The history of paintball


It was actually the paintball gun itself, which gave life to a whole new sport. Before the sport, the weapon was used for many years as a selection tool for permenantly marking cows and trees with colours.

Then three young men decided to make a change. Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines found another use for the weapon, and invented the first rules of paintball as we know it today. This was in June 1981.

The first known game was played with 12 participants who competed with Nel-spot 007 pistols. And it was actually won by a mercenary, who hadn’t fired a single shot!


Paintball throughout history

1982 Caleb Strong opened the first paintball arena in Rochester, NY. Charles Gaines sold it under the name ‘National Survival Game’ (NSG). Pursuit Marketing Inc. was founded and began producing articles about paintball.

1983 The first National Survival Game Championship was held with $ 14,000 prize money for the winning team. The first outdoor arena opened in Toronto, Canada. Lionel Atwill, one of the original 12 players, wrote ‘The Official Survival Game Manual’, which was the first paintball publication.

1984 Caleb Strong opened the first indoor arena in Buffalo, NY. Paintball was introduced in Australia under the name “Skirmish Games”.

1985 The first outdoor arena opened in England – called “The Ultimate Challenge”.

1988 The IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) was founded as a non-profit organisation. They focus on expansion, education and knowledge about the sport. Odense Paintball was founded in Denmark.

1991 Paintball began in earnest in France, Denmark and many other European countries.

1992 The NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) was founded. This organisation still exists today.

1995 Paintballbaner åbner rundt om i Europa, Asien og Sydamerika.

1996 Paintball arenas, stores and tournaments can now be found in the United States, Australia, England, Scotland, Denmark (CPA OPEN), France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Africa, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela, Israel, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

Today paintball is a million dollar business and a huge sport for thousands of people all over the world. Some tournaments have even offer prizes as large as $100,000.