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Review: Combat Pursuit Field, Pickering ON

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Old June 22nd, 2017, 13:44   #1
Kozure
 
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Thumbs up Review: Combat Pursuit Field, Pickering ON



The Basic Details

Website: https://www.combatpursuit.com/combat-games/airsoft/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CombatPursuitPaintball/

Location: 3765 North Road, Pickering, ON L0H 1J0
Admission: $25 tax included, cash, debit or credit card. Rental packages available, see below
Hours: 11 AM – 4 PM Sundays
Field Rules: http://www.combatpursuit.com/combat-...airsoft-rules/


An Apology in Advance

The day I went, Sunday, Jun 18th, was Father’s Day. I really wanted to get out to Combat Pursuit but I also had a Father’s Day dinner that I was expected to attend (being a father myself), so I had to leave the field much earlier than I would typically on an Airsoft gaming day. I got so caught up in the engaging gameplay that I didn’t take any pictures of the field or support areas, which I often do during breaks or at the end of the day. I hope to return to Combat Pursuit to get photos in the future, which I will then add to this review.

So, I have no photos that I have taken of the field currently. Mea culpa.

This is a pic that Combat Pursuit has up on its page, so that previews of this review are more interesting:




Getting There

Combat Pursuit is just east of Markham. Getting there is simple from anywhere in the GTA, and even faster if you have a 407 ETR transponder. To the best of my knowledge, it is the closest outdoor Airsoft field to Toronto. Driving from our midtown starting point near Allen Road and Eglinton, it took us 35 minutes to get there, easily the fastest we’ve ever gotten out to a field.



It is a single turn off from Highway 7 onto a gravel road (North Road) and a simple ~1 km drive north from there. They have a sandwich board sign at the side of the road indicating the turn into the field area itself.


First Impressions

Arriving in the parking lot, there were already a number of Airsofters setting up, as well as a slightly smaller group of paintballers. The parking lot is not paved, but there is stall parking for around 15-20 cars and more could be squeezed in with some creative manoeuvring. The admin area and staging area was tidy and well organized, and I was impressed by the selection of items for sale, supplies and consumables, but also a number of things that aren’t commonly found at other outdoor fields, such as speed loaders, various weights of bio BBs, replacement magazines, and more.

Safe areas were clearly signed and demarcated, and the game control personnel were friendly but professional. The safety briefing was very thorough; this field has a few stricter rules than some other outdoor fields in the Southern Ontario area, more on that later in this review.

My first impression was of a professionally-run, well-organized field whose primary focus is paintball, but is very well equipped to admin, support and run Airsoft games.


Admission / Rental Equipment / Pro Shop / Facilities

Admission was $22.12 ($25 inclusive of tax) and the shop takes cash, credit card or debit (!). The pro shop carries both Airsoft and paintball gear, and as mentioned above, had a great selection for an outdoor field by comparison, stocking the aforementioned speed loaders, various weights of bio BBs, replacement magazines, as well as eye protection, anti-fog wipes and many other items.

The shop carries chips, chocolate bars, water and soft drinks as well, all for reasonable prices. No lunch food is offered, but the admins don’t object to you bringing a portable BBQ.

The field has two Airsoft rental packages:

Renter Recon $35.40 ($40 with tax) Rifle w Hi-Cap Mag, Mask, 300 Shots, 3 Hours
Renter Commando $53.09 ($60 with tax) Rifle w Hi-Cap Mag, Mask, 1000 Shots, 3 Hours & Uniform

BBs are $30 (tax in) for [correction] 5,000 0.25g Valken bbs. I forgot to check see how much they were selling 0.2g BBs [addition: $24.33 + tax = $27.50 for 5,000]. They also had C02 and Green Gas for sure. I should have asked about HPA. [addition - they supply HPA refills for free for use onsite] The BB price I found a little steep, but it is convenient to be able to buy higher weight bio BBs right on the field.

There is a single portable toilet next to the staging area, and possibly unique to this field (perhaps with the exception of Flag Raiders?) there is a group of five toilets and a wash station right next to the fields in a central location, so you can go to the washroom without having to walk all the way back to staging.

There is a firing range with a self-serve chronometer (more on that below, again) and a number of small targets to plink at.

A covered area sits next to the admin desk with four tables, and an additional eight or ten tables with no roof overhead is right next to the covered area. The staging area is immediately accessible from the parking lot, adjoins the admin desk, right next to field area “Alpha” and about 10m from the firing range.

There are no restaurants or bars immediately nearby, but Green River (5 minutes away) has a small store and Markham itself is full of places to eat and drink (12-15 minutes).

Field / Terrain

The field is divided into three distinct areas. A fourth is being built, but it is being designed as a speedball field so it won’t be available for Airsoft.

Alpha is an open, unwooded area of single and two storey structures with other low and medium height cover at 3m-8m spacing. I didn’t play on Alpha on the day I arrived but it looks suitable for smaller groups and CQB type play. There is very little vegetation, so tan and similar urban-type or transitional camouflage is suitable. The dimensions of this area are about 90m long by 20-30m wide.

[edit] One of the admins at Combat Pursuit contacted me to correct the record that the Alpha area is actually 50% wooded - there is another 20-30m south of the open, structure area which I didn't realize was part of Alpha. I had asked some of our admins as we were walking by and it wasn't made clear that area was also part of Alpha. So, Alpha is 50% open with structures and 50% woods, and the play area is actually closer to 90m x 40-60m in size. In this case, unless play is restricted to the open area by special rule, a transitional camo scheme is more appropriate to this location.

Bravo is furthest back from the staging area (a 3 or 4 minute walk east) and I was surprised after being told it was “a fair hike” from the staging area to find it relatively close. I guess they meant for the purposes of needing to resupply, you wouldn’t want to walk back and forth from Bravo to the staging area, taking 6-8 minutes. It is a mix of low structures (about 3-4 low one storeys and a single two storey), field, some light constructed cover and forest. The southwestern corner of the field is the built-up area, there are some light pine and mixed trees and fields to the east, fields and forest to the north, and forest to the northeast. Concealment on the Bravo field is best provided by transitional and light woodland camo schemes. The entire field measures about 100m x 80m. Bravo was very muddy in some areas. The front desk people mentioned that the entire field is usually dry by this time but this season’s heavy rains have kept the fields much wetter than usual.

Zulu is a mixed-wooded lot with some fields with low scrub, some individual stands of trees and a northern section which is only about 5m-8m deep but 75m wide which is regrowth forest. There are a few scattered wood construction cover pieces, but the field is primarily light forest and fields. At the time that I went, a fair portion of the field was covered by tall grass (about 0.9m/3’ tall), an unusual feature in my outdoor Airsoft experience so far in Southern Ontario, and interesting to crawl through and fight from. I asked the organizers about ticks and they said that no one had reported ticks on the field. I did a tick inspection after getting home (I did some serious belly crawling at a few points) and I did not find any ticks. Camouflage suitable for woods and forest is best in this area. This area is ~110m x 100m

I preferred Zulu for its larger range of opportunities for manoeuvre and mix of medium and long range engagements, but Bravo was also fun. Alpha appeared a little too tight for Airsoft engagements but some people really like the close in, built-up stuff.

The three fields are connected by open walking trails and are not intended to be used together as interconnected fields for a wider battlefield experience. They are discrete and compartmentalized, as is often done at other paintball-focused fields.

[edit/addition] Someone PMed me about the levels of paint on the field. I'd say most vertical, man-made surfaces had a splat or two, and some common hiding spots had a whole bunch (a dozen or more). That said, on the Zulu field I hardly saw any paint at all. There were a few scattered balls on the ground in some places, and one or two balls that I noticed in the staging area. The staging area was very clean otherwise. I played the whole day and didn't get any paint on my ACUs. I played inside structures a few times, but was careful not to put my back against a wall. Apparently this is good practice in CQB anyway.

So, short answer about how much paint you can expect: less paint than some other primarily-paintball fields I've seen, within my personal tolerances, but not completely clean. A field where paintball and airsoft overlap will never be completely clean. If a smudge or two of easily wiped off paint on your gear bothers you, you should probably not play at these sorts of fields.


Game play

Perhaps because it was Father’s Day there weren’t many people out to play, a total of 12 including my son and I. Organizers commented that 20-30 was more typical on fair weather summer days, but varied quite a bit from weekend to weekend. Games were typically 15 minutes with 3 minute respawns.

Our first game was Capture the Flag in the Zulu field. The mix of field, forest, scrub and stands of trees allowed for some fun flanking opportunities. With only six players to a side, the small size of field was perfect for a smaller group. We timed out on the first game with no clear winner, but won the second.

Our second pair of games took place at Bravo and was called POW Rescue. The attacking team was required to attack two buildings, one single storey and one two storey. Inside one of the buildings (unknown to the attackers) was a mannequin with no head or arms which had to be rescued and carried by two people back to the attacker start location. Attackers had two lives, defenders had one. Our attack bogged down and we lost, but when roles were reversed, the other team conducted an excellent coordinated attack and wiped out all the defenders (us).

Our final pair of games (we had to leave early) was termed “World War III”. We were split into three teams of four. Each team had two flags to guard, placed in the same location about 2m apart. To win, one team needed to get a flag from both of the other teams. A player may only carry one flag at a time. The first match resulted in a draw, but the second was won by my team, mostly due to the efforts of a very aggressive and fast-moving player who managed to bag both flags from the opposing teams. Here's to you, mysterious CADPAT wearing crazy person!

Every game we played was scenario-based and we never did the mindless Team Deathmatch that I personally find very repetitive. I really liked that aspect of my day’s game play at Combat Pursuit.


Referees / Administration

Our refs/game control were young but had lots of experience playing and refereeing for paintball, and many of the principles carry over, so I had no issues with their handling of game control. One thing that impressed me is that game control personnel and the admin desk all had radios and communication between refs and admin HQ was very professional and regular.

Another unusual but welcome component for this field is that respawn is at the flag (or objective) and is timed for 3 minute re-entry by an airhorn blast. So, if you’re killed, you walk back to the respawn and wait for the next single airhorn blast. Simple, effective, fair. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and not how I always want to play, but I liked it in this application.

Semi-automatic fire is expected for all weapons, bursts of up to two seconds are permitted, full auto is not permitted. Sniper rifles and DMRs may not engage inside of 50’ and a player who carries a sniper rifle or DMR must carry a working side-arm. Approved grenades and cold smoke are permitted; just check with game control first.

I mentioned above that I wanted to comment on some rules and safety practices on this field. I had no major issue with them, but I think that they should be mentioned because they may conflict with some players’ personal preferences for the conduct of Airsoft.

Firstly, the mercy rule is mandatory at this field. You must call mercy when engaging targets indoors and/or at ranges of less than 5-8’. This makes some CQB situations a little dicey, in my opinion, and I did run into one issue where I thought I had successfully engaged a killed a group of four players by a combination of mercy and shots, but one who said he was not specifically addressed by my mercy calls, turned around and shot me as I moved away. This was partially my fault for not calling each target out individually, but I can see how mandatory mercy may result in a lot of similar situations. There is also the mutual destruction mercy rule, where if two players who are aware of each other engage within 5’-8’, both players are out. I saw this cause minor dissatisfaction with players in at least two situations on the field.

Secondly, the field enforces a three strike rule for safety or rules infringement. The strikes are indicated by an ‘X’ on your wristband. First strike is a warning. Second strike is being asked to sit out a game. Third strike is ejection from the field. Players may be assigned a strike for failing to use eyepro, not calling (or accepting) mercy, or otherwise conducting themselves in an unsafe or unsportsmanlike manner. I think this method is excellent – clear guidelines, strict enforcement, and consequences are known in advance.

Finally, chronographing is done by yourself. You walk over to the firing range and chrono your own weapon on an honour system as being less than 400fps. The refs conduct periodic spot checks during the day. If your weapon is hot, it’s a strike, and you’re expected to adjust the weapon to fire under 400fps. This strikes me as a very expedient AND thorough way of doing things, and Combat Pursuit is so far the only field that I’ve encountered to conduct spot check chrono’ing in the field during breaks in game play.

[edit] Again, contacted by field admin, apparently a rule which is not (as of this writing) up on the website and is going to be added to the rules page, are special rules for sniper rifles and DMRs:

Quote:
Rules for Bolt Action Rifles are as follows:
1. Velocity using a .20 bb must be 450 or less
2. Operator must carry a side arm shoting 400 or less using .20 bb's
3. Minimum engagement range with bolt action is 75ft
4. Sniper ceritification is not required.
Some of these items may sound like criticisms but the safety and game play rules enforcement was very clear and fair, among the best I’ve seen at outdoor fields thus far. Everything was spelled out clearly in advance, no surprises or arguing that you didn’t know about something.

Refereeing and administration is top notch here, no complaints. My only issue, and this is personal, is that mandatory mercy can cause some dissatisfaction. I personally call mercy on people within short range, but I don’t expect it, and situations in which you might have had the drop on a group become debatable, especially with more than one player.


Possibilities for Improvement

The facilities are great, the amenities are ample, the refs are on the ball, the location is close, the gameplay is interesting and varied, everything is well-kept and maintained… What’s to improve? Well, there are really only two fields which are suitable for larger games of Airsoft (Bravo and Zulu) and both of these fields are small-ish. Certainly fine for 10-30 people, but I can see 30-50+ people feeling very tight. I’d love to see a larger area for Airsoft play on this field. I did hear some of the admins mention that some new cover structures (bunkers and walls) were going to be added to Zulu and that would definitely improve that area.

Looking at the satellite view of the field, they're really only using a quarter of the 40 acres or so of land the field sits on. There's lots of room for expansion and it looks like it would not be difficult to add a field or two next to Zulu. Obviously that would take careful planning and construction and the people I spoke to on the day seemed to have a long term vision. In their words, "they intend to be around for a while".

Lunch, either by pre-made sandwiches or a BBQ selling hot dogs or hamburgers, would be welcome, but not required.

Aside from small-ish field area, there really isn’t much to improve.


Overall

I really liked this field and would assign it more or less top marks in every category except for size and variety of terrain. As a result, I don’t see this field as being able to support larger milsim-type engagements or groups of 40-50+ Airsofters in the same playing area as it currently is configured.

If, somehow, this field managed to add a larger Airsoft area (100m x 200m or larger), a couple of similarly-sized areas or an interesting way to interconnect all three fields, a BBQ or lunch facility, and a few more coverage staging areas, I would call this place as close to perfect as you’re likely to get. It is reasonably priced, close to Toronto and well-managed.

The interesting scenarios were a refreshing change from the usual Team Deathmatches offered at other locations, and were a big selling point for me.

I recommend this field to all players, new or veteran, except for those who really want a much larger playing area, a wider variety of fields to play at in the same day, or newcomers/old hands who don’t like slightly more complicated scenarios and prefer deathmatches only.


TL; DR Version

Professionally run, interesting scenarios, close proximity to TO and very good amenities combine to make this a great field to play. Only having two or three smaller playing areas and some unusual safety and game play rules may detract from your personal enjoyment.


.
Christopher "Kozure" Ono

Last edited by Kozure; August 18th, 2017 at 10:20..
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Old June 27th, 2017, 10:40   #2
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Thanks for the review. A friend and I are contemplating this field on Sunday, and as this is literally the closest field to Toronto, it makes it very accessible.

So I guess the negative and theft related reviews I've read about this place are dated and isolated. Theft can occur anywhere, it just was an alarming review that the staff of the field was the purported culprit.

We'll see how it goes.
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Old June 27th, 2017, 11:04   #3
Kozure
 
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Originally Posted by Katipunero View Post
Thanks for the review. A friend and I are contemplating this field on Sunday, and as this is literally the closest field to Toronto, it makes it very accessible.

So I guess the negative and theft related reviews I've read about this place are dated and isolated. Theft can occur anywhere, it just was an alarming review that the staff of the field was the purported culprit.

We'll see how it goes.
There was no indicator to me that the age 30+ admin staff in the pro shop and giving the safety briefing were in any way shady or that I shouldn't trust them. They were friendly, open and communicative.

Now, there were two or three field admins/game control people who were young, probably under 21, maybe even 18 or 19. If you're the sort of person that automatically distrusts young people/teens, you might feel nervous. I like to give teenagers the benefit of a doubt, having been one once and knowing how it feels to have people look at you sideways.

I had a very good time, and we experienced no theft, nor did I have any reason to feel like my kit was in danger. I left my duffle and gun carrier unattended for an hour or so at a time and there was nothing missing at the end of the day.

But... just because I didn't see any theft doesn't mean it didn't occur or that it doesn't occur. Your mileage may vary.

Last edited by Kozure; June 27th, 2017 at 11:27..
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Old June 27th, 2017, 11:52   #4
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One little suggestion: I usually gear up by my car, and only bring one airsoft rifle, one side arm, BBs, and other necessities to the field. Most of the things I use are carried on my vest during the games, and I only left the gun bag at the set up area.

Other stuff, standby airsoft guns, wallets and valuables...... are all locked in the trunk (not on the car seats) so they are invisible.

Theft happens anywhere is very true. We went to Wasaga Beach paintball for airsoft, and were given area next to the indoor paintball field as set up area and storage. Everybody played outside as it was summer, so basically only our group would go inside and out.

Turned out one of our group member lost his handguns which was later found stolen by one of the paintball players. So from then on, I start keeping all other stuff at the trunk of my car. While thefts should be condemned, but we ourselves should also be responsible for minimizing such risk.
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Old June 27th, 2017, 12:08   #5
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Originally Posted by Kozure View Post
If you're the sort of person that automatically distrusts young people/teens, you might feel nervous. I like to give teenagers the benefit of a doubt, having been one once and knowing how it feels to have people look at you sideways.
Believe me, I still get looked at sideways in my 40's! :razz:, so it's not a matter of age - more a matter of the subject in question in the review that committed the theft. I did not presume it was young adult or teenager when I initially read it.

I intend to keep and bring only the necessities on me when I attend, which really is no different from anywhere else.

Reviews can be so subjective and people's interpretation of them can range so greatly; as probably I have done in this case.
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Old June 27th, 2017, 20:50   #6
AnthonyG
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Thanks for the review; complete and in-depth.

I've considered going to the field a few times (20 minutes away for me), but limited hours and the sense that it is more of a paintball field have generally steered me to other "airsoft-only" fields.

Based on your description, the areas sound small. It definitely caters to the quick-and-short skirmish games, rather than the long-format milsim games I prefer when I play outside.

I looked up the field on Google Earth and got excited at the prospect of a larger 40 acre site. It seems like the larger site has a good mix of vegetation: a bunch of field areas, some dense and light brush... Perhaps there is some milsim potential here?
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Old July 4th, 2017, 11:37   #7
Katipunero
 
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Went there this past Sunday. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. There was some rain, sun and some sloppy, muddy conditions, but it was great.

Refs explained the game and rules well. Chronoing your gun is as stated in the review; on an honour system, and on this particular day, no one did any checks. One thing to note is that their 400 fps limit is on 0.2. Their site just stated 400 fps, so I had calibrated before hand at home for 0.25. No big deal, just a heads up if you like to have everything calibrated before you get to a field.

The 3 minute respawns can be good depending on how you play. If your game play is camping and sniping, you can afford to wait. If you're a run and gun, it's good to have a breather before running back in the fight.

The 15 minute games seem very short. Time just passes since compared to indoor, you're generally maneuvering and doing more action on alert (at least I do). Whilst outdoor, the movements pushing forward can be slower to get into position.

One of the games involved capturing a flag at an enemy camp, just going through the forest under cover took the 15 minute time frame of the game. Friend and I just had position outside enemy camp when the 3 horn blast blew for game over.

Hit calling was pretty good. Players were calling their hits even from a far distance out. May have been the players on this particular day, but nonetheless great sportsmanship from everybody.

Overall, it was a great experience and will definitely go back. It was great to actually go out there with gear that matched the conditions and actually get dirty.
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Old July 6th, 2017, 11:33   #8
Kozure
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katipunero View Post
Went there this past Sunday. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. There was some rain, sun and some sloppy, muddy conditions, but it was great.

Refs explained the game and rules well. Chronoing your gun is as stated in the review; on an honour system, and on this particular day, no one did any checks. One thing to note is that their 400 fps limit is on 0.2. Their site just stated 400 fps, so I had calibrated before hand at home for 0.25. No big deal, just a heads up if you like to have everything calibrated before you get to a field.

The 3 minute respawns can be good depending on how you play. If your game play is camping and sniping, you can afford to wait. If you're a run and gun, it's good to have a breather before running back in the fight.

The 15 minute games seem very short. Time just passes since compared to indoor, you're generally maneuvering and doing more action on alert (at least I do). Whilst outdoor, the movements pushing forward can be slower to get into position.

One of the games involved capturing a flag at an enemy camp, just going through the forest under cover took the 15 minute time frame of the game. Friend and I just had position outside enemy camp when the 3 horn blast blew for game over.

Hit calling was pretty good. Players were calling their hits even from a far distance out. May have been the players on this particular day, but nonetheless great sportsmanship from everybody.

Overall, it was a great experience and will definitely go back. It was great to actually go out there with gear that matched the conditions and actually get dirty.
Great to hear that you had a good time. Would you say that your experience aligned with my observations in the review?

Also wanted to note that I see that Photobucket has changed its TOS and I now cannot link images without a paid account. Goodbye Photobucket!

I will get my images moved over to another image hosting service and relink the images as soon as I can.

Last edited by Kozure; July 6th, 2017 at 11:40..
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 19:11   #9
chaz
 
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I am good friends with the owners. Decent guys who have been in the paintball industry since the early 80's. They know safety and how to run a great venue.
Sad, I haven't ventured out there yet
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