Today, I played airsoft for the first time.
I'd played paintball once before and found that I didn't enjoy it (which is better than saying that I couldn't take the pain). Since I'll be turning 18 soon, I decided to try out airsoft at one of the only listed places in North Eastern Pennsylvania- The Grid Code CQB Arena in Allentown. I went with my father (I needed a ride, and he was interested), and we got a great price for 2 hours of play and some rental equipment.
The Grid Code is the best airsoft place I've ever been to. It's also the first airsoft place I've ever been to, so my opinion doesn't have much weight. The entire place (field, management, shop, safety) has improved over the past few months, according to some reviews I read on it. They take safety seriously here- all guns must chrono under 350, all guns must have mags out, safeties and barrel covers on in the staging area. There is a 10 foot "Bang" rule at all times.
The field itself is nicely balanced; there's a similar amount of cover on both sides, and there's not any route that leads all the way from one end to the other, so there's no "easy flanking" going on during games. There are very few places that completely surround the player; most of the field has cover that needs to be ducked behind to be effective. The field is rather thin, so players need to move toward the opposing side if they want to make any progress.
Based on my memory and several pictures on this website, I believe the rental gun is a G&P M4. I'm not entirely sure, so don't take my word for it. For the first two games I had a mid-cap mag, but for the rest I was given a hi-cap. Either way, I never even got close to the 350 BBs you get with the rental. The rental price also gets you a full paintball-style facemask, which I was grateful for after the headshots started. However, the size of the mask made it hard to aim with the rental guns, which only had front sights in the first place. I'm not really complaining, because the masks did fit well over my glasses, which was a point of concern for me at first.
I'll let the image below do the taking for now:
I was glad that other people were there when we got there, but they just happened to be good players with their own customized guns and outfits.
Despite the imbalance, they were all nice players. They kept encouraging my dad and I to come back and get into the sport. After the first game, when I noted that shots to the finger hurt like hell, one of the players offered to let me borrow his extra gloves, which I gladly accepted.
At one point during the last game, I saw some small black object fly over a wall a few barricades from me. I didn't know what it was until my dad came running out of the room at top speed. After the loud bang that followed, I figured it out- back in the staging area before the game, one of the other players showed off his Thunder B grenade. I feel bad for the guy, he threw it over expecting the 47-year-old to not get away in time. Joke's on him, that 47-year-old used to run track and play football.
Overall, I really enjoyed the 2 hours of time I spent there. There were a few interesting scenario games, including a room-clearing setup with no respawns. The staff was friendly and enforced the rules, and the other players were genuinely interested in getting us into the sport. If go back, I'd at least buy a set of full seal goggles and a mesh lower mask, the facemasks make it hard to aim properly. I'd buy my own gun, but the lack of brick-and-mortar stores that let you see the item you're buying makes it hard to purchase things like this.
For my first time playing airsoft, it was a great experience, and if The Grid Code continues to be such an inviting and friendly place, I'll definitely get into the game.