The First Paintball Gun Invented

Paintball has become a mainstream sport since its inception in 1981.

Team Force, the U.K. paintball activity center website, reports some controversy over which gun was the first paintball gun. The first gun specifically designed for use as a paintball marker was designed and patented by the Daisy Manufacturing Company of Plymouth, Michigan, under contract to the Nelson Paint Company.


Paintballs were introduced by the Nelson Paint Company in the 1960s under contact to the U.S. Forestry Service. The Team Force website reports paintballs were created as a way of marking trees in an accurate way from long distances. Charles Nelson invented a gelatin capsule that could be injected with paint and fired from a gun. The capsules invented by Nelson were strong enough not to break until they collided with the tree to be marked. Initially, Team Force reports, the paintballs were fired from .22 pellet guns manufactured by Crossman and marketed by Nelson as the Nel-Spot 707.


According to the Funding Universe investment information website, the first paintball gun designed specifically to be used with paintballs was created in 1970. Daisy was the world’s largest producer of air guns and ammunition, a technology modified by engineer James Hale to create the first paintball gun, which he named the “Splotchmarker.”


Team Force explains that the manufacturing of the Daisy-designed Splotchmarker began in 1972 after an agreement was reached between Daisy Manufacturing and the Nelson Paint Company. The Splotchmarker was rebranded as the Nel-Spot 007 when production began in 1972. During the same period, the use of paintballs expanded from the marking of trees to include the marking of cattle from long distances in the farming industry.

Nel-Spot 007

According to The Paintball Times, the Nel-Spot 007 is no longer manufactured by the Nelson Paint Company, but is still sold on the paintball market around the world. The Nel-Spot 007 is a pump-action pistol that is powered by 12-gram CO2 cartridges. The Paintball Times explains that the CO2 cartridge is held in the grip of the pistol by a sealed pin that pierces the cartridge. To activate the pistol, the bolt on the top of the pistol must be pulled back, allowing the pistol to fire a paintball.

Paintball Use

The game of paintball was not created until 1981 when a group of men from New Hampshire decided to create a survival game. The Team Force website explains that the Nel-Spot 007 was found in a farming magazine and chosen for use. The winner of the first game of paintball, Ritchie White, captured the four flags required for victory without firing a shot.