Hey there, paintball fans! Welcome to our fun and exciting blog, where we’ll take a colourful journey through time and explore the fantastic changes in paintball equipment. Discover how this thrilling sport has evolved since its humble beginnings. So, buckle up and let’s dive into the incredible paintball world!
The Birth of Paintball
From our other blog posts, you will know that paintball started as a game between two friends in 1981. It’s true! Bob Gurnsey and Hayes Noel had a friendly wager to see who could survive in the wild using only their wits and some essential equipment. They used paintball guns initially invented for marking trees and cattle. These early paintball markers were quite different from the sleek and powerful guns we have today. In August 1988, we opened our doors, and our first paintball game was held on August the 18th, 1999.
Paintball Markers: From Basic to Beast!
In the early days, paintball markers were simple, single-shot guns that fired oil-based paint pellets. Players had to manually pump the gun and load each pellet one at a time. One of these early markers was called the “Nel-spot 007s” and looked more like a gardening tool than a paintball gun! I remember using them when we first started the Yorkshire Outdoor Activity Park, way back in 1988. They weren’t that bad, but to load the CO2 cartridge meant taking one side of the grip off, which was a bit challenging during an intense firefight.
As paintball grew popular, the need for faster and more accurate markers became apparent. The first semi-automatic paintball marker, the “Tippmann 68-Special,” (We called it the Smeg 68 as that is what it did to the paintballs. More broke in the breach than were successfully fired down the barrel.), was introduced in the late 1980s. This gun beast could quickly fire multiple paintballs without needing to be pumped, and it changed the game forever!
Paintball equipment has changed over time. Over the years, paintball markers have become lighter, faster, and more accurate. Today’s guns, like the “Planet Eclipse CS2 Pro” and the “Dye M3+,” use advanced technology to deliver a top-notch paintball experience. Now you can shoot up to 30 paintballs per second! How cool is that?
Paintballs: From Oil to Water
The first paintballs were made with oil-based paint, which was challenging to clean and harmful to the environment. As paintball players demanded better options, water-based paintballs were introduced in the 1990s. These new paintballs were safer, easier to clean, and better for our planet. Plus, they came in a rainbow of colours to make the game even more fun!
Safety Gear: Protecting Players in Style
When paintball was still a new sport, players didn’t have much safety gear. They often wore simple goggles to protect their eyes and not much else. But as more people started playing and safety became a priority, manufacturers developed a range of protective gear for paintball enthusiasts. Some of you may remember Uvex goggles with Woodstalk Faceplates. They were awful.
Today, players can choose from various safety equipment, including full-face masks, padded vests, gloves, and knee and elbow pads. The coolest part? Modern paintball gear is safe and stylish, with loads of designs and colours to choose from. You can now look like a real-life superhero while playing your favourite game!
Paintball Clothing: From Camouflage to Custom
In the early days of paintball, players would wear simple camouflage clothing. The idea was to blend in with the surroundings and stay hidden from opponents. However, as the sport evolved and became more competitive, players wanted something unique to express their personality. This shows how paintball equipment has changed over time.
Enter custom paintball clothing! Nowadays, you can find jerseys, trousers, and custom-made team uniforms in various colours and patterns. From fierce animal prints to futuristic designs, there’s something for every paintball fan out there! I remember Vulcan Camo, which was made up of various pictures of Mr. Spok from Star Trek—the good old days.
Air Tanks: From CO2 to Compressed Air
Over the years, one of the most significant changes in paintball equipment has been the type of air used to power the markers. Early paintball guns used CO2 tanks, which were heavy and sometimes inconsistent in performance, causing the paintball velocity to vary from shot to shot. Plus, CO2 could freeze up the internal parts of the marker on cold days, making it even harder to play!
In the late 1990s, compressed air tanks replaced CO2 as the preferred choice for powering paintball markers. These tanks are lighter, more reliable, and provide a consistent air stream, resulting in better performance and accuracy. Nowadays, most paintball players use compressed air tanks, making playing all year round easier and more enjoyable!
Barrels: Aiming for Accuracy
Paintball barrels have come a long way since the sport began. Early barrels were relatively basic, made from materials like aluminium or brass. They did the job but didn’t provide the best accuracy or distance for players.
As paintball technology improved, so did the barrels. Today, players can choose from high-quality barrels made from carbon fibre and stainless steel. These modern barrels are designed to improve accuracy, distance, and consistency, helping you precisely hit your target.
Some paintball enthusiasts even use “barrel kits” that allow them to change the barrel’s internal diameter based on the size of the paintballs they’re using. This helps to achieve an even better fit between the paintball and barrel, resulting in improved accuracy and performance.
Hoppers: Feeding the Beast
A paintball marker is only as good as its ability to keep firing, and that’s where hoppers come in. Early paintball hoppers were basic gravity-fed systems that used gravity to drop paintballs into the marker. While this worked well enough, it could be slow and sometimes lead to jams. Many players made their hoppers out of drain pipes.
Hoppers needed an upgrade to keep up with the faster and more powerful markers. Enter the electronic hopper! These high-tech devices use motorised systems to force-feed paintballs into the marker, allowing players to shoot faster and more consistently without worrying about jams.
Today’s electronic hoppers, like the “Virtue Spire IV” and the “Dye Rotor R2,” can hold hundreds of paintballs and feed them into your marker at lightning speed. They’ve revolutionised the game, allowing players to focus on strategy and skill rather than fumbling with equipment.
The Future of Paintball Equipment
So paintball equipment has changed over time, but the world of paintball equipment is constantly evolving, with new and exciting innovations hitting the market regularly. In the future, we can expect even more advanced technology, like intelligent paintball markers that connect to your phone or goggles with built-in cameras to record your epic battles!
We’ve come a long way in Paintball.
We’ve come a long way since the early days of paintball, with incredible advancements in markers, paintballs, safety gear, clothing, air tanks, barrels, and hoppers. These changes have made the game safer, faster, and more exciting!
So, whether you’re a seasoned paintball pro or just starting your colourful journey, there’s never been a better time to gear up and join the action. Remember to stay safe, have fun, and let the paint fly!