Sunyjim's Paintball Club



          

																	

																	                                                      

PAINTBALL HISTORY
THE ONGOING HISTORY
 OF PAINTBALL
How paintball started, and the timeline of paintball guns / markers and equipment.

                      

   
Who invented Paintball? Well there are a couple of people that made it all happen, and there is a lot more detail as you
 read down the page, but this is the question most people want to know... who invented paintball? Well it's four people, and arguments
 can be made for each of them.            creator of paintball
Charles Nelson: The idea of a gun that shot balls of paint was his idea. I think if Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, and
 Charles Gaines hadn't bought that Nelspot 007 and organized the very first game of paintball, someone else eventually would have done
 something similar. There are stories of ranchers and forestry workers shooting them at each other, but none of the stories are verified. 
Charles Gaines, Hayes Noel and Bob Gurnsey: These three guys saw guns that were used to mark trees and cattle and figured that
 they would work to see who could survive a survival game. The game they played sure wasn't the game we play today but it was the first
 organized recorded game with people shooting paintballs at each other. 
Bob Gurnsey: He marketed paintball as a game of capture the flag with teams using the cattle marking pistols, this is the start of 
what we play now a team game of bush ball playing capture the flag. Founding National Survival Games (NSG) he had the first paintball
 guns created specifically for this new game.
Not on the list.... James Hale: He didn't have the idea for a gun to shoot paintballs, he didn't even design or build the first paintball gun. 
James Hales is still an important and valuable part of paintball history, after all it's his design of paintball gun that Gurnsey, Noel and
 Gaines used in the first game. But he wasn't first, so he's not on the the who invented paintball list.  

Early 1960s The Nelson Paint Company was founded in 1940 by Charles and Evan Nelson. Nelson had patented a number of devices that foresters could use to mark timber. One of those was a squirt gun that sprayed paint. But the paintball was invented because the Nelson Paint Company was asked by the US Forestry Service for a reliable way of marking trees from a distance. The problem was the tree was sometimes across a stream or thick brush. The idea behind paintballs was that they could shoot them out over the obstruction, and a ball from a gun would shoot farther than a stream of paint. Or ranchers could also use the balls to mark stray cattle. Charles Nelson played around with the idea and invented a paint pellet that could be shot out of a gun. It was actually created by squirting paint into gelatin capsules normally used then for horse pills. Nelson Paint then approached Crossman to design a pistol to shoot the paintballs, after 3 years of production with poor sales. Crossman no longer found it financially sound to produce the marker. Nelson then moved to Daisy, the airgun manufacturer to produce a paintball pistol. Obviously not owning the design of the Crossman 707, Nelson was not able to simply pass the design to another manufacturer, a new design needed to be created instead. Which is exactly what Daisy did James Hale the Daisy designer created the 'Splotchmarker' which became known as the now famous 'Nel-Spot 007'  The paintballs were also mass produced. Under contract by Nelson, RP Scherer produced the encapsulate oil based paintballs for the makers.

1965 Crossman produced the FIRST ever paintball marker The Nelspot 707, for the Nelson Paintball Company. Using an existing design of a current pellet gun the Crossman 150, now similar to the  Crossman 2240. Unfortunately we don't know who designed it and there was no new patents with the design. Crossman originally patent the stacked tube (which has become on the most popular types of paintball gun) in 1921 (Patents only last approximately 25 years). And the firing mechanism was the same as the pellet gun it was derived from. Click on link for more information on the Crossman / Nel-Spot 707. The Gun is Blued steel and was only manufactured for  3 years. Crossman declined to continue producing the marker, finding it not financially feasible to do so.  The earliest ads I could find for the Nelspot 707 were found in Western conservation journal: Volume 22 1965; The Northern logger and timber processor: Volume 14; Canada lumberman: Volume 85; all the ads referring to the Nelspot 707 as a new product for forestry workers to mark cattle.
 


    At top the Crossman / Nelspot 707 Paintball Gun,                                   A pair representing the FIRST EVER                              
           beneath it is the Crossman 150 .22 Pellet gun                                                     Paintball Gun
             Notice the identical grip, trigger and lower tube.

1972
Daisy Manufacturing Company patented and manufactured the SECOND paintball marker the Daisy 'Splotchmarker', which Nelson marketed as the famous 'Nel-Spot 007'. This marker is important because it is THE marker that was used for that first ever game of paintball in June 1981.  The 'invention' of the "paintball gun" is sometimes mistakenly credited to James Hale because of a patent (US 3,788,298) filed for "compressed gas gun with trigger operated hammer release latching structure" in 1972 by James C Hale of the Victor Comptometer Corporation. Daisy Manufacturing Company, the airgun manufacturer, was owned by Victor Comptometer who's primary business was making adding machines, and early calculators. Notice that the patent is not for a compressed gas gun that fires paint pellets. The patent was filed because the Daisy 'Splotchmarker' was designed from the ground up to shoot a paintball, not modified from a previous air gun design. Because of this fresh approach to design it featured a different valve, hammer, trigger design than any existing pellet, bb, and the CROSSMAN 707, so was patented.
  
Hale said his bosses handed the job to him. It wasn’t a particularly glamorous project, he recalled, or one that Daisy thought would make much money. After all, how big could the market be for marking fallen trees and roaming cows be? He tried using an existing model of Daisy’s air pistol. It was made for tiny BB’s, so it wasn’t a surprise that the pistol didn’t shoot paintballs hard enough to make them burst on impact. Hale decided to design a gun from scratch. He tried different designs, but nothing worked. His heart wasn’t in it. Daisy was a day job that he worked as he saved money to start his own business. 
   Hale graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville as a mechanical engineer. He went to Colorado and worked for Beech Aircraft Corp. designing hydrogen fuel tanks to be used in the Apollo space missions. In 1970, He and his wife decided to move back to Arkansas in search of the quiet life. There wasn’t a smorgasbord of engineering jobs in the area, he recalled. While Daisy was a fun place to work, he yearned to do something more challenging. The key innovations Hale produced that Christmas Eve 1971 were a simplified mechanism to load the chamber and cock the gun and a set of hollow tubes that delivered compressed carbon dioxide directly to the paintball when fired.
 The patent for Hale’s paintball gun was registered June 19, 1972, with Hale’s name listed as the inventor. But the Daisy company owned rights to the device since Hale developed it on company time. (Pretty common, employment contracts give financial rights to the company on all inventions created on company time)
   Hale said Nelson contacted him in the mid-1980s and told him people were using the paintball gun for sport. Hale’s mind instantly returned to the days when he tested the gun by shooting pellets at a wall in the Daisy factory to see if they would explode.
   "I can remember the smack of those things hitting the wall and pitying the poor cows that might be hit with it," Hale said. "We never imagined that people would ever shoot each other with it."
  For James Hale, there is just the framed patent of his paintgun in his tool shop. He said he never got involved in the paintball industry after leaving Daisy.

 
        
           Stock Nelspot 007                                Early 1975 Nelspot 007 - APG/Roy E. Hardy of Oregon
     note the brass bead ended cocking knob
    

May, 1976-77 It was either in the spring of 1976 or 1977, Hayes Noel (a Wallstreet stockbroker) and Charles Gaines (a writer - "Stay Hungry" and "Pumping Iron") were drinking gin and talking, when they thought it would be fun to start some type of stalking game, as a challenge to their friends. They were wondering if being able to survive in the woods is a product of environment or deeply buried instinct. In other words does the success of a person in business or writing or manufacturing or any other business translate into being able to survive in the woods better than someone who specifically hunted or was a soldier? A friend, George Butler saw a Nelspot in a farm catalogue. Bob Guernsey (a ski shop owner) and Hayes Noel wrote up the rules for that first game.

                                Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines and Bob Gurnsey

May, 1981 Paintball begins in Henniker, New Hampshire. The principal creators, Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, and Charles Gaines, discuss the idea of finally having their game. The argument had went on for a few years. The Nel-Spot marker was located and tested on a volunteer, Shelby, Charles son, who said it didn't hurt much. The invitations for the first game drew 9 people, plus Bob, Charles, and Hayes. The 9 each paid $175 each to cover equipment costs, and incidentals such as food and adult beverages.
June 27, 1981
The first paintball players. The first game is played with 12 players competing against each other with Nel-Spot 007s pistols. They arrived at Charles house the day before: "Bob Jones, a novelist, staff writer for Sports Illustrated and an experienced hunter; Ronnie Simpkins, a farmer from Alabama and a master turkey hunter; Jerome Gary, a New York film producer; Carl Sandquist, a New Hampshire contracting estimator; Ritchie White, the New Hampshire forester who had told Hayes he could cut his neck in the woods; Ken Barrett, a New York venture capitalist with lots of hunting experience; Joe Drinon, a stock-broker from New Hampshire and a
former Golden Gloves boxer; Bob Carlson, a trauma surgeon from Alabama and a hunter; and myself [Lionel Atwill], a writer for Sports Afield, a hunter and a Vietnam vet, who had had the unpleasurable experience of leading reconnaissance missions in Vietnam in 1968, a decidedly poor year."
The prediction the night before the game? That the hunters would do well, and that the city boys were worth less than a case of beer. Atwill had the most respect due to his Special Forces experience.
 In alphabetical order the players were: Linoel Atwill, Ken Barrett, Bob Carlson, Joe Drindon, Charles Gaines, Jerome Gary, Bob Gurnsey, Bob Jones, Hayes Noel, Carl Sandquist, Ronnie Simkins and Ritchie White. (Possibly Gaines' son, Shelby played too, he was present.)
 The game was capture the flag on an 80 acre cross-country ski area filled with second growth woods. There were 4 flag stations, each with 12 flags of the same colour, one for each person playing. At 10am the game started with players  equal distance apart around the field, and each flag station had a REF with a whistle. the Refs blew their whistle every 15 minutes so players with poorer map reading skills would be able to find the flags. In summary, the first player to die was Barrett. He surrendered to Gary. Simpkins hand marked Gurnsey. Dr. Carlson shot five people, one being Noel when Noel had three flags and was headed for a fourth. Atwill "hurled a moldy onion" at Gaines, charged and tagged Gaines in the leg--but the ball bounced off. The tables turned, and Gaines tagged Atwill.
The winner? Ritchie White, the New Hampshire forester. "No one ever saw Ritchie, and he never fired a shot. He crept through the woods from station to station, gathering flags as easily as a schoolgirl gathers flowers." Atwill wrote, "The play was less than spectacular compared to some Games I've seen since, but there was a spirit to that first Game that will be hard to capture again. The weekend bubbled with humor, honor, fun and obnoxiously friendly, yet intense, competition. Those feelings, I believe, reflected the dispositions of the founders of the Game."  - from the book "The Official Survival Game Manual" 1983
 
Following the competition, one of the writer-participants, Bob Jones, wrote the first Sports Illustrated piece about the game (October 19, 1981 pg 64-68); later other articles were published Time Magazine July 19, 1982, and an article in Sports Afield reflecting the unbelievable adrenaline rush that accompanied the hunt. Each article was met by an overwhelming number of letters from readers requesting instructions on how they, too, could play. Bob Gurnsey with the help of Gaines and Hayes responded by selling a starter kit that included a Nel-Spot pistol, paintballs, a compass, goggles and a rule book. They called their creation the National Survival Game "NSG".                                        
October 1981 the second game of paintball, according to Bob Gurnsey and NSG this game took place in Alabama, and must have been the first game opened to the general public. Gurnsey says "the sport instantly tripled in size"
March 1982 The Worlds first commercial paintball field was opened by Bob Gurnsey in New Hampshire, Bob Gurnsey invented and marketed paintball as the game we play today under the brand name of National Survival Game (NSG), or "The Survival Game". The National  Survival Game entered into a contract with Nelson Paint Company to be the sole distributor of their paintball equipment. Thereafter, they licensed to franchisees in other states the right to sell their guns, paint, and goggles. As a result of their monopoly on equipment, they turned a profit in only six months.
April 1982 Caleb Strong opens the first outdoor playing field in Rochester New York (with PMI supplied equipment? can't be the first outdoor, gurnsey's new hapshire field was a month earlier - still checking if this was the first PMI field, as I suspect). Also in April 1982 the first franchise NSG field (not run by Gurnsey himself) opens in Oklahoma.
Also in April 1982 PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.), was founded by Jeff Perlmutter and David Freeman. The founders had tried paintball and thought is was a winning idea, after unsuccessfully trying to deal with NSG, PMI felt they could do a better job on their own. There was no brand recognition to NSG yet, so PMI created a competing business, where PMI created partnerships with new field owners, who would set up the first paintball parks and then be their suppliers of the equipment they needed. PMI never dealt directly with the customer instead they had dealers and stores to sell their product. For their first marker they went to the Benjamin Sheridan Air Rifle Company, who had a reputation for being the highest quality air gun manufacturer in the United States, and had them manufacture, exclusively for
PMI, a paintball marker for commercial use that was very durable and reliable. The PMI-1 was the result, very similar to the later marketed Sheridan P68sc stock class marker.



Also in 1982 Paintball went international when one of the first group of NSG paintball fields opened is in Canada - London Ontario by Steve Ingles                                                       
      

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Click on the Pictures for more
      information about London Ontario History


1983
The first NSG National Championship was held in Grantham New Hampshire at a up-country farm and restaurant called Gray Ledges. Despite the title it was actually an International Championship. Two of the eight teams of twelve people were from Canada. A NSG field in Ontario Canada, and the other from Vancouver Canada. These eight teams had survived the regional championships, and had progressed to this point. A capture the flag game on a 30 acre patch of forest that became the field of victory for  "The Unknown Rebels" A team from NSG London Ontario. The Prize $3000 to the winning team, and $1000 to the runners up "12-Man Jury" the Miami team. People Magazine (Oct 24, 1983 pg 42-47) hailed the Canadians as the first world champions.
Also in 1983 Sheridan introduces the PG (A side tube non pump version of the PGP).
People started adding pump handles to their Nelspot pumps to make recocking easier.  Extending magazine tubes, and doing the first modifications to their guns.

    

 
        Nelspot 007 with after market pump handle                                                Sheridan PG

June, 1983
Lionel Atwill, one of the original 12 players, writes "The Official Survival Game Manual" - the first paintball publication.
1983/1984
Lou “Gramps” Grubb introduced constant air also known as CA, or “California Style Constant Air”  to the game. (Instead of little disposable 12 gram cartridges, CA refillable tanks had a valve with a big knob and various fittings that came from the plumbing aisle of a hardware store.) Lou "Gramps" Grubb and Mike "Grizzly" Grubb were long time airsmiths and store owners in southern California.
 Constant Air was almost immediately banned from tournament play. The argument was that the game was to be driven by tactics rather than guns.
Gravity feeds came out end of 1983, with 45 degree angle elbows and a PVC pipe for the balls.
An old school PVC stick feeder can be made easily with some CPVC pipe and a 90 degree elbow. The feed end can also be made with a 35mm film canister with it's lid cut to make a one way ball gate for your 10 round tubes, it's all cheap and easy with a trip to home depot!  If you have a 1" inch feed like a Trracer you just need to dremel the 90 degree PVC joint, to make it fit.
 
  
       Old School Paintball, note the oil can loader and CA                                              Crossman 3357

1984
The sport is introduced to Australia under the name of Skirmish Games. Also this year the NSG Splatmaster was the First successful mass produced paintball specific marker produced solely for the sport of paintball. Prior to the Splatmaster, markers were adapted for use in paintball, or borrowed from other applications. Manufactured and Marketed by "The Survival Game" also known as "National Survival Games" or NSG. Another competitor of the Splatmaster was the Mark-4 produced specifically for paintball and quite successful but not marketed by NSG.
  
                                      Splatmaster

Also in 1984 Barrel extenders became the next big thing, turning the compact handguns into a rifle, cleaning kits and harnesses also came out. Caleb Strong of Buffalo New York opened the first indoor paintball field.
Sheridan introduces the PGP adding the pump handle to their PG's.
                                                          
                                                                                         
Sheridan PGP
  
1985
The first outdoor playing field is opened in England.
 Fields started to change, getting smaller, the field owners were eager to change from the 100 acre games lasting 2 hours and low paint volumes, to faster games on smaller fields.
                                     
                                  
                                            APG/Debra Dion Krischke.

MID 1980s Silencers start to appear, home made silencers from PVC tube really worked. Eventually companies started to build and sell silencers as well, but the home made worked just as well. The paintball sniper is truly born! (See Mid 1990s for ATF's word on silencers)


            
A typical Sheridan pump gun mid 80s, with working silencer!
 

1986 Dennis Tippmann, Sr. founds Tippmann Pneumatics. Originally a manufacturer of collectible, half-scale replica machine guns, family-owned Tippmann entered the paintball industry in 1986 when gun law changes forced them to re-evaluate their business. Their first paintball product introduced the first full auto paintball maker you could buy  (The SMG-60 came out back in 1986 but was originally full-auto only. Not select fire. The select-fire started at the 2nd generation of SMG with the Internal line. As the external line was the first style.) - The Tippmann SMG-60 a .62 caliber fully automatic featuring a side feed using a 'stripper clip' held in a magazine out the side of the marker and used the newly introduced CA or constant air tanks that had just been introduced this year. Other semis had been made from converted pump guns, and other manufacturers had working models, but this was the first to the market This marker was later converted to standard .68 caliber in the SMG-68

                                    SMG-68


 

 LATE 80's Tippmann invents the Pin Valve for CO2 tanks, they decide it is in the best interest of the sport not to patent the idea, thereby promoting it's acceptance as the standard. And because it is much safer than the home built alternatives that were in use at the time.
1987
Marked the advent of "Action Pursuit Games", a feature format magazine about paintball and laser tag. Also that year, the first commercial video about paintball, entitled "The Winning Game", is filmed and released.  January of this year Nelson paintball's George A Skogg was grated a patent for the first washable paintballs (No more Oil based paint, that had to be washed out with turpentine.) Also in 1987 was the introduction of barrel plugs

apg_1stcover.jpg       
                                                   APG 1st Cover                                                     1988 APG ad Splatmaster Rapide

Also in 1987 Bud Orr starts making the sniper paintball gun.  The design will be familiar to autococker fans, as this is the original design that Bud Orr started making in his garage. Later the front pump was replaced with a four way vavle, to auto cock the marker.

1988 IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) is founded as a non-profit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball. Russ Maynard, founding editor of APG, led the way toward establishing the speed limit of 300 fps. At the International Paintball Players Association (IPPA) in 1988, 300 fps was standardized as the maximum speed limit. It is the worldwide limit on how fast a paintball leaves the marker, and is now in the ASTM standards for paintball. Also in 1988 Speedball makes its debut at Sat Cong Village, a paintball field in Southern California. Also called "arena ball", this revolutionary new variation of the game
                  
Early Model 1987 Sniper I marker                                is an instant hit and was soon being played at paintball fields all around the globe. And Pro-Star Labs, Inc. introduces the "Bouncing  Betty" paint grenade. Straight shot Inc introduced the 'Straight Shot Squeegee"
MAY 2 1988 Top Gun Paintball Games' owner, Raymond Gong, founded and legalized paintball in New Jersey on May 2, 1988.  Prior to winning his lawsuit, paintball play was considered illegal in New Jersey. The NJ State Police, considered paintball guns to be firearms. Even if a player followed all the firearm rules for the purchase or ownership of the paintball gun, it could be considered Assault and Battery if the "firearm" was discharged at another player.  Any would-be paintball player in New Jersey ran the risk of being arrested. New Jersey was the last state to legalize paintball. (Read the rest of the story by clicking on the underlined text above.)

 
November 1989 - 20 year old, Gino Postorivo started National Paintball Supply as a small retail operation out of the pizzeria's back room. It began with $1,000 from his own pocket. Unlike many paintball supply companies, Johnny Postorivo (NPS' chief operating officer and Gino's cousin) said NPS is not hung up on exclusive deals with the brands it carries. "Everybody has proprietary items. Me, I'll buy anything someone will sell to me," Johnny Postorivo said, adding that he views it as an advantage because all brands can be found in the showroom.                                    
1990 - The first national tournament to allow 12 gram and constant air is held in Nashville. The tournament, called the Music City Open, is also the first national tournament to allow carry-on paint and the first major event to be sanctioned by the I.P.P.A.

 
               
                  APG ad June 1988

1991 Tom Kaye (the inventor of the Automag) and the staff at Air Gun Designs developed the first nitrogen system for paintball along with fiberglass tanks. It was not marketed, as the industry felt high pressure nitrogen was simply too dangerous. Today however, it's hard to find players in large tournaments still running CO2. Tom refused to patent the regulated nitrogen system for the sake of the sport, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2.  Also in 1991 Paintball begins in France, Denmark and other countries in Europe
Mid 1991 - Bud Orr introduces the Autococker, first as an add on kit for his successful pump gun the sniper and sniper II, but soon following with complete markers in early 1992. (Bud makes claims that this was '89 in interviews, but this is chalked up to a memory slip.) The Autococker became commonly available as a complete gun in 1992.
1992
Arthur Chang forms Kingman International Corp. with the vision "to offer a superior product at an affordable price. That philosophy has pushed Kingman to consistently raise the standards in paintball product design and innovation." Starting with the 'HAMMER' a nelson based pump, and followed by the 'HAMMER A'  in 1993, similar to the TRRACER pump, but with an aluminum frame. Their first in-house designed marker is released two years later in 1994, the amazingly successful Kingman Spyder
April 15, 1992
Rec.sport.paintball passes its vote for creation on a vote of 195 to 43 and is announced as an official newsgroup.
Sheridan VM-68 / PMI - 3 introduced, one of the early very popular semi automatic guns. A prototype had been used in 1990 at a tournament

  



July, 1992 Team Internet is formed as players prepared for the World Record Game (billed as the "world's largest paintball game"at Jack Frost Mountain, PA.



November, 1992
NPPL (National Professional Paintball League) is founded in Chicago and the NPPL Pro-Am Series starts with events around the US.



1994 
Steve Mitchell creates Warpig (www.warpig.com) the first internet paintball site. Also in 1994 Kingman International introduces the spyder series of markers.  









                                Kingman Spyder Classic

 

 



1995
 Paintball makes its cable TV debut on E.S.P.N. with the airing of the 1995 World Championship Games held in Orlando, Florida. Later that year, in television newscasts all across America, a videotape of four teenagers using paintball guns in a drive by shooting is aired and paintball players in every corner of the world voice their outrage over the incident. Also paintball fields are opened in Europe, Asia, and South America. Also in 1995 Brass Eagle owned by Aldo Perone Toronto (currently XO industries, Skyball), sold Brass Eagle to Daisy Manufacturing Co.
MID 1990s The ATF makes a decision about paintball silencers, they are now illegal, they have decided that they are able to silence real firearms, so are illegal to posses
1996
Paintball playing fields, stores and tournaments can now be found in Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Scotland, Denmark, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Africa, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela, Israel, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

Also in 1996 the Shocker, manufactured by PneuVentures Inc., and distributed exclusively by Smart Parts  (patent Oct 19, 1999) is the  first electroneumatic paintball marker, PneuVentures and Smart Parts soon parted with PneuVentures in 1997 producing the Shocker, and PneuVentures producing the very advanced Cyber 9000 the first marker with built in LCD screen, also featuring built in chronograph!

 

 

 

 

1997 Brass Eagle Large enough to split from parent company Daisy

Also in 1997 The WDP Angel V6 was introduced as a prototype at the 1997 Zap International Amateur Open. Though argued as the first electroneumatic, they were a over a year behind, and several years behind getting to the patent office.


 

 
                              WDP Angel V6
1998 First Agitated paintball hopper patented  Also in 1998 Big chain stores like WAL-MART, started carrying Paintball. First it was low end Brass Eagle like the Blade, Tiger Shark, Samurai. Standard equipment on these markers were 12gram adapters, and 40 round AMMO BOX loaders, behind the times with the magazines and the local paintball stores to be sure but soon the higher end Brass Eagle was available like the RainMaker (an early inexpensive electro-pneumatic marker designed by Nick Lotacko, designer of the Vector for Air Power) Prices were high and quality was low, but it was a start to getting paintball from an obscure sport nobody knew to one that people had at least heard of. Also in 1998 Tippmann introduces the model 98 paintball marker.
1999 - Concerns regarding paintball guns and rate-of-fire spark another major debate, ultimately leading to a decision to limit the b.p.s. (balls-per-second) of any gun manufactured from the year 2000 on.
Jan 1999 Brass Eagle buys Viewloader from CM Support (Dave and Rhoda Bell)
2001 The last year for the Sheridan PGP, the 2001 was a slick stock handgun used as a backup gun, it is one of the few stock class markers to survive in the mainstream paintball stores amongst the semi automatics. (Phantoms and others continue, but few people buy 'stock' makers without specifically playing stock class) Also this year due to the Sept 11th terrorist attacks, there is a real push to change 'paintball GUN' to 'paintball MARKER' as the politically correct fad spreads, the word 'guns' bring negative publicity where marker is 'safe' and 'sport' There is a real push to be aware of paintball's image as the sport becomes more popular.
Also this year Smart Parts introduces the ON/Off tank valve.
Also in 2001 NPPL requires Barrel Bags instead of Barrel Plugs, first referred to as Barrel condoms, now commonly known as BBD (Barrel blocking Device) The change was due to two reasons, the bag was far easier to see, tournament players were commonly not using plugs, or getting plugs made of metal the same color as their barrel, making it hard for refs. Second the bags are able to handle multiple shots that could occur from tournament electro makers with very light triggers, that would blow the barrel plugs out.

       
                                        
PGP 2000 aka 2k1

Game Face Paintball is created as a joint venture of Crossman Corporation/Sheridan, and leading paintball manufacturer Procaps Inc. known for the DraXxus paintball brand.
March 2002 Brass Eagle announces that they are acquiring JTUSA from owners John and Rita Gregory
April 2002 National Paintball Supply (NPS) completes acquisition of Diablo Direct, Diablo is not the only brand NPS has bought. It also owns Unique, Psychoballistics, Empire and 32 Degrees.
Aug 2002 Richmond Italia starts the NXL (National X Ball League) It's a new format of speedball paintball, designed for TV, Two 5-man teams go at it in a center-flag format game.  They get a point for hanging the flag, and then go at it again, with a constantly running game clock the game ends when the clock runs out. Instead of just pulling players for penalties, the offenders would serve time in a penalty box, much like in hockey, so a team could come back after a flag hang and start one or more players short It recruits a lot of speedball players from NPPL and PSP leagues and demands that they play exclusively for NXL events.
NOV 2002
DURTY DAN, one of the greats of paintball knowledge, and a great Canadian player closes his site. The last version of it is archived here.                                                   
 

                                            Richmond Italia 

2003 Big news from Smart Parts as they drastically reduce the size and air usage on their top tournament marker. The 'Shocker', but
Smart Parts backlash from paintball players begin -Smart Parts has been applying for new patents on existing designs, and threatened lawsuits against companies such as PMI, Planet Eclipse, Indian Creek Design,
DYE Precision, Inc. and others who build markers with an "electro-pneumatic valve to operate a bolt assembly" to which Smart Parts owns a patent. Patent agreements are signed as companies loose lawsuits or agree to pay license fees. The players see it as Big brother style control, and a grab for money by Smart Parts. See article for more examples of why people feel this way. Interestingly two individuals currently associated with Smart Parts were involved in an "invention submission" business, offering to patent ideas, then charging huge fees to have it marketed. The Federal Trade Commission shut it down for "deceptive practices".



Tippmann Introduces the FLATLINE barrel, back spin on the paintball produces a flatter trajectory and able to shoot 80ft-100ft further! Lots of controversy on this, does it break that far out? And snide comments about the banana barrel shape. But it really works!
  In the paintball magazines, there is a huge focus on speedball. Although less than 2% of paintball players play speedball, it is the focus because it's considered the more politically correct image of paintball. Bushball, with the camo and army tactics is considered bad press in a post 9/11 world.
  There is also a major shift from CO2 to HPA/N2 tanks, prices are dropping, the speedball centered articles and advertising explains that speedball b.p.s shooting speeds is too fast for CO2 to recharge, and Co2 users will suffer 'shoot-down' from the lack of pressure. Despite the fact that few players are playing speedball or shooting that fast to make it matter, the switch to HPA is increasing. It does have some benefits or working better in cold weather, for people living in the North of North America. But also rumours that HPA makes your marker more accurate also circulate, (Because HPA operates at 3000+ psi and doesn't self regulate like CO2 it requires a regulator that controls pressure. The regulator makes better consistency not the gas, Co2 with a regulator is also just as consistent.)

Dec 2003  
K2 Sports Inc. the well known ski and snowboard company buys Brass Eagle. K2 now owns Brass Eagle, JT, and Viewloader.  Also Dec 2003 PMI buys R.P.Scherer Paintball Manufacturing Division From Cardinal Health, Inc

2004 Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball comes out for XBOX. It seems paintball has made it to the masses with this sleeper hit. Greg 'Red' Hastings formerly the creator of REDz comfort packs, and current speedball player with team XSV creates a fun fast pace game that is sure to be in every paintball player's XBOX game collection.

                                 
APRIL 2004  K2 Sports Inc bought out Worr Games Products (WGP). They are also the owners of other paintball companies Brass Eagle, View Loader, JT
June 24, 2004 Tippmann Pneumatics, Inc., has completed a financial recapitalization with Summit Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm. The Tippmann family will continue to have a significant minority interest in the business. Dennis Tippmann, Sr., Founder of Tippmann, will serve on the company’s Board of Directors and provide ongoing consultation to the management team as needed. Dennis Tippmann, Jr. will also serve on the company’s Board and continue full-time as a member of the senior management team to lead the company’s product development effort. Mr. Tippmann, Sr. commented on the partnership. “...By partnering with Summit Partners as our first professional investor, we can now take our business to the next level and seek complementary acquisitions within the paintball industry to expand our product offering and market share.” In connection with this transaction, Howard A. Kosick has joined Tippmann as President and CEO. Mr. Kosick has held a number of senior management positions in consumer goods and sporting goods companies, including Bell Sports, Arctic Zone, and Thermos. While he was at Bell Sports, the company became the market leader in bicycle helmets and accessories during the industry’s high-growth period in the 1990s. In his most recent position as CEO of Bell Automotive Products and Bay Travelgear, Mr. Kosick served the mass merchant, sporting goods, and specialty channels—the primary distribution outlets for Tippmann. As part of the recapitalization, the company plans to change its name to Tippmann Sports, LLC, to better reflect the company’s participation in extreme sports.
Late 2004 With America at war, and a republican governemt, it seems everyone is supporting the troops. This seems to be a contributing factor in the major shift, back towards Bushball and MIL-SIM (military simulation games), sites like Special Ops Paintball, and OPS Gear make it cool to play in the woods again. Markers by RAP4 (Real action paintball), Tippmann, Ariakon look like M16's and M4's and MP5's more than speedball guns. The paintball magazines respond by featuring far more bushball and scenario game articles than they have had in years. See below for the new look of paintball for 2004-2005

The New Look of Paintball
                                   
                          
                               
Special Ops A5A2
                              RAP4 T68
Dec 2004 Tom Kaye inventor of the power feed, regulator, HPA for paintball and designer of the Automag, retired from Air Gun Designs (AGD) his Vice President Dave Zupan has bought out the inventory and taken over as president and owner of the company.
2005
The Tippmann C-3™ with PEP (Propane Enhanced Performance) technology is the world’s first propane powered paintball marker. With more than 50,000 shots per 16-ounce tank! That's probably less than a tank per season for most players. Is the bigger news that it uses combustion to fire the ball, or that it's a pump? A semi auto with PEP is apparently on the way.
 
 
Also 2005 Greg Hastings is back with Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball Max'd looks like another hit game for the XBOX, as the game now launches on multiplatform out to the Playstation2. Greg himself has started another company having left REDz he created, he's now starting a new company R7 (his jersey number is #7), also featuring a well built pod pack system with separate belt and pack. 
 
Also 2005 The bushball revolution continues as Smart Parts are getting back into bushball, with their new SP8 marker, and bringing back the Renegade line of Camo gear. While JT is coming out with JT Tactical line of gear and their new Tac-5 paintball gun.

 

   
Smart Parts SP8

Late 2005
The Canadian XBall League is founded, bringing XBALL style paintball to Canada. There are four proposed regions across Canada including Ontario, Quebec, Eastern and Western territories
Sept 2005 Tippmann, the manufacturer of paintball markers and related accessories, has purchased Straight Shot,Inc., manufacturer of the Straight Shot squeegee.
Dec 2005 National Paintball issues press release about the EVOLT marker. Using it's "power pulse" to fire the marker from it's 18volt battery. The marker needs no air source. The Power pulse system reportedly uses the battery to generate the air pressure to fire the marker.
The marker turns out to be a case of vapourware. The marker never materializes beyond the prototype, and the technology that was suggested has not materialized in any other makers.



 




Jan 2006 Spyder has joined the bushball revolution
 with their new MR1 and MR2 "Military Style Markers", tactical black with removable stock, and sight rail. Available in electro or standard blowback.

Feb 2006 PMI no longer distributing Tippmann products. PMI says
lack of margin, and the introduction of their new PCS - Pursuit Combat System milsim line of gear (extremely similar to Tippmann A-5 and Tippmann 98 in this writers opinion)
Nov 2006 PMI and NPS combining. Two of the giants in the paintball business PMI - Pursuit Marketing Inc, and NPS - National Paintball Supply will be joining into one larger company. Between the two companies they supply the majority of paintball equipment to most stores and fields. PMI is such brands, as Piranha, Evil, Pure Energy Tanks, Extreme Rage gear, RPS paintballs, and PCS milsim gear. NPS is Diablo paintballs, Empire, 32 degrees, Vents, Paintball 2Xtremes magazine, and distributors of Bob Long, and BT Paintball gear. 
Also Nov 2006 Tippmann Sports and Special Ops Paintball team up to produce the Tippmann X7 milsim style marker. Designed together, and launched with an array of customizable parts from Special Ops. The X7 is being launched in conjunction with more than 30 different integrated mods – making it easy to give the marker thousands of different milsim looks.
Jan 2007
AJ Holdings LLC, successor to National Paintball Supply and Pursuit Marketing, Inc, has been renamed KEE Action Sports. KEE Action Sports will use the slogan “Adrenaline Delivered” to emphasize its commitment to providing innovative, high quality, exciting products to the paintball industry.
Feb 2007
Tippmann Sports sponsors Special Ops Paintball Brigade.  Bringing Special Ops and Tippmann closer together
 


Aug 2007 K2 Inc. Has been bought out by Jarden Corporation. That includes all of K2's Paintball subsidiaries: JT, Brass Eagle, Viewloader, and WORR Games Products.  Jarden describes themselves as a leading provider of niche consumer products used in and around the home. They own such brands as First Alert (smoke alarms), Rawlings (baseball), Shakespeare (fishing rods etc),  Bicycle (playing cards), Coleman (Camping equipment),  Crock-pot Sunbeam and Mr Coffee.
Jan 2008 Indian Creek Design is leaving the paintball Business. In business since 1986 run by Jerry Dobbins, ICD became best know for their AlleyCat, BobCat, and Puma markers, and Bushmaster and BKO series markers. A great loss to our sport.
Oct 2008 Activision announced release of NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 video game for the PS3, PS2, XBOX360, Wii and PC
Nov 2008
Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball 2 released for XBOX360,
Dec 2008 KEE Action Sports LLC and HATER Paintball LLC, announce an agreement whereby KEE has become the exclusive, world-wide distributor of all HATER electronic products. The license agreement gives KEE access to the most advanced electronic technology in the paintball industry and provides HATER access to the broadest sales network in the marketplace though KEE. All HATRED marker boards and SYMBIO wireless loader boards will now be obtained directly through KEE Action Sports.
Worr games products and the Autococker is no more, faded out by parent company JT/K2/Jarden, loss of Bud Orr at the head of the company, and failing sales against new electro markers have brought it to an end.
Fall 2009 .50 Caliber Paintball is coming. Sure there have been a few handguns with .40 or .43 other odd sizes, but Richmond Italia (ProCaps Paintballs etc) with Smart Parts guys (Bill and Adam Gardner) are getting in the game with with 50 caliber gear they are branding as G.I.MILSIM brand which they are tagging Paintball 2.0, and now KINGMANN Spyder has just announced a .50 Caliber line of gear at their new site.  This author just thinks it's an excuse by equipment makers for everyone to buy all new gear, but they claim less money for shipping so cheaper prices, less player fatigue, and less impact pain. We'll see...
Feb 2010 KEE Action Sports LLC. announced that it has acquired the assets of JT Sports. [from Jarden subsidiary K2], Effective immediately, KEE will be manufacturing and selling the entire line of JT Sports, Brass Eagle, and ViewLoader paintball products.
June 2010 J. Wayne Merck has joined KEE Action Sports LLC's board. Mr. Merck was most recently Director, President and CEO of K2 Inc.
March 2011 KEE Action Sports, LLC. announces today that it has acquired the intellectual property portfolio of Smart Parts. KEE believes it was critical to paintball that the portfolio stayed inside the industry. KEE’s President and CEO, John Robinson, said that “KEE is committed to growing paintball participation industry-wide and that KEE intends to use the intellectual property assets in a manner consistent with that goal.” In a letter to be sent out shortly, KEE will inform current license holders how it intends to continue to work with them under their current license arrangements. KEE welcomes contacts from other companies interested in pursuing a partnership relating to its new IP assets.


 




LINKS RELATED TO PAINTBALL HISTORY

                                             

      

        

 

Original Document by Colin 'SunyJIm' Wells, 2005 some information adapted from Paul "Stryder" Kloehn's history of paintball, "exerts from The Complete guide to paintball", "The Official Survival Game Manual" and many many websites, that are all too quickly disappearing. As well as patent info from Airsoldier. SunyJim claims no rights on the pictures shown here, they are a collection strictly for history purposes.


                                                            

       

 



 

Paintball, we came we saw... and SPLAT!