Paint balls were first used in the 1950's by the
Nelson Paint Company in their markers to mark trees,
for cutting down, from a distance. Some ranchers used
them to mark cows as well. In the 1970's two friends
found another use for the paint balls and markers.
Charles Gaines and Bob Gurnsey devised a survival game
in which participants attempt to shoot each-other with
the paintball markers. The called the game "survival."
The first paintball game was played on June 27, 1981.
The first paintball participants were as follows: Bob
Jones, Ronnie Simpkins, Jerome Gary, Carl Sandquist,
Ritchie White, Ken Barrett, Joe Drinon, Bob Carlson,
and Lionel Atwill, Charles Gaines, Bob Gurnsey, and
Hayes Noel. The first game played was a variation of
capture the flag.
In the early paintball games very few shots were
fired, due to the low paintball capacity of the
markers designed for forestry work. Players spent
more time stalking their opponents using paintball ghillie suits, and less time
actually firing upon then. Advances in the design of
the paintball gun have since allowed the markers to
hold more ammunition.
Since it's inception, paintball has enjoyed growing
popularity in the United States and around the world.
It is player by over 10 million people each year. They
claim to have a lower injury rate than any other
sport. Still there are opponents of the sport that say
it trivializes war and desensitizes people to the use
of guns against human targets. There are also
instances where paintball guns have been used in
vandalism and assault cases. However, the
acceptability of paintball as a legitimate sport has
increased with it's media exposure.