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History of Paintball

The history of the paintball gun begins in the early 1970s, when it was used as a tool for marking trees and livestock. Charles Gaines, Hayes Noel and Bob Gurnsey were the first people to think up a new way to use the guns.

In 1981, twelve friends played the first recreational paintball game using these industrial paintball guns from the Nelson Paint Company on a field measuring over 100 acres (with no masks or safety equipment!). Long stretches of quiet, with people busy stalking each other and worried about whether they were being stalked, were the norm.

One of the first names given to the sport that we now call paintball was "The National Survival Game", This name reflects the nature of paintball as it was first played – a small group of friends getting together in the woods to play total elimination games. Sometimes the friends broke into teams to play each other, but most paintball games were "every man for himself".

Over the years, recreational paintball has become more sophisticated. Because more people were playing at one time, using teams became the standards. Different game variations began to form. The most popular paintball game became "capture the flag", but offensive/defensive scenarios also were popular.

As the number of people interested in paintball grew, so did the development of the commercial paintball industry. The first outdoor commercial paintball field opened in 1982. The first indoor field followed in 1984.These paintball fields allowed large groups of people to meet in one place to play. Paintball business owners were pushed to develop new and exciting ways to keep the players entertained. This further advanced paintball’s history by driving the development of new scenarios and styles of playing.