World.  It is not direct competition, but is an added enjoyment, and skill set that is designed to take the personal firearm skills of a shooter and elevate them in ways that can only be experienced in such tactical scenarios.  But the competition level is never intended to be intimidating.  There are not in-your-face scores to rub in the face of shooters who don’t do well.  The experience is intended to be personal, and to be done again and again until the skills are mastered, so novice shooters don’t have to be concerned about not stacking up against those who have a lot more experience. 

The time spent at the Shoot Extreme facility can be over within 15 minutes, or shooters can hang around for hours immersing themselves in the environment.  For me, it will make a wonderful business lunch visit from time to time.  There’s no better way to talk business than over lunch with guns present, so I would think once word gets out among the business community, that many such lunches will become commonplace.  Right outside of the Shoot Extreme facility is a wonderful little Chinese restaurant as well as other options that could easily be enjoyed during a lunch hour from work. 

Obviously I can only gush over Shoot Extreme.  It’s the result of a dream from an owner who represents the best in what America has to offer.  He’s an entrepreneur who was able to take his real life service experiences in tactical training and bring it to everyday people, and that is a real gift to our society, especially those who are looking for new ways to enjoy, and protect the Second Amendment.  Shoot Extreme gives shooters a chance to get over their fear of firearms that has been drilled into our society from gun grabbing politicians, and teaches how to properly use a gun in the type of scenarios that it will most likely be used under target acquisition and threat assessment.  Because of Shoot Extreme, our society is well on its way to becoming just a bit more safe, and ultimately free. 

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Rich Hoffman
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