Halo Mill Proving Grounds [In-Depth Review]
Looking for a huge site with non-stop firefights? Look no further!
If you play Airsoft in the UK, you have most likely heard of Halo Mill Proving Grounds by Patrol Base Ltd. and there’s a reason why this site is so popular for Airsoft enthusiasts. On average it boasts a minimum of 100 players and more every single game. The site is incredibly well organised and ran with a professional manner.
You can play airsoft at Proving Grounds once a month as it is run in collaboration with The Yorkshire Paintball Centre who are the original owners of the field. This paintball/airsoft site has been around since 1988, making it one of the UK’s oldest paintball centres with a myriad of experience in simulated battles. It’s a perfect location to try either of the sports as the field provides a good balance between some CQB action and dense woodland firefights.
We as Airsoft Ranch visited the site during the Specna Operation which was one of their biggest games with a giveaway of thirty Specna Arms replicas; an approximate of 300 players came down to join in the fun that day and we were wondering how the site would handle such a number! So without further ado, let’s get into the review!
- Objective games run all day without breaks in between – non stop firefights.
- Huge and well organised safezone with weather protection, including “rooms” in shipping containers, a ton of benches and a shop.
- The site offers a mixture of dense woodland,small buildings with CQB and even a trench system in some sections of the field.
- Marshals are welcoming, professional and friendly. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak to them.
- The site is huge!
SPECNA Ops Highlights by Patrol Base
Is there a car park?
Proving Grounds provide a simple solution of utilising two fields at the entrance of the site for car parks. They were large enough to accommodate for 300 players during the Specna Operation therefore there’s no reason to worry about parking spaces whenever you go to play there!
What is the safe zone like?
As mentioned in the highlights, the Proving Grounds is one of the best safe zones I have so far experienced. At the entrance you will usually find a marshal greeting arriving players and asking them to sign in. Once that’s done, you can go and find yourself a space in this absolutely humongous safe zone! Not all sections have benches or chairs, thus I recommend arriving early to ensure a seating place. However, most of the safe zone is weather proof so you don’t have to worry about your gear or clothes getting wet. On top of that, the general atmosphere is awesome as music is played throughout the day!
What is the cost of Game Day?
- £25 for Members
- £30 for Non-Members
- £20 (+game fee) for rental
Also Proving Grounds provide an annual membership of £30 which will give you access to discounts on game days and equipment purchased at their Halo Mill sites and the Patrol Base shop itself.
Can I book on as a rental?
Proving Grounds provide packages including Valken or G&G assault rifles with 2 high capacity magazines and 3000 bbs. The package also includes eye and face protection and is available for £20 plus the cost of the game.
Shop is available on site and can be found near the entrance on the left hand side. They stock a wide selection of BBs, Pyros and Gas plus other airsoft gear, equipment and sometimes replicas.
Is food available on site?
The food is served all throughout the day from a food stall which offers burgers, pies and big pizza slices for the prices between £2.50 – £3. The food stall also offers refreshments such as drinks and snacks.
There are portable toilets available near the entrance that are well taken care of and in clean condition.
Briefing and Limits
Briefing is usually to the point and humorous but presented in a professional manner and clearly focused on the safety of all involved. There are always smaller giveaways at each game where smoke pyro etc. is handed out to random players before the game. The site allows for pretty much any legal pyro to be used on site and their legal limits for FPS and Joules are as follows:
Anything Full Auto: 1.14 Joules (No min. engagement distance or bang rule)
DMRs: 1.49 Joules (10m minimum engagement distance)
Sniper Rifles: 2.32 Joules (20m minimum engagement distance)
The field provides an incredible range of ways to play; there are wooded sections where you have to rely on trees or man made cover, in other parts you will be able to sneak past players through overgrown shrubs and bushes and in some sections you will simply have to use your CQB skills as there are small buildings, including the bridge, scattered around the site.
The field even offers a trench system which you can use to sneak past players or get behind enemy lines!
Simply, this site offers something for everyone. Whether you are a die-hard sniper or you like close-up action, you will find yourself in situations that will tickle your fancy! Proving Grounds can also be immensely satisfying when you manage to find a good sneaky position and continue to pick waves of players off as they approach the objective.
Proving Grounds is quite unique in the way it runs its game days. There are no breaks, objectives change every half an hour and it’s up to your team to communicate and be ready. Most of the objectives are based around dominating a certain area of the field, however other objectives such as a pilot rescue is also thrown in the mix.
You might be thinking, how would I know what to do and when to do it? Well every single player receives a map with objectives and times included during the morning brief; I do recommend bringing a watch if you are playing solo though. What this method allows is incredibly smooth gameplay throughout the day without any breaks or stale moments. If one objective is being completely dominated, the other team can back off and get ready for the next one in order to surprise the dominating team.
The options are limitless!
Finally, this doesn’t happen regularly, however, as part of the Specna-Ops event, Proving Grounds hired specialists who placed explosions around the site and detonated them at different times. Explosions were often part of the games’ objectives making them immersive rather than random events, when a set objective was complete, everyone was asked to “clear” the area to a safe distance. Simply epic!
This epic picture is accredited to Proving Grounds superb photographers!
It is incredibly hard to actually pick any negatives about this site, however, what I think could be improved is based on multiple game days I have attended here at Proving Grounds. In the five games I have been to so far, the objectives felt very similar each game. I would love to see more objectives being puzzle like or simply adding optional side missions, for example: find hidden coordinates at C3, follow the coordinates to find sensitive documents, bring them back to base for extra points (respawn). I feel this would bring an extra dimension to the battlefield and make teammates work with each other more.
Airsoft Ranch Verdict
If you live in the UK and you are an Airsoft enthusiast, this site is a must! Regular games are incredible as it is, if you manage to attend during an event such as the Specna-Ops, the place is just filled with like minded people who want an epic time and player count will usually exceed 200/250 on such occasions. Get yourself to Proving Grounds as soon as possible, you will not regret it!
Final Score: 9/10