Paintball History – Controversies and Facts

Paintball is one of the youngest sports in America. Now, we are in 2023 and the trend is at a static position, more precisely it is going down due to many reasons. Paintball was started in the 1981s by Bobs Gursey who wrote the rules and nine other players were invited to the very first game of paintball by him.

But that wasn’t the place from where the paintball derived. Let’s dive into Paintball history to get which history’s timeline helped paintball to come into existence and which controversies occurred until now.

Paintball History Timeline

1976The first paintball game is played by twelve players in New Hampshire, USA.
1981The first commercial paintball field is opened by Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines in Rochester, New York.
1982The National Survival Game (NSG) is founded by Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, Charles Gaines, and others. The first NSG World Championship is held in New York.
1983The first paintball marker designed specifically for paintball is introduced by the NSG.
1984The first indoor paintball field is opened in Buffalo, New York.
1986The first organized paintball tournament is held in New York.
1987The first paintball magazine, Paintball Sports Magazine, is published.
1988The first professional paintball league, the National Paintball Association (NPA), is founded.
1992The first electronic paintball marker, the Autococker, is introduced.
1996The first PSP (Paintball Sports Promotions) tournament is held.
2000The first Millennium Series tournament is held in Europe.
2005The NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) and the PSP merge to form the NXL (National Xball League).
2006The first scenario paintball game, D-Day Oklahoma, is held.
2007The first professional woodsball league, the United States Professional Paintball League (USPPL), is founded.

The Idea that Led to Paintball

Technology or sort of idea has been for centuries. Most of the materials come from materials that are already in use. For instance, Football and rugby are extracted from the older form of sport with a round ball. 

Similar is the case of Paintball. In the 1960s Forestry service used to paint hoses to shoot long blasts of liquid paint to mark trees. It was ineffective when you are dealing with a large swath of land and rasping terrain.

Soon they launched a new training program in which they intentionally burn up trees and also they want an effective means of way to mark up trees. For this, they contacted Nelson Paints.

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Paintball Gun History – First Paintball Gun

Nelson Paints came up with Squirt Gun. Furthermore, for the pelletized version they reached out to Crossman Corporation. They developed the Crossman 700/ Nelspot 707, ” The First Paintball Gun” in 1960s. They soon made it public but it faded away. Nelson approached Daisy and they redesigned the marker and named it “Nelspot 007”. It got popularity specifically, Nelspot 007 got the attention of ranchers for marking stray cattle. 

When did Paintball Start? – Birth of a New Game

There were some reports that Forestry servicemen shooting with the new markers at each other but there were no solid shreds of evidence. On June 27 1981 three guys; Charles Gaines, Bob Gurnsey, and Hayes Knoll brought nine other guys into a remote location in New Hampshire. It was a first official event of a paintball.

In 1988 IPPA Came into being and introduced rules for paintball. in the same year speedball dominate as a popular format of paintball.

Paintball History Facts

  • From being a simple game among friends in 1981 to a fully televised championship tournament in 1995.
  • Military Units used paintball markers for training in early 90s.
  • Paintball was first named as National Survival Game.
  • Initially paintball gun was designed for fire fighters to mark trees during training.

When did Paintball become Popular?

History of Paintball

Soon Gurnsey estimated the potential of this game. So, in 1982 he opened the franchise called ” National Survival Game or NSG”. Paintball was more expensive than now but people found this new game exciting. Small championships and tournaments started taking place next year. Around the 1990s paintball was insanely popular, and even aired on ESPN in 1995 for the first time.

Paintball Controversies:

In 2019, a group of teenagers in Florida used paintball guns to attack pedestrians, causing injuries and property damage. In the same year, a paintball field in Canada faced criticism for using a Native American headdress as part of its promotional materials. The field apologized and removed the image from its website.

In 2018, a 23-year-old man in Australia died from a head injury after being hit by a paintball while playing. Within 2018, a study conducted in the UK found that the paint used in paintballs can harm aquatic life and cause pollution in waterways. Some paintball fields have switched to using biodegradable paintballs to address these concerns.

A man in California in 2015 was arrested for using a paintball gun to shoot out the windows of a car dealership.

In 2014, a 39-year-old man in Texas died after being shot in the neck with a paintball, which caused a blood clot that led to a stroke.

An article in The New Yorker raised ethical concerns about the use of paintball guns for sport, arguing that it desensitizes people to real-world violence. Some individuals and organizations have called for a ban on paintball due to these chaotic events in year 2013

In 2012, a paintball field in England faced criticism for using a mosque as part of its game scenario, leading to accusations of cultural insensitivity.

A high school in Michigan canceled its annual paintball tournament after receiving complaints from parents about the violent nature of the sport in 2011.

The city in Texas banned paintball within city limits due to concerns about safety and property damage in 2008.


I hope you are satisfied with all the information provided. It seems that I have covered everything but the paintball history is comprised of more accidents, up-downs, and controversies. Paintball is not just a game its a feeling, a pragmatic show that illuminate us the feeling of combats.

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Loved Outdoor Games! But games containing Guns and madness Ahhh! They are of some other kinds.

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