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The History of Nelson Paintball

Nelson Created and Invented the Paintball

Paintball came from oil-based paint pellets and a innovative gun invented in the 1960s by Nelson to help foresters, loggers, and woodsmen mark hard-to-reach trees and other objects. We ended up creating a multi-million dollar industry in the process!

Nelson Paintballs have been used on every single continent of the world, including Antarctica!

Today Nelson continues as a third-generation family owned business. We have a special commitment to paintballers of all skill levels. From serious tournament quality Anarchy®, Special Forces® and Hemorrhage®, to our Nel-Splat®, Precision® and Hot-Spot® lines for the weekend player and practice shooting, Nelson sets the standard and rules the sport of Paintball.

We provide Consistent Quality, and we stand behind our name. We at Nelson believe in building long-term partnerships with our distributors, dealers, and customers. We believe those relationships should be based on mutual trust and respect.

Sadly, the words "excellent customer service”, “professional", "consistency", and "quality" are sometimes very absent when people describe some of the companies involved in the Paintball or Softgel industry. We are proud to call ourselves the exception.

We believe in Honesty around here. We don't just tell you what we think you want to hear so we can make a quick buck and forget we ever heard of you five minutes later. We always try to treat you the way we would want to be treated.

With Nelson, you aren't a number. We want your business today, and a year from now, and 30 years from now. The only way we can make that happen is by providing consistent quality with honesty, excellent customer service, and genuine concern for your needs.

Our philosophy must work-after all, we've been doing business this way for over 70 years!

History of Nelson Paintball:

Nelson Paint Co. is formed by Charles and Evan Nelson.

World War II starts, forcing the newly formed Nelson Paint Company to suspend operations due to wartime supply shortages.

EARLY 1960'S
Charlie and Evan Nelson invent prototype wax paint pellets.

MID 1960'S
Charlie and Evan Nelson conceive the encapsulated paintball, containing an oil based paint to be used for marking trees in hard to reach places.

MID 1960'S
Nelson designs and sells a prototype gun, the 707, the earliest version of the paintball gun. Spring-loaded, requiring the air to be reset, the Nelson 707 then required a separate bolt to be worked to load an oil-based paintball into the barrel for every shot.

Nelson Paintballs start being used for animal marking.

Nelson Paintballs move to Europe, used to mark Trees by European Foresters.

Nelson Paintballs starts being used by Veterinarians and Game Keepers in South Africa to identify specific Lions, Elephants, and other wild animals and Dangerous Game.

Nelson orders development of the 007 Marking Gun, a single-shot pump action pistol that started the game of Paintball.

Ranchers start shooting cattle from helicopters using Nelson Paintballs.

Nelson Paintballs make it to South America. Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean Cattle Ranchers start shooting their cattle, sometimes from horseback.

Nelson makes its mark on Antarctica. Nelson Paintballs are used by biologists to mark and identify Penguins and other Animals.

Hayes Noel and Charles Gaines start playing Capture the Flag using Nelson Nel-Spot 007 guns and Nelson Oil Based Paintballs. Sales of Paint Thinner spike in New Hampshire as players try to clean up the mess.

Paintball gets national exposure when Sports Illustrated runs a story on the first Paintball games on page 68-72. Nelson is prominently mentioned, but a few facts get confused. Paintballs were not made of plastic, and they did not contain dye.

Nelson begins selling paintballs with washable fill.

Rick Louys, Grandson of Evan Nelson and Nephew of Charles Nelson, begins working for Nelson full time while finishing college.

Karen Cox, Granddaughter of Evan Nelson and Niece of Charles Nelson, begins working for Nelson.


The Nelson tradition continues. We invented the paintball, and Nelson continues to evolve and perfect the paintball as the sport continues.

We continue to grow expanding our warehousing, and dealer and distributor networks. We are developing new Softgel products as well as moving into additional markets such as tactical, military, and law enforcement sales.