History of Paintball – A worldwide Sport (1960 To Date)

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Jezus Fischer

Paintball is a sport that has multiple variations and every variation is fun to play. They say paintball is a new game which is right to some extent. Paintball is a not centuries-old game, rather it was originated few years after the invention of the paintball marker. The first paintball gun was invented by Charles Nelson of the Nelson Paint company in 1960. Charles Nelson invented the paintball gun to be used by loggers and cattlemen to mark things like livestock or trees. He didn’t have an idea that his invented paintball marker will be used for targeting persons. But that’s how things were planned.

Paintball History

Nelson Paint Company named it the Crosman 707 marker and decided to market it. But as ill-luck would have it, Crosman 707 dint meet the customers’ expectations and was a big failure. Charles Nelson took it as a challenge and decided not to give up. After the day and night struggle, Nelson found a renowned BB gun manufacturer that is Daisy who revamp the Crosman 707 and named it Nel-Spot 007 marker.

This is how paintball marker came into being in 1972, but who invented paintballing is the question that still pinches you.

History of Paintball

Who Invented Paintballing:

Like Walter Camp is the father of Football, there is also a father of paintball, in actuality, FatherS of paintball.

Yes, paintball was not invented by a single person; rather it was the result of a group discussion of three friends were Bob Gurnsey, Charles Gaines, and Hayes Noel. Somewhere in 1981, these three friends were discussing and debating about the survival of city folks in the wood. Who survives best in the woods country folk or the city folk? The debate goes on for few days when one of the friends saw the advertisement of Nelson’s paintball marker in a magazine. That was the day when the idea of paintball came into my mind. They decided to imitate city dwellers and country dwellers and find out who could survive well in woods using Nel-spot 007 marker.

Apart from these three friends, 9 other players also became part of the game which was played on 7th June 1981. Each player had to pay $175 to cover the cost of the game. The game took place in a wooden area of New Hampshire. Some rules were set which were written by Bob Gurnsey. Out of 12 players, 6 were city dwellers and 6 were country folks. The first paintball game was of capture the flag format in which players have to collect all the flags while protecting themselves from being eliminated. The person who collected all flags before other layers would be entitled as a winner. On a 125 acre plat of wood, four flag stations were settled which has a colored flag for each player.

Each player was well equipped with a Nel-Spot-007 marker, protection for eyes, and a simple and basic map of the playing field.

Winner of the Game:

The first game of paintball was played by 12 players who followed different strategies. Some players used their speed to get the flag before their opponent. Whereas other players followed the strategy of eliminating the opponent first and then reach the flag station without any fear. Some layers also use the stealth opportunity to win the game.

The winner of the first paintball game was Ritchie White who surreptitiously collects the flags without firing a single shot.

That was the time of history when paintballing was born. People started talking about the first paintball game.

The Dawn of Paintball as Sport:

Up till now, paintball was discussed by the native people. Bob Jones, one of the players who played the first paintball game really like the game and decided to publicize the game. Therefore he wrote an article about the first paintball game that was published in sports illustrated. That was Bob’s greatest contribution to the birth of the paintball industry.

Seeing the popularity of the game and the interest of people, a business opportunity popped into the mind of Bob Gurnsey, Charles Gaines, and Hayes Noel. They launched starter kits for paintballing which include a paintball marker, eye goggles, and a rudimentary rule book. This starter kit was sold for $150. These three friends contracted with Nelson Paint Company for a smooth and hassle-free supply of paintball guns.

With time, the National survival game that is now called paintball starts gaining popularity among people. Therefore in 1982, Bob Gurnsey opened the first commercial paintball field in New Hampshire. That was the time when the National survival game began spreading throughout the USA as it was franchised and many fields were open.

Later on, in 1983 Bob Gurnsey organized a paintball tournament with the name of National Survival game National Championship. It was one by The Unknown Rebels, a Canadian team that won $3000 as a prize.

National survival game was started calling paintball in 1984 because it uses paintballs. Initially, Nelson paint manufactured oil-based paintball. But as the game grew they launched new water-based paintball along with different paintball markers.

Until 1985, paintball got amazing success all around the world. Small paintball fields were established all around the world for fast and action-filled games. In 1988, the foundation of the International paintball players association was a great step in the growth of paintball which ensures the rules and safety of paintball. By the end of 1989, the game got tremendous popularity which is evident by the fact that on weekends around 75,000 plays paintball in the US.

Later on, different brands stepped into the field to develop unique and advanced paintball markers and other equipment like Tippmann, Empire, Planet Eclipse, and so on. The increased popularity of paintball gave the business opportunity to common individuals too and they opened pro shops in different areas that provide paintball markers and equipment on rent.

Things changed drastically when paintball leagues were first broadcasted on ESPN somewhere in 1995. Different rules and regulations were set to play paintball. Like barrel plugs were banned in 2001 by NPPL and barrel covers becomes the international standard. In short paintball game evolves with time. It has got many different variations like speedball, woodsball, scenario-based games. It has now become a million-dollar industry with giant leaders in it like Tippmann, Empire, and Kingman that manufactures state-of-the-art markers and equipment for players. Every other day there is a new advancement in paintball like different calibers of paintballs are now introduced for low impact gaming.

Paintball is a sport that emphasis more on teamwork. To enhance your team-building skill with paintball and be a part of paintballing history.