Home midfielder Andy Dorman scored a double, putting the hosts ahead in each half, but his efforts were still not enough to give the Paisley side their first victory at their new ground.
Dorman's first goal was cancelled out by a Carl Finnigan strike shortly before the break, while his well-worked second gave St Mirren the lead for only six minutes before Jack Ross conceded a spot-kick for handling in the box.
Falkirk made three changes, while St Mirren made four, new signing Mo Camara making his debut.
Saints suffered an injury blow after just 10 minutes when Steven Robb had to be stretchered off after crumpling to the turf on the left edge of the penalty box.
The only previous effort on goal had been Finnigan's diagonal effort which was put out for a corner; but Falkirk came close from a second Burton O'Brien corner after 15 minutes, which Michael Higdon headed over.
St Mirren opened the scoring four minutes later with their first real chance at goal.
Steven Thomson collected the ball in midfield and passed to Dorman on the right touchline, from where he accelerated into the box and beat defender Lee Bullen before slotting a low drive into the opposite corner of the net.
John Potter then had an effort blocked as Falkirk struggled to clear their lines, with the hosts seizing the initiative after taking the lead.
Camara came close to a debut goal on the half-hour mark from a free-kick awarded when Stephen Pressley crudely hauled down home striker Dennis Wyness.
The Falkirk centre-half was booked and Camara lined up for the 22-yard free-kick, which he struck powerfully to force visiting goalkeeper Dani Mallo into a solid stop at the left-hand post.
However, the visitors regained parity 11 minutes before the interval.
Higdon flicked the ball on and it reached Finnigan, who found space inside the penalty box by outmuscling Scott Cuthbert, turning and unleashing a low shot which rattled across goal and into the bottom-left corner.
Hugh Murray headed over from a Dorman corner, but neither side had any further clear-cut chances to establish an interval lead.
St Mirren had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half, with Camara making a useful contribution linking forward on the left wing.
Falkirk had a good effort on goal eight minutes after the restart when Finnigan put the ball over the bar as the visitors retained possession following a blocked free-kick.
The hosts constructed some useful passing moves as the second half progressed.
One such passage forced Pressley to halt Garry Brady's run as he weaved towards the centre of goal to concede another 25-yard free-kick.
The set-piece responsibility was the time left to Dorman, whose strike was well blocked by Pressley; and a minute later, Brady had a promising low volleyed blocked by Arfield at the left hand post.
The action hotted up as the game entered its final quarter.
Falkirk goalkeeper Dani Mallo had to be alert to cut out Wyness' zipped cross from the left byline, with Billy Mehmet lurking in a good position.
Visiting substitute Mark Stewart almost made an instant impact when Finnigan blasted down the right and lofted a cross through the penalty box which his team-mate headed on target from six yards, only for recalled goalkeeper Chris Smith to clutch it under his crossbar.
Mehmet immediately responded at the other end with a shot across the face of goal, which whistled narrowly wide of the left-hand post, and O'Brien then failed to make the most of a free-kick from the right when he sent it over the wall and the bar.
Dorman thought he had netted the winner by concluding a well-worked move 12 minutes from time.
Mehmet switched play from the right through Dorman to Brady on the opposite flank, and he cut inside and worked his way into a crowded penalty box.
Substitute Sean Burns then helped tee up the ball for Dorman, who powerfully lashed home his second goal.
However, the lead lasted just six minutes before Falkirk equalised from the spot after Ross handled Stewart's header, the home defender receiving a yellow card for the offence.
Arfield salvaged a point by sending his penalty high into the left-hand side of the net, with goalkeeper Smith diving the wrong way.