S.A.S. Black Ops, at 1280 Field Parkway, near the intersection of Bells Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway, conducted a grand opening for its facility on Saturday.
S.A.S. is the creation of Paul Morrison, a former member of the British diplomatic protection law enforcement division. The name S.A.S. refers to the Special Air Service of the British Army, which is part of the United Kingdom’s Special Forces.
Morrison’s vision was to create a facility with a military environment that provides fitness and sports activities to civilians and training opportunities to members of law enforcement. Several airsoft gun play arenas have opened in Cobb County in the last year as a result of the popularity the guns, which use plastic pellets as bullets that are propelled with compressed gas via a spring mechanism.
Morrison said he came up with his concept after his own teenage sons became airsoft enthusiasts.
“Like everyone else, they were playing it in the yard, and it is not safe,” Morrison said. “We have minimum engagement rules and have created a safe environment to play.”
Morrison describes the 13,000-square-foot arena as “airsoft on steroids.” Unlike other arenas, S.A.S. incorporates light and sound effects, including simulated night vision and walls that move and change.
S.A.S. also offers early morning adult fitness boot camps, corporate team building, self-defense safety training, after-school programs and birthday parties. S.A.S. offers an after-school “ranger” program for fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders. Morrison says the program teaches integrity, work ethic and community involvement.
“It’s Boy Scouts meets ROTC,” Morrison said. “It uses all the skills I’ve mastered.”
Morrison says they also offer training to the law enforcement community. The interlocking panels in the airsoft arena can be used to create replicated field scenarios for training purposes.
Maj. Daryl Sewell, who is with the Army’s 335th Signal Command and owns Target Airsoft retail store and publishes “Take Aim” magazine, said that while there are a few airsoft arenas in the area, Morrison’s concept is possibly the first of its kind.
“The fact that he has all of these programs under one roof is unique,” Sewell said. “He’s taken airsoft one step further by turning it into developmental courses for kids after school and a training program for other groups.”
During the school year, the facility is open on weekdays for classes, corporate events, after-school programs or parties of 10 or more by appointment. The airsoft arena is open for play Friday nights from 4 until 10 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.